Tucked away in a pocket, in a place where I haven't looked for quite some time, is an issue that I want to write about today. In the midst of my joy, of floating through my days as if I haven't a care in the world, I was awakened to the hurt of someone very dear to me. And in listening to her God reminded me that there are so many other women who face the same struggle. Women to whom it's not an issue of the past, healed over by God's grace and restoration, but a living, painful struggle. It's an issue that forces us to make hard decisions, to find courage to ask for help, to think about our safety and the safety of our children.
A lot of us may know someone living with abuse or violence in their home. It can be invisible, just below the surface. Only rarely does it show itself, preferring to stay hidden. It can take many forms. Emotional abuse can be difficult to describe or talk about. The important thing is to find someone to talk to. We can't control the other person, we can only control ourselves, just as we have to take responsibility for ourselves, so the other person is responsible for doing what they have to do to get help and change their destructive behavior. Sometimes the best thing we can do is let the authorities God has put in place, step in and do their job. There needs to be accountability for change to occur.
While searching for wisdom to know how to help my friend, I found a great post written by Mary DeMuth on her Relevant Blog. I also found websites I have added to my list of Important Places. They are Focus Ministries and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Hope's Door.
You are not alone
"Maybe you have known the fear and despair of living in an abusive relationship; the anxiety of never knowing when something you say or do will trigger the violence. You are afraid to confide in anyone else because he has warned you not to tell anyone what goes on inside the four walls of your home.
You are afraid that even if you did go to your pastor or a counselor, they would not believe you because your husband is a smooth talker who can make you sound like a fool, or he may be a respected leader in the church.
You wish you had wings so you could fly away to a safe place where you would be free from hurt. Take heart--there is help available to you, and there is hope. People care, and most of all, God cares. You are important! You are valuable." Focus Ministries
"Seldom does the abuse just go away; it gets worse. And there is nothing you can do to change your partner's behavior." Hope's Door
I pray that you will give us your wisdom, whether we are the one in a violent relationship or the one trying to help. I pray that you will bring comfort and strength to my friend and anyone reading this who is in this situation. Please give the discernment to know when to ask for help and provide a safe person to talk to. Thank you for walking with us through these days. I praise you God for your power to restore and rebuild lives.
(As for my friend, I just held her, cried with her and held her hand. I told her I knew she was strong and I trusted her to make the right decision. My prayers go with her.)