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Archive for February, 2012


Father,

I know You want me to trust You completely,

And I do—at least, most of the time.

Because of what has hurt me so deeply,

Coupled with of my feelings of worthlessness,

I still struggle to believe that You love me—

That You accept me just the way I am,

Regardless of how wayward I have been.

I don’t see how You could—not really.

Perhaps that’s why I whine and remain timid,

Even though Your desire is for me

To be resilient, strong, and self-assured.

I desire inner strength, but that is rarely an option.

Father, how could You love someone like me?

That You do is a truth I cannot comprehend.

Such love and acceptance is beyond my grasp.

Your word says You love me despite everything,

Even when my self-defeating behavior

Consumes me and has dominion over my life.

As I recognize how faithful You are,

My trust increases and becomes sounder,

But it still isn’t where it needs to be—not really.

I pretend to be strong—to be supremely confident,

But I’m not nearly the person on the inside

That I appear to be on the outside.

I profess to be what I am not—

To be far more secure than I really am.

I even try to fool myself,

But You know each of my frailties,

Which I attempt to mask and to hide.

I don’t know why You care so much about me,

When I don’t care that much about myself.

This is a mystery I doubt I will ever grasp.

In my quiet moments, which I attempt to avoid,

I try to comprehend such love and caring,

But I simply cannot.

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou does know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is to high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

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Periodically, I post comments from others. This is Matilda’s experience, which I will now share with you:I have shared before that I was a victim of sexual abuse and I really did look for death. I have been in this prayer space you mention so many times. I could not understand how someone I loved could do that to me. Then I could not understand why I did not hate her after she had. I still can’t so there it is.I didn’t find death when I tried to suicide 3 times but I did find a place where I was scared of God. It turns out this was a good place to find as I was also very angry that God did not let me die. I started living using His guidelines reluctantly because nothing else seemed to work and years and years and years later have found a place where I now love God and know for certain God loves me.

The recent faith work I have been doing is working on loving my enemies as Jesus said we need to so we can know God’s own nature for our selves. Last night I had this dream that makes sense to me and explains how powerful accepting the bread and wine of the last supper is. This is the symbolic act of allowing the body and blood of Jesus to become our life. It is how Christ lives in us. His life is holy and it cancels the power of sin in us and sin when when it comes against us.

Here is my dream from last night.

WHEN THE SPIDER BITES

In that twilight between being asleep and awake I found in my dream a spindle web spider I had heard could infest an area. I examined the one I had that was for examination and could not detect why it was such a cause for alarm.

Later in the dream a live one appeared that was as it would be in the wild and it got tangled in my hair. Its legs were much longer than the one I had examined and had a willowy spindly grace that enabled them to float on the air currents.

When the spider landed on me the spindly web stuck to my eyes creating a veil but I got it away and got the spider out of my hair. Getting the web off was very hard due to its stickiness so I went to a tap and washed my hands.

Later I was outside and I saw a tiny spindly web spider floating on the breeze like dandelions do. The more I allowed my attention to focus on them the more I could see and there were thousands of them floating in the breeze yet they were nearly invisible until one hit you and the spider bit you.

I watched a spindly spider float near me and with a slight change in the breeze it hit me then bit me. Before I had a chance to fill with fear of the harm it might cause me the holiness of God filled me in a flash and injected itself into the spider as it bit. The spider filled with light and the invisible web surrounding it was illuminated like fiber optic cables till a delicate glowing orb floated away.

This was the first of a plague of spiders and as each one bit it was filled with light till I was surrounded by a delightful mist of glowing floating orbs with a spirit filled spider at the center of each one. It was so wonderful I felt joy that the spiders got to know what it is like to be filled with God’s own light. We were a collective living breathing community who knew the same joy.

This for me is the mystery of the Eucharist illuminated. When each of us consumes the body and blood of Christ we get filled with his light, his life and his love and become a community united and enlightened by his joy. Simple isn’t it.

Fear not. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases – his mercies never come to an end. His perfect love casts out all fear.

My sadness at being bitten by the spider who was my abuser has been changed into gladness that nothing is impossible with God. His will is to fill all things with himself so we can all know his joy – good and bad alike.

If you have read this – have a wonder filled day.

Blessings to you from
Matilda in Australia

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Father,

Here I am once again,

At the end of myself,

Feeling like a fool,

Feeling like I haven’t learned a thing.

It seems as if I’ve been here so often.

My times of sorrow and suffering

Have far surpassed my times of contentment.

Be gracious to me, Lord,

Let me know what You have in store for me.

Assure me that my pain has been purposeful—

That my years have not been a total waste,

Devoid of meaning—devoid of value.

I want to cast my anxieties upon You

But when I do, they don’t stay there.

Instead, they haunt my mind constantly,

Exacting a terrible, debilitating vengeance,

Impacting every fiber of my being.

I want to be strong, but I am not.

I’m so weak—so used to defeat

That sorrow has become my daily drink.

Rescue me, Father. Pour out Your grace,

And allow me to know joy once again.

Let my cup overflow with blessing.

Allow my life to again have value,

And instruct me about what that will be.

I fear that my days will end

Before any good will ever materialize,

Leaving a wasted, purposeless existence.

Without Your active intervention,

All will be lost and irredeemable.

I know that; I’m certain of it.

As I wake in the morning and retire at night,

That realization is ever before me.

That’s not what I want, Father,

And I know it is not what You desire either.

Arouse Thyself, why doest Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth. Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy righteousness. (Psalm 44:23-26)

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Father,

I don’t just think I’ve been mistreated,

I know I have been mistreated.

And You know I’ve been wronged as well.

I’ve told You what happened repeatedly.

Everybody in my life knows my story.

Now that it has been a while since my abuse,

Everybody else seems to have progressed

With their lives—except for me.

I remain stuck in my debilitating mindset,

Which has not changed appreciably,

Despite the passage of so much time.

It’s infuriating and unfair that I’m the one

Who continues to experience so much pain.

Those who used, abused, and discarded me

Should be the ones to pay, but they haven’t.

I’m the one that continues to languish.

By refusing to move on with my life,

I know that I’m not hurting them—not one bit.

I’m only hurting myself and those around me.

It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all,

But I can’t live like this any longer.

I don’t want to waste my future harboring resentment,

Rehashing my drama repeatedly in my mind,

But it’s going to be difficult to get back on track.

I didn’t realize I had drifted so far from You, Father.

I didn’t realize how willful I had become,

But now I do. It becomes clearer each day.

I have blamed others for my plight for so long,

That bitterness seems normal—even comfortable,

Which frightens me for what lies ahead.

Show me how to find my way back to You.

—Jack Watts

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

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Father,

You’ve brought my soul out of bondage—

Out of the shackles of my

Self-defeating behavior for a purpose,

Which is beyond my capacity to fathom.

In the blindness of my pain and distress,

Which have filled my days and nights,

I have implored You relentlessly,

Insisting that You ease my pain

And grant me the desires of my heart.

Regardless of my repeated complaints,

Which I’ve audaciously called prayers,

You have never relented—not even a little.

You have never blessed my demands

Nor allowed me to have my own way,

Regardless of my fervent and frequent insistence.

Unmoved, You have just gone about the task

Of transforming my heart from the inside out,

Changing me at the core of my being,

Making me a far better version of myself

Than I have ever been or dreamed of being.

Now, as my distress and angst have abated

And my painful sorrows have relinquished,

For the first time I can look back

And be thankful that You understand me

Better than I understand myself.

Your plan is better than what I desired for myself.

As I come to fathom all that You have done,

I marvel at the changes You have orchestrated,

Which have strengthened me and made me grateful.

Having no idea what’s in store for the future,

I gladly give You permission to finish

The work You have begun in me.

Let my petty, whining nature become a memory—

A distant recollection of my childish ways—

As I seek Your will rather than dictating my own.

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; for they will see with their own eyes when the Lord restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations; that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:7-10)

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Father,

Here I am once again,

At the end of myself,

Feeling like a fool,

Feeling like I haven’t learned a thing.

It seems as if I’ve been here so often.

My times of sorrow and suffering

Have far surpassed my times of contentment.

Be gracious to me, Lord,

Let me know what You have in store for me.

Assure me that my pain has been purposeful—

That my years have not been a total waste,

Devoid of meaning—devoid of value.

I want to cast my anxieties upon You

But when I do, they don’t stay there.

Instead, they haunt my mind constantly,

Exacting a terrible, debilitating vengeance,

Impacting every fiber of my being.

I want to be strong, but I am not.

I’m so weak—so used to defeat

That sorrow has become my daily drink.

Rescue me, Father. Pour out Your grace,

And allow me to know joy once again.

Let my cup overflow with blessing.

Allow my life to again have value,

And instruct me about what that will be.

I fear that my days will end

Before any good will ever materialize,

Leaving a wasted, purposeless existence.

Without Your active intervention,

All will be lost and irredeemable.

I know that; I’m certain of it.

As I wake in the morning and retire at night,

That realization is ever before me.

That’s not what I want, Father,

And I know it is not what You desire either.

Arouse Thyself, why doest Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth. Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy righteousness. (Psalm 44:23-26)

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Stating the Problem:

Father,

It is so distressing and disheartening

To see how far we have strayed

From the people we once were—

From who You called us to be.

As our elected leaders seek to enhance

Their personal fortunes by betraying

The public trust, while shamelssly

Pointing an accusing finger at their peers—

The miscreants caught abusing those they swore to serve.

Nearly all of our pompous officials condemn deceitfulness,

Puffing themselves up in self-righteous denunciation,

while eschewing candor and forthrightness themselves.

Few focus consistently on the best interests of the people.

On both sides of the aisle, these self-serving men calculate,

Seeking advantage and acclaim, as their serpentine tongues

Twist the truth into a lie or a lie into the truth.

Having lost all fear of God, these ignoble miscreants

Have turned the American way into something

That You could not does not honor or bless.

—Jack Watts

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Here is a question I was asked recently?Spiritual abuse is not talked about much. It does happen and it is often clearly there. It has to be carefully defined…could you develop a definition for spiritual abuse?

Religious abuse is the mistreatment of a person by someone in a position of spiritual authority, resulting in diminishing that person’s sense of wellbeing and growth—both spiritually and emotionally.

Religious abuse is the use of spiritual authority, by words or actions, to manipulate someone for personal gain or to achieve a personal agenda, thereby harming that person’s walk with God.

Religious abuse can also be defined as any misuse of Scripture, which harms a person’s relationship with God—like the damage resulting from cult involvement.

Jack Watts, Recovering from Religious Abuse, Howard Books, (New York: 2011), p. 2.

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Father,

You know my troubles like no other,

And You understand my adversities.

You know that sometimes I become so fearful

That my skin grows cold,

And it feels like I can hardly breathe.

I countenance becomes small and helpless.

I’m afraid of so many things.

I’m afraid of people and of being alone,

Of never experiencing happiness again,

Of not having enough money to survive.

Father, it seems like the list never ends,

And I lack the power and strength to move forward.

I need Your help now—more than ever before.

Be my strength, when I am weak.

Be my fortress, when my life crumbles around me.

You know that I can rely on no one but You.

At times I’m fearful that You don’t really care—

That You are not really there to help me.

I want to be strong and confident,

But I am not, and I know that I’m not.

Father, give me Your strength and Your confidence.

Help me put one foot in front of the other—one day at a time,

With nothing sustaining me but my trust in You,

Which I admit is tenuous and very fragile.

For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong; and many are those who hate me wrongfully, and those who repay evil for good. Do not forsake me, O Lord, O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38:17-22

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Father,

I feel like a wounded gazelle,

Unable to fend for myself,

As hungry beasts surround me.

My demise seems certain,

And there is no place to hide.

My friends—those who call upon Your name—

Are nowhere to be found,

Just when I need them the most.

My love has abandoned me for another,

Never looking back—not once.

I am undone and badly crushed,

And those who seek what little is left,

Fight over the scraps of my being—

Over the pieces of my shattered life.

How long will You leave me exposed—

Vulnerable to ravenous predators—

To those who seek to destroy me?

Tell me, Lord, when will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

If You don’t rescue me soon, there will be nothing left.

My head, which was once proud, now hangs in despair,

And my countenance is greatly diminished.

Terrifying apprehension of the future

Overwhelms me, and dread has become my lot.

I fear that my adversaries will have victory over me.

Provide me with a way through the thorny maze, Father,

To a place that is safe and secure—free from turmoil.

How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord, my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Let my enemy say, “I have overcome him,” lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)

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Father,

You’ve brought my soul out of bondage—

Out of the shackles of my

Self-defeating behavior for a purpose,

Which is beyond my capacity to fathom.

In the blindness of my pain and distress,

Which have filled my days and nights,

I have implored You relentlessly,

Insisting that You ease my pain

And grant me the desires of my heart.

Regardless of my repeated complaints,

Which I’ve audaciously called prayers,

You have never relented—not even a little.

You have never blessed my demands

Nor allowed me to have my own way,

Regardless of my fervent and frequent insistence.

Unmoved, You have just gone about the task

Of transforming my heart from the inside out,

Changing me at the core of my being,

Making me a far better version of myself

Than I have ever been or dreamed of being.

Now, as my distress and angst have abated

And my painful sorrows have relinquished,

For the first time I can look back

And be thankful that You understand me

Better than I understand myself.

Your plan is better than what I desired for myself.

As I come to fathom all that You have done,

I marvel at the changes You have orchestrated,

Which have strengthened me and made me grateful.

Having no idea what’s in store for the future,

I gladly give You permission to finish

The work You have begun in me.

Let my petty, whining nature become a memory—

A distant recollection of my childish ways—

As I seek Your will rather than dictating my own.

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; for they will see with their own eyes when the Lord restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations; that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:7-10)

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This is Carmen’s experience—a life freed from guilt and shame.

I felt so much like this for such a long time. I was ashamed and felt as if I had messed up so badly, God would not want to use me.

In fact, I so believed this that, although I got saved in 1984, I actually ran from God for about fifteen years, hiding in shame from Him. But a few years ago, a Church Leadership courses, which was two semesters long, taught me the truth that Jesus died for me and loved me unconditionally. My sins were under the blood–forgiven and forgotten.

This truth literally set me free, and now I am walking in victory and accepting what God prepared me fore even in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139 says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that He created me and knew me even in my mother’s womb.

He knew who I was and would be, the life that I would live, and has walked with me all along—not just after I accepted Jesus at age 33, but always–through every pain and abuse and rejection.

Through every challenge, He was with me. It liberated me, and now I am set free. I live in amazement of what a wonderful God I serve—one who loves me unconditionally. The truth is that I did mess up—but the truth also is that I am forgiven forever!

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Father,

I know You want me to trust You completely,

And I do—at least, most of the time.

But because of what has hurt me so much

And because of my feelings of worthlessness,

I still struggle believing that You love me—

That You accept me just the way I am,

Regardless of how awful I have been.

I don’t see how You can—not really.

Perhaps that’s why I whine and remain timid,

Even though Your desire for me

Is to be resilient, strong, and self-assured.

I desire inner strength, but that’s rarely an option.

Father, how can You love someone like me?

That You do is something I cannot figure out.

Such love and acceptance is beyond my grasp.

You say that you love me despite everything,

Even when my self-defeating ways consume me.

As I see Your displays of faithfulness,

My trust in You increases and becomes sounder,

But it still isn’t where it needs to be—not really.

I pretend to be strong—to be supremely confident,

But I’m not nearly the person on the inside

That I appear to be on the outside.

I pretend to be what I am not—

To be far more secure than I really am.

I even try to fool myself,

But You know each of my frailties,

Which I try to hide and attempt to mask.

I don’t know why You care so much about me,

When I don’t care that much about myself.

This is mystery I doubt I’ll ever grasp.

In my quiet moments, which I attempt to avoid,

I try to comprehend such love and caring,

But I simply cannot.

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou does know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is to high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

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This is Maria’s story—in her own words—which I am re-posting as a complete story. It’s long but extremely powerful. As always, the names and locations have been changed  to provide anonymity.

—Jack

I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home. My childhood was one that many would have envied. Growing up, we had an intact family with everything we ever wanted and more. We traveled, shopped, and enjoyed our family times together.

Being raised out of the United States in a beautiful South American country, everything seemed pretty normal. My parents were very loving but, at the same time, very strict. I noticed that we had a lot of friends, but we also were very different. For example, we would attend birthday parties but, when the dancing started, we were called to go home; and that’s exactly what we did.

When we left South America and moved to the United States, the strictness seemed to intensify. I was not allowed to wear pants or to go to movies. We also stopped having a glass of wine during the holidays, which we had done before. In my mind, I did not understand, but obeyed as was expected of me.

From the ages of fifteen forward, that was my life. Yet, I made the best out of it, including always seeming happy and loving others. I attended church and followed all the rules. I trusted that everyone was telling me the truth, but I really never read the Bible for myself until many years after.

In my mind and in my outer appearance, I really did obey my parents, as well as my older brother. In Latin countries, you looked at an older brother as if he was your own father. While in college, I became engaged, but I broke off my engagement because I wanted to be a missionary in my native land in South America.  This went against everything I had been taught growing up. After a certain age, you become a wife and a mother.

Breaking off my engagement brought several people from my Baptist church to my parent’s home to pay me a visit. The visit was explicitly to tell me how awful I was to break off an engagement and that I needed to follow-up with my word. I immediately felt condemned for even thinking about doing something I felt the Lord had called me to do. I went ahead and married six months later, knowing in my heart I was not supposed, but I was confused. I believed I was not allowed to make decisions for myself, and I was displeasing God by not obeying the people over me—even though I was already an adult.

My marriage lasted eleven years, and I have four beautiful children from it. In the marriage, I was an obedient and submissive wife. I did all the right things, including having a home business and teaching at home. I never questioned my husband, Tom, who was a Sunday school teacher. He was very authoritative at home.

I don’t remember the event that preceded him grabbing my arm and bruising it enough for my father to notice. The only thing I recall was that my first daughter was in the tub at the time. He never laid a finger on me again but rather was never there unless it was time for church on Sundays. He traveled a lot and was doing pornography and going to strip bars once in a while.

At the time, I kept those things to myself. Thinking back, in a very subtle way, I truly believe I had been taught at a very early age to always keep our problems inside the “four walls” of my home. So, when I would hear it later on, I thought I was doing what was right.

There was a young man who came into my life during this time and, I am ashamed to say, I gave in to the temptation. Repenting immediately, I went in front of the church and asked for forgiveness. This is when everything that happened in my marriage became open to the whole community.

Tom ran with it, but I spoke up. At the time, we were in counseling with our pastor. The Pastor said we needed professional help, which I was very glad he recognized. I was ready to go. My husband said “no,” and that I would do what he said when he said it. Professional counseling was out of the question. He insisted that I obey him and go live with him at his mom and dad’s house. He would say things like this: “Even if I have to tie you to the back of the car . . . “

He would also threaten to take my kids to Wyoming or to a far away place. I was so scared, naive and young.  Even though I was hurting inside, I was instructed to remain in my marriage, even if I was physically hurt and bleeding. In those times, emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse was not mentioned as much as the physical abuse. Little do people realize what the impact and pain those other abuses create, leaving scars that take so long to heal.

I was demoralized as a wife and mother. I will never forget the times I would get dressed up. Tom would never compliment me because he didn’t want me to believe I was pretty. He thought it would make me become conceited. That was his rationale and said God would agree with him. He said this over and over again, as well as a lot of other harsh words. He used hateful and demeaning words routinely.

He did this with our daughters too, and I can say it affects young women when their fathers don’t compliment them, build them up, and encourage them.

While being separated in the same house, I asked if I could go to my mom’s and just take some time to think. Tom’s response was to say, “No.” I kept asking, so one day I finally went to my mom’s with the help of my younger brother. Tom went to my mom’s and told me that I was shaming God’s name and to come back home. If not, he would take me to court for abandonment and also take my kids. At that point, I wanted to see if there was any glimpse of love that he might have for me, but I never saw it.

We were divorced two years later. Tom fought me for custody and tried to get the Christian community against me. He succeeded with some Christians, including my oldest brother who not only tried to testify against me in court but also gave me this warning,  “You divorce and you will be excommunicated from your family never to have existed.” The truth of the matter was that I still went through with it and was excommunicated from my brother and his family for almost ten years. My pictures were taken off the wall, and it was like I was dead. During this time, they used God’s word to say that was what they were supposed to do. This was a very difficult and sad time in my life.

Looking back at my first marriage, I should have gone to professional counseling, even if Tom refused to allow it. I think back at what I know now and believe that I could have worked through my issues—my insecurities, fears and pain. I would have recognized what abuse was and that might have kept me from a lot of the heartache I have experienced through the subsequent years.

I would venture to say I would not have married the second man I married. I would also say that, if I had not gone through what I did previously, I would have taken a stand and gone to counseling alone. So, if you are at a crossroad and considering help for your marriage—and you have a spouse that refuses to go—well, you take the step and get help before it is too late. God works wonders! His ways are definitely not our ways.

I moved on and began a new life in another church, where I began reading the Bible for my self. I learned a lot, but I was not prepared to recognize that the patterns from my previous marriage were still there, so I got side tracked by a man I met in church. He was also a single father with four children. Our courtship was a very fast one—like a whirlwind.

I received calls from his ex-wife, telling me he was abusive and to stay away from him for my own safety. He told me that she was a crazy, evil woman. I believed him. He did things that, looking back, I should have paid attention to, but I was mesmerized and too blind to see. I married him seven months later.

My spiritual, verbal, and emotional abuse began the minute I said, “I do.” The infidelities also started immediately. We were in church every Sunday and even ministered together. I reached out to his mentor, and my husband, Cory, found out. He gave me a warning: “Don’t ever bring our problems out of these four walls again,” which was more than a subtle rebuke.

I did not and was very scared because I had never seen his angry behavior before. In my first marriage, the infidelity was through pornography. There was spiritual and verbal abuse, too. He was also controlling but, in my second marriage, I saw even more. Cory’s anger was horrible. I was scared, but I did not want another failed marriage.

At that time, I did not recognize that what was happening was abuse of every kind. I maintained this horrible cycle for almost fourteen years until one day, in front of the whole family, Cory hit my nineteen-year-old daughter and bruised her face. She spoke up at work where she was protected. I kept quiet during the first fourteen years, but many others around us saw what was happening and kept an eye on our family, even though I did not know it. I kept quiet because the Bible was used every time to remind me what God’s word said about the “quiet and meek” wife. He used it, while always apologizing for his abuse, by saying, “I am so sorry.” Then, he would tell me how much he loved me.

He was involved in a mild case of child pornography with the same daughter whom he hit. This, I found out later. At the same time, he had been doing pornography throughout our married years, meeting women online. He always gave me the impression he was going to leave me for someone else. I forgave and kept it to myself, thinking I did not want to hurt the name of God again.

His abuse went from using God’s word one minute to physically abusing me the next; while, at the same time, teaching God’s word to others, writing devotionals, and having Godly websites. This pattern continues to this day.

At that time, I won a state beauty pageant, which allowed me to compete for an international title. I wanted to give up my state title several times but persevered and completed my year. In spite of everything, I still had my beautiful smile and, in my pictures, unless you look at them very closely, no one would ever guess what was really happening—other than those who were the closest to us.

Cory would use my title to try to manipulate me and even to hurt me. All of his abusive behavior came out in 2009, when he physically hit my nineteen-year-old daughter. He also hit my seventeen-year-old son, bruising his face. He used the Bible to say that it was right, and he would do it again. That is when I finally woke up and searched for help in my church.

This time, I knew something had to be done. It helped that I was able to recognize I had been in an abusive relationship all the years we were married, which included all of the infidelities. Working with the counselor, I was able to express that I was physically abused by my husband all the time. I have what they call a hip-effusion caused by trauma, which was done by my ex-husband, but I also know that my emotional and spiritual strength were greater than when I was married the first time.

I want to share an episode that took place, which made me realize that I had to be careful with this man. It made me realize I really did not know him. Finally, at the end, his abuse became physical as well.

One day, he was trying to make me leave my room, while I was trying to get some clothes out of my closet. I did not realize how angry he was because I was scared to even look at him. He grabbed me, and I slid down the wall on the floor. He grabbed my right leg, and I began screaming and crying loudly. Through my tears, I said, “Please let go. You are hurting me.” He continued even harder until something popped very loudly. Then, I screamed so loudly two of my kids found me on the floor, and he let me go at the same time.

He jumped right up to his computer chair and began writing. My son asked me, “Mom, what happened?”

I was trying to talk and my ex-husband kept interrupting. He said stuff like, “Yes, I did hear something pop.”

Finally, my son told him to be quiet and to let me speak. I finally did, and they helped me to my bed. Looking back, I should have reported it, but I did not. I began crying from the pain. Cory turned to me and said these words, “Good. Maybe you will be like Jacob in the Bible, and God will use this to humble you.”

I continued crying. I was not able to seek medical help until a year later because I was afraid to.

After four counselors, trying to see if my marriage could be saved, God showed me to let it go before I was physically damaged even more. My emotional state was not good but, for the first time in my life, I knew personally that God said to me, “Let it go!”

That was the best decision I could have ever made. When you are dealing with spiritual abuse and, when you have not recognized it yet, it can have the power to destroy you. It plays over and over in your mind. When your partner—or whoever—knows you love God above everything else, that person will use it to try to manipulate, control and over power your personal relationship with Christ.

I have to say all types of abuse are horrible, and God does not wink at it. Spiritual abuse is one that lingers and, if you don’t become strong  by reading the Bible and studying it, you can emotionally, mentally, and be physically destroyed. And, that’s exactly the emotional place where your abuser wants you to stay.

To this day, this man is free to continue being the sociopath that I now know him to be. I have healed a lot his past year, and I can now recognize spiritual, verbal and emotional manipulation. I don’t allow any of the things I have heard him say about me to have control over me, nor what he has posted on his websites.

That is in God’s hands now, and I go on living life. God has given me another chance to live life to the fullest. Today, I am not the same little girl who wandered through life, suffering all types of abuse. Instead, I’ve learned to make tough decisions and choices. I am now on the other side of this a humongous mountain. I have had so much support all around the country that I am so thankful for.

I am free to be me and know that God is pleased with who I am. Yes, there were times I thought I would end up in the hospital but, looking back, I had to go through those very dark moments to be who I am today. Today, I am beginning a new life, and I being used by God in ways I would have never expected. I know God has plans for me, as His daughter, which puts a smile on my face.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even though I have suffered all types of abuse in my life, I want to take this opportunity to mention a few things about “Spiritual Abuse.” Spiritual abuse is happening all over our country today, including our Christian churches and colleges. I call it the silent epidemic that is hurting a lot of people, especially our young adults.

This is very subtle. It is used by those who think they have authority over us, and they actually use that statement. You have to remember that our ultimate authority is God, and He doesn’t go around beating us over the head with that statement. There are several people who are very close to me who are suffering “spiritual abuse.” This is when the “Church” takes the place of God.

When you hear statements such as, “You will be without fellowship with God unless you put yourself under us, the elders, the pastor, etc.,” you are a victim of spiritual abuse. When you are told to follow certain rituals or traditions and, if you don’t, you are out of fellowship with God, take notice. Then run. God’s word has all our answers for us and, in His time, He will show you the answers you might be searching for. He is a loving God, full of Grace and mercy, and He is a just God—unlike man.

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This is the final part of Maria’s incredible story. If you want yours posted, send it to me. It might help someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

Cory would use my title to try to manipulate me and even to hurt me. All of his abusive behavior came out in 2009, when he physically hit my nineteen-year-old daughter. He also hit my seventeen-year-old son, bruising his face. He used the Bible to say that it was right, and he would do it again. That is when I finally woke up and searched for help in my church.

This time, I knew something had to be done. It helped that I was able to recognize I had been in an abusive relationship all the years we were married, which included all of the infidelities. Working with the counselor, I was able to express that I was physically abused by my husband all the time. I have what they call a hip-effusion caused by trauma, which was done by my ex-husband, but I also know that my emotional and spiritual strength were greater than when I was married the first time.

I want to share an episode that took place, which made me realize that I had to be careful with this man. It made me realize I really did not know him. Finally, at the end, his abuse became physical as well.

One day, he was trying to make me leave my room, while I was trying to get some clothes out of my closet. I did not realize how angry he was because I was scared to even look at him. He grabbed me, and I slid down the wall on the floor. He grabbed my right leg, and I began screaming and crying loudly. Through my tears, I said, “Please let go. You are hurting me.” He continued even harder until something popped very loudly. Then, I screamed so loudly two of my kids found me on the floor, and he let me go at the same time.

He jumped right up to his computer chair and began writing. My son asked me, “Mom, what happened?”

I was trying to talk and my ex-husband kept interrupting. He said stuff like, “Yes, I did hear something pop.”

Finally, my son told him to be quiet and to let me speak. I finally did, and they helped me to my bed. Looking back, I should have reported it, but I did not. I began crying from the pain. Cory turned to me and said these words, “Good. Maybe you will be like Jacob in the Bible, and God will use this to humble you.”

I continued crying. I was not able to seek medical help until a year later because I was afraid to.

After four counselors, trying to see if my marriage could be saved, God showed me to let it go before I was physically damaged even more. My emotional state was not good but, for the first time in my life, I knew personally that God said to me, “Let it go!”

That was the best decision I could have ever made. When you are dealing with spiritual abuse and, when you have not recognized it yet, it can have the power to destroy you. It plays over and over in your mind. When your partner—or whoever—knows you love God above everything else, that person will use it to try to manipulate, control and over power your personal relationship with Christ.

I have to say all types of abuse are horrible, and God does not wink at it. Spiritual abuse is one that lingers and, if you don’t become strong  by reading the Bible and studying it, you can emotionally, mentally, and be physically destroyed. And, that’s exactly the emotional place where your abuser wants you to stay.

To this day, this man is free to continue being the sociopath that I now know him to be. I have healed a lot his past year, and I can now recognize spiritual, verbal and emotional manipulation. I don’t allow any of the things I have heard him say about me to have control over me, nor what he has posted on his websites.

That is in God’s hands now, and I go on living life. God has given me another chance to live life to the fullest. Today, I am not the same little girl who wandered through life, suffering all types of abuse. Instead, I’ve learned to make tough decisions and choices. I am now on the other side of this a humongous mountain. I have had so much support all around the country that I am so thankful for.

I am free to be me and know that God is pleased with who I am. Yes, there were times I thought I would end up in the hospital but, looking back, I had to go through those very dark moments to be who I am today. Today, I am beginning a new life, and I being used by God in ways I would have never expected. I know God has plans for me, as His daughter, which puts a smile on my face.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even though I have suffered all types of abuse in my life, I want to take this opportunity to mention a few things about “Spiritual Abuse.” Spiritual abuse is happening all over our country today, including our Christian churches and colleges. I call it the silent epidemic that is hurting a lot of people, especially our young adults.

This is very subtle. It is used by those who think they have authority over us, and they actually use that statement. You have to remember that our ultimate authority is God, and He doesn’t go around beating us over the head with that statement. There are several people who are very close to me who are suffering “spiritual abuse.” This is when the “Church” takes the place of God.

When you hear statements such as, “You will be without fellowship with God unless you put yourself under us, the elders, the pastor, etc.,” you are a victim of spiritual abuse. When you are told to follow certain rituals or traditions and, if you don’t, you are out of fellowship with God, take notice. Then run. God’s word has all our answers for us and, in His time, He will show you the answers you might be searching for. He is a loving God, full of Grace and mercy, and He is a just God—unlike man.

Read Full Post »

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