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“But I’m a Christian…”

This blog topic sits very close to my heart, so close in fact that it could possibly be the driving reason behind my willingness to 'bare my soul' as it were, every time I sit down to write anything. "But I'm a Christian..."

I struggled and struggled for years in my marriage because I felt that I didn't really have any options.  I have deep faith in God and His love for me and I also knew that He loved my husband....I thought that I had to be long suffering, to be humble and strong, leaning on God to get me through.  Oh He definitely got me through those years, make no mistake but I became more and more withdrawn and isolated due to my belief that I had this job to do..to pray for my husband and to just keep my head down. Where did that come from ?!  I now can look back and see how I think He just said "Enough!" one day and He lifted me and my children out of that situation.

When I called the Crisis Line at Inasmuch House, my idea was just to kind of get someone else's opinion on what was going on..to run it by someone and see if they thought what I was going through was normal (seriously, those were my thoughts..like having my husband so mad at me that he turned the keys off twice while I was driving, that I had fled with the kids and slept on a warehouse floor, that he had cornered me in the bathroom that morning when I came home...like this was all normal!) The police had given me a pamphlet (after I called them from my cell phone in the bathroom) and for the first time I seriously thought about talking to someone.  The lady on the other end of the phone listened, asked a couple of key questions then offered the most wonderful insight when I said " Well I can't leave, I'm a Christian ".

" This isn't making God happy, this is not what He wants for you".

Wow.  So strange even today to think that such a simple sentence could have such a big impact.

I am still a Christian but that term unfortunately (get mad at me if you want) carries a lot of negative baggage.  Even yesterday I was shown a clip on YouTube of Pat Robinson making ridiculous comments about domestic violence that make me cringe (I've never been a fan of that guy!)  The truth is that Domestic Violence is not talked about enough from pulpits.  The silence that surrounds it increases the taboo and I think that there is frankly a lot of confusion out there about what is the right and wrong view to have.  So yes I'm a Christian but I want that to be more about the fact that I'm a believer in Jesus and the relationship that I have with Him than the culture of Christianity.  God is my strength and my protection, He has saved my butt many times and I am totally amazed that I can talk to Him like a friend.  I am passionate about breaking the barriers around DV and the Church and fortunately I have found a great church whose pastor listens patiently to me go on about my passion for helping women and children who struggle like me.  Thanks Dave and Church On The Rock!

I wrote to a prominent Christian magazine last year because I seriously took offense to an article they had published that encouraged women to do exactly what I had done...stay and pray.  I challenged them to use their resources to start some conversations about DV and the effects on children because that sure as heck wasn't taken into consideration in the article.  Anyways I didn't hear back from them, not surprising considering I probably should have sat on that email 24 hours before sending!

I'm aware that this is a touchy subject but this is my story so I get to tell it.  Christianity is not the only religion or faith or whatever you want to call it that puts the  pressure on women to stay in abusive relationships.  What is your story? let us know and we can start a conversation of our own.

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About cjw

A mother of three and a survivor of domestic violence, I am passionate about helping women who feel isolated and alone, women who may have children that are profoundly impacted by the trauma of domestic violence and women who need to understand where they can go to get help for themselves and their families. I am a registered nurse who has worked for the last 16 years in a critical care area only to have to flee to a women's shelter and have my whole life changed. I know fear, I know pain and I now know food banks...I'm in good company.
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