A friend of mine told me about a woman she works with because she’s concerned about her. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll call her Katie. My friend has worked with Katie over five years. They are very friendly, and about five months ago, Katie invited her to a dinner party for fans of the Downton Abbey series. Katie’s home was as beautiful as the exclusive neighborhood she lives in, and it was clear that her husband is very successful. They were having so much fun that evening, and Katie was the life of the party, but when her husband arrived towards the end, there was an immediate change in Katie’s mood. Everyone noticed and took it as their queue to politely say their goodbyes.
My friend said that initially no one else at work spoke of the awkwardness, but because she grew up with an abusive alcoholic father, the shift in the energy in the room that night was for her a very familiar thing. A few months later, Katie spent a couple of days in the hospital. A brand-new luxury vehicle was waiting on her when she was discharged. It was rumored to be a ‘makeup’ gift from her husband. If you have any familiarity with domestic violence and abuse, you know the rollercoaster ride of fear and emotions that come with it. Constantly walking on eggshells is a given, and you hide behind a mask that you put on every day, because you don’t want anyone to know what’s really going on in your life.
If asked, the person that remains in an abusive marriage or relationship will have a thousand and one different reasons for staying. Often those reasons involve children. I’m intimately acquainted with instances of women in my own family leaving their abusers several times, and each time going back to more abuse. They tried to make it on their own and support their children but found it incredibly difficult. So, leaving an abusive situation for some can be very challenging, and the reasons are sometimes more complex than we might know.
Being on the other end of abuse is often about the abuser’s need to feel powerful and to syphon this power from the person they claim to love. This power isn’t a tangible reality that we can touch or handle. It’s a spiritual reality, and we need the spiritual strength of Christ to take it back, because it is in Christ that the victory over satan has already been won. Romans 8:37 cements the reality that overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus Christ.
Throughout God’s Word, we find His encouragement and commandment to all of us to be strong and courageous. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 31:6(NLT), He told His people, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” In the New Testament we see many instances where our strength in Him is affirmed as well. 2Timothy 1:7 tells us that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the power and strength of His might.
In all these scriptures, it should be clear to us that our strength comes from God. We are to meet Him in that place of faith, with a willingness to be totally dependent on Him. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5 to trust in Him with all our hearts, and don’t lean on our own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He’ll direct our paths. Putting on a little piece of God’s armor here and there isn’t going to equip us to take our power back. We need spiritual intelligence to outsmart the devil, and this requires the whole accoutrement of God’s armor.
Heavenly Father tells us in Ephesians 6:12(NLT) “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” The devil works through people to interrupt our destinies and steal our power. People are not our enemies, but the spirit that works through them is, and we must open our eyes to see this spiritual reality. Galatians 5:13 tells us that we have been called to freedom, and Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:36(NLT), “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” No gift that any person can give us is worth the price of our God-given power. Pray, study God’s Word, submit to the leadership of His Spirit, and be patient as He teaches you how to take back your power.■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Take Back Your Power!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!