How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?

A wonderful lady became very emotional while sharing her concerns for her older sister. They were very close at one time, but her sister has been in an abusive relationship for years, and it has caused a rift between them. Her whole family has begged her sister to leave her marriage, and a few times it looked promising. Things were so bad that they just knew she wouldn’t let herself be in that relationship another minute. They were in a huge fight and this couple’s seven-year-old son jumped in and tried to defend his mother. Surely this was the last straw, the family thought; but it wasn’t. Even after its clear that her child is suffering, having to defend one parent against the other, her sister still will not leave this abusive marriage. In the concerned woman’s words, “We are all so devastated, and we don’t know what to do anymore. She refuses to leave him, even though it’s tearing everybody apart.”

It is true what they say; no matter how much you want a person to change, they have to want to change for themselves. We can’t make a person change, and we can’t make them want to change. God doesn’t allow human beings to get inside each other’s heads and hearts. We have enough on our plates to keep our own temples in check, and we simply can’t do this for another person. It’s very plain to see that when it comes to the wounds and pain in someone’s life, only God can heal and help them change. He knows what to do and how to do it. His ability is leaps and bounds beyond our own. So we must understand that in these instances, often prayer becomes the only, most loving and effective gift we can offer.

When we pray for someone that perhaps isn’t praying for themselves or doesn’t know how, we’re standing in the gap, asking the Lord Jesus Christ to intervene with his unlimited resources and power. Our faith is integral in this. We must not ever view prayer as a small role in situations like these; it is truly the greatest thing we can offer. It takes our responsibility to a whole other level because we are in partnership with Christ. 2Corinithians 5:20(NLT) tells us, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”” We can be of tremendous help through prayer and be effective in ways that go far beyond our physical and mental limitations.

How else do we help with a domestic violence and abuse situation like this, especially where children and family members are involved? It can make us feel very inadequate, overwhelmed, and anxious, but God tells us Philippians 4:6(NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Spiritual warfare will always require believers to kick it in high gear through our faith. The first thing we must do is shift out of the natural plain and breach the walls of the supernatural, where resources are infinite and powerful.

There are so many dynamics involved with domestic violence and abuse, and sometimes what lurks beneath the surface is not apparent, and it is beyond our ability to understand it. The greatest thing we can do is be a vessel for the Lord to work through in any way HE deems fit. This means that we don’t interject our own emotional stuff into the situation, and we do our best to remain calm. We have to be attentive to the Spirit’s leading, as he tells us what to do and how to do it. Philippians 2:13(NKJV) tells us, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And sometimes, His Will is that we stay on the wall in prayer, and He will take care of the rest. In any case, our faith in God and His ability is crucial.

Witnessing the impact and effect of domestic violence is a very difficult thing. There’s no doubt that we must do what we can to be supportive and compassionate, but it is very important not to make an already troubling situation worse. Those that are being affected need us to be spiritually strong and very patient. They need to know we’ll give them a safe and discreet space and place to talk openly, without judgment. If we are led by the Spirit to do so, we can help with finding legal support and other resources, but again, God is the Healer and Provider. We’re not to try and takeover or control the situation. More than anything, a person that is suffering the abuse of domestic violence needs to feel and be empowered. This begins internally first, and only God can do this work within the people who need it most, and we must partner with Him through prayer. ■

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.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Blueprint of What to Expect

By now we’ve become used to the reality that when bad things happen in our pasts, they can impact our present and futures. When seeking emotional therapy and counsel, we are often asked about our relationships with our parents as well as traumas that might have occurred in our childhoods. One of the reasons for this is because children who endure abuse, neglect, and dysfunction within their homes begin to struggle as early as kindergarten. As they physically mature through adolescence and adulthood, they can become stunted emotionally, and cease to mature beyond the trauma they’ve experienced. Although many of us that have endured domestic violence and have been in abusive relationships may not link it to a childhood event, often challenges with recognizing or breaking negative patterns is a symptom of a traumatic childhood experience.

Spiritual growth through the Lord Jesus Christ requires us to shift out of a mind-and-heart-set of fear and into one of faith. The very nature of spiritual living is to believe in what we cannot see—to trust our spiritual sight more than our physical sight. Our flesh is a temporary house for our spirits and souls. It isn’t an eternal temple, and only allows us to dwell on earth for a season. We’re supposed to use life’s lessons to release our fears and cling to our faith. This is the only way to embrace our true identities. It is the only way that love will become anchored in the very core of our highest spiritual self in Christ. Then, we will be prepared for the next chapter of life in the Spirit after we leave this place.

A childhood trauma like domestic violence and abuse is a disruption in our emotional growth, and if unaddressed, it can prevent us from growing spiritually. Impressionable and vulnerable, children don’t have the necessary tools to discern the truth and make the right choices about what to believe. When a trauma occurs in their young lives, it profoundly impacts their emotions and responses to life. It can make fear, and not faith, the governing emotion of their existences.

1John 4:18(NLT) says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God’s love has no fear, and in truth, it kicks fear to the curb. This gives us a clue about how we should be handling fear; we must let God’s love into our hearts, and we also have to recognize when we’re allowing fear to run the show. Because of trauma, our minds can become stuck on trying to protect ourselves from danger and fear habitually. We don’t often realize we’re doing this, and it can do a number on adult relationships and social interactions. Of course, we all want to be loved by a quality individual, but a mind-and-heart-set of fear can keep us from recognizing exactly when a quality individual is in our midst; and furthermore, we don’t have an appropriate blueprint for what we ought to expect from him or her.

The ‘Empty Container’ Syndrome
One of the habit patterns of many victims of domestic violence is choosing partners that are not equipped for healthy relationships. When we’re stunted emotionally, in some ways we don’t mature. The radar isn’t all the way up when a rachet’ individual is lurking around, trying to run a serious manipulation game on us. We can’t tell when someone is just an empty container, so we begin to invest our hopes in them. The program running in our minds computes that they might rescue us from the fear we still haven’t addressed through the love of Christ. This person doesn’t give us nearly enough to hang our hats on, but we cast our anchors anyway. Incapable of loving us in the way we deserve, the empty container accommodates our insecurities, expands them, and then moves on to the next willing vessel.

A New Blueprint
Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) warns, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our hearts can be magnets for people who keep us comfortable in fear, and this is why Heavenly Father tells us to stand guard—to watch what goes in our hearts and watch what comes out of them. One of the first things we must do as good ‘watchers’ is to interrupt the program of fear that is running in our hearts and minds. And we can know the extent to which this fear is imbedded by what we are willing to accept. Love doesn’t hurt us, harm us, tell us lies, play games, keep secrets, manipulate our fears, exploit our insecurities, keep us in the dark, or make us feel less than the treasure God says we are. We must reject this treatment and nip it in the bud immediately, because if crumbs is what we’ll accept, crumbs is most likely all we’ll get.

When we love ourselves enough to interrupt fear’s programming, we can change the way we think so that we wear God’s love like a second skin. In 1Corinthians 13:4-7(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us exactly what love is, how it behaves, and what we can expect from it. This passage says, “4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Renewing our minds and hearts to God’s standard of love allows us to draw a fresh blueprint with new expectations. It gives us the wisdom to make sure that only a truly loving person can follow them.■

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.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“A Blueprint of What to Expect” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!

Fear and regret are a combination that can wreak havoc on our lives, especially when domestic violence and abuse is a part of our history. A biblical teacher that taught me a great deal about God’s Word would often warn, “Don’t let doubt get stuck in your craw.” She would say this because she understood that patterns are a big part of the way every human being operates, and a pattern of fear and doubt is the biggest conduit to getting stuck in life. We start learning patterns before we learn how to talk, and we carry them into every facet of our existence. Patterns of behavior impact the way we treat ourselves, the way we interact with others, and most importantly, the way we approach our relationship with God. For the most part, regrets impact our lives after we’ve matured some, but fear is a blocker right out the gate. The insidious thing about fear is that it can be stuck in your craw and you don’t even know it.

If you’ve been around people who speak openly about the domestic violence and abuse they’ve suffered, you’ll know they often speak about its vicious negative cycle. Some will say that, like a magnet, they tended to draw individuals to themselves that were wonderful in the beginning but turned out to cause them tremendous heartache and pain. After repeating this pattern of choosing a partner who abuses, many people become insecure in their judgment and decision-making. They are fearful of making a catastrophic mistake again, so they don’t trust themselves to discern between someone who loves without harm and a person who tries to manipulate love through harm.

Proverbs 4:23(NKJV) tells us, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” To keep your heart is to watch what goes in and what comes out of it. God tells us the reason we must be watchful of our own hearts. It’s because the heart is a springboard for the issues we’ll face in life. God wouldn’t tell us to be watchful of our hearts if we lacked the ability to get it done. Neither would He tell us to watch our hearts if we didn’t NEED to get it done. We are to watch our hearts so that we can recognize negative habit patterns that work against us, and then correct them. There are more people who don’t do this than those of us who do. Many people are comfortable where they are. That ol’ sneaky, manipulative, and evil devil keeps them comfy in self-sabotaging behavior, so they’ll continue to be blind to it. God commands us to wake-up and snap out of it. We accomplish this by changing the way we think, introducing new patterns, and then eradicating the stuff that ain’t working for us. It’s recognizing the stuff that ain’t working for us that ought to become our motivation to seek a better way.

When we learn that our hearts can draw something that harms, we must have that much, and even greater faith that our hearts will draw something that fulfills our purpose and keeps us continually attuned to the Father’s love. His love is no ordinary love, and through Christ He makes us complete in it. God tells us in 1John 4:18 that there’s no fear in His love, because His perfect love will demolish our fears. We begin to see this in real-time when we no longer allow the doubt and fear of making a bad choice to occupy the driver’s seat of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord! He’s the Head! He has earned and deserves all the driving privileges that come with this job.

The shift in our focus from self to Christ is a requirement for believers, and it is the best thing we can do for our lives. Going higher in him is often achieved from a vantage point of viewing all the mistakes we’ve made in the past. Through those mistakes, we earned the right to declare, “Been there, done that, not doing it again!” No need for regrets. Our mistakes helped to bring us to where we are today; still living and growing, with a chance to be better and stronger than we’ve ever been. Jesus Christ is why the combination of fear and regret can be kicked to the curb. When we’re trusting his love and following his example, we can have confidence that we’re no longer who we used to be, and that the magnetic force of the love of Christ will keep us on track to God’s blessings.■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Been There, Done That, Not Doing It Again!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Trust in the Process

A friend suffered through domestic violence and abuse during her entire childhood. Her mother took the brunt of physical abuse as she watched in horror. In shock from the trauma of witnessing these attacks, she remembers being paralyzed by the fear, of literally not being able to physically move. Today, the trauma of what she endured as a child has had tremendous impact on her adult life. She feels as if she’s constantly in fight or flight, fearing that something dreadful could happen at any moment. Her anxiety and stress levels are through the roof, and although she is taking medication, her sadness is still very heavy and the impulse to flee danger seems to be constant.

Patterns of fear can develop as a result of the childhood trauma we’ve experienced. These patterns can become firmly entrenched. They can be locked so deep in our consciousness that we don’t even recognize them. We’re constantly reacting and responding to life by the behaviors, feelings, and attitudes the patterns dictate. In a sense, the patterns of fear take the position of authority in our lives. It should come as no surprise to us that this interferes with our relationship with God. He tells us in 1John 4:18 that His love has no fear, not even a hint of it. His love is perfect, and it dispels fear—totally wipes it out! He tells us that a person that lives from a place of fear hasn’t been made complete through His love.

You and I can know from this verse in 1John 4:18 that one of the defining characteristics of God’s love is its power to make a person whole and complete. Everyone that says they believe this hasn’t manifested it. In truth, it takes a very long time for some of us to process this truth. We can’t pretend to know it, and simply saying the words “I trust in God’s love” doesn’t mean that a person really does. The reality is that this trust we have in God must be anchored in the deepest part of who we are. When it is, it will ooze from our pores. It will be infused in everything we do, and every person we influence will be affected by it. This is God’s goal for us.  

God articulates this goal through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:16-17(NLT). Paul said, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” This truly is phenomenal, because God allows us access to knowledge regarding the way that He empowers us. He tells us that He administers strength to our cores through the person of the Holy Spirit.

Fear is a dream killer, and most of us underestimate the degree to which it robs us of vitality, enthusiasm, and the splendor of life that God intended us to have. Fear is an enemy of God, and faith in Him brings Him great joy. Our faith in God is an expression of our appreciation for who He is. It is an acknowledgement of not only His love, but our faith in Him is an acceptance of His love. And just as we can’t physically, visibly see love; we can’t see faith.  Like love, faith becomes visible through our commitment, attitude, and deeds. This is why James 2:26(NIV) states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” We must back our faith with actions that demonstrate a willingness to release fear.

As we do this, it is so important for us to trust God’s process. You and I are not able to reach the places within us where fear is hiding out. We’re not able to get to the root of it so that it can be kicked to the curb. We can’t do this, but God most certainly can, and He will if we trust Him. It may not feel like the Holy Spirit is doing a work on the inside, but truly He is. Philippians 1:6(NLT) tells us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Jesus Christ has a front row seat to our pain. He’s not going to crack us open like an egg. Lovingly, he’s guiding us. Take hold of his hand and follow his lead. It may not happen overnight, but he is helping you release the fear, so that your grasp on a relationship with God is firm and built solidly on trust.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Trust in the Process” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! s

Programmed for Success or Failure?

The mind and emotions are very big factors in shaping the kinds of relationships we have with others. Most importantly, our mind and emotions mold and maintain intimacy in the relationship we have with God. This is one of the reasons that He tells us in Ephesians 4:23 that we must renew our minds to His Word. To renew is to make new again. It is important because some of us have some programming running in our minds and hearts that is outdated. It will not support the new operating system of faith, elevation, and blessings. No matter how much we pray for certain things, if there’s not a change in our souls, then we’ll lack the spiritual resources to support what we’re praying to receive.

For some of us, it is shocking to hear that our way or mode of thinking may be flawed—that our own thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and feelings are causing us to fail in areas of our lives that are very meaningful. We may be successful in several areas, but where it counts most, we may have some kinks that need to be worked out. The building blocks of our personhood that we’ve learned or inherited since our births may be constructing a barrier instead of a bridge to brighter tomorrows. In most cases, these kinds of building blocks ignore the destiny DNA that’s written deep within. Instead, they build perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors that are toxic to our souls and spiritual well-being.

In Mark 1:15(NLT), Jesus Christ said, “The time promised by God has come at last! …the Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” Many during this time heard this proclamation and looked at Jesus as if he had two heads. They had no idea regarding the meaning of all this talk about the Kingdom of God, which was invisible to them. They were looking to see things in a very literal or linear way. They didn’t know their identities as spiritual beings, so if it wasn’t something tangible—something they could see, smell, taste, hear, or touch, they weren’t inclined to believe it. Some of us are the same way.

Earth is not our home. We’re just passing through. We came from a place that must be seen with more than human eyesight or vision. Natural or physical vision allows us to see and interact on earth, but our homeland requires a vision that is exponentially higher and more acute. It’s spiritual vision, where we see with the eyes of our spirit. Comprehending this allows us to recognize the reality of the truth in 2Corinthians 4:18 The Message (MSG). It says, “There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” The things we can’t see are more real than what we can see. We can’t see love, for instance, but most of us would agree that it is more real and stronger than anything that exists.

Because of carnal thinking, some of us can’t see what the Lord desires us to see, and we can’t hear what He desires us to hear; for these things must be spiritually discerned and perceived. An internal change must occur, and this was the message that Jesus Christ conveyed in Mark 1:15. He said, “REPENT of your old ways.” To repent is to have a change of heart and a change of mind. It’s to change the programming to such a degree that we believe in what we cannot yet see. That’s faith!

Leaping from fear to faith is for many of us a very big step. We often cling to the things that make us comfortable, and yes, sometimes those things are the very toxic elements that hold us back. We must get wired to the truth that faith is the only way to travel to real success in life. God commands us in 2Corinthians 5:7 to walk by faith and not by sight. Proverbs 3:5 warns us not to lean on our own understanding—we can’t allow ourselves to settle into a carnal mindset. We ought to continually be reaching toward higher spiritual heights. We must aim to have what God has for us, as we lean totally and completely on Him, the God we cannot see. He will not forsake or fail us, and if we trust Him, He’ll give us good success. ■

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Programmed for Success or Failure?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! ar

He Will Help You Get Your Treasures Back

One of the most well-known passages of scripture in the Bible is in the Gospel of Matthew. In it, Jesus Christ extends an overwhelmingly generous and loving invitation. In Matthew 11:28-30, he tells us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” If you’ve never faced a problem or issue in life so troubling that you literally feel imprisoned by it, then the invitation of our Lord and Master may not mean much to you. But if you’re anything like me, and you’ve had your back pinned against the walls of your circumstances and condition a few times, then you will understand and appreciate the lifeline our Redeemer is offering.

Recover
He offers us rest, and it is more than just a temporary reprieve. It is a rest that allows us to recover, be restored, and increase in spiritual strength. Spiritual recovery is so important to us because it brings the healing that only our Lord and Savior can provide. And all we need to do is ask for it. Very often we feel imprisoned by life’s circumstances because our destiny is to be at point C and we’re still at point A. We must remember at all times that we’re spiritual beings having an earth experience. Our body provides the vehicle to move about within the earth, but our spirits provide the opportunity to move with Holy Spirit power according to God’s Will and Plan. So, when we feel as though we’re stuck in life, growing in God’s love, nature, and power is always the solution. This is why Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 11:29 that the conduit to the rest he offers is to learn about him.

Restore
We have a dastardly evil enemy, and he is the devil. Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that the devil is a thief whose chief mission is to kill, steal, and destroy. Our Big Brother and Lord would never lie to us. Jesus Christ is truth itself. So, if he tells us that we have a treacherous spiritual enemy, it would be incredibly unwise and catastrophic if we refuse to believe him. He wants us to know about our enemy, and he also wants us to know how to protect ourselves against him. God’s Word places this wisdom in our hands.  

I heard a wonderful believer’s testimony about an encounter he experienced after praying fervently for a friend. His friend was very bound by oppressive situations. They were fracturing his family relationships and depleting his finances. This friend had contemplated suicide and came to this man for prayer. While meditating in the Lord, the believer saw a massive room filled to capacity with every imaginable treasure, and everything in this room was chained. He knew that these were treasures of God’s people that had been stolen by satan. Understand that God will help us get our treasures back.

Heavenly Father told His people in Joel 2:25(NLT), “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.” God’s people had lost everything that was important to them, and the locusts in this verse are symbolic of the devil who steals and destroys the things we value. God reminded His people that only He has the power to restore. They had made the terrible mistake of putting their faith in the wrong things, but in order that God could restore them, they needed to turn to Him in obedience and have faith in Him. This is true for us as well. It’s why we need to learn about Jesus Christ in God’s Word, because learning about his love, ministry, and the extraordinary sacrifice he made for us will build our faith.

Increase in spiritual strength
Increasing in spiritual strength is probably the most important aspect of rest. God tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to be strong in Him and in the strength of His might. Life requires His strength, and the more we know about Him the stronger we become. It is important for us to respect that our destinies are etched in stone, so to speak. Our conscious minds are not aware of all that God has slated for us, and it’s why we must trust Him with all our being. He knows where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be there, and He knows how to get us there. Our propensity is to try and control the journey, and this won’t work. The rest that Jesus Christ offers requires that we give him the wheel. This is a no brainer. We should never hesitate but take the lifeline and rest he offers; we desperately need it.

While we’re in the passenger seat, we’ve got plenty of time to read, study, pray, and mediate on God’s goodness. That’s the whole purpose of rest, to remember what has been done for us through Christ, and to rest in it. You see, there’s a mindset of intentionality that’s expected of us. We must intend to gain spiritual strength as we rest. If that’s not our intention, we won’t have the strength to maintain what God restores. Let’s do our part by resting in the peace that Christ offers. We’ll be amazed at what the Lord does in our circumstances when our hearts are truly committed to spiritually grow and increase our faith in Him. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“He Will Help You Get Your Treasures Back”
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Fresh Start

I was asked recently to pray for a woman that has been in an abusive marriage for over 25 years. Her husband has been abusive in many ways, including habitual infidelity. She’s tried to leave the marriage several times, but each time he has begged for forgiveness and made promises to change his behavior. She has taken him back and continued to suffer through his abuse and cheating. His years of affairs have produced more than one child outside of their marriage. The child support for those kids has diminished college funds and financial support for the children they have together. Now that she’s in her fifties, and after all the lies and everything she’s been through, she says she’s finally going to leave him and give herself a fresh start.

When we think of the word ‘fresh’, we automatically think about newness or something that is different. The mere mention of the word inspires good feelings. We get excited about the possibility of leaving the ‘old, worn out, and no longer useful’ behind us. The harsh reality that stares all of us in the face is that newness doesn’t get it’s beginning from the external, it is birthed internally first. Real and lasting change begins in our hearts and minds. This is an astounding truth that most people ignore.

There are many reasons that a person will remain in an abusive relationship. If children are involved, the abuser may contribute part or all their financial support, making it more challenging to leave the marriage or relationship. Also, both pride and fear can be deterrents to leaving as well. When the abuser has some degree of affluence or prominence in the community, pride can become a stronghold. Fear of abusive retribution and retaliation, as well as the fear of a withdrawal of support, is also very much part of the reason why many people remain in abusive relationships. But these are not the root cause of why a person stays, they are what’s on the surface.

The truth is that God has empowered every individual of sound mind to achieve and accomplish whatever they truly want to do. When we’re relentless or passionate about something, most of us find a way to get what we want done. So, there has to be something deep-seated in someone’s mind and heart to make them feel as though they are unable to be set free. This isn’t a judgment. I was bound by four walls of self-doubt, self-condemnation, and insecurity for many years, so I know the entrapment of a mindset of powerlessness very well. I personally believe it is its own hell, a prison that ensnares countless numbers of individuals who believe there’s no hope.

In 1Timothy 6:12(NLT), God tells us through the Apostle Paul, “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.” God’s Word is true. It is the Source of any truth that exists in the earth. A thing may be factual, but facts change all the time. Truth is eternal, and it is this fight, the fight to stand on our truth in Christ, that is the greatest fight of all.

Instead of fighting to stand ground on the truth of our strength, ability, and liberty that Christ gave his life to make available to us, we fight for the thing that enslaves us. We fight our strength, ability, and liberty when we don’t believe in them. Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:32 that only the truth will set us free. And the truth is that we will have to give up the mindset of powerlessness for a mindset of hope.

Hope is the first step to a fresh start, but it will require something that only the Lord Jesus Christ can provide in order to back it up. We need the power of the Spirit of God, and we must invite Him to do a work on the inside of us. Without this, we slip back into old ways of thinking and behaving and continue to allow ourselves to suffer. We must acknowledge that we are indeed in a fight, and we will need more than the armor human understanding and skill can provide. We need the whole armor of God, and He freely offers it. He tells us in Ephesians 6:11 to put it on, and therein lies a true fresh start. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

A Fresh Start
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!