A flag, a ridge and making America great again…

hacksaw-ridge

Photo from Hacksawridge.movie/ 2016

Last night we got together with some friends and watched Hacksaw Ridge.  Have you seen it?  You should.  In this day and age, where we are seeing division, hatred and selfishness flood our social media feed, we need to be reminded of selflessness by stories like this one.  Stories where people are willing to place their very lives on the line for others.

We live in a time where entitlement clouds our view of the big picture.  We think we are owed something.  We believe that we deserve so much more than what we have been given.  We can really be a disgusting people. 

Do you realize there is nothing about any of us that deserves the right to open our eyes each morning?  Not a one of us offers such great contribution to this world that deems us worthy to be here.  None of us.  Each morning that we are allowed another breath is a gift.  It means we have a purpose.  It means there is something left for us to do.  Something good.  But we are too blind, too self-centered to see it.

For me, I see it (and this is clearly one of a thousand examples) when I think of the behavior of those celebrity sports figures who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. It is in those moments that I am quickly reminded of the “lostness” of this world.  Yes, men have fought for their freedom to choose whether to stand for that flag but while they make their millions and play their games, men have given their lives.  They have sacrificed EVERYTHING so that these men can put on their little outfits and chase a ball.

It hurts my heart so much to see the selfishness that exists today.  To know that my kids are growing up in a day and age where people celebrate this kind of behavior.  Behavior that lacks integrity and respect.  Behavior that shines light on entitlement instead of sacrifice. There are days when I wish that each of those who choose this behavior would have to stand on the front lines of a war.  To look the enemy in the eye where men who believe so much in the freedoms of this country and the protection of its people are willing to give their lives for it.

We have watched our country crumble over the last decade. And sadly, it will continue to do so until people choose what is right.  To choose what is good.  To choose to be a people who put those around them first.  To love those around them.  To serve and care for others, FIRST.  Until that happens, we will continue to watch this country suffer from things such as discrimination, hatred, racial division, poverty, and the list goes on.  America can be great again but it won’t come at the hands of a man sitting in a white house.  It has to be a choice that every individual will make to put their selfishness aside, and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

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The Church, A Mission and A Meaningful Call

I believe that the church should be at the front lines protecting women and their children and ministering by helping them find safety and shelter. I believe that the church has failed in a mighty way when it comes to this epidemic and now is the time to make a change.

Pastors need to be educated. Staff needs to learn to recognize the characteristics of an abusive spouse. Especially a narcissistic or psychologically abusive spouse.

Initiative needs to be taken to make women aware that churches are a safe haven for their families.

Enveloped by grace

courage3For all those who have dealt with abuse and are dealing with the heartache of shared custody, this is for you.  Because here’s the thing…the system is broken and children are suffering.  Truly.  The road of dealing with custody issues is painful for all but specifically, the children.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve spent time researching our court system and the way it handles domestic violence and child custody.  Additionally, time was spent studying psychology and the negative effects of “joint custody” on children.  The frustration that comes from the realization that we rely on a system that is lacking the proper resources to actually protect kids while looking out for their best interest leaves a strong desire for change.

Furthermore, the recent research findings on the idea of joint custody addressed the negative effects on children which affirms what many a parent already believed.  The research…

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The Hiss of Betrayal

The darkness weighs heavy.  The silence, almost deafening. You step out into the sunlight only to find that the world you once knew, gone. Darkness distorts the landscape and faces encircling you. You begin walking, looking for something familiar only to find that you have stumbled into a world far from the one you once lived.

Familiarity and safety have evaporated into lingering moments of fear and isolation. Before you drifted off to sleep the night before, the world appeared normal. However, during the night, while you slept, something happened.  Everything changed.

While you slept, he slithered from beneath your bed and began to gnaw away at any semblance of normalcy you once knew.  The hiss of his lies filled the ears of the eagerly awaiting crowds as they devoured away at the gossip that allowed them to forget their own troubles for the moment. Suspicion and judgement crept into their minds as darkness began to make its way into the world you once lived.

And now, here you stand, alone and unable to recognize the landscape where you once found safety.  Everything has changed. The monster surfaced while you slept and succeeded with his plan to kill and destroy anything daring to step into his path.

This is your life. As you stand in horror and watch it begin to crumble you hear their shouts of betrayal.  “Adulterer, Slanderer, Unfit Mother, Drug Addict, Alcoholic!” Their chant rings through the streets as you stand in silence and disbelief.

While you were sleeping, sides were taken.  You never even stood a chance.  Defeat was determined the moment the monster spoke.

Standing alone, the cold trickle of betrayal makes its presence known. You part your lips to speak only to realize no one is listening. The hour of escape has passed.  Your moment of being heard, long gone.

But then, you hear a sound.  A faint whisper. You turn, searching for the object of its origin. But nothing. The words barely audible. You close your eyes and focus. You stand and wait.

The noise of the crowd is maddening. The chaos is crippling. If the noise would only stop if even for just a moment. And then, it happens. That voice, you hear it again.  It is as if you have been picked up and placed miles away from the crowd. The silence is beautiful as the melodic words fill the air.  Warmth invades your heart as you hear, “You are Mine. I have you!”

The voice is undeniable. You recognize the love, the peace as the words linger over you. You know the voice.  The familiar words offer hope to the anxious feelings of your heart as you realize, He is here!

The monster will not win.  Victory does not belong to those who seek evil. Yes, the monster will create chaos and leave a wake of destruction in his path, but he cannot destroy you. 

You my darling sister are a daughter of the King.  He holds you in His mighty hand and covers you with the feathers of His faithfulness and love.  The darkness that surrounds you is only temporary.  Yes it is dark and cold but it has a purpose.  God has a plan.  He is going to use you.  He is going to raise you up.  He is going to take every broken piece that the monster has destroyed and restore it. But not just restore it.  He is going to redeem your story and give you wings that will allow you to soar above the chaos and see His hand at work.

My darling sister, it will take time.  It will be difficult. This kind of transformation is never easy but the reward will be great.  You will witness the power of God work in a way that you never thought possible.  You might not witness the demise of your monster but you will be in the hands of the most High and you will experience His love, His grace and His faithfulness in  way that will change you forever.

Hold on tight my beloved sister. Your journey has just begun.  The road will be rocky and the storms will rage but when the sun appears, you will know, you have been rescued!

 

Who will back me up when evildoers come against me?
Who is willing to take my side against the wicked?
 If the Eternal had not come to my rescue,
my soul would have descended to the land where death silences every voice.
When I said, “My foot is slipping!”
Your unfailing love, O Eternal One, held me up.
When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many,
Your comfort lightens my soul.

But the Eternal has been my citadel;
my God, a sure safe haven.

Psalm 94:16-19, 22

 

 

 

The things I wish my friends knew….

I wasn’t always this person. The one full of doubts constantly wondering if you’ll truly stick around.  I wasn’t always the person who cried so easily at the smallest of things. And I wasn’t the person who kept people at arm’s length but instead the one who greeted everyone I met, even the strangers, with a hug.

Walking away from abuse does not mean you get to walk away from the scars that have formed.  It doesn’t mean an instant healing of the heart. Sadly, instead, life goes from constant chaos to learning how to live again in a world that can be insensitive to those who have spent years enslaved in emotional bondage.

Life has become a struggle.  A constant battle to find the good in those around us. To trust that those we meet have pure intentions not looking to take something from us through control or manipulation.

We live with the obstacles of continuing triggers that shake us to the core when we are reminded of the past, the trauma we experienced. Nightmares that wake us in the middle of the night leaving us exhausted when sleep can’t be found.  The moments of fear that creep into our mind followed by the sudden fits of panic that steal our breath away often fill the hours of our days more frequently than we like.

The constant need to explain ourselves as the flood of emotions we often face leave us overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. The moments of turning inward as the waves of self-doubt still creep into our minds and leave us with feelings of emptiness. The embarrassment that arises from crying yet again from something as simple as a glass of spilled milk sends us scrambling for a safe place to hide.

If we could only make those around us understand what we’ve been through, those events that changed us from the fun loving, friendly and outgoing person we once were to the guarded and anxious person we are today, then life would get a little easier.

If only our friends could accept the person we are today.  To not question our every reaction or moment of silence.  To understand that our thought processes are nothing like their own as we no longer see the world through the rose colored glasses we once did. But instead, every situation meticulously dissected.

If only our friends understood the constant struggle our minds face as we attempt to navigate the relationships that surround us. If only they could see the ongoing battle with the thoughts that still linger from years living surrounded by lies then things might be a little easier.

Oh the things I wish my friends knew….but truly, more than anything, I wish they could know that girl…the one back then who always had a smile on her face and saw the good in everyone.  She might have been a bit naïve and trusted people more than she should but she was full of life and radiated joy.  Maybe one day, these friends will get a glimpse of that girl as their friendship and patience begins to restore the crushed and broken pieces of me. 

Nicole Hamilton

Reflection on the ruins…

Reflection…I often find myself reflecting as I drive. This past Tuesday was no exception.

Reflection…I often find myself reflecting as I drive. This past Tuesday was no exception.

I was driving, my daughter in the passenger seat, Glorious Ruins blaring on the radio, us singing at the top of our lungs, tears flowing as we worshiped together. It was amazing. It was therapeutic. But shouldn’t have been?

 

For the past few days, I’ve felt like I was floundering. Like I’d jumped too high out of that amazing stream of tranquil water that typically leaves me full of peace but this time, I’m left gasping for air.

 

I had become my own worst enemy as my thoughts and emotions took over leading me to believe I was doomed. I was going to fail. I was going to die.

 

I felt totally alone and in fact, I thought I was. I was without hope and with no one to rescue me. I really had myself believing that life as I knew it was over.  Certainty of my impending doom left me stranded and believing I would never make my way back into the flow of His peace and blessing.

 

And then these words grabbed my heart…(click to hear Glorious Ruins: Hillsong)

 

Let the ruins come to life

In the beauty of Your name

Rising up from the ashes

God forever You reign

And my soul will find refuge

In the shadow of Your wings

I will love You forever

And forever I’ll sing


Glorious Ruins: Hillsong

 

With those words, God once again began to breath life into my floundering, exhausted soul. Suddenly the fight, the feelings of wanting to give up, quickly subsided as He reminded me of the refuge found in Him. The safety and comfort that comes from resting in the peace of His mighty wings.

 

I have walked through fire before and His story of love and grace carried me through that fire but I had forgotten. I had lost sight of Him, of His truth.

 

Though daily, the enemy relentlessly tries to beat me down through an extensive list of avenues hoping I’ll forget God’s goodness while attempting to destroy my faith, leaving me to doubt the significant and unfailing love of my Daddy.  But each of those moments left doubting His love while questioning my worth are just wasted moments. He is always patiently waiting, wanting, longing for me to step into His glorious presence.

 

But in the end, He always brings the ruins back to life. And because of Him, I can hold my head high. Because of Him, each and every failure is lost because of that day when Jesus took His place upon the cross. And in that moment, that selfless sacrifice He made upon the cross is perfect example of the unconditional and amazing love of Jesus. And on those days, when I’ve waited too long to spend time with Him, He picks me up, wipes away the tears and He not only places me back in the streams of His mercy and grace but He breaths life back into my weary soul once again.

 

How enduring is God’s loyal love;

the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.

Here they are, every morning, new!

Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the new day.

An open letter to those church leaders who cast us aside

match1This letter is for those in church leadership who cast us aside when we needed you the most.  For those in leadership who were duped by those who used you the way in which they used us. For those leaders whose spiritual abuse left us broken and doubting.  

You see, you were fooled into believing whatever story they wanted to spin. A pawn in their disturbing game of  control and manipulation. Without a second thought, you listened to their stories, accepted every tear, and acknowledged their “I’m sorry” as genuine repentance.

You chose to distance yourself from reality, the darkness covering our home.  You avoided the opportunity to investigate further into the truth, to invest more deeply in the lives affected, but instead, chose the bliss of ignorance and the ease of assumption.  You were swayed by gossip and lies, and you ignored the warning of Scripture not to judge a matter without hearing all parties (Proverbs 18:13). You foolishly assigned blame apart from the facts. Apart from knowledge.  Apart from relationship.

For some, as leaders, your pride stood in the way of pursuing the truth.  A need to protect your persona and the image of a building prohibited you from doing the difficult stuff.  From failing to investigate the truth from fiction or taking the necessary steps to defend those lost within such a dark situation, your lack of concern left us broken and crushed. 

For those leaders who dismissed us as being excessive in our sensitivity or reluctant to submit to the headship of our husband, this letter is for you.  For those who accused of us doing something that caused the abuse or by telling us we needed to have more sex with our spouse, this too is for you.  And for those who repeatedly told us, “Your spouse is not the enemy.  Do not allow the real enemy to destroy your family,” your words only served to aid the abuser in destroying us in even greater ways.

Understand, we were fully aware of the true enemy and to this day because of shared children, we still face our enemy on a daily basis.  You see, for us, our spouse was and remains the enemy.  He was a man being used by the true enemy to oppress, berate, demean and abuse.  Our spouse spoke the name of Jesus to those he needed to impress, but his actions, the actions we witnessed, confirmed otherwise.

For us, it took time to wrap our heads around the truth of our situation.  For us, all we could hear were your accusing words informing us we were the problem.  No matter how many prayers we prayed, questions we asked, counseling sessions we attended, we were not fighting hard enough or praying loud enough.  You left us burdened by the weight of our heartache and believing we were the cause.

As if the despair we felt for our decaying family was not enough, you heaped sorrow upon our suffering while drenching our open wounds with feelings of guilt and shame.  And then you handed our abuser the match leaving him to devour what was left of our broken spirits.

But God!  You see, He steps in when others walk away.  Truthfully, He never leaves, but instead, because of those thundering opinions around us, we often lose track of His voice.  However, rest assured, when He speaks, He calms the storm and reminds us exactly who is in charge and who wrote The Book.

He reminds us that abusers live in a consistent pattern of sin which according to scripture, means they are not a Christian.  Instead, a true Christian is one who struggles with sin, yet hates it and pursues forgiveness from God.  This is not the way of our abuser.  Numerous passages speak to this truth.  Here are a few. Psalm 50:16-22, John 13:34-35, Romans 8:3-9.

For those in leadership, the ones who have been given charge over the sheep, to each pastor and elder who walked hand in hand professing to the do the work of God, hear our voices as we beg of you, please educate yourself.

With that said, if you as leaders are striving to accomplish what God has called you to, please, do not demand that we return to our abuser.  As a shepherd, your job becomes that of protecting your sheep, especially the weak ones, which means not sending us back to the wolf.  And by all means, refrain from using Matthew 18 as a way to manipulate us into doing it your way.  More often than not, this passage lacks relevancy to our situation for the reason that our abuser is not a Christian.  See 1 John 3:6-10.

So it is not hard to figure out who are the children of God and who are the children of the diabolical one: those who lack right standing and those who don’t show love for one another do not belong to God.

1 John 3:10

As the Body of Christ, it should be your mission to protect those who have been harmed by abuse.  1 Corinthians 12 speaks of the Body of Christ saying that if one member of the body hurts, all members hurt.  The church should be a safe haven for victims and not a place of safe hiding for the evilness of the prowling wolf leaving the broken sheep to scatter.

As leadership you should understand the strategy of the wolf.  His gameplay of fake repentance.  The tears he will shed, the walks to the altar at the conclusion of a service for all to see.  He will play you.

However, until you witness true repentance, repentance that involves claiming his actions instead of blaming his victim or minimizing his own actions, requesting genuine spiritual accountability, seeking out the service of a true professional in the psychiatric field, you should stay away.

Now understand, we as survivors realize God can change anyone.  That there are men who have repented and now walk with Jesus. Nevertheless, we need you to understand this, a man must be willing to submit to God and allow God to transform his heart.  A simple prayer asking for forgiveness through streaming tears, which we have witnessed thousands of times, does not confirm that change.

In conclusion, I leave you, the church leadership who cast us aside, with these words, be aware of the problem.  Understand the countless facets of domestic and spiritual abuse.  Do your research. Become educated.

And for the lives of the precious children involved, do not counsel couples where claims of abuse are made.  Instead, admit to your lack of training in this area and work with these couples in seeking out those qualified and trained to diagnose and counsel those in need of dealing this growing problem found within our churches.

And to those who were cast aside, God is good.  He is faithful.  He will envelope us with his love and shower us with His grace.  Just trust His hand and allow His voice alone to lead.

With love,

Those who’ve been enveloped by His love

 

An open letter to those who left us behind

left usThis letter is a difficult one to write as the betrayal and the heartache you added to our lives was unexpected meaning greater pain to endure and overcome.

Realize, when the time came to leave, we expected nothing less than what we experienced from our abuser.  We had lived with them long enough that we understood their behavior and had an idea of what to expect.

Yes, there were times their acts of cruelty caught us off guard because truly, who would have thought they would pursue such great lengths to win.  But as those who rallied around them, you left us speechless. For you, the forgiveness and feelings of anger will take longer to achieve and conquer.

You see, for every phone call you answered, each text or email you responded to worked only to empower our abuser.  With every word you listened to, you worked to increase the control of the monster as he grew stronger and more domineering.

As you chose “not to take a side” since you “loved us both,” you only encouraged the abuse instead of standing against what was wrong.  Regardless of the gossip you heard or the embellished truth spread, you were responsible to pursue truth.  By choosing to remain neutral, you too became a part of the abuse.

Now understand, we are grown women and though we were damaged by all we endured, we can heal and eventually forgive you for the portion you played into the added abuse.  Though, we are tough and made it through, we have found ourselves stronger than before, but not without scars.

However, the additional abuse sustained by our children because of your “neutrality” is a different story.

So on behalf of our children, for those who supported the abuser, we beg of you, educate yourself.  Take the time to read, to study and to talk to those who have walked in our shoes. You will probably be surprised to hear the countless stories of those who have been left to fight alone and whose stories mimic our own.

Spend time studying God’s word and understand just what scripture says in regards to oppression (Zachariah 7:10, Psalm 72:4, Psalm10:17-18) and lying (Proverbs 12:17, Proverbs 12:22, Ephesians 4:29).  Read up on words such as narcissist and abuse. Educate yourself.

For each of you, this letter serves as our way to say two simple words, become informed.  Understand the characteristics and tactics used by an abuser.  Investigate words such as gaslighting and manipulation so that you understand the way in which this game is played.  And yes, a game because for them, it becomes all about winning.

Choose a side from a position of being well-informed which will leave you aware of what is truly happening.  Base your choice on what you knew to be true of the character of those involved and not just hearsay and gossip. Above all else, pray.  God is a God of wisdom and discernment. It is amazing the way in which He will open your eyes to the truth if you just ask. 

Maybe one day we will live in a world where a woman can find the help and support she and her children need, but until then, will you please seize the opportunity to become informed?

We have confidence in knowing God is faithful and He WILL rescue those oppressed and suffering from abuse. His justice will see to it that those who have caused harm answer for the wrong done.  And He most definitely will restore the livesof those who were betrayed, abandoned and crushed accomplishing it in such a way that only HE can claim the glory!

Anyone who does wrong will be paid his due because He doesn’t play favorites,

Colossians 3:25

In the end, we would like to ask for your forgiveness.  Please forgive us if we are hesitant to share our lives with you. Please forgive our reluctance in trusting you with our children or our hearts. We no longer give of ourselves so freely.

Now we leave you with one simple request. God forbid, should another individual in your life ever approach you with claims of abuse as we did, do not ignore them.  Listen.  Believe. Choose a side.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King Jr

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King Jr

With love,

Those you left behind

Helpful resources

Give Her Wings: Help and Healing after Abuse (the book)

How to help an abuse victim

Give Her Wings

First published on todayforalways.blogspot.com

An open letter to the men we thought we knew

Aviary Photo_130894675826371795To the men we once knew,

This letter has been a long time coming.  So many times we have longed to put pen to paper, however thought better of it.

But the day has finally come.  Our hearts are no longer full of hatred and anger, but instead forgiveness and love. With that said, we begin by saying two simple words, thank you.

Never would we have ever thought a time would come when we would find it in our hearts to thank you for all the pain you caused.  Little did we believe we had the strength to trudge through the heartache of another day, however we survived and for that, we thank you.

We thank you for the extensive list of names you called us.  From racists, to unfit mamas, to lazy wives and adulterous women, a thank you must be uttered.  For every demeaning email, sent text and phone call you made to those in our life, we thank you.

For every person you had follow us, to the stalking and spying neighbors, we thank you.  For instilling fear, leaving us scared to leave our homes as we constantly peered over our shoulder, we again say thank you.

For breaking our spirits, leaving us no longer recognizable to those who truly knew and loved us, thank you. Each moment left questioning our sanity and what we knew to be true regarding ourselves, thank you.

For involving not only our friends, but family and church as you worked to alienate us, leaving us alone, abandoned and betrayed, we thank you.

For spending tens of thousands of dollars on expensive attorneys instead of financially providing for the children you claimed to love and promised to provide for, we thank you.  For caring more about winning a battle than being what our children needed and for teaching the difference between true character and integrity not just to us, but to our children, we thank you.

As you surrounded yourself with those we once called friends and family, leaving us to fight alone, you left us finally understanding the true meaning of love and friendship.  You helped us to realize what shallow and toxic relationships actually looked like as we finally recognized that a handful of friends are all we truly need.

You see, for what felt like forever, our hearts burned with rage and hatred so deep that the idea of extinguishing the flames appeared near impossible. You left our world feeling dark and lonely as we withdrew deep within ourselves to the point of losing our sense of self.  Instead, we became shells of women who were left feeling we had no purpose and were beyond being loved.  Thank you for breaking us to the point that left us feeling like we were nothing.

For all these things, we thank you.  We thank you as you have helped to confirm the old cliché, because truly what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  For making those verses in Genesis and Exodus come to life for us as we trusted God to fight our battle and reveal truth, we thank you.

Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it only for good, and through me, He preserved the lives of countless people, as He is still doing today.

Genesis 50:20

 The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence.

Exodus 14:14

We have fought through a battle we were unprepared to fight, but we have come out princess warriors who are stronger than we ever thought possible.

You left us in a dark hole, frightened, cold and completely alone, longing and waiting to be rescued.  Weighed down by the heaviness of all we endured, we believed we would drown. However, someone swooped in to rescue us.  Because of Him, we experienced a love unlike any other as He picked up every broken piece you worked so meticulously to create and He not only put it all back together but turned it into an amazingly beautiful masterpiece of His love and grace.

He came in and redeemed, rescued and restored all those things within us you tore apart.  He worked within our hearts to remind us of our true identity as He whispered, with gentleness and affirmation that we belonged to Him.

Through it all, we have changed.  We are strong.  You have reawakened a passion that once burned deep within us and again, we thank you.  You brought back that nine year old little girl who once ran through the yard with her toy gun and badge, pretending to be Cagney or Lacey while fighting for truth and justice.

Everything has changed. We no longer perceive people, especially you, as “flesh to flesh and mess to mess” but instead “spirit to spirit.” We recognize that you are no different than us.  You too, just like us, flaws, sins and all, are loved by God. You too, just like us, deserve forgiveness and our prayers and so today, we let go of the hatred, not just for you but for all those who followed and supported you.  Today, we choose to love.

Unfortunately for you, we are no longer the person you tirelessly spent working to destroy, we are stronger.  We are fighters.  We are proof that God makes beauty out of ashes.

 We now love in a healthy way.  We don’t trust as we once did, but instead allow a select few within our walls.  We view the world from a totally new and different perspective, for you helped to open our eyes to true beauty, truth and loyalty and for each one of these things, we say thank you!

We truly wish the best for you and will never forget the path of discovery you led us down. For that path led us on a journey to discover who we truly are in Jesus. And for it all, we again say thank you.

With thanks, from the bottom of our hearts,

The women you thought you knew

Left with only a story…

gabbylovePeople have stories to tell.  Real life experiences that have left hearts pierced and broken. Experiences which many wish could be left behind and never revisited, however, it isn’t that simple.

Abuse comes in various forms.  It knows no boundaries.  It can strike any home, at any moment, no matter social status, race or gender.

For women, if often involves their greatest treasure, their children.  These priceless treasures will turn women into a mighty warrior princess.  No battle too immense to fight when the lives of those treasured little ones are at stake.

However, for many, these women must fight alone.  They remain on the battlefield to fight the enormous giant before them with nothing but their story.  And there in turn lies the problem when dealing with the abusive giant; her story is not enough.

This world is incredibly unfair.  Things are often backwards and justice often, does not prevail.  For the most part, the wolves, the abusers, typically win.

The countless stories that could be shared remain untold.  Numerous children harmed due to a broken system which chooses to protect the “rights of a parent” instead of the welfare of a child. Money speaks loudly in the American court system and those who have it, more often than not, win.

Children are ripped from the arms of a loving mama who has walked away from abuse to protect them.  Women without the necessary means to financially fight against the wolf, watch as the very ones they fight to protect are handed over to the wolf and nothing can be done.  All they have to fight with are their words.

Can you understand the difficulty establishing abuse with only stories and words to share? No bruises.  No signs of a physical fight.  No pictures to prove the damage. Abuse is difficult to substantiate when there is nothing to see.

The scars of emotional, verbal and mental abuse cut deep into the soul.  They leave scars, which take years to heal. As a woman begins to describe her pain, forming the words are near impossible.  How do put into words the lies, manipulation, constant put-downs, the doubting, the gaslighting?  How does one explain with words what is taking place behind the closed doors of the home that cannot be seen with the eyes?

A woman walks into a courtroom assuming justice will come.  Praying that relief will arrive for her children.  A woman walks into a courtroom believing that this judge will witness the mask worn by the wolf.  Will he hear her pleas and protect her children?  Sadly and horrifically, it doesn’t happen.

The wolf can afford expensive attorneys.  The wolf holds the key to the finances.  He holds down the home.  This woman has cared for her home and family for years.  She attempts to create a safe home full of love, nevertheless at her own expense.  She stands unprepared for the battle both emotionally and financially.

A woman who has endured years of abuse cannot fight against a wolf.  The wolf has brainwashed her into believing she is not good enough.  Made her believe that everything happening is her fault.  She is definitely the cause of the abuse.  And the court system in this country works right alongside of the wolf. Equipping and enabling the continued abuse.

As I write, I hear of another story of a woman who left abuse only to have her children ripped away by another judge.  A wolf has accused her of being unfit, being an adulterous wife while being a drunk and has won.  A wolf will execute whatever plan necessary to disparage the character of the one in which he is losing control over and will stop at nothing until he has his way.  Even at the expense of his children.

Each day another family is torn apart by domestic violence. Children remain forced to live with the wolf where the abuse continues and another woman is left to pick up the broken pieces of her life from the malicious attack.  Countless scars left to heal.

There is much work to be accomplished.  People who need to be educated, especially within our court systems.  Awareness must come in order for change to happen.  Will you take the time to educate yourself?  Educate yourself so that when the day comes that you are faced with a friend or loved one asking for your help, you are prepared to answer the call.

Visit Giveherwings.com today to learn more about how you can help a mama fighting against abuse.

Love is patient; love is kind.  Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent- it’s not self-absorbed.  Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth-yes, truth-is love’s delight!  Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trust, hopes and endures no matter what.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Do-Over

Aviary Photo_130595244444352172Liberty, not legalism, is what the Lord Jesus Christ offers. Freedom, not bondage. Relationship, not religion. We give up nothing for which Jesus will not abundantly offer more than we could ever hope or dream.

-Adrian Rogers

Not often in life are we given a do-over.  A second chance to get it right. When we do experience a second chance, it is definitely a beautiful blessing. 

I have been pondering that thought for some time now. How exactly does the idea of a second chance fair in the minds of those who follow a religion instead of Jesus.  What does that look like?

Back when my marriage woes became obvious, and my future included divorce, I repeatedly heard I would no longer be in God’s care or under His blessing.  It was typically followed up with that verse found in the Old Testament that says,

“For I, the God of Israel, hate divorce!” I, the Commander of heavenly armies, despise it when people wrap themselves in violence like a garment.  So guard yourselves: be true to your wife and not unfaithful. 

Malachi 2:16

The way in which some use God’s word to manipulate others is frustrating at best. As one who was manipulated, I remember being terrified at the notion and thinking that this predicament I found myself in was not one that I chose or wanted.  Divorce was the last thing I had imagined for my family.  Would God truly “kick me to the curb” because I was divorced?  Would He seriously abandon me in my darkest days?

Oh, the joys of legalism and the way it leads people astray.  For some, this kind of teaching could lead them straight down a path away from God.  Honestly, it led to doubt in my own mind and I withdrew myself from God and the church all together for a short time.  However, God proved them all wrong.

This next bit serves only as my two cents and comes only from my own experience of walking the path of divorce and walking it with God by my side.

In my opinion, there is no doubt God hates divorce.  I am confident He hates what it does to the people involved.  The heartache, the destruction, the negative picture it paints of His love and grace and everything else horrific that follows.  For me, it was the worst experience I have ever faced in my entire life and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  Ever!  However, no matter what “religious” men say, God does not turn away His children and stop blessing them.  Instead that “God stops blessing you” statement just serves as another lie told by religious men/women to manipulate the scared and hurting.  

The more I think about it, the more I am confident that God hates divorce because there is no way He wants any of His children to endure the pain that it includes. Especially the loneliness. And He surely doesn’t want us walking alone.  I believe He hates divorce, however He does not hate the person struggling through divorce.

With that being said, divorce happens.  Whether we choose it or not, it happens.  For me, I did not file the paperwork and did not ask for it to be processed, yet happened.

Does that mean God no longer wants me and will no longer use me? According to some, the answer is yes. According to God, a gigantic resounding no! Nothing can separate a child of God from the love of God. 


But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us.  For I have every confidence that nothing- not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing-can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

Now being one who can usually appreciate the good and bad in life, my divorce allows me to say that though horrific, it served as one of the best things that ever happened to me.   I understand that may sound crazy.  You’re probably thinking this chick has fallen off her rocker, especially if you witnessed any of what took place over the last few years. But in all seriousness, it’s true.

The heartache and pain of my divorce left me with more than I could have ever dreamed possible!  Divorce caused me to search after God.  To run after Him in total surrender which brought me to a new place in Christ.  The heartache and pain brought me to a place where I finally understood His grace and His love for me and it taught me the difference between religion and relationship. Even more, it taught me faith and trust in the One who holds my entire world in His hands. 

Just because divorce entered my life, God did not leave me.  Not once. In fact, I felt His remarkable added presence during that time.  He never left my side.  Yes, there were plenty of dark and painful days, but His comfort and strength flooded my life! Because of Him, I made it through the darkest season.  But only because of Him!

I have countless regrets in my life.  A LOT! We all have regrets.  If given the opportunity, many choices in life would be done differently.  Unfortunately, certain choices just can’t be undone. Thankfully, because of Christ and His work on the cross we receive a second chance.   We can have a fresh beginning.  We can have more than we ever dreamed possible! Like abundant joy and a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe just to name a few!