Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Domestic Abuse: Making Marriage Safe

I want to talk for a few minutes about a couple subjects that are very dear to my heart--domestic abuse, and the other side, making marriage safe. First I'll start with domestic abuse. It is not an uncommon problem in today's world, even among people who are in church. When left unaddressed it destroys homes and families, and it is unaddressed even more often in the church than in the world.

The church often doesn't want to talk about abuse because we don't want to believe it's happening among us. We're Christians, after all. We are supposed to have good marriages. 

Saying that doesn't make it so, however. We came out of the world, but we often don't know how to walk in God's kingdom. Many of us don't know how to make or live in a culture of honor and respect. Hurt, fearful and/or angry from our past, we don't know how to get rid of those things, and so they carry on in our families.

Some of us (including leaders' wives) have been able to limp along for years with physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse.  We can excuse it by saying that isn't what this is. That is what happens in other families.  What we are experiencing is caused by stress, job loss, illness, whatever, and will get better as we get a handle on the problem. But it never does get better for very long. There is always a new trigger, and the cycle continues month after month, then year after year.

A few churches try to deal with the problem by using "wife submit" scriptures, saying that if wives did this right, there wouldn't be a problem. But that doesn't take care of the sin in the human heart, and it puts the blame for the problem only on the wife. What she is guilty of is usually not lack of submission, but lack of self-respect. If she can't honor and respect the person God made her to be, it won't help bring needed change. Living in fear will not cause things to get better, either.

For the church to deal with this problem and make marriages safe, we must become what my pastor calls a kingdom culture, with honor and respect for each other and ourselves. We are created in God's image and He has a plan for each of us. The church must believe this--and also believe that God has provided a way for us fallen creatures not only to be redeemed, but to be transformed. Transformation comes through consistent honesty, truth, and mercy. That makes a safe environment in which to work on our stuff.

As the church, we must also realize that all of us have stuff to work on. If we don't understand that, we will see ourselves as better than others, including our mates. No one fully walks in the righteousness of Christ, and if we try to deal with the problem of abuse without knowing that, we almost certainly doom troubled marriages.

I pray that in this year the body of Christ become a safe place to heal and be transformed. If you have been abused or if you are an abuser, I pray you can find a safe place to change. God loves you, and He has good plans for your life if you'll walk with Him in this.

If you need an online place to look for help, try Focus Ministries at 
(just copy and paste in the address bar and push GO or whatever your browser says) or write me back. I pray God bless us and help us become more of who He created us to be as individuals and as the body of Christ in 2010.

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