Godly Women Do NOT Endure Abuse

I recently came across this video, which was apparently first released in August 2009. It is no longer available on Piper’s Desiring God website, so I have downloaded it from YouTube. I feel a strong need to address Piper’s response to the question of a woman enduring the abuse of her husband because I believe it is a dangerous and unbiblical view of the meaning of submission in marriage.

To say the least, Piper’s response to the question is disturbing. Why does he laugh after reading the question? Why does he discount verbal abuse as mere “verbal unkindness”? How can he, as a pastor, be so incredibly ignorant about abusive relationships and the dynamics of them?

I could spend several blog posts dissecting this video and addressing a myriad of errors that I find in his teaching, but, for today, I really only want to address the erroneous idea that when a woman submits to abuse, she is behaving biblically or abiding by scriptural teaching.

As a victim of intense verbal abuse, which I “endured” for seven years, I know personally that the submission taking place in an abusive relationship has nothing to do with God. An abused person’s life revolves around her abuser and doing everything that she can to avoid the abuse. She will go against her own beliefs, against the leading of the Holy Spirit, against God’s Word, against the advice of her family and friends, if she thinks that her abuser will approve of her and give her some relief from the abuse. In other words, in the abused person’s life, God is not first; her abuser is. He is her god.

This state of mind means that the abused person is breaking the first of the ten commandments: “You shall have no other gods before me.” It also breaks Jesus’ command to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. The person enduring abuse is consumed with the abuser and only her abuser, at the expense of all of her other relationships, including her relationship with God.

Any teaching that encourages a woman to live in a way that separates her from God is wrong. I truly believe that, in an abusive situation, the best way for a woman to serve God (and any others who may depend on her) is to leave the abusive situation and get help.

April PAD Prompt Day 4: Type of Person

The Religious Narcissist
.
Because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God
he knows he is infallible.
.
God speaks directly into his ear,
so do not question when he
contradicts, blasphemes,
adulterates, manipulates Scripture
.
because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God
.
his choices might destroy families,
pull houses to the ground,
set towns ablaze,
bring his child to her knees–
but he feels no call to answer
the plea in his daughter’s eyes
that beg him to come back down to earth
for just one moment and affirm her
.
because he has been chosen from among men
to be favored by God.

Thoughts on Freezing and Thawing

Today, January 26th, marks one year since I left my life and husband in Denver and moved back to the city of my birth.  I call it the day that my world fell apart, which is true, but what I didn’t know then (and would never have acknowledged) was that it was also the beginning of a new world for me–a world where God has been so near and so present that, even though I feel like I am walking through a tundra, I also feel like I am being healed and put back together as a whole human being.

For many years, I lived with a frozen soul.  Like the Narnia that was ruled by the White Witch, I lived in a spiritual place where it was “always winter but never Christmas.”  I think that being frozen is different from being numb, because when you are numb you are incapable of feeling.  I was capable of feeling, but all that I was feeling was pain: unending hurt and misery.  This constant pain caused a layer of ice to form over my soul so that even when there were moments of happiness, they were unable to penetrate and give me any relief.

Freezing was my method of surviving. By freezing, I could put on a smile, dress up, dress up my children and pretend (even to myself) that everything was just fine. The frozen layer kept all of my pain and frustration hidden. I did such a good job of this, that some people even wished they could have a life like mine. When I heard this, my stomach would turn. But I believed that if I could keep up the pretense, I could keep everything together.

But one year ago, it all fell apart.  I believed, at the time, that I had been buried under an avalanche.  The truth is, it was really the first crack in my frozen exterior.  Over the past year, under the love of my Savior (And I really know what His Name means), I have gently thawed.  More and more of the real me is being exposed.

Nowadays, I make no pretense of having it all together.  Being a single mom of four young girls six and under won’t allow for that.  My girls show up at church some days in the clothes they wore to bed and their hair only minimally combed.  They run around, out of my grasp, out of control, and gathering them in is like trying to corral wild horses.  Some days I am able to get a little make-up on; some days I don’t.  There is just no way for me to look like I have it all together.  Most days I am thankful to God that He has me in this position.

Because I can no longer focus on my appearance, I feel like I am much more focused on what truly matters.  The more I thaw, the more I am able to enjoy my girls.  In the last few months, we have had moments of deep-belly laughing that have been cathartic for all of us.  We didn’t laugh much before.  Perhaps we were all frozen.

A frozen life is not what I want for them or for myself.  I don’t believe that God wants us to live that way either.  Psalm 104 describes a Creator who made earth for our enjoyment: “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for men to cultivate–bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” (vv. 14-15)  This place where His face shines upon us only becomes real when we get real, when we allow the truth of who we are to break out and flow through and bless ourselves and the ones we love.

So this year I say, let winter do its worst.  I will still be warm, resting in the arms of the One who loves me best.

Shattered

My soul lay there
like slivers of glass
shattered by a malignant hammer
and scattered to the edges of the kingdom
by a determined and disgusted boot.

I gather the shards,
lay them on the altar of Your love,
and pray
that what looks like total destruction
is, for You, a sacrifice to be transformed
into abundant life.

Solitary Confinement

Your brutal silence envelops me
like a shroud,
a tailor-made prison,
ever shrinking,
constricting my soul.

I long to rise from this dead place;
I want to plead for my life.
But fear of your words
stabbing me to
a quicker death,
keep me frozen.

Your silence is a wall I cannot see through,
and one I am afraid to break down.
So once again I offer myself
on the altar of reconciliation,
allow misconceptions of me
to be truths,
and submit once more
to this death
to which you have condemned me.