Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Radio Interview with Paul and Judy Hegstrom - Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:44 PM

Don't forget to click the title to straight to the source of this interview. Family Life Today is a ministry that did this interview.

Find real answers to the anger in your home from Paul Hegstrom's story. Years ago, he physically abused his wife. Now, he has restored his relationship and counsels others in domestic violence situations. His wife joins him to share her side of the story as well.

Our Story (Day 1) - 25 minutes - Real Player

Our Story (Day 2) - 25 minutes Real Player

Breaking the Cycle of Violence (Day 3) - 25 minutes Real Player

Breaking the Cycle of Violence (Day 4) - 25 minutes Real Player

Life Skills Website

Link to book purchase

Monday, November 27, 2006

Abuse Doesn't Happen in Christian Marriages... Does It?

16 comments Posted by Hannah at 8:05 PM

I was ten years old when I became a believer. I was raised in a great, stable, godly Christian home, with five siblings. My Mom and Dad had a good marriage. They were willing to work at it, and did. They were a wonderful example of the way a Christian home should be.

A year and a half after high school I left home to go to Bible School, graduated, and had then stayed on staff for four years. I went to candidate school with a mission organization and was chosen to raise funds for serving as a missionary.

I was not going to wait around for a marriage partner. I wanted to get busy and do something with my life. My parents, unbeknownst to me, were meanwhile praying that God would not send me to the mission field single!

While I was at Candidate school, a fellow from the Bible school I had attended wrote me and sent care packages. I kept reminding him that I was headed for the mission field and we were to keep the relationship platonic so I could keep focused on my goal. I felt that romance was unacceptable at this point in my life.

He continued to write, call and send care packages.

Before we knew it we were in love. We married two years later. I was twenty seven years old and had waited for God’s partner. I felt that I had a good idea of what a good marriage should look like because of my parent’s example of a good marriage. I felt my expectations were realistic.

Before long we were experiencing difficulties in our marriage and I didn’t quite know what was wrong or how to fix it.

My realistic expectations were shattered. I didn’t think that I had an unrealistic view of marriage. I didn’t expect a perfect marriage, married to the perfect man, but I was not expecting this.

My husband would yell and cuss at me for reasons I couldn’t understand. What had I done wrong? Why was he yelling at me and pushing me around? He would go into rages for the smallest thing. He couldn’t stand me expressing a difference of opinion or questioning him about things. Keep in mind he professed to be a believer. Alcohol was not involved. Most people think this doesn’t happen in Christian homes, and that alcohol has to be involved. Not so.

He would cut me down as a person, degrading me and telling me that it was my fault he was so angry all the time. He made me feel that if I was a better wife, he wouldn’t have to yell at me. He said that he had to yell at me to be heard because I was so stubborn and opinionated. I wondered if maybe I was just being hard to live with. I felt if I just tried harder, maybe I could keep him happy.

When I got pregnant with our first child, the behavior continued. He shoved me down on the couch when we had disagreements. He would drive crazy on the road if we had a difference of opinion while we were driving somewhere.

We lived in a basement apartment that first year of our marriage. I was mortified when the owner of the building, a Christian lady who had been a missionary overseas, came to talk to me and said I would have to move out if her and her husband (they lived in the level above us) continued to hear fighting, yelling and cussing down where we lived! I apologized and tried harder. Nothing worked.

He yelled, degraded, blamed, cussed, drove crazy, shoved, and generally demeaned me. I kept wondering how I could change the situation. I kept accepting the blame. I kept trying harder.

Then, I became pregnant with our daughter. This was our second child. We had been married just three years. I was now sick and tired of what was going on with my husband. I was discouraged and felt helpless. I finally confided in my mother, who suggested that maybe I was in an abusive relationship.

I was stunned. Could she be right?

I was ready to find out. I went to the library and started reading everything I could get my hands on. I read books and pamphlets on abuse. It was definitely an eye opener! In some ways I felt I was reading a part of our history as a couple. I was beginning to understand the dynamics of our abusive relationship.

As far as I’m concerned that was a turning point in our marriage.

I finally confided in my mother-in-law, being careful to not criticize her son, wanting to know about what my husband’s growing up years were like. I explained to her that we were having marriage problems and that I was wondering if there was something I should know about his growing up years that would help me understand, maybe, where the problems were possibly stemming from. She shared with me that my husband had come from a home where alcoholism and abuse were a problem. She had had to deal with that difficult situation over the years. That helped me understand our personal situation further.

God was definitely leading me. That has been the only time she ever opened up to me and shared with me about that past hurt. I respect her for that. It must have been painful for her. I wished I could take it away.

I went home and checked out more books from the library. I now read books on adult children from alcoholic homes. I read the books in secret, while my husband was at work. Then I hid them in the bottom of a dresser drawer before he came home. I knew he would be angry if he found out what I was reading. Every day I read a little more, and every day I could see that what was happening in our marriage was wrong.

In time I came to understand that it was not my fault. It was not my fault that my husband was so unhappy with me, or that he was angry so often. Nothing I could do would change that. It was not my fault that he lost his temper so often. The anger was his. It was not my responsibility and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing I could change about me to make it better.

Oh, I was never hit hard enough that I was bruised and battered. My heart goes out to you women who experience that kind of abuse at the hands of your husband. I never had a bone broken. I realize that abuse can be so much more serious than I experienced. But I was being abused. I was living daily with a man who had an explosive temper. I was scared. I always wondered how far he would go. His anger was so intense. He broke things in our home, throwing objects across the room and smashing them against the wall. He punched holes in walls. He threw food. He would kick the dog across the tile floor. It was always scary. I was almost always upset. How long can a person live with that?

It was also humiliating. I was a Christian. I had waited to married the man whom I thought was God’s choice for me. I couldn’t talk to anyone in Christian circles, because I was sure they wouldn’t understand. I had tried several times to “leak” out information, putting out “feelers” to see if I would be understood. The reaction was always the same. I just had to work harder at my marriage. Some said that it took two people to fight, so I must be doing something to initiate or aggravate it. I should pray about it more. I needed to be more submissive, they said.

I felt that I couldn’t even witness to my neighbors because I was sure they could see and hear what was going on in our home. I struggled with why God had allowed this. Was I being punished? Did I make a mistake in marrying my husband? Was I living in sin somehow? Was I missing out on God’s blessings? Where was God in all this? Was I not responding in obedience to God, when it came to submission to my husband? Was I not trying hard enough to be the kind of wife I should be?

In those beginning years of our marriage I just quietly backed off into another room, or got down on the floor to clean up the mess he made. I tried to pacify him.

As I read books and pamphlets, I realized abuse was happening in our home. The books gave me the courage to do something about it. They gave me vital information to work with. They gave me ideas for where to go for help. They encouraged me to get help now before it got worse. They gave me the courage to fight back emotionally. The books warned me that things would definitely get worse if I didn’t do something about it.

And the situation did get worse.

One night he punched me in the face. I fell down and he, screaming, demanded that I get up. When I didn’t, he grabbed my hair and tried to pull me up. I was petrified! I looked up into his anger-distorted face and was mesmerized by what I saw. Did he hate me that much? What was he going to do next?

I had just put our four very young children to bed, and they had crawled out of their beds to see what was happening. I looked down the hallway and saw that they were all watching from the safety of their doorways. I immediately tried to pacify my husband so I could attend to the children. I don’t remember what I said or did, but whatever it was, it worked.

He stopped what he was doing, dropped me on the floor, walked over to the sofa and turned on the TV to watch something! Just like nothing had happened moments before. I couldn’t believe it! Was I imagining the whole thing? A look in the mirror told me I wasn’t dreaming.

I shakily walked down the hallway and focused on consoling our frightened children, getting them back in bed. When they were all once again asleep, I knew what I had to do.

I was tired of the abuse. I knew it could get worse with time. I knew myself and our children were not happy, nor safe. It was my responsibility to do something for their sake. Questions filled my head. Doubts plagued me. But concern for our children and anger at the abuse motivated me to do what I knew I had to do. Fear filled my heart.

Could I do it? Could I leave my husband and get to a safe place? Would I have the courage to carry it out? How could I do it? Where would I go? What was the first step I should take? Call the police, the safe-house, or my Mom? How would I support myself and four young children? They were all under five. Would I still have to spend the night here? I didn’t want to!

I cleaned up the kitchen under the pretense that all was well with my world. I was buying time to think. My mind raced. How could I do this and not raise the suspicions of my husband?

He was still watching TV. The children were all safely asleep.

I walked over to him, gave him a kiss on his forehead and told him I was going to the store to get some milk. He accepted the lie and I left the house to call the police. They met me at a corner convenience store, took my statement and made arrangements for a restraining order the next day. I was physically shaking the whole time. I was so nervous about what I was about to do.

I went home that night, with the bottle of milk. I stayed in the same bed with him until he was asleep, then crept out of our bed to check on the children and fell into a fitful sleep on the couch, being careful to wake up before he got up to go to work. When he left for work, I called a friend to keep the children while I watched the house from a distance to see if the police would serve the restraining order to my husband. I knew he came home for lunch. I left a note on the kitchen table saying I was shopping with the kids and watched from down the street. Sure enough, he came home, had lunch, and as he relaxed, the police came. They ordered him to get a few clothes together and then escorted him out of the house.

Now guilt flowed over me. Where would he go? Then fear gripped me. Would he stay out of the house, honoring the restraining order, or would be so angry that he would come after me later? I didn’t know for sure. I’m thankful he honored the restraining order and stayed away. I don’t know where he went, but he managed.

In the early 1990’s, anyone who was on a restraining order had to appear in court ten days after the order was served. At that time it was decided by the victim whether or not the restraining order was to be permanent or not. I didn’t know what to do. If I lifted the restraining order I was worried that my husband would come home and make life miserable for me, after what I had done to him in having him escorted out of the house in front of all the neighbors. He was always so “image” conscious. If, on the other hand, I made the restraining order permanent, he might file for divorce and try to get custody of the children. He knew our children were very precious to me and that I would agree to take him back if they were jeopardized in any way.

I called my Mom and explained to her what had happened, and she flew down to take me and the children into her home. I left a note for my husband before I left. My husband went to court, expecting me to be there. When I wasn’t, he went home, expecting that all was forgiven and that I would be there at our house. I wasn’t there either. All he found was the note from me explaining that I had left him and that until he got help I wasn’t coming back.

That was a difficult time for me.

Thirteen years later, as I write this, I still shake physically and emotionally. I still know that I did the right thing, as difficult as it was, but the trauma of it still haunts me at times.

During the time of separation, I felt God closer and dearer than almost any other time in my life. The verse God gave me encouraged me so much during that time. In Isaiah 40:11 it says that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young” I read this over and over those days. I felt God’s gentle guidance and presence. I had four children under five. I certainly qualified for God’s tender care and for His leading “those who have young”!

I experienced His care in so many ways. My newly acquired step dad (my father had died with cancer a few years before) handled the angry calls from my husband. My friend kept us safely, for a time, at her house on the farm. My husband had no way of contacting me. People we didn’t even know brought boxes of children’s clothes and toys. People had a housewarming party to help us set up house when we got into an apartment. We had left everything back home except a few clothes for the kids and me. At Christmas, people brought gifts and toys for me and the children. My Mom and Dad helped me get a car, an apartment, and household things to help us get settled. They all helped in more ways than I can express. God used people in our lives to express His care for us. My husband and I were separated for seven months.

It was a difficult time. I never knew for sure if our marriage could survive the separation or if it was over. At first I wouldn’t allow him to contact me. Little by little I allowed contact. At first, I called him but didn’t give him my phone number. That provided boundaries of safety for me and the children. It allowed time for emotional healing. Then, when I felt I was ready, I gave him my number so he could call me, on the condition that if he got angry or abusive over the phone, I would change my number, which I had to do twice. People said he would never change. People said it was probably over, and that I might as well get on with my life.

The separation forced him to get help and to consider the importance of our marriage, and of our children.

The biggest impact on my life, besides my parents, was a women’s Bible Study group who openly and graciously invited me to become a part of their group. I will forever be grateful to those women! They prayed, cried and laughed with me. They took my children so I could regroup. They played with my children when I didn’t have the emotional strength to do so. They listened as I poured out my heart in concern for my marriage and husband. They were my lifeline!

I found myself again. That’s the only way I can describe it. Through that time of separation I gained perspective. I saw our relationship for what it was. I connected with God in a new way. I became emotionally stronger. I felt that I could now return to my husband and that I would have the emotional strength to fight the abuse if it continued. I had to give our marriage one more chance. I had to at least try one more time.

After the seven month separation my husband and I got back together and, in spite of my and my friend’s fears, the abuse stopped. We are still married. It will be twenty years this year. We have five wonderful children. Life is full.

Our children are going on in the Lord. I’m so glad! Because they were young when we separated, the children seem to have not had any repercussions from the abuse in the beginning of our marriage. The separation turned out to be the best decision I could have made at that point. It was hard, yes, but right.

I believe with all my heart that there are other women today who are in the same situation I was in. They are in an abusive relationship. I also believe that if God had not given me the courage to leave my husband for a time, that there would still be abuse in our relationship.

If you are in this kind of relationship:

1. Read books and pamphlets about it. Get educated. Find out where the safe-house is. Talk on the phone to other women who have gotten out of a relationship like this. A caution I would give you, however, is that when you talk to these women you will find some who are very angry and bitter against their husbands. It’s to be expected. But don’t allow yourself to get embittered. It will prevent you from doing what you need to do. Anger, however, will create the motivation to propel you to action. What your husband has been doing is wrong and harmful to you and your children if you have them. God hates it. Righteous anger is okay at this point. It sounds strange I know, but anger really did help me take the steps to freedom.

2. Have a plan. When you have read the books, your dysfunctional relationship will become clear to you. You will know you need to get out of it. Don’t accept excuses your mind comes up with to justify your husband’s behavior towards you. I had a very clear perception of my situation once I had separated from my husband, and couldn’t believe I had put up with the abuse. I felt dumb at first. I was disgusted at my lack of courage. But I knew I had done the right thing in separating. You must realize too, that the separation may be temporary, or it may be a long time. There’s no way you can know ahead of time what your husband’s reaction will be and how God will work. You are not responsible for that. You are responsible for keeping yourself and your children safe. So make plans now for getting out and getting safe. The books have lots of good ideas, and other people are good resources.

3. I want to encourage you, if you are in an abusive relationship to gather around you some women you can trust and build a firm relationship with them. You will need the support. This is an emotional time for you. At some point share what is going on in your home so they can start praying for you. They may not understand abuse, but they can understand hurt, rejection and pain. They will be able to help and support you now, and later, if you decide to leave your husband. They can also help pray for your husband when you, in your pain, may not be able to. That’s important. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the prayers of His people.

4. Don’t let fear keep you back from taking that step. You must take the step of separating from danger and abuse, for your sake and for the sake of the children. It may not turn out as well as my separation did, but I know it can only get better than what you’re living with, no matter how difficult your separation may be at times. No one should live with abuse.

I’m still not sure exactly why God allowed me to marry into an abusive relationship. All I know is I’m stronger in my relationship with God because of what I’ve experienced, and I have the added “bonus” of five beautiful children. I can also relate in a new way to women who have experienced abuse in their relationships.

I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t seem that God leads this way. I know it’s difficult to understand.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that, even though it’s difficult for us to understand why, sometimes God allows things in our lives that we don’t comprehend. He is still in control. He is still sovereign over those circumstances.

I did not experience this difficult relationship because God was punishing me in some way. I was walking with Him. I was growing in Him.

Life is difficult because that’s life. Life here on earth is not perfect. God does not spare His people from difficulties just because we’re His children. If you believe that because we’re believers we will never have trouble, how do you explain the difficult lives other believers outside of America have? They experience war, hunger, persecution, etc. all while they follow God. Are you saying then that they are not in right relationship with God? That they couldn’t be? Not so! I have met the godliest people you will ever meet overseas. They are stronger for their troubles. Life does not spare us troubles just because we are God’s children. We are still living on this earth, with its troubles.

So, if you are walking with God, and you are in an abusive relationship, take heart. God loves you and sees what you are dealing with. You really are not alone, as you may sometimes feel. He does not want it to continue. Do what you have to do to get out of the abusive relationship, and He will carry you through the rest of the way. I promise.

Remember God is with you. He loves you very much. I say that with full confidence.

I have experienced it firsthand!

God bless!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


6 comments Posted by Hannah at 5:56 PM

Laura grew up in a home where love and kindness were unheard of, and abuse was the norm. Night after night she would hide in her bedroom as her dad came home drunk and beat up her mother. Laura always vowed silently, “It’ll never happen to me.”
When Laura was just 17, she married Pete, hoping to escape her terrible home life. She just knew Pete would be a different kind of husband than her father had been. He didn’t drink at all—he was a good Christian, an active churchgoer. Everyone liked him and looked up to him.

Pete did have a sharp temper, but he used words instead of fists to express his anger, and to Laura that seemed like an improvement. He was very possessive of Laura, jealous when she talked to other men or even went out with her women friends. But that just made Laura feel loved, cared for, and cherished.

Soon, things began to change. Once they were married, Pete seemed less and less able to control his temper. His cutting words became more and more cruel and demeaning. Laura didn’t have much self-esteem to start with, and after a few years of living with Pete she was sure she was stupid, ugly, and incompetent—because he told her so.

And Pete no longer stopped at abusive words. More and more frequently, his anger exploded into shoving, pushing, and hitting. Sometimes Laura would go to great difficulty to hide the bruises he inflicted on her so that they could go to church together and look like a perfect, happy, Christian couple.

Throughout all this, Pete continued to be active and respected in his church. Everyone thought of him as a good Christian man. Laura suffered silently, never telling a soul and never thinking of leaving him. As the years went by, they had three children together. She was sure it would be wrong to break up the family.

Then one day she discovered Pete spanking their five-year-old son for disobeying. But this was no ordinary spanking. Pete was brutally beating the helpless little boy, leaving scars and bruises on his small body.

Laura knew things had to change. That night, when Pete was asleep, she threw a few belongings into shopping bags and herded her children out to the car. Homeless and frightened, she and her children drove away into the night.

For Laura, the worst part of her ordeal was the response she received from some friends in church when they learned that she had left Pete. Many of these good Christian people tried to tell Laura it was her duty to stay with her abusive husband. “The Bible tells us to ‘turn the other cheek,’ they insisted. The husband is head of the wife, and you have to submit to him, whatever he does to you,” they said. Even Laura’s pastor told her she should go back to her husband, and pray that he would stop abusing her.

Were Laura’s friends right? Does the Bible tell us that Christians should submit to being abused, physically, mentally, and emotionally? Is this what God has in mind for His children?

It’s true that the Bible does say, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” Ephesians 5:22, 23, NIV. It’s also true that Jesus did tell His followers: “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39, NIV.

These two texts, taken out of context, have been used to convince many women like Laura that they are required to remain in abusive situations, to continue putting themselves and their children in danger. But like everything in the Bible, these passages need to be read in their full context.

The passage in Ephesians—the one that says the wives should submit to their husbands—goes on to say, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…. Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33, NIV.

Was Laura’s husband showing this kind of Christ like, self-sacrificing love to her? No, of course he was not. Love and respect are two sides of the same coin. Both are needed in a relationship. The kind of respect the Bible talks about wives having for their husbands must be earned by Christ like love.

As for Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek, He was talking about our human desire to get revenge on others. The common saying at the time was “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”—in fact, that was the law God gave the people of Israel back in the time of Moses.

But Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44, NIV. Laura can continue to show Christian love for her husband as she prays that God will help him to deal with his angry and abusive behavior.

Laura does not need to buy herself a gun, sneak back into the house late at night, and shoot him to get revenge. But neither does she need to stay and give him further opportunities to hurt her and their children. If she did that, she would not be showing love to herself, to her children, or even to her husband. Allowing him to continue sinning is not loving him.

I know that there are people who are trapped right now in abusive relationships. There are women like Laura, living in fear of their husband’s anger. There are children and young people silently suffering physical, emotional, even sexual abuse. There are married people—both men and women—whose spirits are broken and crushed by words of hatred and cruelty from a harsh and abusive spouse.

My friend, if you are living through this painful experience, you need to know that God cares about you. You need to know that you are valuable and precious in the sight of your heavenly Father.

I’d like to share a very special Bible verse with you, one that I hope you will claim as your own. It’s found in the book of Jeremiah: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV.

Yes, God has a plan for your life. At this moment you may find it difficult to believe that anyone cares about you, or that your future holds anything other than more pain and suffering. But God has plans to prosper you, not to harm you. His plans for you include hope and a future.

Following God’s plan for your life, finding hope and a future, may sometimes mean that you like Laura, need to leave a situation where you are physically in danger. It may mean that you need to speak out, to tell someone else that you are being hurt or abused, to seek help. It may mean talking to a counselor, a doctor, or a minister who is skilled in dealing with problems like yours and can help you find a way out of your situation.

For so many people in abusive situations, shame and guilt are the shackles that hold them in place. You may feel the same way. Because of what you have been through, you may actually believe that you don’t deserve anything better, that you are somehow to blame for what has happened to you, that you are worthless.

But in God’s Word we read this amazing truth: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, NIV.

To God’s people, Israel, in Bible times, the Temple was the most sacred spot on earth. It was there that God came to live among them, with His actual presence. In the passage we just read, the apostle Paul is telling the new Christian believers that they themselves—their human bodies—are just as sacred and holy as God’s Temple. God’s Holy Spirit lives inside every human being who loves and accepts Him, and that makes you incredibly valuable to God.

God does not want to see anyone destroy, damage, or defile His Temple. He doesn’t want to see anyone destroy, damage, or defile one of His children either.

In fact, Jesus had some very stern words for people who hurt His children. In the ninth chapter of the book of Mark we read: “Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me;… and whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.’” Mark 9:36, 37, 42, NKJV.

Never doubt that God wants to love and protect every one of His children—including you. You may ask yourself, “Why hasn’t God protected me before now? Why hasn’t He helped me escape this situation? Why has He allowed this to happen?”

We serve a powerful God, my friend, but we also serve a God who values human free will. It is never God’s will for any of His precious children to suffer. Though God is all-powerful, He does not interfere with a human being’s freedom of choice. So sometimes, on this earth, human beings do things to each other that God hates. He hates to see His children being hurt, abused, and damaged. But because He allows us freedom of choice, He doesn’t always intervene directly when these things happen.

He does promise us help in every situation, however. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV.

God promises strength, courage, and a way of escape. For some that way of escape may be through these words they’re reading right now. Perhaps God is using these moments to tell you that it’s time to make a change. Time to tell someone you trust that you’ve been abused. Time to seek aid from a caring person who can help you find a way out.

The Bible tells us that, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10, NIV. In ancient times someone being pursued by an enemy could run to a fortified city, tower, or castle. Safe behind its walls, protected by armed men and stone battlements, the fugitive could hide, knowing his attacker could not find him.

My friend, will you allow the Lord to be your strong tower today? He loves you. He values you. He has plans for you—He wants to give you hope and a future. He wants to heal the pain of the abuse you are suffering and help you find a way out, to a better life that lies beyond. Will you trust in Him? Will you run to His strong tower and be saved?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Women and Submission: Finding Middle Ground, pt. 3

1 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:41 AM

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The passage of Scripture that is so often misused in regard to the complex issue of male headship is Ephesians 5:22-23:

"Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church."

Contrary to popular interpretation, these verses do not give men a license to dominate their wives, nor do they endorse a kind of top-down hierarchy in the marriage relationship.

One of Paul's main reasons for writing this discourse on family relationships was to stress the beauty of the mystical union between man and wife, which he compares to the communion between Christ and the church. If Paul were trying to declare who was in charge, he would have said, "Wives, obey your husbands"--in the same manner that he states in Colossians 3:3, "Children, obey your parents." But he does not use the word obey.

The word hupotasso can also mean "to identify with" or "to be attached to." It can also mean "become one with." Again, the issue here is oneness and unity between equal partners, not who obeys whom.

But there is another important reason why Paul wrote these words, and we cannot understand their meaning without delving deeper into the culture of the New Testament period. Theologian Catherine Clark Kroeger has noted that in the first century, women had no rights and were considered possessions. In the Roman Empire, it was customary for the woman's father to continue to claim ownership of his daughter even after she was married.

This inhumane system, known as sine manu, or "marriage without hand," was a way for the bride's dowry to stay under the control of her father even after she moved into her husband's home. As long as she was brought back to her father's house three times a year (sometimes against her will), he could claim legal ownership of her and her property. This system, which was later outlawed, obviously created havoc in families.

Understanding this context, it makes sense why Paul stressed to the new Christian community in Ephesus that a wife should "be attached to" or "submitted" or "identified with" her husband. She was no longer to be attached to her father! And this is why Paul, a few verses later, quotes Genesis 2:24: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

But if this passage in Ephesians does not give men permission to dominate their wives, then why does Paul say that a husband is "head" (5:23) of the wife?

The Greek word for "head" in this passage is kephale, which is most often translated "authority over." However, some Bible scholars point out that this word can and often is translated "source" in ancient texts, in much the same way that we would refer to the "head" of a river being its source. Therefore it is possible that kephale can mean here that man is the source of woman, a reference to the fact that Eve was created from Adam.

Again, many scholars believe that Paul is setting in order the true Christian family in the midst of a pagan Roman culture that treated women like property and disregarded the autonomy of a newlywed couple. According to God's plan, when a man and a woman come together in holy matrimony they must sever their ties to parents, grandparents and any other controlling influences from relatives. The man must leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife (see Gen. 2:24). She must "submit," or "become attached to" her husband, rather than continue to relate to her father as her "head."

If we truly want to understand the meaning of Ephesians 5, these cultural factors must be considered. Paul's words to this infant New Testament church were meant to liberate women who had been subjected to a patriarchal system that did not even recognize their personhood. The gospel proclaimed in this passage set in motion a way to revolutionize that culture--and to transform the nature of men who did not know how to love their wives.

How tragic that we have used Paul's liberating words to put women in bondage!

In New Testament times, women were considered the absolute property of their fathers or husbands. They were less valuable than cattle. This is why the Apostle Paul's words to husbands in Ephesians 5:28, "Husbands should love your wives as your own bodies," was such a radical departure from the cultural traditions of the day. The Christian view of husband-wife relationships is one of equality and mutual respect, not domination, control and humiliation.

The National Council on Domestic Violence says a woman is battered every 15 seconds in this country. Tragically, the problem also exists in evangelical churches--but it is often swept under a rug because Christian leaders either don't know how to stop it or can't reconcile the problem with their theology. That's because their own teaching about marriage relationships, particularly their philosophy of wives and "biblical submission," is an underlying cause of this ugly dilemma.

Isn't it time that the church stood up and shined a truly biblical light of truth into the world's dark history of gender bias?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Women and Submission: Finding Middle Ground, pt. 2

1 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:40 AM

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A distraught Christian woman who had been regularly beaten by her husband for four years finally gained the courage to seek counsel from her pastor, who was affiliated with a prominent evangelical denomination. She told him about her husband's addiction to pornography, his fits of rage and how he had once thrown her against a wall so hard that she heard a cracking sound in the back of her neck.

The pastor's response was frightening: "If your husband kills you," he advised, "it will be to the glory of God." Her only option, he told her, was to submit and pray that God would change her husband's heart.

This is perverted! How did we ever invent a "Christian" theology that encourages a woman to risk injury or death at the hands of her husband to please God? How warped this woman's own view of God must be if she accepts this counsel.

The root problem with our theology is that the church has taught that men have a biblical right to dominate--and it has instructed women that their submission to this ungodly behavior is God-ordained suffering, which they must willingly bear. This butchering of biblical texts distorts the character of Christ--who spent much of His time teaching on God's care for the oppressed.

Let's look carefully at a verse that is most often used to promote this wrong view, and set the record straight.

Because the Apostle Paul told women to "submit to your husbands as to the Lord" (Eph. 5:22, NIV), we have assumed this means women have no say in family matters or that their opinion is second-rate. This verse, taken out of context, has been twisted to mean that the husband is the boss and the woman must obey his every whim. We portray marriage as a hierarchy, with husbands on the throne and wives at the footstool.

But this is not a Christian view of marriage at all. The first rule of biblical hermeneutics is that we look at all of Scripture to clarify the meaning of a particular text. So before we can understand this one verse, we must look at what the Bible in general teaches about submission and authority.

In more than one instance Jesus taught that a true leader in the kingdom of God is a servant. He said the greatest must be the least. He told His disciples that they must become as children. He said in Mark 10:44 that "whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all."

How do we apply this passage to marriage? Certainly it should be clear that if a man is called to lead a family, his leadership must be Christlike. He must serve, not dictate. He must display humility, not a know-it-all attitude. He must lead from a position of meekness, not from prideful superiority or tyrannical domination.

In fact, Jesus flatly condemned the worldly style of top-down, hierarchical leadership when he taught that His kingdom was not like that of the Gentiles, whose leaders "lord it over" their subordinates (see Matt. 20:25-26). Why would Christ condemn this kind of behavior on one hand, and then encourage husbands to act in an authoritarian manner at home? He didn't, and neither did the apostle Paul.

When we read Paul's discourse on marriage in Ephesians 5, we must start with verse 21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (NIV). This verse has been conveniently overlooked in many Christian marriage seminars, which usually start the lesson with verse 22, "Wives, submit to your own husbands." I have often heard teachings on the subject of male headship in the home, but I've never heard a pastor encourage men to submit to their wives as it is suggested in verse 21. Yet in a loving marriage, a man and woman will defer to one another as they make decisions.

A closer look at this passage reveals that this teaching begins with verse 21, which encourages all believers to submit to one another "in the fear of the Christ." To promote an attitude of submissiveness in the entire church, Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands, husbands to wives, children to parents and slaves to masters. Submission, not in the sense of domination or rulership over another, but in the sense of preferring one another and not demanding personal rights, should be operating in the entire body of Christ in order to reveal the love of Christ to the world.

We also must note that the Greek word for submission, hupotasso, is written in the Greek middle voice, which means it is something that an individual imposes upon himself or herself. It means to choose to yield to another, rather than demanding one's own way. Submission remains the freewill right of the one choosing to yield. It cannot be demanded or imposed upon an individual from another. When this occurs, it stops being hupotasso and becomes domination, which was an attitude Christ forbade His disciples to operate in with regard to one another (see Matt. 23:10). Submission is not something that can be required or exacted from another person.

The overarching theme of marriage in the Bible is the concept of unity and oneness. Couples should develop a deep level of intimacy and trust that blossoms as they work out differences, share dreams and walk through hardships together. In my 16 years of marriage, my wife and I have had plenty of disagreements: Over finances, over the education of our children and over trivial matters. But when we disagree, I do not announce, "I am the head of this house, so what I say goes." When we reach an impasse, Deborah and I either agree to pray for a season about the matter, or we choose to defer to one another. This is the concept of biblical submission that the apostle Paul attempted to convey in Ephesians. I don't demand my way and Deborah doesn't demand hers. Instead, we both humbly seek after God's way, His will and His purpose. When our hearts are truly His, biblical submission is easy.

The point is never who is right or wrong, or who is in charge. The issue is how we can discover the mind of Christ. I view my wife as an equal. I am not "over her." We function as one.

Paul told husbands, "this is how you love your wives, by giving up your life, your way and your rights, as Christ gave up His. Remember that Christ was Lord of the universe and laid down His crown by submitting Himself unto death. The Bible says He took on the form of a servant. He laid down His life to raise us up. This is the purpose of biblical submission.

We must notice also in studying Ephesians 5 that Paul does not focus the text solely on the need for wifely submission. His words in this passage also stress the loving attitude husbands should demonstrate at home. Men are commanded to love their wives "as Christ loves the church" (v. 25) and "as their own bodies." These words were revolutionary in a first century culture that taught that wives were their husband's property!

Marriages are doomed to serious dysfunction and ultimate failure if the husband views his wife as inferior, or if he arrogantly assumes that God wants him to always have the right answer and the wisest plan in every situation. No! The reason God provided Adam with Eve was because the man couldn't do it alone. He needed an equal partner who complimented him in every way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Women and Submission: Finding Middle Ground, pt. 1

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:39 AM

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A few years ago, Christian reporter Marcia Ford set out to uncover the reason so much spouse abuse occurs in evangelical and charismatic churches. She was aware of the statistics: An estimated four million women are assaulted each year by their current or former spouses. She also had reason to believe that many Christian women were victims in this national trend. But she was surprised to learn, after talking with the director of a prominent counseling clinic, that many of the calls that came into the Rapha Treatment Center's hot line in Dallas not only were from Christians--they were from pastors' wives who said their minister husbands were beating them.

One study Ford discovered while doing her research said that pastors typically did not know how to help women who were being abused by their Christian husbands. In a survey of battered women who successfully escaped their abusers, the women who sought help from pastors were usually told to (1) continue to submit to their husbands and (2) pray for the men that they would stop the abusive behavior. It's no wonder the women ranked clergy last in their ability to provide any helpful guidance.

The church has, unknowingly, created an environment that encourages abuse. We cite familiar Bible passages demanding that wives submit to their husbands without providing any explanation of what submission means in a practical sense, and without outlining what these same biblical passages demand of husbands. Our counseling has been illogical and irresponsible.

After all, if a man erupts in anger at home or is overly demanding, isn't he just demonstrating that he is in charge? Isn't it a godly virtue for Christian men to act strong and authoritarian? Isn't it true that if a man doesn't remain in absolute control, he is in danger of becoming spiritually weak, and thus he opens up a door for spiritual attack on his home? Many evangelical Christian men today might agree with this philosophy--but the logic is ridiculous. (We should also note that Paul told Timothy that a man "given to anger" is not qualified to serve in ministry. See 1 Tim. 3:3)

One of the most comprehensive studies on domestic violence in the church was conducted in the mid-1980s by clinical psychologist Jim M. Alsdurf, a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary. Based on a questionnaire sent to 5,700 Protestant pastors in the United States and Canada, the survey revealed that while most pastors regularly confront spouse abuse in their ministries, they often are not overly concerned because they view the situation from a patriarchal perspective. In essence, this attitude says, "According to the Bible, Christian men are supposed to be in charge of the home, so a little yelling and hitting is OK." Consider Alsdurf's findings:

* 26 percent of the pastors polled said they normally tell a woman who is being abused by her husband that she should continue to submit to him, "and to trust that God would honor her action by either stopping the abuse or giving her the strength to endure it."

* About 25 percent of the respondents said a lack of submissiveness in the wife is what triggered the violence in the first place. In other words, these pastors believe that the abuse is actually the woman's fault. The women are told that if they would "learn to submit," the violence will stop.

* A majority of the pastors said it is better for a woman to tolerate some level of violence in the home--even though it is "not God's perfect will"--than to seek separation that might end in divorce. (Is it "better" even if the woman is killed, maimed or raped?)

* 71 percent of the ministers said they would never advise a battered wife to leave her husband or separate because of abuse, and 92 percent said they would never counsel her to seek divorce.

Christian homes and churches are in a sad state indeed if there have not been significant changes in clergy attitudes since this survey was taken. The Bible is clear on the point that God opposes violence (see Proverbs 21:7, Ezekiel 45:9) and that Jesus Christ warned against those who take advantage of people who are physically weaker (Matthew 18:1-6), yet we are actually promoting a theology that encourages violence when we tell a woman she must learn to "endure" beatings.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Are you an angel? Blame shifting from Christian men to their women

4 comments Posted by Hannah at 9:38 AM

The above link is to an article I have run over a couple of times. The man does have some good points in parts of the article, but he clearly doesn't understand the issue. He was responding to a note asking him after 20+ years of marriage and putting up with battering from her husband - can she leave?

What I see is a very desperate person. It seems her sin was that her note to the author was too short and sweet, and never mentioned she was a sinful person also. His responses started with:

Is it ok to divorce an abusive spouse? No! Jesus stated in Matthew 19:7-8 ...

"They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."

Carefully notice that the woman in the above letter failed to mention even one negative thing about herself. Oh, she must be an angel. It is sinful pride that causes all divorces. Divorce is a sin. America is a feminist nation, and women are twice as likely to file for divorce than men. Look at World Divorce Rates and see how the evils of feminism have destroyed America's families.

You are talking to a very broken person, and start out with "Shame on you for not telling me something negative about YOU also!" The author never addressed the sin of battering the wife, just that she is prideful because never mentioning she is a sinful person also. I guess I would have respected his response - even if I didn't agree with all of it - if he had some just a small portion of compassion towards the person even in a small way. America as a feminist nation has nothing to do directly with the fact that her husband is directly sinning against her by battering her. If the author feels this person is prideful – fine! Where did he address the sin of her husband? Pride doesn’t give others the right to abuse. Whom is more likely to file for divorce according to the stats has nothing to do with addressing the sin. Why he feels he needs to divert the situation doesn’t seem to make any sense to me. One has nothing to do with the other the way he addressed it.

He continues his shame with:

Some husbands are abusive; but 90% of all divorces are needlessly caused by a sinfully proud wife who causes grief for her husband, and he gets mad. A wife who refuses to be submissive causes the marriage to become a two-headed monster. Someone's got to be in charge, or there will be continual conflict. Ideally, a husband and wife should work together on everything; however, in those situations where there is a conflict, the wife is commanded by God to submit to her husband. In fact, Ephesians 5:22 commands a wife to obey her husband as unto Jesus Christ, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." How many wives today obey this Biblical command? It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find such a woman today in America.

Again where is he addressing the sin that has happened within their home? This lady didn’t say enough for him to make assumptions as her submissive nature. This poor man is buying into the myth that his abuse is anchored in no submission - or not enough - to the husband. Its almost like, "Do you blame him?" He is almost lending towards justification of his actions.

I don’t understand WHY he doesn’t mention the role of loving the wife also? He just mentions the headship verse. He then goes on to shame almost the entire gender with fault for the woes of divorce. Women make the men mad because they are sinful, and the men have the additional hurt when she files for divorce. No mention of how men could possibly be feeding into this with battering of their wives! I mean that WAS what the lady was asking about here! Evil is what makes people sin – not one gender pushing another into it! Satan is helping people feel justified to hurt others and this author is telling women, “You made him do it!” Women can’t MAKE men strike their wives! Its called choice to do this or not, and its called self control to NOT strike out even if the person did push your buttons! Men despite the actions of others have a responsibility to themselves, their families and to their Lord. I find it strange when people address the roles and responsibilities of women handed down from God, and not address the other genders in the same fashion. Sin is what causes divorces – not women. Satan hands the men the thought of justifying battering his wife, not her ‘lack’ of submission to him.

This type of article is what starts the "holy hush" about domestic abuse. I will be fair and state that this man didn't say to stay and take the abuse. He did mentioned separation, but no divorce. That's fair. A woman’s lack of submission should never be used as an excuse to hurt her physically. The role of the husband as head doesn’t give him that right either. There is no justification for abuse no matter how HORRIBLE you may think she is!

Listen to what Solomon had to say about the rebellious feminists of his own time ... "And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her." What a contrast from the virtuous wife of Proverb 31:28 ... "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." Which type of woman are you? What does your husband (or X-husband) have to say about you? God knows, and He does care, and you will have to give account for your laziness, carelessness, lies, deceitfulness, maliciousness, words and actions.

Gal 6:1 My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too.

This applies within a marriage as well. Is battering your wife correcting her in a gentle way?

Gal 5:22 God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful,
Gal 5:23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.
Gal 5:24 And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires.
Gal 5:25 God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit.

Is it possible the man that batters his wife is not living the above? Are we not asked to do this despite the actions of others? Screaming feminism is at fault isn’t going to fix anything.

Even if the wife is not the Proverbs 31 woman God still asks of others:
(Luk 6:35 ASV) But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.

God will account for the abuses against the wife as well. This author is telling people (either men or women that are abused) that the real cause of the abuse is not sin but, “your laziness, carelessness, lies, deceitfulness, maliciousness, words and actions.” If a true abuser read his article he would be taking feminism, and her not being this Proverbs 31 woman as justification to beat her.

Is this not what Ephesians 4:31-32 teach? ... "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Feminism teaches the exact opposite ... "Get out now honey, while you still can! God never intended for us to live in misery with an abusive spouse. The Bible says a husband is supposed to love his wife. If your husband loved you, he would treat you better. You would be a fool to go back home again--divorce! divorce! divorce!" I know exactly what those monsters say, and how deceitful they are! Please read this article, because it is so true concerning America today.

I wonder if this anti-feminist ever handed an abuser the scripture he is handing the abused? Abuse isn't a gender issue - there are plenty of men out there in the same boat women are. I guess he would blame them for not "taking control of his house and being the headship". Again ignoring the entire dynamics of the relationship. As if, "BE a man!" is going to fix it. Its attitudes like this author has that encourages abused parties to listen to what he calls the enemy – feminists – and not look towards it being evil and sin! OUCH! He doesn't even see it though. That is the sad part. Feminist views didn't start domestic violence in the church. The mindset of the abuser did with the help of Satan! ABUSE is the real issue, and people need to stop covering it with excuses like submission and headship. There is no excuse for abuse even if your wife was a RAGING feminist! We are all expected to show love - even towards our enemies - and yet I don't see that in his article.

I receive quite a few letters from people--who demonize their spouse, seeking to alleviate their own guilt because they CHOSE to divorce. The fact that such people continually seek to find peace from their guilt proves that they've sinned.

I wonder if he has ever had a discussion with his wife or friend about a decision he made that in his soul he knew was right, but there was a bit of hesitation. People fight doubts all the time with decisions they make. Its usually times when we know the decision will hurt and effect a lot of life’s - even if it is just a dot on the radar. We humans have all had this happen. Seeking peace from fellowship from others does not prove you made the wrong decision. That is completely NUTS! He said something about its like when you abort your child, and ask for support afterwards….you actually just trying to justify the action and escape your sin. Okay then. ??? Those statements made no sense at all.

I wonder about these “demonize” letters he speaks about. I mean he is assuming the woman that wrote him a couple of sentences is a raging feminist that caused her husband to strike her, and her lack of living her role is the real issue! Why? LOL because she didn’t mention something BAD she did also!

They are sinfully divorcing their spouse, and have gained the emotional support of several neo-evangelical deadbeat ministries; BUT, now they've found my article exposing the sin of divorce and are upset. They write me in an attempt to convince me why they're doing the right thing. Folks, divorce is never right. What if God quit on us the way so many people quit on their spouse? Hebrews 13:5 promises that God will never leave nor forsake us. This is the standard for us to follow.

Abusing your spouse is quitting on yourself. It shows a clear lack of character, and that person has forsaken his/her family by doing so.

He had received letters from people stating that their church families (who I would assume took a look at the whole picture - not just the feminist view), and encouraged safety and peace in the only way they could find. Separation is fine, but in some areas - remember laws do vary - don’t' always protect the parties while the abuser gets his head on straight. There are all kinds of circumstances that could have lead to this decision. Who knows what they told the party about remarriage...I notice how he didn't bring up that part! I don't see this author standing up and stating what families should do when one spouse (again man or women) is forsaking their families. Only if you give up in anyway - you should be ashamed. Never do I see accountability of both sides in this article. If the church wishes to support the family members left they are now going to own the label: neo-evangelical deadbeat ministries according to him. I don't take issue with this man's stand on divorce. I take issue with his closed-minded views that throw blame out there, and refusal to speak as harshly to the other end of the equation. He is blaming everything under the sun except sin and Satan.

In nearly all divorces, the husband and wife BOTH have their own side of the story as to who's to blame. Usually, they blame each other. God will weigh the matter on judgment day, and the truth will come out. The wife who accuses her husband of "abuse" will be held accountable for all the things she did to provoke her husband, and she will be judged accordingly. It's the same morons who call spanking a child "abuse" who are attacking and labeling husbands as being "abusive." The term "abuse" has been greatly twisted nowadays. Every God-hating feminist in the country is still trying to use the O.J. Simpson case to demonize men. Men who track their wife's time are now considered "abusive." Biblically, a husband has every right to tract his wife's time and whereabouts. God told Eve that Adam would RULE OVER her (Genesis 3:16). This does not justify abuse, it just means that the wife is to submit to her husband's control and authority. Feminists hate the very concept of obeying any man.

The man will be judged accordingly if he was abusing also. Man is not to RULE over her with the attitude he is pushing - that would validate abuse of his wife because he is the RULER! I realize he says that is not what he meant, but he is also trying to justify WHY a man would abuse - there is no justification! LOL not even feminism! Remember the role of the husband: he is to love her like Christ loved the church. I guess I could throw out a crazy thought of if men would follow their roles of loving their wives as God intended Feminism wouldn’t be an issue. There is tracking the spouse's whereabouts, and their is "over kill" of that. LOL there is a difference! There is a difference between dominating her with his will, and asking, "What does your day look like?" Both are NOT acceptable to God!

In conclusion. It is wrong to divorce an abusive spouse (wife or husband). You may need to leave, and be apart for a while; but divorce is no answer. I find that in most cases that when a wife leaves her husband, she involves all sorts of strangers in the marriage, and they are quick to give heathen advice (such as divorce). Very few husbands will compromise with a wife who tries to force him to do things her way. So instead of the wife calling her husband, and giving him a chance to work things out, she instead just files for divorce. This is wickedness. Most women who file for divorce don't give their husband an honest chance to make things right. It's always some lame excuse like, "He's had plenty of chances." That is sinful pride! What if God said that about you? You'd be in Hell. You CANNOT show me even one Scripture in the Word of God that gives anyone permission to divorce because of abuse.

Boy he seems like an angry man. Doesn’t he? There is scripture that speaks of the ways to NOT treat people. There are verses that speak against abusive nature. God didn’t hand man the right or the justification to abuse another.

LOL I guess feminists aren't the only heathen source here! WOW we are making progress! When people abuse they do need to compromise in some areas. Wives and Husbands that are willing to work things out with their spouses SHOULD be able to voice their needs and concerns! Those had been trampled on, and to say people shouldn't be forced to look at that is SCREWY I'm sorry! Respect should be handed towards both parties. Loving actions and concern should be handed both ways. I'm sure the abused party at times feels tromped on when asked to leave, and told there are now issues we have to address and deal with in order to fix - and "I'm sorry" is just a start! The poor author has no idea what an abusive mindset is! Again gender isn't an issue! People have choice to be evil, and other parties didn't FORCE them into that role! Repentance - true repentance - and working on the different layers of sin involved within the relationship - including denial of things on both ends needs to happen. Being told clearly what those issues are – and being told I can’t return to you until I feel safe enough to do so – isn’t unreasonable nor is it demanding of anything ungodly!

Paul Hegstrom was an abuser. In his situation a short period of time, and his wife not demanding her rights as a human would NOT have changed a thing! You can ask him if the problems stemmed from feminism or lack of submission...I bet he would tell you NO! It was his sin and his actions that lead his family to flee from him. It was not selfish, hard hearted people that chose to leave him to his evil so they could survive! He was his abuse that he shoved down their throats because of a deep seeded rage within him. Was there cause? Of course there was cause of his abusive nature - it was NOT his family though! He took 7 years of continued sin and actually got WORSE after he left before he did anything about it. Was it the family’s fault he continued? NO! It was his fault! After he was completely broken he decided he had a choice - keep living his misery or find Christ and have him help him change into the person he wanted him to be. He could have gone either way - but he chooses Christ. There are a lot of stories of reformed abusers, and NOT ONE OF THEM mentioned feminism as the excuse! NOT ONE OF THEM mentioned his wife not being the Proverbs 31 wife, and that was the cause of their abuse. Abuse exists and not because of feminism. It has always existed even before the word had meaning. The bible speaks of abuse of all sorts, and never did it say take on their sin as your fault.

I'm sure this author meant well, but he clearly is shifting too much blame to feminism and not the sin of people. His view is clearly pushing the women's fault it if doesn't work out. I'm sure he would say it was the man's fault as well if the roles were reversed - I will give him that. Its attitudes like this that shoves abuse within families back into their silent worlds of terror. Does this author truly think women in "REAL" trouble would come to someone like him that will yell at them for not stating their wrongs just as much before actually LOOKING at the situation! There is plenty of wrong I am sure on both sides - handing more guilt, shame, etc to the one that is asking for help isn't going to help either party.

This is a great example of the Holy Hush within the church, and how it happens. The shattered silence of the abused parties within the church will only happen once people stop 'stereotyping" people so hard, and actually LOOK at what is happening! Stop the blame game of the victims, and stop handing feminism power with LOONEY validation! Take another look at the verses of the genders. Look at the verses on what love is to look like. Grasp the concept of what abuse is - and stop handing people GREAT excuses for it to continue.

I pray that this poor man has some enlightenment and wisdom handed to him before he hurts families with his views. NO I don't plan on writing him - he won't hear me, nor will he attempt. He will just tell me I'm a feminist. LOL! I have never owned extreme feminist values, but he will tell me I do. I just plan on praying for him and his family and all those that encounter him. In my view they really need that.

Abuse is caused by sin. Nothing else. Blaming gender roles, ideal ways to be lived isn’t going to fix it either. Attack the sin of abuse…..stop the blame and shame.

What is funny is I found this article by the same author addressing abusive husbands. The article is like night and day! Here is the link!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Radio Interview with Susie and Paul Luchsinger - A Tender Road Home

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 10:29 AM

Don't forget to click the title to straight to the source of this interview. Family Life Today is a ministry that did this interview.

Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling and coercive behavior which can involve physical, sexual, economic, emotional and psychological abuse. On this week's broadcast, Dennis Rainey talks with award-winning Christian country artist Susie Luchsinger and her husband, Paul, about the strain spousal abuse inflicts on a marriage.

Confronting Abuse (Day 1) - 25 minutes Real Player

Paul's jealousy, anger and high-control personality contributed to his abusive behavior. On today's broadcast, award-winning country gospel singer Susie Luchsinger and her husband, Paul, tell Dennis Rainey how their faith in God helped them stay together and re-align their marriage according to His plan.

The Healing Path (Day 2) - 25 Minutes Real Player

The physical abuse had stopped years ago, but the anger still lay there festering in Paul's heart, ready to lash out at the slightest provocation. Today on the broadcast, Paul and Susie Luchsinger, a professional bull rider and an award-winning Christian country artist respectively, talk with Dennis Rainey about the emotional abuse that continued in their marriage even after the physical abuse ceased.

Digging Up the Roots (Day 3) - 25 Minutes Real Player

On today's broadcast, award-winning singer, Susie Luchsinger, and her husband Paul, a professional bull rider, talk openly about the drastic steps they had to take to end the emotional abuse occurring in their marriage.

Moving Mountains (Day 4) - 25 minutes Real Player

Nothing is impossible with God. On today's broadcast, Dennis Rainey hears from Paul and Susie Luchsinger, a couple finding their way back home after a long battle with physical and emotional abuse.

Hoping in the Healer (Day 5) - 25 minutes Real Player

Their Website
Tender Road Home - Their Book

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Should Be Dead – But I’m Not! Testimony of Jocelyn Andersen

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 8:02 AM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My pastors and I had made the difficult decision not to hide the abuse from our church family any longer. As a member of the Praise Team, I was accustomed to standing before the congregation, but this particular evening, the bruises on my face made the public appearance a bit more difficult.

Due to the unusual absence of my husband, the person responsible for the bruises and an associate pastor of our church, it was imperative that the issue be dealt with as quickly, delicately and honestly as possible.

He was evading arrest. This was the second time within six months he had tried to kill me.


In my distress, I called upon the Lord….

Friday, 8:30 a.m., August 29, 2003

“Jesus won’t help you!”

With those words ringing in my ears, John’s loafer-encased foot came crashing down onto my face. Then, as suddenly as the violence started—it stopped.

I sent up a silent prayer of thanks to the Lord saying, “Yes you did help me, because everything stopped.”

It hadn’t yet occurred to me that I was lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, in the opposite direction and in a completely different position than I had been in just moments (or so I thought) before when I had cried out to Jesus for help.

It wasn’t until John stopped his ranting and frenzied pacing back and forth, looked down at me, and said, “Oh my God, look at you,” that I realized something else must have happened. It also began to dawn on me that I could not raise myself up from the floor. I wasn’t in any pain; I simply could not get up.

After John lifted me off the floor at my request, I knew I must have been injured very badly. Besides not being able to sit or stand without assistance, I was afraid I was going into shock; although it was August and very hot outside, I was freezing. I was shivering violently.

I asked him if he would take me to the emergency room. He said, “No, you’ll call the police.” When I asked if I could call someone else to take me to the emergency room, he said, “No, either God will take care of you or he won’t.”

It was obvious he was afraid he had fatally injured me, and I could see that my repeated requests for help were beginning to agitate him. I knew I had said all I could safely get away with, so from that point on, I would ask for help only from God. I consigned myself to his care and began praying for rescue.

There was a telephone on the nightstand just next to the bed I was lying on, but I was too injured to even reach for it. Unable to do the slightest thing for myself, a portion of the sermon our assistant pastor had preached just two days previously kept running and rerunning through my mind, “The devil,” he said, “comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come….” Those words were a like a lifeline to me. I repeated them over and over to myself and said to the Lord, “You came, Jesus. You came.”

But the circumstances looked hopeless. I was injured, isolated and completely helpless. I was at the mercy of a man who had just tried to kill me and was steadfastly refusing to allow me to receive help of any kind. He was more willing to allow me to die than to face arrest and possible incarceration for attacking me.

John was on a frightening emotional roller coaster. His behavior was erratic and unpredictable. At times he appeared very calm, then for no apparent reason, he would begin raging against women—particularly those he felt wanted to rule over men. I knew my position was precarious at best. Whenever I was forced to speak to him or answer his questions, I had to choose my words very carefully. I knew only the Holy Spirit could navigate the minefield I now found myself in and keep me alive until help came.

It concerned me greatly, that I didn’t have a definite sense of the Lord’s presence. I remember thinking, “God, where are you?” He answered my question with a question of his own, “Do you feel this peace?”

Yes I did.

And I knew that peace only came from one source—God. It was good to know I wasn’t alone.

I hadn’t looked in the mirror, so I didn’t know I had what the emergency room physician would later describe as “raccoon eyes.” I had not yet seen that my right jaw was grotesquely swollen, though it concerned me that I could not close my mouth completely (I could not bring my teeth together). I did know that I could not sit or stand without assistance (walking was completely out of the question). I was very nauseous, and each time John lifted me to a sitting position, I began retching violently. If he let go of me, I collapsed like a rag doll. I was having problems with my vision; whenever I moved even slightly, the vertical hold on the room would spin out of control. Within a short time, I also realized blood was seeping from both ears. My right hand and arm were fairly useless, and (besides a mild headache) were the only source of pain I experienced. That was my condition for the next 20 hours or so.

Sometime during the night I woke up and realized I felt different. I felt better.

I thought, “I think I can sit up,” and I sat up.

I thought, “I think I can stand up,” and I stood up.

I thought, “I think I can walk.” And I walked!

I knew that a supernatural healing from God had just taken place.

This was an exciting development. The first thing that occurred to me, of course, was not to tell John. I reasoned that if he thought I was still helpless, he might let his guard down, and I could escape. But instructions from the Holy Spirit came quickly and clearly—I was not to try and deceive him. It didn’t seem logical, but I knew I had heard from God, so the next morning I confided to him that I had been able to get up by myself during the night. His answer was chilling. He said, “I know—I was awake.”

But the peace of God guarded my heart, and I was in a deep sleep most of the time. I awoke at some point during the second morning and found myself alone; of course I headed straight for the phone. But it wasn’t there. John had removed all of the phones from the house.

This was a big problem, because even though the visual disturbances I had been experiencing were now under control, my balance was still extremely bad, and I was too slow and unsteady on my feet to attempt leaving the house with no guarantee that anyone near by would be at home to help me.

We had a large fenced yard that, in my condition, looked as large as a football field. I knew it would take me quite a while just to make it to the street. And if John came home before I cleared the yard, it would take no effort at all for him to drag me back inside. If that happened, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would not survive the consequences of trying to escape. I was confident the Spirit of the Lord was leading me not to try just yet, so I laid back down and drifted off to sleep.

When John returned, I asked, “Am I a prisoner?”

He said, “No.”

I was nervous about questioning him, but felt a boldness to go on, “Then why are all the phones gone?” I asked.

He said he had removed them so I would not call the police. I promised him, before God, that if he would return the phones I would not call the police; and he did. Then he left again!

But now I had another problem. I had made a vow before God that I would not call the police. I stared at the phone and mentally worked through my options—breaking my vow was not one of them.

I didn’t know how much time I had before John returned and anyone I could think of to call lived a good twenty miles away. Simple things overwhelmed me. I couldn’t remember phone numbers, and I didn’t have my cell phone with my frequently called numbers programmed in it. The phone book wasn’t any help, because (besides my mother and my pastor) I couldn’t think of anyone to call. I couldn’t remember who I knew. I picked up the cordless phone, looked at it, thought about it—then carefully replaced it.

I knew I was having a hard time thinking clearly, but, again, I was confident God was leading. John returned after being gone only a short while and made a point of looking to see if the phone had been moved. It hadn’t. I had returned it exactly as he left it. Then after a few hours, he left again.

This time with no hesitation, I picked up the phone and quickly dialed my pastor’s cell phone number. God’s timing is always perfect. My pastor and his wife were in my neighborhood, just blocks from my home. Within minutes I was safely on my way to the emergency room where X-rays and an MRI confirmed what I already knew; nothing was broken, and there was no internal bleeding, because God had already healed me of the most serious of the injuries inflicted 32 hours earlier.


There is no doubt in my mind that I should not be alive today. Had it not been for the immediate and supernatural intervention of a great and mighty God, my life and death would already be a statistic. My family and friends would most certainly have found me within a few days—beaten to death.

And every year on August 29th, they would celebrate a grizzly anniversary. Some of them would make regular pilgrimages to my gravesite to offer me flowers and heavy hearts filled with remorse. They would remember missed opportunities, and guilt would gnaw at them for the miserable comforts they had offered in their frantic concern for my safety. They would wish with all their hearts they could take back unkind and condescending words they now understood had only acted as wedges—alienating them from their beloved daughter, sister, mother or friend.

But what could they have done differently? What could my Pastor, family or friends have said or done that could have helped me? What could I have done that could have helped me, and why couldn’t I have done it sooner?

These questions must be answered. Lives depend on it.

It is time to stop all the useless rhetoric. Why doesn’t she just leave? If she stays, she deserves what she gets, well if I were her….

Well we’re not!

There was a time in my own life when I used to say the same hateful things. I knew that I would never tolerate abuse. My attitude towards the battered woman was more condescending than compassionate. Certainly she was an object of my pity but more so of my contempt—until I unwillingly joined her ranks.

Then I experienced first hand the terrible dynamics that bind a wife to an abusive husband.

If these articles help shed only a little light into a very dark arena from the perspective of one who has been there but is there no longer, if it can help induce compassion where formerly there was little or none, perhaps save a few lives and give a happy ending to someone else’s story, then they will have accomplished their purpose.

In this I am reminded of the story about a small boy walking along a beach that was littered with dying starfish. It seemed thousands of them had been washed ashore, but the little boy walked patiently among them throwing them back, one by one, into the ocean.

A gentleman approached the boy and asked why he bothered. How in the world, the man asked, did he think he could make a difference? There were just too many to throw them all back. In reply, the little boy simply picked up another starfish, tossed it into the waves and said, “It makes a difference to this one.”

Being a support to a battered or abused woman is a frustrating experience at best and fearful at worst. She is often indecisive and cannot be counted on to follow through with her declarations and promises to get out of the line of fire. Her abuser holds tremendous emotional sway over her—and we don’t. The temptation is great to throw up our hands and say, “I’m through with you! You deserve what you get! Let yourself be beaten to death if that’s what you want!”

But don’t do it.

We need to remember that we are simply inconvenienced—she is genuinely suffering. Our friendship and support can make all the difference to an abused woman in the face of seemingly overwhelming circumstances. Our friendship and support can help make her existence a little more bearable, thereby giving her the strength to make choices that, ultimately, may help to change her circumstances—and possibly even save her life.


There is no doubt in my mind that I should not be alive to be writing these articles today. But even if I had died on August 29th, 2003--I would still have been all right, because I have the assurance of eternal you? If not--click this text (Articles author's website) to find out how to "Live Forever!"

Friday, November 03, 2006

Poem about life, abuse, fellowship and growth

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 10:12 PM

This is a poem from a lady we call MUNCH! It speaks of the her past, and how friends and fellowship brought her to a new place. I believe when you come to a new place - that is where your growth begins.

I'd built this mighty fortress
Around my little heart.
How could I know
With only words,
My walls you'd tear apart?

The battlement was bricked so high
The walls of rock and steel
A deep, wide moat
Locale remote
Safe guarding how I feel.

And deep inside my fortress
Emotions, safe in place
Against marauding
Bands of folks
Protected in this space.

I'd kept protected all my needs
I'd walled in all my fears
There was a risk
I dared not take
Lest others got too near.

I could not ever be afraid
To cry, was not so strong
I dared not ever
"Weakness" show
They'd come, that mighty throng!

It'd been so very many years
I've lived within this wall
I'd felt so very
Safe, secure
No fear of breach at all.

But in a momentary lapse
I let my feelings out
To run across
The fortress wall
I let them scream and shout.

I knew attention they could draw
But, in the dark of night?
Who would be there?
Oh, who would care?
I felt it'd be alright.

Around the parapets and walls
And ramparts built so high
The "Fear" came first
the rest did burst
Their little feet did fly!

"Anger", "Shame" and "Pity"
Did from the depths burst forth
Then "Pain"
And "Insecurity"
They ran for all their worth.

The "Lonesomeness" and "Sorrow"
The "Weariness" and "Stress"
My feelings were
Exposed to all
I could not hide the rest.

The "Worthlessness" and "Sadness"
And "Lack of Self Esteeme"
My "Pillar of Strength"
And "Friend To All"
Plus everything between


With your words of kind intent
And deepest empathy
You one by one
Invaded some
And started on the seige.

I did not know that you could swim
My moat so deep and wide
But swim you did
You crossed and hid
Perchance to get inside.

Then with each thoughtful printed word
The blocks from walls were slid
And one by one
I came undone
Myself, no longer hid.

I'd been invaded by the hordes
You came from out the blue
Sometimes laughter
Sometimes tears
My fear, it had come true

And one by one you've entered
My haven deep inside
You've seen me laugh
You've seen me cry
I've nothing left to hide

All my emotions running 'round
So carefully hid before
Are now exposed
And clearly seen
By you, inside my doors.

I feel I must inform you
Since entrance, you've now had...
I wouldn't have dared
To let you in
But, hey.... it's not that bad.

I've found I like the company.
Companion, mentor, friend
The sharing
Of emotions
And to this means, an end.

I am no longer quite as scared
To share these things, you see
The fearful or
The funny
They're all a part of me.

'Cause you could clearly see from
Your places 'round the globe
That I was just
In need of LOVE...
An' you weren't afraid to probe.

O'er water and through hard surface
Into the inner core
To feelings
deep inside me
I dared not share before.

And for this, I am indebted
For indeed you are my friend
You came
You saw
You conquered. My solitude, does end.

I've since then fixed the hole you made
Through my fortress wall
Instead of block
and brick and steel
It's now... a door for y'all.

A bridge I've built across the moat
For comfort and for ease
So you may come
And you may go
To visit as you please.

I may not ever get to see you
Live or face to face
But be aware
That in my heart
You'll always have a place.

I still live within my fortress
But now I'm not alone
I have support
And friendship
And LOVE, like I've never known.

By Munchkin

She dedicated this poem to her friends........

Thursday, November 02, 2006

'Kelly Clarkson - Because of You'

0 comments Posted by Hannah at 10:04 PM

'Kelly Clarkson - Because of You'

Video about a child - and effects of abuse. Its not faith based, but you can see how things effected her into her adulthood. How she made the choice not to continue the cycle.

'Kelly Clarkson - Because of You Video' I found on a site out of the country, and I also included a link the 'Kelly Clarkson - Because of you on You Tube' right below the embeded video!

I have also included 'Kelly Clarkson - Because of You Lyric's right below the video links!

To me this is a very powerful song!

Because of You - On You Tube

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself cause my heart so much misery
I will not break the way you did
You fell so hard
I’ve learned the hard way, to never let it get that far

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side
So I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust
Not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I lose my way
And it’s not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes
I’m forced to fake, a smile, a laugh
Every day of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

I watched you die
I heard you cry
Every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry
In the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side
So I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I tried my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don’t know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty
Because of you
I am afraid

Because of you
Because of you

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