More than Pumpkins and Cancer

 

October

October marks the beginning of the fall. The weather starts to cool off a little, or at least I’m waiting for it to finally do. The stores start carrying everything in pumpkin flavor. I like pumpkins, but some things should not be pumpkin flavored, just my opinion.  October is also breast cancer awareness month, a very worthy cause, but let’s not forget that it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

DV

Since I started blogging, I’ve tried to make a concerted effort to recognize this cause, because it’s close and dear to my heart. I try to provide information and a venue for survivors to share their stories.  This year will not be different. I’ll admit that some information may sound like repetition, but some things are worth repeating.

To anyone wanting to share their stories, I have a form on the site where you can share 6the story confidentially. I will post it on the main page, only if I have your consent. If not, and all you wanted to do was vent, I’ll consider it an honor the fact that you decided to share with me and I’ll pray for you.

 

To family and friends of victims, I say this: be patient.  You may not understand why someone doesn’t leave an abusive situation. I can promise you that it’s complex. Rushing the person before they’re ready or putting them down will make the situation worse. Offer a listening ear and support as much as you’re allowed to.

To those who have survived, I say this: you made it! You may still be dealing with y battle wounds and other struggles, but everything will be OK. It may take a while, but it will be fine.

To those in the situation (men and women), I say this: You are loved! Don’t even believe that you’re not worth it, because that’s a lie. Don’t ever believe that you are stupid, because that’s a lie. Don’t ever believe that you can’t do any better, because that’s a lie. You are precious, loved and wonderfully made. Reach out, we’re waiting for you.

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Be blessed

Naty

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

 

 

 

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Spiritual Abuse

I wrote this post last year during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and thought it was worth reminding ourselves that this does exist and it’s something we should be aware of.  Be blessed!

Researching information for this month’s articles I ran into something, that yes, I’ve seen but it had not clicked in my mind when I thought about abuse and it’s the term “spiritual abuse” in a relationship. This relates to when a spouse uses God to control or manipulate the other spouse with the Word of God or an alleged spiritual gift or “power”

These abusers use their spouses faith and a legalistic vision of the Word of God to manipulate, control and undermine their spouses. With this behavior the enforced their authority and the victim submits to avoid consequences not only with their perpetrator but with their higher power, as they believe this is coming from God himself.

The fact that the victims are being abused will make them be more submitted as they think that they must be doing something wrong, as they continue to be criticized or chastised by their abuser. On the other hand this can hinder their faith as they would have trouble understanding why God would allow them to live in such conditions, when it’s not God, it’s the other person’s free will that is attacking them.

Jeremiah 23:16 says “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” But if this is your husband or boyfriend, how can you tell?

  • Study the Word yourself.
  • If your spirit says something is not right, it probably isn’t. Look it up before you agree to do something.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for clear direction.
  • Read the Word in context and not singling out scriptures. Sometimes just reading a few more sentences can bring clarity to the context.
  • In doubt, research. Sometimes just reading different versions of the same scripture will bring clarity to our notions.
  • Talk to other Christians (be careful about this one, you don’t want someone who is misguided as well)

If you want to identify a potential spiritual abuser, read Matthew 23:1-39 ESV Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long”

Be safe!

Related articles

The abuse that nobody sees

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a cause very dear to my heart and once again I want to collaborate by bringing awareness to this illness in our society.

When most people think about domestic abuse they think of broken bones, black eyes and dishevel appearance. Usually the abuse is thought of as from a man to a woman. Although this stereotype is true, there’s a silent, sometimes subtle kind of abuse that goes on in many households undetected, that’s emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is usually defined by instances where one spouse or partner belittlers, yells, name calls and is offensive towards the other spouse or partner. Some victims believe they are not being abused because they engage in the cycle by responding to the attacks.  I found this interesting article on emotional abuse that if you think you are in an abusive relationship you should read. It gives you the right questions to ask yourself to determine if you are in an emotional abusive relationship.

I’ve talked to Christian women in domestic violence situations that do not believe they are in an abusive relationship because there are no bruises on their bodies. They also quote scriptures about the wife being the role model to Christ for their husband. Yes, that can happen, if the man wants to be lead by Christ and not his emotions. When a man becomes abusive, he has become his own god, why would he need the real ONE?

I have been presented with this scripture in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 ESV  “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, (this particular portion makes a lot of women in abusive relations justify their acceptance to abusive situations, but like my pastor would say keep reading) and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? (Yes, as Christians we are to model Christ not only to our spouses but to everyone, but we are not the saviors, Jesus is. Only the spouses willingness to accept Christ and his lordship will save and change him) how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? “

God has a particular plan for your life, as stated in Jeremiah 29:11 ”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. See those plans are specific for YOU and they are not to harm you. If God Almighty doesn’t want to harm you, do you think he wants you to be harm by your spouse? Read in the above scripture where it says, “God has called you to peace” Is that relationship bringing you peace?

I’m not advocating for any particular decision or solution, what to do is something you should decide with God in prayer. All I’m saying is that we need to look deeper into the Word and will of God for our lives. Slavery doesn’t come from God. There are options to stop the abuse. You need to recognize your value as a child of God, to know that you are loved, precious and accepted. That tolerating abuse is not the answer as it tells the abuser that is ok.

Please be safe

DVAM:To friend and family of victims

Today I want to direct my attention to those who know someone who is or has been in an abusive situation. Someone who has not experience the fear or the trauma of abuse has trouble relating to the person inside or coming out of this situation. As a friend or family member you may want to help, but sometimes you may make things worse for the victim.

Never approach the abuser– more than likely you will make things worse for the victim. You probably don’t understand why this person keeps going back to the situation. It’s hard to explain the psychological grip that an abuser can have on your friend or family member.  Don’t lose sight that the victim may still love their abuser and you may in fact alienate them farther from you.  You may ask yourself, why does he or she lies to the authorities and makes it seem like nothing is going on? Because the consequences behind close doors; physically or psychologically, can be worse. You are also may be placing your own safety at risk by doing this.

Support, do not demand- Some people think that pulling the person out of the situation by force is the answer. Until the victim is emotionally ready to take a step, it will not happen. Do not criticize his or her efforts, all you will achieve is for them to retrieve and think that you’re not part of his/her support system as well. The potential for escalated violence and even death increases exponentially the moment a victim tries to get out of the situation, which is exactly the moment that the abuser loses control of the situation. Understand that a victim needs to feel power over of her/his own life again, and the last thing this person needs is another person stepping in to take control. Read more: How to Help a Friend Out of an Abusive Relationship | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2101401_help-friend-out-abusive-relationship.html#ixzz11mw6GOOc  It’s on his/her time, not on yours!

Be part of the plan not part of the problem- That you can do. Be there, support the victim. Educate yourself in matters of domestic violence. Gather and share resources that could help the person who is in or just got out of an abusive relationship.   Let the victim know that you can be counted as part of the safety plan and in which way you can be of support; that meaning shelter, emotional, financial, transportation, whatever the case may be. “Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible ” 3 John 1:5

Listen without judgment- A victim of abuse is already oppressed by their situation, the last thing they need is someone judging their feelings and emotions. Once again, all you’re going to achieve is for the person to retrieve. This also applies to victims in recovery. Never forget this is not the victims fault. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, social or financial status, education level or even religious beliefs.

Show honest concern-If you’re not going to be a friend or support, don’t offer it. A victim domestic violence has already been hurt and disappointed by engaging into a love relationship with someone who has or had hurt them physically, emotionally, psychologically or mentally; the last thing they need is someone else added to that list. To show true interest in their lives and in them can make wonders for their sense of trust and safety on their way to recovery. Support is needed and the victim needs to know to trust that you will be there for him/her. Take honest interest in him/her, otherwise, just pray for them and do no harm.

Open your house and heart (if possible) As Christians we are called to help those in need. If someone is finally leaving their situation, look inside of you and see how you can be of help. Leviticus 25:35 “If one of your brothers becomes indigent and cannot support himself, help him, the same as you would a foreigner or a guest so that he can continue to live in your neighborhood. Don’t gouge him with interest charges; out of reverence for your God help your brother to continue to live with you in the neighborhood. Don’t take advantage of his plight by running up big interest charges on his loans, and don’t give him food for profit.”

 Never…did I say never…just act or say to a victim…”you’re out now, just get over it! ” No matter how much information you think you have about what went on, you will never have a clue of the depth of this person’s wounds. Be supportive, let them heal. Allow time and God and hopefully your support to get them through this time in their lives!

I read this post and I think it totally exemplifies for those who have never experienced domestic violence how it feels and a way to understand the mindset of the victim or the victim in recovery.

http://exboyfriendexgirlfriend.com/relationship-advice/my-friend-left-an-abusive-relationship-and-now-feels-guilty-what-do-i-tell-her

Maggie says:(the question was how to help a friend overcome the guilt of leaving an abusive relationship)

February 18, 2010 at 2:00 am

This is all part of the abuse and the control. As long as she feels guilty he is still controlling her. These abusers are consummate actors. If she still has any contact whatsoever with him, then believe me he will be piling on the guilt and portraying himself as heartbroken. At this point he doesn’t have to be living with her to still pull those strings.

Any break up is hard and takes time to get over fully but emotionally abusive relationships are worse because the manipulation that has gone on tends to be deeply ingrained and is very, very hard to get over and resist.

This man has turned her into someone who is reliant on him emotionally and every feeling has been in response to what he has allowed her to feel. If he wanted her happy, he will let her be happy. If he wanted her crying her heart out and feeling like crap, then that’s what she would be. Help her to understand that she doesn’t have to respond that way anymore. Now she is free of him, she can be happy when she wants to be, her emotional life is her own again and under her complete control.

She has to learn to be emotionally distant from him and build up her self esteem and confidence. Someone else has been controlling her for so long.

Get her to seek some professional help. She needs to understand more about how this abuse works to be able to fully get over this man and build her confidence back up. Encourage her to talk. She will not have had the courage to admit to a lot of things to anyone outside the relationship before. Abuse makes you ashamed and one of the hardest hurdles to overcome is to be able to talk openly about what you have been subjected to without feeling that others will see you as pathetic or weak. Emotional abuse can be so much more painful than physical abuse as unlike a punch or a slap, the pain of a humiliating put down or an insult designed to make you feel worthless returns every time you remember. It takes longer for the hurt to fade.

She has been incredibly strong to walk away from this man so build on that and help her to see her strengths.

I hope this helps all of us, help those in pain inflicted by domestic violence…the right way!

Be blessed

DVAM-Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence against woman.
Image via Wikipedia

Abuse is a cause very dear to my heart; all kinds of abuse. I think it’s despicable that someone will use their God’s given talents to overpower another creation and enslave it. October is domestic violence awareness month and I want to use this forum to give some hope to those who are in a domestic violence situation or recovering from it.

It may sound very basic, but there are people that have not realized that they are in a domestic violence situation. The primary causes its denial. Many people feel like their situation is not abusive because they don’t have bruises to show or their partners have never raised a hand on them. Others do know that they are being abused, but shame, guilt, erroneous beliefs, finances and fear may have them paralyzed to make a decision out of their abusive relationships. I don’t judge your choice of staying or leaving. All I do know is that God wants so much more for you.

Abuse comes in different shapes and forms. Physical abuse is more evident and not to be taken for granted. Emotional and psychological abuse is just as traumatizing and leaves permanent scars in those who endure them.

What is emotional and psychological abuse?

I want you to read the article in the link below. Basically it says that when you’re humiliated, manipulated and coerced into things that you don’t want to do. That’s emotional abuse!

http://www.womansdivorce.com/psychological-emotional-abuse.html

Regardless of the type of abuse someone is enduring, this is not what we were created for. For the most part the abuse comes from men to women, although we recognize that there are men that are being abused and it’s totally unacceptable as well. The Bible specifically states “God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. (Malachi 2:16 MSG). In a marriage, who’s the “one flesh”? The spouse. God doesn’t approve of violence in our homes.

Proverbs 10:11 “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covered the mouth of the wicked” We are supposed to treat others in love, God doesn’t approve of verbally abusing each other. James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceeded blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” Our mouth was created to praise God, eat…lol!, and bless others…not to use it as a weapon against others.

There’s so much ground to cover on this subject. To be honest, I’m learning along with you. Join me in this journey during this month, to uncover the truth of God’s plan for our lives, which is to prosper us and give us a brighter future (Jeremiah 29:11) and not of destruction. Abuse destroys lives and that’s not the plan of God.

If you’re in an abusive situation, seek help. Even if a door doesn’t open right away, keep knocking. Yes pray, but act! Even if you’re not in a domestic violence situation, join us in this discussion and support our brothers and sisters in pain.

Be blessed.

Sex Scandal in the Catholic Church

Church Sex scandals are a hot button topic these days and have maintained high visibility in the media recently.  I was moved to write this because I believe that the passion and intensity surrounding this issue has skewed a lot of people’s opinions and perspective and I believe that I can give a more balanced view on this issue.

It is terrible that as a people we have to be watchful even with those who we have been conditioned to trust, namely men and women who claim to come in the name of God. Sex scandals have not been exclusive to the Catholic Church, many preachers and pastors have fallen short of the grace and those things have become public. It is always disappointing.  I think part of the disappointment comes from forgetting these individuals are merely men and women. We have the tendency to elevate their position because of the part they play in our communities, social settings and the body of Christ. The reality is that yes, their responsibility is to lead and teach us about the Lord, but their humanity doesn’t leave with their calling.  Actually, as Christians we need to pray harder for our leaders because their attacks and strongholds are often as large as their calling.

I’ve heard people blaming celibacy for these events. I respectfully disagree. Priests and nuns know that this is a requirement of the commitment they have made. If sex was the driving force then priests having relations with Nuns or other secular adults would be just as, if not more, prevalent. The truth is pedophilia, rape, and sexual abuse is not sexually driven. They are driven by a deeper disturbance; it’s about control and power more than the sex itself.

 The other part where I respectfully disagree is where it has been commented that because it was male priests with male boys, that it was due to homosexuality. Homosexuality is not equal to pedophilia. Statistics show that the majority of sexual predators are heterosexual.

Now the thing that really bothers me about these cases is the way they have been handled. Whether the abuse was committed by clergy or the man down the street, the inequities in the handling of the situations are abhorrent. The fact that many of these priests were simply relocated to new communities, with no consequences or rehabilitation program, is ridiculous. On top of that, the new communities were not advised of the person’s past behavior. If the church wanted to take care of it internally, like the military handles issues that pertains to soldiers; I don’t have issue with that, however, relocating them to another community is unacceptable. Instead they should have been placed in some manner of recovery program and then reassigned to work in a position where they didn’t have access to children at all. Is that lack of forgiveness and mercy? No! That’s wisdom. Slapping their wrists and telling them to not do it anymore, without true rehabilitation, placing them back into the communities to do more damage, is irresponsible, dangerous and ultimately criminal.

It is hard for me to understand why servants of God would think that this would stay hidden forever?  The word of God says that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV) which means that nothing that they were doing was going to remain a secret.

I encourage you to pray for our religious leaders. They have a great responsibility and with it great lengths of attacks. I pray that they take the authority that has been given to them by their calling and correct appropriately those who have been entrusted to them.

I pray for those who have committed these terrible acts that they find themselves in true repentance before God. That they turn their hearts, make amends when possible and face accountability for their actions.

 I pray for the victims. I hope that their hearts continue to look to God for redemption and healing. God can restore anyone, and He can restore the souls of these who are suffering and their loved ones.  I encourage you to pray the same

Be blessed.