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TRUST JESUS TODAY
Target audience: Christians stuck in abusive relationships or recovering from them and Pastors/counsellors. I decided that it was time to rewrite the book I wrote. It was a first book and I did not have the resources available to me I do now. For very practical reasons I think, unless a publisher swoops down from nowhere, I will still self publish -probably with lulu.com as I tend to use the books more for ministry than to reach a wide audience and not every-one will need my book. I am a bit worried about the over use of cliche and also a little concerned about putting so much private information 'out there' that the people who caused me harm (some of whom are very different now because God has worked miracles-but to say so would identify them,)any offence.
Foreword and testimony
This book is written for any-one who suffers from the effects of abusive relationships. It is written from a Christian point of view and primarily directed at anyone who is suffering from domestic violence issues.
Somewhere about the year 2000 my life fell apart. It seemed as if the ramifications of every abusive relationship I had ever experienced rolled themselves up into a concrete ball and smashed themselves with a great force into the middle of my so called 'mature' Christian life.
I was in denial. My marriage had become abusive. At work I was abused by a colleague who used subtle ways to undermine me and I could no longer handle the way in which some other family members were treating me.
If anyone asked how I was I felt honour bound to say that I was fine. After all, I could not let Jesus down could I?
Events at home and at work escalated far beyond my control. The death of a very dear friend seemed to steal all my strength and resources as I dealt with the grieving process. At work my line manager was abusive and blamed me for things that were not my fault and I had no energy to fight back. At home my teenage daughter spiralled out of control and my husband retreated into silence and refused to help. I learned that a family member had been abused while I was evangelising and had great issues with God over that. I felt that in every area of life, I was alone. My faith in God spiralled to zero and I stopped going to church. Where was God in the mess that had become my life? My deeper secret was the extent of physical abuse that I was experiencing and how I was sometimes going to work with bruises to hide.
I couldn't keep it together any more. I visited the doctor and told him I was worried about the way I was. I seemed to be shouting all the time and felt I was verbally abusive. I cried and shouted, even at God. Life was a mess.
One day I did a web search on the term, 'verbal abuse.' It led me to read about other types of abuse in a new way. I had taught classes on child abuse and knew the theory, but I could not apply the theories I taught to myself. It was too hard to face the truth. I was a Christian, and I was abused. I was a Christian, and I was also abusive. If you live with abuse, then you will start to act out on that abuse.
The doctor gave me pills and the pills stole my reason. I seemed to lost the plot and became very, very depressed. I was angry. Angry at myself. Angry at those who had abused me, and angry at God because he clearly had not answered my prayers.
Worse still, the pills I was given are now known to make a small percentage of people who take them feel suicidal and I was one of those people.
New Road Baptist Church here in Oxford, UK has a large and powerful cross hanging above the altar. The church was open during the day and I would often make my way there and sit on one of the chairs in the church looking at the crown of thorns that hangs round it. I would say to Jesus, “You understand. They hated you too.” That was about all I could pray. I would also tell Him I wanted to die.
The turning point came when I was holding a bottle of pills tempted to end it all. In a huge effort of will I threw the bottle across the room. “God? What do Christians do when they get into a mess like this?”
When you have nothing left, then there is nothing to lose. Obedience is not something you have to feel. It is something you do even if you do not feel like doing it and I did not feel like doing anything. I am so glad that I made the first small step because in rational terms praising God for every little bad thing seemed a very stupid thing to do. I threw myself into a kind of frenzy of praising God for every thing that had happened to me.
THE PHONE RANG
“This is Pastor _________. The Holy Spirit told me to help you.”
I hardly remembered who this Pastor was. I had been to his church once and as far as I could remember had shaken his hand. I was certain I had said I did not want a visit.
When you pray out of obedience and then the Holy Spirit prompts someone to ring you straight away you can hardly refuse the offer made to help you. All along I had wanted Christian counselling but not been able to find it. Now I had it.
The counselling lasted six weeks and I don't remember that I did more than talk, but it did get me going back to church.
I decided I would sit in the back row and that my ministry was over and that I needed just to be a background member of a church. I was convinced that my career was over. For the rest of my life, I wanted to hide and be a hidden Christian unnoticed on a Sunday morning in the church pew.
God had another plan. I began to write poems and started to make them known. I heard a sermon about using your talents and feeling too fragile to write a book, took myself to a recording studio and made a CD. My husband divorced me and I coped. I began to stand up for myself in other areas. I began to teach again and found that I could do it. I took myself to a healing ministry once a month for two years and made sure that I exhausted every need for prayer in my life I could find.
Life was not over. God moved me to a church where I was made a Minister. I was amazed. God is amazing. In the darkest hour there is a point where God sows a seed of hope and builds on it if you will let Him.
In it all, there was one thing I had to came to terms with. You cannot stay in a situation where things are so abusive that they steal the abundant life that God wants to give to you.
I learned that abuse is a thief of spiritual life and for that reason, I wrote this book.Foreword and testimony
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