Tag Archives: St Louis Christian blogger

Emotional abuse checklist


Here is a checklist to help us determine if we might be in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is by no means a complete list, but merely questions I ask based on what I’ve survived, observed and studied.

It’s easy to brush problems aside, believe we’re over reacting or are especially sensitive, or wondering if we are the problem. We can deny the abuse just as much as the abuser denies their abusive behavior.

These are some of the less obvious signs of emotional abuse that no one outside our home will likely see. A few of the below items done with love, concern, and gentleness for the sake of understanding and being understood do not constitute abuse.

If we read this checklist and feel an ache in our heart because a few, several, or all of these negatively apply then we have elements of a toxic, destructive relationship. Please know there is help and we can find healing.

If this list applies to you, please find help so you can take good care of yourself.  Learn ways to interact with and set healthy boundaries with your angry and controlling person.

Often times when someone else names the problem or writes a list of symptoms, it’s easier to see reality.

Disclaimer: These questions can apply to men or women. I minister to abused women so I frame my questions from this basis. There are men who are abused by women. Not all men are abusers. There are many wonderful men in this world, but again, I minister to women who are being, or have been, abused.

Checklist/Questions:

  1. Is there a climate of fear of disappointing him?
  2. Do you, or the children, dread when you know he’s coming home?
  3. Does he make it clear what behavior is unacceptable, and the list is getting longer and longer?
  4. Does he make it clear how he wants the house, food, and laundry cleaned and organized?
  5. Is he consistently condescending in his tone of voice when he disagrees with you or doesn’t like something about you?
  6. Is there a sense that you have to check with him to make sure you are doing the right thing and in the right way?
  7. Do you constantly feel like an outsider in your own home?
  8. Do you feel a sense of shame around him for being different than him?
  9. Does he justify, minimize, spiritualize, or deny hurtful words or behaviors when you attempt to talk to him about them?
  10. When you try to speak logically does he treat you as if you’re unbalanced?
  11. Do you sense that he delights in (feeds off) disagreements?
  12. Does he turn love ‘off’ when he disagrees with you, is disappointed with you, or gets mad at you?
  13. Have you noticed that he never apologizes for angry outbursts or hurtful words?
  14. When you try to explain your feelings or needs does he habitually stare blankly at you, or walk away?
  15. Does he consider the house, the money, and belongings his and/or take your pay checks/earnings from you?
  16. Do you find that he has no interest in you as a person other than needing you as a wife/mother to take care of the house?
  17. Have you realized that he has no interest in your work, hobbies, talents, or outside activities?
  18. Does he want to make all the decisions for you regardless of your needs?
  19. Are your experiences, thoughts, or feelings automatically discounted and considered wrong?
  20. Do you find that you keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself because you know they won’t be considered, or that he will mock you?
  21. Does he control the family money by keeping you on a restrictive budget while he spends as much as he wants to spend?
  22. Do you find when he wants his way about something that he will keep bringing the subject up in hopes of getting you to change your mind?
  23. Does he treat you more like a child than like an adult who is equal with him?
  24. Do you feel like you’ve lost your personality, drive, talents, likes, and joy being married to him?
  25. Is your health deteriorating due to the stress in your marriage?
  26. Does he often give you the silent treatment when he’s in a bad mood or when he disagrees with you?
  27. Does he withhold words of affirmation, affection, and/or sex when he’s mad at you or disagrees with you?
  28. Does he come across as charming to people outside of your house; especially at church?
  29. Do you find extended family consistently express concern about his treatment of you?
  30. Does it seem he has unspoken rules that you’re supposed to know and obey?

If this leaves you feeling overwhelmed or sad, please find help in the margin of my website. I assure you that you can make healthy changes to protect yourself and your children while in an emotionally destructive /abusive relationship.

Click here for article: Biblical permission to leave a toxic spouse?

Look for these categories in the margin:

Articles/Videos: Other sources

Safety concerns in destructive marriages

Solutions – Hotlines – Help

Training Christian Leaders to Recognize Abusive Behaviors

I know that I don’t bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There’s days I wonder if You’ll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?
Would You remind me now of who You are?

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful

I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way

You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful

You make us beautiful, oh oh
You make us beautiful




Happy New Year: You can do this!

I know many women who have walked a long and lonely road in a difficult, unhealthy, unfaithful, abusive, destructive and/or dangerous relationship. Some of you decided to leave and have been re-traumatized by your church who insisted you forgive, forget, pray for, and stay with your abuser while you wait on God to change his heart. This happens due to misapplication of scriptures and because of deceptive tactics used by abusers. See: Do You Have Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?(Please remember: God does not make anyone change if they do not want to change. Rarely will an abuser want to change). I applaud you for your courage to stand strong, shining a light on the evil around you; for darkness cannot overcome the light.

You have made it through another year! As Samuel did in the Old Testament, raise your Ebenezer stone and repeat, “The Lord has helped us this far.” (I Samuel 7) You can do this! You’re learning how to care for yourself, set boundaries, and protect your children. You may be limping into the New Year with a tear stained face, Bible pages wet from those tears, barely breath to speak at certain moments, but you have your sanity and are actively exercising your faith. God knows! He sees, He hears, and He has counted every tear (Psalm 56:8). God’s grace will again be sufficient this new year.

“Abuse, adultery, and addictions are not marital problems. They cause problems in a marriage for sure. But they are first and foremost character issues, personal issues, sin issues and are best treated working individually with the person who has damaged the marriage. It is only when that part is done can you attempt to do the work to repair the relationship.

So many therapists and pastors treat these issues as marital issues and the victim starts to feel as if she or he is the bad guy for “causing” someone to act out in such a destructive way. That is not true.

Each person is responsible for his or her own reactions and behaviors. If you’re living with a guilt trip or are taking responsibility for someone else’s ways of managing their frustrations or problems, stop it. You are not at fault. Yes, there may be mutual marital problems for you to work on once the destructive behaviors have stopped but until safety is maintained, there can be no close marital or any other kind of relationship.”  ~Leslie Vernick


(This applies to a few men I know too, but my ministry is for women surviving destructive marriages or leaving them.)

Child sexual abuse rampant during the holidays

“Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.”  We all know the song but have we ever stopped to think about the implications attached to family gatherings?

It’s rare I hear of a healthy functioning family so if you are from one…congrats and may it ever be so! Most families have a lineage of dysfunction somewhere in their background or in current relationships.

For people looking to offend; holiday gatherings provide a bountiful, unsuspecting selection.

Please don’t ever think you know a person well enough to know they would NEVER harm a child. I lived with a man who was a senior pastor/evangelist and I had NO idea he was a pedophilic offender.

If you think: “My son…My husband… My brother… or…My friend would never do that.” You don’t know it! Not unless you live inside their mind or are with them every second of their entire life. (For the record there are female offenders, but the majority are male).

During this season we are busy with shopping, food preparations, and packing. Once the family gatherings commence we enjoy spending time catching up with loved ones while the kids play. Are we remembering that the children still need us to look out for them and protect them? I’m including children from infant to 18 years old because we have no way of knowing what age or sex a molester or a pedophilic offender prefers.

Definitions:

Child molester –an individual who sexually molests children.

Pedophile  – has a sexual preference for children and fantasizes about having sex with them, but if he does not act on that preference or those fantasies with a child, he is not a child molester.

Pedophilic offender – has a sexual preference for children and acts on his preferences and fantasies by victimizing children.

I don’t mean to be negative. I mean to be helpful. I want you and your children to have a safe and happy holiday celebration. My background and studying reminds me that children are targets for molesters and pedophilic offenders. I’ve taken the approach, when in a crowd; regardless of size, that there is likely an abuser in our midst and unfortunately, statistics our on my side. Depending on which stats were looking at; 1 out of 4 girls are sexually abused and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually abused. These stats are from reported abuse. Most abuse doesn’t get reported which likely makes the rates higher. With the rise of internet pornography I believe we are only beginning to see the tip of the sexual abuse iceberg.


With over 90% of abuse being perpetrated by someone the child knows, it is often a family member or close family friend. And surprisingly as much as 40% of abuse is perpetrated by juveniles – yes, often siblings and cousins. A family gathering can and does create opportunity for abuse – while we’re thinking of what’s in the oven or keeping heated family debates to a simmer, we’re often not thinking of what our children are up to. A house full of family and friends should be the safest place for our children, but in reality that is not always the case. ~The Mama Bear Effect

Are you aware that children can be ‘groomed’ or molested right in front of your eyes without you being wise to it?

  • Abusers can be touching a young child’s genitalia while the child sits on their lap at the dining table (you can’t see what’s taking place under the table-top), or while snuggling under a blanket next to them on the sofa.
  • I knew a man who, every time he picked up a 4 or 5 year old, would hold the child in his arms with his hand under/on the child’s crotch. What preschooler needs to be held that way? I later learned, he was doing it to clearly show what he was doing to the child when the parent wasn’t around.
  • Bathroom stalls are a favorite place for abusers to target children in public; including in church restrooms.
  • Relatives who insist all the kids bathe together (boys & girls), or dress in front of all the relatives. This can be seen as different perspectives in parenting, but I’ve spoken to Focus on the Family about this and they encourage these practices to stop around age 2 to 3.
  • Playing tag or other games. Parents have to be vigilant to see this take place. Often kids don’t know what took place and it can take them years, into adulthood, to realize what happened. Touching that takes place on the genitals, butt, or breasts is exhilarating to a sexual abuser who enjoys a sick and twisted thrill of touching kids and not getting caught by anyone.

The Larry Nassar case has been in the news for months. He was molesting hundreds of gymnasts, including Olympic gold medalists.  He abused children in the confines of a small room in front of the parents and the parents didn’t know. The couple of parents who wondered if he was doing something inappropriate thought there was no way this nice guy could be doing what they thought perhaps they saw. It was what they saw…and more.

Is there anything we can do to prepare our kids to stand against abuse?

Yes.

Have conversations before the gathering takes place. Several short conversations will help cement the safety precautions in their mind.

  • They can respect and be kind to everyone without compromising their boundaries. 
  • Don’t force them to be affectionate with extended family members if they aren’t comfortable with it. Allow kids to set their own body boundaries.
  • No closed doors while playing; not even if an adult is in the room with them. Any adult should know better than to do this with children who are not their own. If an adult discreetly wonders off while everyone else is talking, playing a game, or watching T.V.  and closes the door to hang out with the children; kindly open the door and explain your no closed door policy. (This can be a textbook clue of a child predator).
  • You cannot make any one respect your open door policy. If they won’t respect it, you can politely remove yourself and your children from the gathering. You are not being rude. You are being thoughtful and protective while teaching your kids how to set boundaries.
  • Explain to your kids no touching or showing body parts, or showing pictures of people’s nakedness. Name the parts. They are a fact of life and we need not be embarrassed about it. The more comfortable we are talking to them about sex and anatomy, the easier it will be for our kids to approach us with concerns and questions. It’s our responsibility and privilege to teach our children and answer their questions.
  • If cell phones become a problem at a family gathering you can request that children use technology at the kitchen table (not during the meal) while an adult is present. Cell phones with internet access, apps, and/ or stored photographs/videos are almost guaranteed to have inappropriate content on them. You don’t want children having opportunities to act out what they’ve inadvertently seen on the internet.
  • After the day, or weekend, is over ask open ended questions to give your kids an opportunity to process their answers. Examples: Did you have fun? Did anything make you uncomfortable? Did anyone try to do anything inappropriate to you or to someone else? Is there anything else you want me to know about?


Those who may sexually abuse children often try to break down a child’s personal boundaries regarding touch, and they’ll do this in front of other people. A family member that touches, tickles, or wrestles children even when they don’t like it. A teen or adult that is way more interested in spending time with younger kids than their peers should send up a few red flags that we need to pay more attention, not less.  If we witness someone that is not respecting a child’s bodily autonomy we have a right to speak up for that child and tell the person in question to stop. Everyone has a right to not be touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable. That’s not to say that we can’t have tickle fights or become a human jungle gym, but set an example for proper consent, ask permission before picking a child up and checking to make sure they’re still having fun, especially if they’re not talking.

~The Mama Bear Effect

Many child molesters use tactics like those above to break down the defenses of their victims. After all, when they invade a child’s personal space to touch, tickle, or wrestle in front of the parents, they are showing the victim that the parents know they are touching their child. This works to the abusers advantage when they have the child behind closed doors. This conveys to the kids that the parents already know the adult oversteps boundaries by annoyingly touching their body. This can cause the child to believe there is nothing wrong with the annoying sexual touching taking place behind closed doors.

How to respond if something bad did happen:

  • Don’t get upset, cry, or ask you child questions about why they allowed that to happen to them. This causes the child (regardless of age) to feel responsible for what happened to them and for your reaction.
  • Sit down and write out what you child told you after you finish the conversation with them.
  • DO NOT CALL OR TALK TO THE PERSON. They WILL explain their way out of it and you WILL believe them.
  • Do not call the host home, church, or event location where it happened and do not call other parents to compare accounts or to ask questions. This can cause major problems for law enforcement’s investigation.
  • CALL LAW ENFORCMENT. (Even if it’s your relative or spouse). Allow the authorities to investigate. Do not worry about someone’s reputation. If they are innocent the investigators will come to that conclusion. It’s extremely difficult to prove allegations, but worth the time to pursue it. You may save your child or another child from future victimization.

And…for the relative who says, “How can you call yourself a Christian?” when you dare to set a difficult boundary. Don’t buy into it. It’s nothing more than emotional manipulation. The Bible is full of examples of boundary setting. We can speak gently, firmly, and kindly while being protective and proactive. Even Jesus set boundaries while on earth.

Jesus Said No to Inappropriate Behavior


“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

More tips on “Understanding Abusers”

The 2 sides of abusive men

  1. Number of people per minute who experience intimate partner violence in the U.S.: 24
  2. Number of workplace violence incidents in the U.S. annually that are the result of current or past intimate partner assaults: 18,700
  3. Number of women in the U.S. who report intimate partner violence: 1 in 4
  4. Number of women who are killed daily in the U.S. by their intimate partner: approx. 3
  5. A history of domestic abuse is a common, disturbing thread connecting the majority of America’s mass shooters. Google: mass shootings and domestic violence for more articles on the subject

For friends and extended family of domestic abusers the possibility that the person they know could be capable of having a dark side seems impossible, so they reject the idea. This amounts to rejecting the abused survivor, accusing them of lying, or implying they are crazy.

When people find two different versions of a person incompatible, they often render the other person’s view point as false.

I want to submit that both sides can be telling the truth about what they witness. There can be two sides to the story because a duplicitous personality is involved.

Let’s start by inserting some names into this picture:

Laci Denise Peterson was an American woman who was the subject of a highly publicized murder case after she disappeared while eight months pregnant with her first child. She was reportedly last seen alive on December 24, 2002. Her husband, Scott Peterson, was later convicted of murder in the first degree for her death, and in the second degree for the death of their prenatal son, Conner. Peterson is on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

Drew Walter Peterson is a retired Bolingbrook, Illinois police sergeant who was convicted in 2012 for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, a few months after their 2003 divorce. Peterson first received national publicity in 2007 when his fourth wife, Stacy Ann Cales Peterson, disappeared. Although law enforcement and Stacy Ann’s family suspect foul play, she has never been found, and Peterson has not been charged in her case.

There are currently two cases near me which are unsolved:

One involves a missing woman, Amanda Jones, who was last seen with Bryan Westfall, the alleged father of her unborn child. Bryan Westfall phoned Amanda and made arrangements to meet her on a Sunday afternoon. They met, but Amanda never returned home. Her car never left the parking lot where they met. Amanda is presumed dead and has been missing since the summer of 2005.

The second involves a woman I’ve written about many times, Lynn Messer. Lynn disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement multiple times through the years that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.

Disgraced former Judge Lance Mason accused of fatally stabbing estranged wife in Shaker Heights, sources say.

Yesterday, an Ohio grand jury has indicted this former trial court judge accused of fatally stabbing his ex-wife, Aisha Fraser Mason, on aggravated murder and murder charges, according to prosecutors.

He had “spent nine months in prison for beating his then-wife in front of their children.” The system utterly failed this woman and her children; as it fails many women. This time he murdered her when he was returning the children to her.

There are so many things to say about the Judge Lance Mason case…such as the friend of the couple who says of the abuser/murderer, “He really loved those girls though.” No, no, no! Any man who loves his children will love or, at the very least, respect their mother. Abuse and murder bear no resemblance to love for anyone other than himself.

Chris Watts, a Colorado father accused of murdering his pregnant wife and two children in August pleaded guilty to nine related felony crimes Tuesday during a court appearance in Weld County. I previously wrote about Shanann Watts and this case here, here, and here.

A timeline can be found here…

Larry Nassar was a pedophilic offender the outside world refused to believe was an abuser. Despite numerous young girls telling countless adults, over two decades, in detail, how Larry Nassar was abusing them, the girls were not believed. Why? Because people at work and in the community thought Larry was such a nice guy…a terrific guy…a helpful neighbor, and that the girls were lucky to have him. “Nassar’s cumulative criminal acts of sexual assault were the basis of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, in which he was accused of molesting at least 250 girls and young women and 1 young man including a number of well-known Olympic gymnasts, dating as far back as 1992.”

November 20, 2018, Thomas Bruce, 53, entered a St. Louis, Missouri, Catholic Supply store where he ordered female customers to remove their clothing. He committed sexual assault and murdered a woman. He was charged with first-degree murder, eight counts of armed criminal action, three counts of first-degree sodomy or attempted sodomy, three counts of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and tampering with physical evidence in felony prosecution. No prior arrest record. According to a church official at a St. Louis-area Calvary Chapel, Bruce was the minister of a Calvary Chapel in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, about a decade ago.

For the above men who were found guilty, I’m sure that friends and extended family members had a difficult time believing in their guilt.

“We would rather believe a reassuring lie than an utterly inconvenient and disturbing truth.” Diane Langberg, PhD

Women disappearing or being murdered by an intimate partner happens multiple times a day around the globe. Other times, men who commit crimes outside of the home are domestic abusers in their home.

I’m not saying with certainty that all the above mentioned men are guilty of wrong doing in the disappearance or death of these women; although I know family members of the missing or deceased women have strong opinions on the subject. The point I’m making is that people outside the family often know the nice side of a person and refuse to understand how a seemingly nice guy could be responsible for such dark acts of violence.

Of all the people I’ve talked with over the years a common thread runs through stories of abuse. The parents of the abuser usually refuse to believe the truth. And if they know the truth, many take it to the grave with them. It’s rare to find a parent of an adult child/abuser who admits to the faults or failures of their child.

The outsiders looking in want to know how a person could be so vile. Were all his good acts just a pretense? Was his ministry a farce? What about all the times he was kind, the times he was hysterically funny, the times he helped us, and the times he prayed for us? What about all the souls he led to the Lord? He seemed so professional. How can he be evil? So, they don’t believe there is a dark side to the alleged abuser or murderer.

To the family the abuser can be angry, controlling, rigid, isolating, with holding, and verbally, emotionally, sexually, reproductively, financially, and/or spiritually abusive.

Do not think, “Well, at least he didn’t hit her.” Yes, he did. He just didn’t use his fists. Diane Langberg, PhD

Please understand that abusers can be all these bad things and more to their loved one or their victim, while being kind and thoughtful to others. They can be both. Some people admire him while others are repulsed by him. Decency and depravity can exist in the same person. Conceding to one does not mean rejecting the other. It doesn’t mean everything we always thought about them was a lie. It means we weren’t with them every minute of their life. We never know what goes on in someone else’s home. We never know if an individual lives a double life.

Like Jesus, we need to come from a place of love; not a place of inconvenience or disbelief when considering accusations of abuse.

Remember: Abusers are word spinners who tell half-truths and justify their behavior. When the woman is divulging the abuse and the man explains, justifies, minimizes, spiritualizes, and denies the severity of what she is describing; you are looking at the number one sign of dealing with an abuser; denial. They are wolves in sheep’s’ clothing. They do not change for the better, but rather adjust their game so as to not get caught by outsiders; especially not caught by Christians or church members.

I learned from my experience and from women I minister to that men with personality disorders tend to gain energy supply from upping their game. It’s as if they are daring someone to catch them at the abuse; whatever from it may be. Many of these men tend to think they are more intelligent than those around them and they enjoy boldly doing something outrageous in front of others because they know no one will ever believe they are actually committing an act so mean or dark. Healthy people tend to think, “surely he didn’t just do or say that.” Believe your eyes and trust your instincts. Heed the intuition in your spirit.

When you sit with a griever, your work is to be with him where he is, not drag him out where you are more comfortable. Diane Langberg, PhD

“How to handle a marginalized person’s or abuse victim’s anger:

1. Sit quietly 2. Listen carefully 3. When they are done, say “You didn’t deserve that and I’m sorry.” 4. If they start talking again, refer to step 1.” Mandy Nicole, First of Her Name

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court. Arrests and charges are merely accusations by law enforcement until, and unless, a suspect is convicted of a crime.

Shanann Watts domestic violence murder update

Shanann Watts’ husband, Chris Watts, confessed to killing Shanann and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, as part of a plea deal to avoid the death sentence. He also pled guilty to the unlawful termination of Shanann’s pregnancy; the death of their unborn son. Watts will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Chris Watts lied to law enforcement and placed the blame of the events that fateful night on Shanann, but investigators never believed Chris Watts’ story.

Shanaan Watts family - Copy

I truly expected Chris Watts to lie and place the blame on his wife. I hear countless abused women speak about how their husbands blame their abusive behaviors on the wife and/or children while denying any responsibility. I see this type of behavior play out over and over in court when domestic abuse is involved. I long for the day that the family court system understands abusers and their tactics; especially when cluster B personalities are involved. Cluster B’s are dramatic, emotional, and erratic.  They include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

If Chris Watts fell into one of these disorders, specifically narcissistic personality disorder, then it could be safe to assume that  when “Watts’ voice was shaking, and he could occasionally be heard sniffing after each of the nine times he said ‘guilty’ in response to Judge Marcelo Kopcow’s reading of each charge against him”  he wasn’t crying because he felt sorry for what he did. If he has narcissistic personality disorder his shaking voice and sniffles were because…”When a narcissist is exposed, their horror is about the damage it will do TO THEM to be accused and they believe that others are failing THEM by getting in the way of their ability to live out their specialness.” ~Diane Langberg, PhD

I bring up personality disorders because we need to understand there is more than one way to look at and understand a person. Usually no one other than the immediate family members knows something is not right with the person. Abusers can be kind, thoughtful, humorous, concerned and engaging in a setting such as work or church. When they are within the confines of their vehicle or home with family members they can turn to moody, mean-spirited, argumentative, demeaning and controlling individuals who enjoy picking a fight, or gas-lighting about any given subject.

Witnesses have come forward; two women and one man claiming to have had affairs with Chris Watts.

I stick by my original statement; he didn’t just snap, he was an angry and controlling husband, was unfaithful, and viewed his wife as an object. It also proves my point that abusers aren’t scary, dirty looking men; they look like your neighbor, friend, or co-worker. Abusers are often charismatic, well spoken, with a charming smile to the outside world while they secretly despise their wife and/or children.

I’m yet to hear or read of such an abuser who didn’t have a hidden sexual addiction.

Chris Watts looks like a text book abuser.

It took me 9 years to start cluing in that I was married to such an abuser. The last two nights I lived with him I thought I might not wake up alive. I stayed too long, but thankfully I made it out alive. He’s now in prison where he belongs…for sex crimes against very young children.

My heart breaks that Shanann and her children didn’t make it out alive.

If you question the safety of your living arrangements (or work place) please take the free Mosaic threat assessment found in the margin of this website.

For further reading on the Shanann Watts case:

The Shanann Watts case: My observations.

Shanann Watts case: 20 reasons abuse stays hidden and can lead to death

Lynn Messer Update November Election

Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement multiple times through the years that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values. Lynn’s remains were found on her husband’s farm property November 1, 2016. 

*Disclaimer: There have been no arrests made in the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Kerry Messer remains innocent of any charges. I am not claiming a diagnosis or guilt; but simply pointing out concerns which are of my opinion. See disclaimer in the margin.

JustsiceForLynn 1 yr anniversay of remains

I continue to look into this case for many reasons.

I committed to it see it through to the end; whatever that may be.

Although for me this is a local case; it has also garnered national and international headlines; including being featured on TV programs internationally.

As a survivor of domestic abuse I want to speak for those who aren’t comfortable with a public platform, or who no longer have a chance to use their voice.

I advocate for women living in, or leaving, domestic abuse. I have reason to think that Lynn was a victim of domestic abuse. I base my opinions on her husband Kerry Messer’s Find Lynn Messer Facebook page and on the testimony of a few of her friends and family members. I go in to this more in-depth here…My Original Interest in the Lynn Messer Case.

I contacted Detective White of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office by phone and email to confirm that the investigation is still open, but he is no longer answering questions. I knew this might be the case since he told me back in January of 2018 that he would no longer be giving press interviews or answering inquiries surrounding this investigation. In January he confirmed the case is still open. Although I wasn’t able to speak to the detective, the person who answered the phone confirmed that the investigation is still open.

I wanted to confirm that Kerry Messer and the woman he was reportedly in a relationship with shortly after Lynn’s ‘disappearance who is now his wife, Spring (Thomas) Messer, have not been officially cleared in the investigation of Lynn’s death.

I’m comfortable with no reply from the detective and I understand the case takes first place above public interest. This boosts my confidence in the integrity of the case and gives me hope that Lynn’s cause of death will not remain a mystery much longer.

This Tuesday, November 6, Ste. Genevieve County will be voting for a new prosecuting attorney. This is the person who will be handling legal proceedings if it turns out a crime was committed against Lynn Messer which resulted in death. Attorney Wayne Williams is running uncontested and I see why. First, I’ve heard good comments about him and second, after doing some internet reading I found that Attorney Wayne William has a stellar reputation in his field as a criminal defense lawyer.

Photo Credit: Amy Patterson  DailyJournalOnline.com

Read the article here…Daily Journal Online: Farmington public defenders’ office receives award for excellence, by Amy Patterson

I look forward to the outcome of Ste. Genevieve County’s election, and January when the new P.A. begins his job.

Many questions remain surrounding Lynn Messer’s death. Here are a few of them:

How did Lynn die?

How could a small woman with an injured toe and hip replacements walk through pouring down rain in a thunder storm, in the dark of night, over muddy ground, and according to family member, have to avoid electric fences in the dark, and open and close multiple heavy gates to arrive at her destination? All while carrying belongings from the house with her? (For reference; click text and scroll through article to:  11/23/2016 Lynn Messer: Abram answers more questions. References to items being recovered with Lynn’s remains can also be found here..

Was it murder? If so, was it premeditated?

If it was murder, was her body moved or somehow concealed to keep search and rescue from finding her? Trained dogs should have found her scent; especially after a few days of her remains being in the elements.

How is it possible her remains were not discovered in the extreme heat of the summer, in a location that had a marked grid/map for everywhere the search teams and search dogs had looked? The first night alone had 50 people and search dogs exploring the farm with the teams expanding in the coming days.

This article places search teams still on the farm August 10, 2014.

I know I received invitations for several weeks through our local home school community asking for volunteers to help search, and for help providing drinks and food for the searchers.

Why did Kerry Messer insist the cows be moved to a different pasture the first morning Lynn was missing…moved in the direction of which Lynn’s remains were found? Who would be thinking of moving cows around on the farm when a loved one is missing and possibly in danger? Besides, according to family, Lynn was the person responsible for pasture rotation of the cows, not Kerry.

Why, as reported, did Kerry Messer leave his cell phone at home the morning he was said to have been searching for his missing wife?

According to Lynn’s son Abram, and daughter-in-law Elizabeth, when law enforcement arrived at the scene the first morning, Kerry insisted his wife didn’t suffer from depression. Yet after her remains were discovered he is quoted as saying his wife “was suffering from depression in the months before she went missing.” 

Why did Kerry keep the content of ‘the note’ a secret from his sons and not admit to law enforcement he had made copies of the note?

Why did Kerry Messer insist to friends, co-workers, and church members that he and Spring Thomas were never romantically involved and that talk of such a thing was incorrectly portrayed by the media and his sons? How does one come to marry someone with whom they are not romantically involved?

I hope, and I think, that the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s office, with the help of the F.B.I. has a solid case to move forward with presenting Lynn Messer’s cause of death, possibly an arrest(s), and some form of closure for Lynn’s loved ones.

Authorities won’t disclose details until her cause of death is determined and the case is closed. 

I’ll end with a quote by Sheriff Gary Stolzer, “It’s going to be an open case until we figure it out.”

 

Hope lost in a difficult marriage?

DMV awareness month

Life is hard, and life married to an angry, controlling spouse seems impossible. Without realizing it you withhold hope as an area in which you allow God access. Hopelessness is an easy place to arrive when talking to counselors, doctors, domestic violence, and advocates for women in abusive marriages, but mainly after praying for years yet seeing no improvement in the abusive personality with whom you live.

Don Hennessey, relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, refers to abusers as psychephiles and lumps them in the same category as pedophiles when it comes to recovery. Statistics agree that abusers stand little to no chance of recovery because they don’t believe they have a problem, and “I’m sorry” isn’t in their vocabulary.

We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse. Don Hennessy coined the word psychephile for the man who abuses his intimate female partner. A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.

 

Today I want to remind you not to lose hope. If you have lost reason to hope for a healed marriage then find another reason for hope. Hope for the future, for what God is working out that you can’t yet see, for the strength you are gaining, for the boundaries you are learning, for the wisdom you are gaining…hope for answers to your questions.

Abuse brings questions that cause wrestling through our faith. This can strengthen, weaken, or destroy our faith.

Ministering in the advocacy community has shown me countless survivors who have friend of a survivorturned from church and some from their faith. Please don’t let this be you. I pray you can be encouraged, strengthened, and validated through the wrestle. If your church family isn’t capable or willing to walk this road with you, look for a church that will welcome you.

 

If you are struggling and asking God questions, I want you to know He hears every one of your inquiries. Ask away! He is not angered, frustrated, or afraid of our questioning. He tells us to ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). Don’t feel guilty for asking Him. He knows, He sees, He counts every tear that falls from your precious face. Every tear is recorded by Him (Psalm 56:8). Allow your sincere questions to grow and strengthen your faith in God. The woman you are becoming will be amazingly strong and different in the years to come.

“No one toxic will offer you apologies, explanations or closure. The toxic person does not recognize their own issues. In any case, you have the power to heal without their participation.” Peter Shepherd

I know there have been people who haven’t given you grace on this journey. They are human; Jesus isn’t. Jesus allows weakness, He allows questions, and He gives grace. Jesus says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He’s the only perfect one; the only one who has the right to cast the first stone, but He chooses not to do it. Instead He offers mercy and grace (John 8:1-11).

When you re-engage with your difficult spouse you need to know what is true; not what he says about you, and not what you feel. So…ask Jesus what is true.

I’ve been going through The Quest bible study by Beth Moore where she proposes “five recalibrating questions” God presents in scripture. Anytime we are wrestling or off track these questions will help us find our footing.

I’ve memorized these questions so I can ask them of myself when I’m wrestling.

  1. WHERE are you? (Genesis 3:9) But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
  2. WHO told you that? (Genesis 3:11) “Who told you that you were naked? 
  3. WHAT are you seeking? (John 1:38) Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
  4. WHY are you afraid? (Matthew 8:26) 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
  5. HOW much more? (Luke 11:13) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

 

To find joy and hope in an unhappy or difficult marriage you must guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

Remember that you don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, although it feels like it when you are living in the battle day after day. Your fight is against your enemy, the devil (Ephesians 6:11-13). Your difficult spouse may feel like the enemy in the heat of the moment, or when remembering previous difficult memories but the enemy is Satan. Jesus warns us that Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10).

Have you been busy surviving and lost track of your hope? Open your hope to God. Search out your questions!

 

 

 

Toxic Tuesday: Emotional Roller Coaster

 

DMV awareness month

 

Today we will look at the duplicitous personality; the nice version and the destructive version of the angry and controlling partner. I refer to living in this type of relationship as a roller coaster ride because it starts out smooth and gradual, but once we arrive at the top and see the drop we know it’s going to take away our breath; in a bad way. For those of us who thrill over a fun amusement park roller coaster; we know the emotional roller coaster is not a ride of choice or enjoyment. Just when we think the ride is calm Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smalland safe, and we are enjoying the cool breeze blowing through our hair; it goes through a dark cave, down a steep drop, rotates us upside down, or takes us for a cork-screw dive.

This is life when living with an abusive personality. They are nice one moment; argumentative, angry, controlling, withholding, or some toxic quality the next moment, hour, or day.

Please hear me, you are not crazy. You are not confused. You are however most likely exhausted and in need of validation, encouragement, and truth. 

It can take months or years of living with an abuser for a victim to realize that the nice, charming, or caring version of the abuser is in fact an act; a show, and is a phase of the abuse.

If we pay close attention we will come to find cycles in the abuse. It might go something like this:

Phase 1. Nice and engages in conversation or activities. (The ‘Honeymoon’ phase).

Phase 2. Discontent if they can’t control an aspect of the relationship with us. (Experts call this the tension building phase).

Phase 3. Turns to rage when they have no tolerance for our ability to make our own decisions, have an opinion, or perform a task differently than how they believe it should be done. They may withhold affection, attention, sex, or words of affirmation. They may verbally shred us, or become physically abusive. (Experts call this the incident or acute explosion phase).

Phase 4. They may give us the silent treatment for days, weeks, or months. They are in denial of their attitude/personality problems and place all blame on us.

These phases are not representative of a onetime relationship cycle, but of a continual cycling, phases 1 through 4…over and over.

Cycle of abuse (tension, incident, reconciliation, calm) was a term coined by Lenore E. Walker.

When we apologize or attempt to appease an abuser they will often interact more peacefully with us, but it isn’t real. The reason they show kindness is because they believe our apology or appeasement is an acknowledgment that they are right, we are wrong, and we deserved their abusive treatment.

They want us to believe:

  1. The kind version is the real them.
  2. When tensions rise and abuse takes place; it’s the victim’s fault.

They want to trick us and tangle us in their web of deception. They desperately want us to believe these lies; after all, it’s their unhealthy truth; their toxic reality.

They will use their justifications and deceit to discredit the victim should she decide to disclose the abuse.

Remember: Abusers look like everyone else. You can’t pick them out of a crowd or spot them by looking in their eyes. They come from all walks of life. They can work in the secular world or minister in faith communities.

 

“Those who are labeled as brilliant/godly/successful are accorded power simply by virtue of their reputation. They can walk into a room and because of their reputation people give their words/actions a certain weight or power. We assume such powers indicate character. They do not!” ~Diane Langberg, PhD

 

Abusers do not care for others as a soul with worth; they care about their own power and control. Do not believe for one second that we have the ability to influence the abuser’s behavior, or that anything we do will change the way they treat us. This thought has landed many women in the depths of depression, and has led to the murderous death of others at the hands of their abusers.

Domestic violence rates are on the rise. If you are unsure of your safety, or lack thereof, please click on the “Mosaic” threat assessment in the margin of this website.

 “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Proverbs 23:9

 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Proverbs 26:11

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.” Proverbs 27:3

“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” Proverbs 27:22

 

 

“Fighting Words”

Fear is like a broken record, same old songs of accusation play
Like, “who are you to speak the truth, just look at all your failures and mistakes”
And “If they really knew you, there’s no way they could love you anyway”
Oh-oh-ohh, but I will…

Fight the lies with the truth, oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh, fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh

The enemy keeps talking, telling me to hide my face in shame
Whispering that everything I’ve done will drive the Father’s love away
Saying, “It’s too late for hoping, that something in your heart could ever change”
Oh-oh-ohh, so I will…

Fight the lies with the truth, oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh, fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh

My debt is paid up
I’ve been set free and
You gave Your life up to rescue me
You say that I am
Worth fighting for and
Grace is like waves that keep crashing on the shore!

Fight, the lies with the truth, oh-oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh, fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh…

I’m so tired of forgetting what I’m worth
So I will use, my fighting words

 

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 5

 

Read Part 1  here  Part 2 here  Part 3 here…  Part 4 here

 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror. Psalm 10:17-18 (NIV)

Paul’s words to husbands, “love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” Col. 3:19 (NIV)

Here is the final installment of this series. Let’s tie it all together to consider the lens through which God sees this in the Bible; not just a select few verses. We’ve read numerous texts throughout scripture to see what a woman’s role is in marriage, the church, and our culture. Now let’s consider our responsibility to abuse victims and survivors.

Take a fresh look at the Proverbs 31:10-31. It shows absolutely no glimpse of a woman under the thumb of an angry and controlling husband, or living in a subordinate role of an authoritarian man.

Her husband trusts her completely and knows he will lack nothing in his relationship with her, and lack nothing as she runs their household. He knows she will always do him good. She is wise, creative, a business woman, energetic, and provides for her household and her servants. She is free to make purchases and decides how to farm the land. She is strong physically and in character. She makes good, informed decisions and keeps her house fully prepared for its needs. She keeps her family clothed and is a social advocate for the poor. She is confident! She lends to her husband being well-known at the gates. She is a positive, grateful, wise thinker. Her husband loves that she’s a strong, independent, capable woman and he praises her for it.

 Back to the New Testament…

Jesus didn’t sit quietly or close His eyes when He saw sexism or prejudice. He didn’t stay silent to keep from offending someone. He didn’t turn away as women were being abused or belittled. He didn’t tell anyone it was their lot in life to go pray and wait on God to change the other person’s angry, abusive heart toward them. He didn’t cover His ears as women called out to Him. Jesus wasn’t sensitive to cultural or political leanings when He saw injustice and sin. He didn’t try to run a smoke screen to blind society from the ugliness of what was happening. He didn’t tell condescending, distasteful jokes about women or girls. He didn’t defend men who perpetrated sin or made accusations against women so as to not bring ruin upon the man’s job or place of leadership. He kept one thing on His ever-loving mind; His Father’s business.

Paul, whose writings are most used against women in the church, was a man who worked alongside many women while travelling, ministering and preaching. He mentioned at least 10 such women by name.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

God has used women to speak, lead, prophecy, and change the world. God has always empowered women to think for themselves, held women accountable for their own sins, and used women in miraculous, history changing ways.

Does the Bible say we should confront the injustice of sexual assault, misogyny, and abusive marriages; call it out and do something? Yes, it does, when we apply these scriptures:

Prov. 31:8-9 “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Is. 1:17 “seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”.

Jer. 22: 3 “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. Do no wrong to the resident alien, the fatherless and widow.”

1 John 3:17-18 “But if anyone has the world’s good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in you?

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

When we have a heart for injustice that means we’re reflecting the compassion, mercy, and empathy of God. We are being a voice for those who have no voice, and are advocating for those who are oppressed or abused.

God does not care for men more than women. Women are equally as important, valued, and worthy in the eyes of God. Jesus spent time on earth breaking cultural rules and regulations to love, heal, and bring women to the life God intended for them. Women were never an afterthought, or a second class citizen to Jesus. And that is why I stand for women and speak out for women. It doesn’t mean I think men don’t face injustice or abuse (because they do) it just means that for me, personally, I am called to share my story and lessons learned, and be one who advocates for women – just like Jesus did.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t have an unbending view of marriage any more than He had a narrow view of the Sabbath. Jesus is about relationship and putting people first. Jesus wouldn’t leave a woman living in an abusive situation; He would lead her to freedom.

Men have repeatedly been taught that they are to be the authority in the home. Angry and controlling men take this to an extreme, even when told they are to love like Christ. In their minds they believe the decisions they make are the wisest and best; and therefore that makes them loving…like Christ.

Male headship doesn’t cause abuse. No, that’s not what I’m saying, but it certainly intensifies it when practiced by an abusive spouse. Using words like leader, authority, patriarchy, and headship in church fans the flames of abuse in an angry and controlling man.

Patriarchy was a symptom of the curse in the garden; it was never part of God’s plan.

Jesus’ death and resurrection broke the curse of patriarchy. Jesus’ finished work on the cross confirms the dignity of all human life.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Here are unifying scriptures no matter our background, church affiliation, doctrinal beliefs, social agenda, or political leanings:

·         All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:18.

·         A command that carries through the old and new testaments is this: Love one another as Jesus has loved us. John 13:34

·         Those of us living under the new covenant have all been gifted by the Holy Spirit and our sons and daughters shall prophesy. Acts 2:17.

·          We have clothed ourselves with Christ…there is neither male nor female. Galatians 3:27-28

·         It’s about serving; not leading. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21.

·         “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Biblical womanhood in marriage is this: be who God has created us to be. The Bible is filled with women who defied cultural and traditional norms, held positions of authority, took huge risks, and changed history. So, serve Jesus in whatever way He has created you to, calls you to, and gifts you to through loving service. There is freedom in Christ! You are not under bondage and do not have to submit to any form of abuse.

I encourage women to trust their judgment and speak up; if safety allows. If you are in an unsafe situation; leave immediately and seek help. In the margin of this website you will find help and safety precautions.  

Men, I encourage you to value the women around you like the Proverbs 31 husband esteemed his wife. 

Thank you for considering a woman’s role…biblically.

 

Read Part 1  here

Part 2 here

Part 3 here…

Part 4 here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 3

This is the third part in a series on what scripture has to say about a woman’s worth and role. Read Part 1  here…Part 2 here…

We have the potential to defeat one of Satan’s longest standing lies. Nothing has brought more harm to women across the earth than men who think women have less value and abilities; other than Christian men who think the same about their sisters-in-Christ and wrongly apply a few scriptures toward us instead of looking at the entirety of God’s Holy Word. Satan has meant to destroy, kill, and annihilate a woman’s worth. Let’s turn it around on him and destroy, kill, and annihilate his hold on us; in Jesus’ name!

At this time in history the secular world is working on this more than the church.

Women who are married to angry, controlling, abusive men need people who will believe them, advocate for them, and hold their abuser accountable; not tell them to stop complaining, submit, stay, pray, and wait on God to change their husband’s heart. This advice leads to more abuse; or death. This advice stems from misapplied scripture; often from I Peter 3.

Let’s pull several scriptures together and look at the big picture.

 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28.)

Jesus’ time on earth included Him being purposeful toward women. He came to set the captives free; including women! He protected, honored, listened to, empowered, confided in, was funded by, respected, celebrated, saved, gave them their voice back, made them the first witnesses to His resurrection in a society where women’s testimonies were not respected, told them to go and tell about His resurrection, allowed women to be taught alongside men, and spoke of women as examples to follow. Hmm, no patriarchal or authoritarian suppression from Jesus!

Scripture supports this over and over, so to the woman living in the middle of a destructive, abusive marriage, allow me to show you more scripture that teaches of a woman’s worth in the eyes of God:

 The Lord announces the word,
and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
 “Kings and armies flee in haste;
the women at home divide the plunder. Psalm 68:11-12

God leaves us a written record of woman after woman who spoke out and up, taught, interacted, made decisions and negotiated on their own accord.

Let’s look at some examples:

Moses’ sister Miriam displayed remarkable intelligence and confidence. She not only helped to save her brother’s life but also helped set Israel’s deliverance in motion. Exodus 2.

The fifth of the ten commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12. Notice it doesn’t say, “wife and children honor the man of the house” but rather the parents are listed as a team. This shows no reference to a patriarchal led family.

Here is an interesting tidbit out of Exodus 21:7-11: “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.  If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her.  If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter.  If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.  If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.” God provided female servants a way out of abusive marriages…in the Old Testament…because He doesn’t want a woman to be trapped in a relationship with an angry, controlling, and withholding man…even if she was bought as a servant. Read that again, sweet friend, who has been told over and over that God’s hates and forbids divorce.


Achsah, daughter of Caleb, acted in faith by boldly asking her father for, and claiming, additional blessing for her family. Joshua 15, Judges 1.

Deborah was a judge and leader of the Israelite army – see Judges 4-5. The account in Judges 4 says that, “the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided”. She did this while also being a wife.

Miriam is referred to as one of the leaders of Israel in Micah 6:4. She was considered an equal with Moses and Aaron as you read their interactions in Exodus and Numbers.

God used the prophetess Huldah during the time of the prophet Jeremiah, proving that God did not lack willing men to preach His messages. When the book of the Law was rediscovered in the reign of King Josiah, five officials, including the High Priest (considered the highest spiritual leader at the time), went to seek out the counsel of Prophetess Huldah. She authenticated the scrolls and then proceeded to preach a message from them bringing Israel into a great revival. She was educated, articulate, and well-known for her ability. Isaiah’s wife was also a prophetess.

In part 4 we will continue with more examples of God esteeming and using women for His purpose in marriage, in the culture, and in the body of Christ.

 

 

Part 1 For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically

 

Part 2 For you consideration: A woman’s role…biblically

 

All scripture is taken from the NIV

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 2

Here is the continuation of Part one where we looked at several scriptures written by Paul to see if they were literal or cultural, and saw that marital love is not controlling; it’s mutually submitting and looking out for the best interest of the other; it’s about serving.

Here is what the Bible teaches a healthy wife/marriage/woman looks like:

First let’s look at headship. This excerpt was printed in the Well Planned Gal (Fellow homeschool mom, author, and speaker.)

The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church…”

If we want to understand “husband headship,” then we must understand Christ’s headship of the Church. So, how is Christ the head of the Church?

Christ’s “headship” in relation to the Church is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament:

Colossians 1:18 – Christ is metaphorical head of the Church, source of life after death
Colossians 2:18-19 – Christ as metaphorical head of the Church, to help her flourish
Ephesians 5:23 & 25 – Christ as metaphorical head of the Church, saving her, loving her, giving himself up for her
Ephesians 1:20-23 – Church is metaphorical body of Christ, Christ provides for Church’s growth
Ephesians 4:15-16 – Church is metaphorical body of Christ, Christ equips the Church for growth through love

 

These are beautiful and sacrificial examples.

I don’t see anger, a need to control, condescension, withholding, gas lighting/crazy making, authoritarian, usurped leadership, final decision maker, or supreme ruler anywhere in this verses. SB wordart

Is Christ a leader? Yes. Is Christ a ruler who sits on a throne? Yes. Does Christ know the answer to everything? Yes. Is there anywhere in scripture that calls husbands to be this type of head/leader over their wives? No.

I came to this point in my thinking after often seeing that the results/fruits of male headship were abuse, control, codependence, inequality, pride, and the suppression of the Holy Spirit. I decided it was time for me to study the word and seek to find if scripture had been misapplied.

The analogy about Christ and the Church and marriage in Ephesians 5 is a metaphor that speaks of unity in marriage. It speaks to the oneness of a husband and wife.

In Ephesians 5:23, the verse says, “…the husband is the head of the wife.” It makes sense to interpret this as he is in authority over her; however, there are better ways that more accurately line up with the whole of scripture when understanding what Paul as saying. In its entirety it’s about unity. You may read a more detailed study of this here…Don’t lose your head over doctrine  by Tim Fall. 

The rest of the passage describes Jesus as a husband, but not in terms of authority, but rather as one who sacrificially loves her. This is a better way to interpret this passage and matches the heart of God.

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”
– Jesus
(Matthew 20:26)

“For God does not show favoritism.” Romans 2:11

As for creation… “So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. If men believe and teach otherwise they are contradicting God.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:8

Of course God knew all this before He created man and woman. Perhaps God wanted Adam to understand how alone and unsatisfied he was until Eve was made. Adam needed her and wanted her.

 

We will not find anywhere in scripture where the Lord mandates or suggests that that the husband holds the right to make decisions for his wife. I Corinthians 7:1-6 sets the precedence that decisions are to be made together. There’s no better way to make those decisions together than through prayer.

The more I study this topic the more I realize I’ve believed some lies about not only me and marriage, but about God, for many years. I’ve been guilty of believing what people have taught me instead of studying for myself.  I don’t understand why male headship/authority/dominance has been taught in the New Testament church. This doesn’t fit the example, mind, or heart of Christ.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross! Philippians 2:6-8

 

Scripture teaches love, service, humility, sacrifice.  It doesn’t teach patriarchy but rather equality, mutual decision making, mutual submission; beautiful, purposeful relationship.

The wrong thoughts I’ve believed, or lived under, women have lived under for centuries to silence, intimidate, invalidate, objectify, and hold them down. The ideas are straight from the enemy; Satan – the father of lies, and I believe it’s one of the most crippling and damaging lies the church has believed.

 

But Jesus…

He gives women their true freedom and equality.

Next time we will look at an abundance of scriptures that verifies these truths.

 

READ: For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 1

Photo credit at top of page: afumc.org

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 1

This series focuses on a woman’s worth, and a woman’s role in marriage. The Bible is proof positive that God has an active role for women in society, the church, and in marriage.

Abusers join many Christians in the belief that a woman is scripturally mandated to obey and submit to her husband, and church leadership, in all things. They teach he is the head; as in the leader and final decision maker. Abusers take this belief and magnify it.

I advocate for abused women because they are people made in the image of God. I am a voice speaking against abuse and suffering because God asks us to stand for the weak and defenseless.

Speaking of weak; women who are living in, or are survivors of, domestic abuse are not weak as some would call weakness. They are the strongest people I know. They are tired. They are lonely…yes, married women can be lonely. There isn’t much worse than being an unloved woman living with the man who promised to love, cherish, and honor her. It’s painful to remember what the future was meant to be. And, many women are ‘weak’ because disease brought on by marital stress and trauma racks their body.

Many of the women I minister to, whose husbands are angry and controlling men; of which many have character/personality disorders; all have one thing in common ̶ their husbands like to wield scripture over them as a means to control them. For most women, this began at a young age when they married around college age. domestic violence 2-hpFor others it happened after carefully and prayerfully screening the relationship; only to find out after saying ‘I do’ that they were conned by a master deceiver.  These women have heard the same statements for years and many believe what they’ve repetitively been told; the marital problems are entirely their fault and if they would stop complaining everything would be fine. Many have been told they have little to no rights: the house is his, the money is his, the vehicles are his, the kids are his, and possessions are his. They often have to ask permission for what they want and need; as well as, where they want to go, who they want to see, or with whom they want to talk. These men typically elevate men over women in the family, in marriage, in the work environment and in the church. But…you’ll never know it because he’s so charming with others.

I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23 and I Peter 3:1-6 are frequently used as ammunition to keep a wife quiet and restrained. So is the fall in Genesis.

The curse and the resulting power struggle between Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 doesn’t describe the way it should be, but the way it will be. Adam would now desire to control his wife and Eve would find it easy to enable him out of guilt for what had happened, or possibly wanting him to make the decisions out of fear she would mess up…again. Why? Because sin damaged the relationship that God created.

In this series I want to weave our way through God’s words where women can find hope and healing, and the church perhaps can read scripture anew. I know theologians disagree on this topic, but I’m trying to take into account individual verses, stories found in scripture, and pair them with Jesus’ ministry on earth and His heart for healthy relationships. I think it paints a different picture than what the church often teaches regarding a woman’s role in marriage. We may disagree but hopefully we can agree that when we all get to heaven and stand before God, there likely will be no one person, church, or organization to which God says, “Well done, you understood and applied every verse of scripture perfectly.”

To me, if verses are going to be cherry picked (singled out and applied according to how one wants to view them) then the same standard/precedence should be applied to all verses:

Let’s compare what Paul said with what these same husbands would ascribe scripture as meaning according to their opinion: (I use a bit of hyperbole in some of the explanations). I’m using Paul’s writings since he highly esteemed women who worked alongside him in ministry.

  • “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Romans 16:16 is usually interpreted as cultural…but a handshake works better and is used instead of a kiss.
  • “…the head of the woman is man…” I Corinthians 11:3 is quite clear…period! This means the man does the thinking and speaking in the marriage.
  • “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” I Timothy 2:8 is also taught as…yes, you guessed it; cultural and that it means: worship God. Don’t fist fight in church.
  • “I also want the women to dress modestly… not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” I Timothy 2:9 is most obviously cultural and means women shouldn’t flaunt their wealth and shouldn’t attempt to be beautiful only on the outside since God looks at the heart.
  • I Timothy 6:1 – “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect.” Once more; cultural. God was not and is not sanctioning slavery or human trafficking. This verse was specific to that time period.
  • I Timothy 2:12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” The Bible says it plainly. Stop using ‘culture’ to push a feminist agenda.
  • Ephesian 5:23 says, “The husband is the head of the wife.” God means what He says and says what He means.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be saved through child-bearing – if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.” Well…that can’t be accurate or literal. It sets conditions on receiving free grace. Women do not receive salvation when they give birth to their first child. We need to take a look at the situation/setting and not take one verse out of context.

And a popular verse on the subject written by Peter:

  • “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands.” I Peter 3:1. The Bible says it. That settles it. (Don’t blame us. It wasn’t our idea!) Of course, angry and controlling men completely ignore verse 7 of the same chapter. Submission is a two-way street.

 

Angry and controlling husbands usually believe the thoughts and opinions of women are not important, are unqualified, silly, or wrong and that the man’s responsibilities are to be leaders and decision makers. Some even believe and practice disciplining their wives (verbally and/or physically).

God’s word is not for controlling His children, suppressing us, or making us miserable. It’s for achieving freedom, abounding blessings, correction, wisdom and protection.

We will not find anywhere in scripture where marital love is controlling; it’s mutually submitting and looking out for the best interest of the other; it’s about serving. Man is never to take the place of the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life; and by requiring a woman to obey and submit to a man/husband in all things removes room for the relational work of the Holy Spirit in her life.

 

Next time we will look at part 2: What the Bible teaches a healthy wife/marriage/woman looks like.

 

 

Photo Credit at top of page: billygraham.org

Advocate for abused women #ForSuchATimeAsThisRally

 

SBC rally

 

Take a look at the website to read what it’s all about and pray about what you can do:

  • Educate yourself on the issue so you’re ready to respond if the need arises
  • Follow on social media
  • Spread the word on social media
  • Pray for the event and for the SBC to usher in a new season of respect for women and for the training of SBC leadership and pastors. For the SBC to bring a renewed commitment to standing with abused women.
  • Attend the rally in Dallas, Texas, June 12, 2018

Read what it’s about and a list of concerns…here…

Enough is Enough

WORLD magazine addresses destructive/abusive marriages

Hidden violence

Spousal abuse is a widespread sin that many churches ignore at their—and their members’—peril

 

Hidden violence and trauma comes in many forms within an abusive marriage. This is what most of my website has been dedicated to addressing for almost the last five years. I want to bring to light that which has remained concealed in darkness through most of history. I’m grateful beyond words that the topic is being addressed by authors and news outlets with high international viewership, and professional expertise.

My goal isn’t simply to pull back the blinds on abusive spouses and find safety, sanity, and healing for the victims. My prayer is that God will miraculously, through the church, bring these abusers to a place of healing. Statistics tell is this is nearly if not completely impossible. It can happen, but the abuser must begin with admitting their sin/abusive character (many have a personality disorder – all are angry and controlling)), they must want the help, and they must seek long-term, professional help from a counselor who works with abusers. Marital counseling is not an option during this time. A victim cannot be expected to sit in the same room with the abuser. The abuser must first seek help and healing.

Here is an excerpt from WORLD magazine…

“As these three cases suggest, refereeing domestic abuse situations is not easy. They often do not provide obvious evidences of broken bones or bruises. Most of the damage from domestic abuse is invisible: It involves repetitive behaviors that terrorize, dehumanize, objectify, degrade, and control spouses. Such abuse is a hammer to the soul, pounding over and over at the personhood, dignity, and freedom of a spouse.

Many church leaders don’t understand the dynamics and effects of domestic abuse, or don’t even believe that such evil exists in their pews. Instead of addressing the deeper heart issue behind abuse, church leaders typically address the behaviors by recommending anger management counseling, couples therapy, confession, and forgiveness.”

Read the article here…

Hidden violence

Spousal abuse is a widespread sin that many churches ignore at their—and their members’—peril

 

 

 

 

Listen to her frantic heart: Their abuser is trying to move their child away to an undisclosed location

 

white-water-rafting.jpg

ABOVE: I posted this flashback from high school on my friend Michele’s Facebook page. Michele and I were best friends who lived in Eagle Grove, Iowa, during middle school. I moved to Oklahoma at the beginning of high school and Michele would visit me in Stillwater during the summers and attend my church’s youth group camping trips to the Rocky Mountains with me {Youth Quake}. We have always been so alike in many ways…and so different in others.

I wrote on her FB page: “Happy Birthday, friend! I’m grateful for a friend who enjoys living boldly on the wild side of life. Never boring, usually difficult, excitement around every bend, going to uncomfortable levels to help others achieve freedom and a better life. Here’s to another year! This pic of us is almost prophetic/metaphoric of the separate paths we walk today…we’re both in front; you’re on the left and I’m on the right, holding on for dear life, but heading in the same direction for women and children with similar goals: to make a positive difference in the world. I hope you had a wonderful day today! Love and {Hugs}.

Here is a snippet of Michele’s current chapter of life: This is typical. Studies show that when the dad challenges the mom for custody, they win 90% of the time. When there is documented abuse, perpetrated by the father, he still wins 73% of the time. This is the trauma many of the women I minister to endure.

Michele needs help now before her child is likely transported across USA borders to an undisclosed location where she will have no contact with her child and no means to protect him from her family’s abuser. Please continue reading and if at all possible, grand or small, please contribute to this child’s safety.

I wish family court would understand that a child’s right is not about making sure they stay in relationship with both parents when a family splits apart, but that a child has a right to a non-abusive home. I also wish family court would believe the woman and children when they testify to abuse. Studies show that the protective mothers are rarely lying. 

“Abused mothers tend to receive a mixed message from our society about protecting their children. While still living with an abusive man, a mother can be harshly criticized for exposing her children to him, and given such labels as ‘failing to protect,’ even if she is actually making various efforts to keep her children safe. However, once she leaves the man—which is what the society appears to be asking her to do—she is then at risk of being harshly criticized by family court judges and evaluators for her reluctance to expose her children to the same man, and may be labeled vindictive or told that she is the one who is failing to focus well on the needs of her children.

The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church contains some instructive lessons. In some ways it is not the actions of the priests that was the most shocking, but of the bishops, cardinals, and mental health professionals who enabled the abuse by reassigning known perpetrators or declaring them to be cured when they were not. Family court judges are playing an analogous role in some cases, requiring children to have unsupervised contact with men who have beaten or threatened their mothers, including in some cases where there is ample evidence that their fathers have also been beating or sexually abusing the children directly. Communities that want to rescue children from the wounds of witnessing abuse have to put a high priority on exposing the actions of family law judges and calling for wide-ranging reform to legal procedure in custody and visitation cases.”

When Dad Hurts Mom, by Lundy Bancroft

 

Click here to help Michele keep her precious, loved  little cutie, and help protect an innocent child! You can enter 0 for the tip amount.Keep the Kid

 

 

“February 15, 2018 SHEEP’S SKIN SLIDES OFF: Today the judge got to see what a bully my ex is. It was a grueling day in court with my ex, who is our abuser, but won primary custody of our son in court. It started at 9am, but ended well at 3:45.

I haven’t paid him child support since he last assaulted me and he started using my money to pay criminal attorney fees. The AG in court tried to make arrangements for payments, but he refused to negotiate, insisting that I be jailed for my offense for 90 days (which is the standard sentence plus a $500 fine.)

The AG, unable to reach a payment agreement with my ex had to send it to the judge. I plead guilty to contempt for disobeying the custody order, agreed to the AG’s payment plan, but my ex kept insisting that I be jailed today anyway for my violation. They usually give you 3 months to pay before jail time.

It became clear to everyone in the courtroom that punishing me was far more important to him that actually receiving the money; or the best interest of our son, who would lose visitation with his mom and brother and sister for 90 days; and he obviously could care less about my two teenagers at home that I am responsible for. What would they do?

When the judge asked why I didn’t pay him, I recounted some of his latest criminal activity (stalking, harassment, child abuse, etc.) and told her how hard it is to escape domestic violence and get back on your feet. She didn’t even question it.

The judge didn’t sentence me to 90 days, plus gave me 5 years instead of the standard 3 months to catch up. Then she went on to explain some remedies to get my child back from this monster!!!! In court. In front of everyone! I walked out, not having to pay a dime today, and now he is texting me @#$%# @#$%&# text messages.”

That evening and the days to follow:  “There’s an open harassment case, yet he continues to send me abusive texts.”

This amounts to high stress for anyone on the receiving end of the abuse, harassment, and trauma.

“Survivors of sexual assault actually have a higher rate of PTSD than veterans returning home from the wars in West Asia. I believe this is because of the secondary abuse perpetrated by the police, lawyers, social workers and the court system, who betray the victims by not believing them and insulting them and rewarding or protecting the perpetrators of the assaults. I promise I will feel less traumatized if they actually held him accountable and put him in jail!”

April 2, 2018. “Aaaaagh! I just got served papers. My abusive ex, who won primary custody of our child, is now suing for sole custody of our child, asking the court to let him move away with him, and is asking the judge that I may not find out where they live! He has already gotten a passport application for my son, and I’m afraid he’s going to take him to Mexico!

I already have paperwork to file to get custody back, but lack the funds for a lawyer to present it. I’m afraid if we can’t raise the finances for this, we will not see our child again. Yikes! I’m paying this monster child support, and he’s using my funds to pull this crap!”

One of the most frustrating aspects of a case like this is the abuser’s ability to be a grand actor. To the outside world he looks kind, fun, engaging, a terrific parent, an encouraging provider, often professional…but make no mistake…he’s a monster in disguise; a master manipulator who spins stories to make the victim look unstable. The number one way to identify an abuser is that they never admit guilt or take responsibility for their actions. They deny, justify, explain, and minimize their words and actions against their prey.

 

August 20, 2018 UPDATE:

Thanks to your help in obtaining attorneys for our family, we have hope for our little one! My lawyers have filed our opposition to my ex’s petition to move away with my son. However, my ex has already enrolled my son out of the school district, and sent him to another school, against the custody order, and against the child’s best interest – so the lawyers have filed papers to either jail him or return him to our school district. We have also just filed an enforcement petition, listing many visitation violations, interference, alienation and harassment. My ex has already retaliated by filing to reduce my visitations to supervised only, based on my history with domestic violence. The domestic violence was perpetrated by him. This is a great example of an abuser using the court system to further coerce and abuse the victim. I am glad I am not alone in this any more! 🙂

 Here is what Don Hennessey, a relationship counselor and former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, has to say about abusers. (This covers all types of abuse: physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, reproductive, spiritual, financial.) The ‘psychephile’ is a man who gains control of the mind of the target woman so that he can dictate the level of intimacy and sexual activity in the relationship. Don Hennessery compares a ‘psychephile’s recovery rate to that of a pedophile. There isn’t much proof that they are redeemable.

Click on resources below to read more about this wide-spread problem:

For Abuse Survivors, Custody Remains a Means by Which Their Abusers Can Retain Control