Watching this video I was a child again.
It validated experiences I had growing up. It made me sad. I grieve watching it for beyond my own experiences, as I know three women who are living right now in this sort of marriage.
- One is married to an elder in my church. (Actually, he was an elder at the time that she talked to me. We were in a Bible study together.) He had anger and control issues, perpetrated in the name of “biblical submission.”
- Another friend stays in an habitually abusive marriage out of love and commitment to her husband saying “Would you leave your husband if he had cancer? Then how could you leave if he has a mental illness?” I’m not saying that she should leave her marriage, but I grieve that she is so alone! And I am ill equipped to help, though I listen.
- Another friend asks for prayer for friends whose marriage that is in trouble saying he “may be abusive” but likely she “may be making it all up.”
You never know when someone is a perpetrator of rage and control. I can tell you with assurance that is the most unlikely person.
I grew up in a home where my father was in ministry and was a generous, gracious loving God-fearing man. To this day when I write openly about my experiences growing up (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and I only stop because the list is endless. He’s one of the reasons I started my blog.)
Here is the best example of what it felt like growing up.
To this day I have people who say to me “I knew your father…” implying that somehow perhaps I didn’t, though I lived in his home for nearly two decades and worked for him for many years. They imply by their statement that my experience and my mother’s and my sister’s didn’t happen. The man in this video could have been my father — except Dad had a lot more personality!
The video below is one of the best that I have ever seen that talked about raging in a home as a domestic violence. It made me feel “less alone” when it comes to domestic violence which is not always physical! It was not physical in my home, except one time when my parents were first married my father put my mother’s head through a wall. This was before I was born, but he put it in his book and that is how I heard about it. Even though he wrote about his anger he was unable to change. And it became the Achilles heal for him over and over again, hurting people around him. It was a significant factor in my spiritual life and my perceptions of God.
It is real and destructive and is painful for me to this day. I so wish that my father could have found this kind of help and felt it was safe to “come out” the way the brave heroes in this video have. I so wish the church was better equipped to help women who do suffer in this way and could create a context where it is safe to speak out. And I wish the church helped men who know they have a problem but don’t know how to get help.
“Statistics show that victims of domestic violence most often go to churches for help. Unfortunately, churches are often ill-equipped and not helpful. This clip tells the story of one couple’s search for help and also offers some advice for creating an environment conducive for recovery.”
Please watch. If the video doesn’t work you will have to follow the link prior.
This is a hard post for me to write. By even talking about this others could be at risk and yet that is the great irony.
9 thoughts on “Strongest in the Broken Places: A Tale of Domestic Abuse”
Excellent, excellent, excellent work, Melody!!! Thanks for being brave! I’m going to link back to this post and share the video on my blog.
Thank you for this post. It is a hard topic to address, but in your writing, you are helping others and isn’t that what God wants of us?
I do think that our stories of healing and hope bring a sort of redemption.
Thank you for your courage and honesty! And thank you for talking about abuse in the homes of Christ followers, and specifically abuse in the families of ministers. I get it. Sometimes I look back and wonder what were we so afraid of? I mean, there was rarely anything physical. Yet, our house was filled with fear. You really never knew where the next land mine was going to be. My father was a wonderful pastor and people loved him. They didn’t live with him, though. May God’s presence continue to walk with you as you process through the brokenness!