Over the past year, I've been taking classes at Safe Place Ministries, and there aren't many places in the world where I've felt more love. The ministry started to help women deal with abuse, but in the Christian world, people don't like to call it abuse, so it's called "dysfunctional relationships." And there are a lot of them out there. Including in the church.
One of the popular sayings at Safe Place is "God is not a weirdo." This means two things to me.
1.) God tells women to submit to their husbands, but submission isn't about trying to make your husband happy. Because as much as God hates divorce, he hates to see his children mistreated. The submission thing works both ways. And, honestly, letting your husband mistreat you is not the loving thing to do. It's the fearful thing to do.
In the church, "dysfunctional relationships" can be defended with what people mistake for the biblical idea of submission. "Your husband doesn't treat you with love? Well, just fix him the meals he likes. Sacrifice your wants for his. Do what he asks you to do." In a healthy relationship, this kind of behavior is going to be reciprocated. In an abusive relationship, this won't help because, by definition, abuse ALWAYS get worse.
I am not an advocate of divorce by any means. It's heart breaking. And family breaking. There are ways to set boundaries and invite your spouse (or whoever the abuser is) into a healthy relationship. If they choose not to respect your boundaries, then they are the ones choosing to end the marriage/relationship.
This is quite possibly the scariest thing on earth. But that's where you have to trust in God. Trusting in God doesn't mean allowing yourself to be abused to keep from getting divorced. God doesn't want that just like your earthly father wouldn't want that. That would be weird. He loves you and cares if you are hurting.
2.) If you ask God for wisdom, he will give it to you. We have the Bible to read for wisdom, but that's a big book, and though I highly recommend reading it, the Bible can be overwhelming at first. Also, it's not a formula. Nobody else can tell you what you need to do in your situation. You get to make those choices. And no matter what choice you make, whether it's a good or bad one, God will be there for you. How refreshing is that?
Before healing, Jesus would ask, "Do you want to be healed?" If the person said yes, he'd heal them. That's simple.
This is where your belief in God is personal and relational. If you want help, tell God, then listen for his answer. It will come in all different forms. Maybe in scripture. Maybe through a song. Maybe from a friend. But the truth is that it will come.
If you need help, God isn't going to make you jump through hoops. That would be weird. He's here to help.
So that's where I am right now. I'm basking in God's love, and I'm excited to share it with others.