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Living in the aftermath…

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Sitting in church this a.m.  watching baptisms.  10+ adults were gathered on stage to give their story.  To explain to the world why they choose Jesus.  There I sat in my comfortable seat, gripping my husbands arm…completely unaware of the emotions that would hit me and come flooding in.  A woman (early 30′s) story was that she is choosing to have faith in God.  This precious woman had something about her.  I don’t know what, to be quite frank she looked as though she had Jesus all over her.  This woman’s story was that she had left her husband and was out for a year.  He was abusive to her and she left because she didn’t want her 2 year old son learning that it is ok to abuse other people.  What struck me the hardest was that she said “I am thankful that I am out now, I know it will be hard for me from now on but I have a place to stay and I have my own car now.”

Glory!

When they brought her out from the water she had the look of sheer joy!  That look that only can be described fully if you have seen it yourself.

So here I sit gripping my husband, tears streaming down my face…she is happy to have a car and a place to stay.  She is thrilled to be saying I choose Jesus.  I over think all that doesn’t go the way I plan for it to.  I sit and wonder when/if/why… and here is this woman.  I try to control what isn’t for me to control.  I try to plan what isn’t mine to plan.

As we were driving our family home I kept replaying her in my mind over and over… her sweet face is etched in my memory.  I know what the one year out anniversary looks for the precious souls that dare to venture out.   Her story is a lesson for me on so so many levels.  Choosing Jesus when life seems bleak beyond belief.  Knowing & remembering how incredibly thankful I am.  Waiting on His perfect timing.  Not rushing the process (whatever the process is).

Praying for all you brave ones that venture out!  You hold a place in my heart!

xoxo

Em

 

 

Bitter Hopelessness

Lets face it; in the world of DV there are a lot of ups and downs.  The lows are bitter and they offer bitter hopelessness.  The believer is able to find some ground and realize that there is light in the tunnel.  But I cannot imagine watching a friend survive abuse and continue to be abused and her children abused without the hope that Christ brings.  Without God’s hand it would feel insurmountable, desperate…hopeless.

This quote is by Hubbard “When God is at work, bitter hopelessness can be the beginning of some surprising good.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to end.

 

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-Emma

Fix It Felix

The hardest part of being a supporter is that I don’t have a “magic hammer” for the “wreck it ralph” situations in my life.  In the Disney animation, Wreck It Ralph, Ralph runs around smashing a building and Felix runs behind him fixing it with his golden hammer.  Ralph is tired of being the wrecker and Felix seems quite content with his golden hammer being the hero.  In some ways I see myself as the girl version of “Fix It Felix”.  Only the hard part is; I have no golden hammer.  Golden intentions maybe.  But no golden hammer, if intentions could fix things I would be far more successful in my fixing.

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What I am finding is my fixing is weak at best.  I can’t control what happens with Kara and the girls any better than I can control the weather.  My natural tendency to be a fixer gets me in trouble.  Truth be told, when I can’t fix what is broken I find myself feeling quite ill over it. Its a constant reminder to stay faithful to waiting on God, believing God, praising God for what he has done in the past and what he will do in the future.  So here I sit with a worthless hammer waiting for something to fix but (secretly) I am thankful that my hammer is worthless.  I serve  a God that can fix a whole heck of a lot better than I can!

Emma

Ship Sailing 101

Kara is here and ever present.  She is hanging on tight in the middle of another nasty storm.  When I get the chance to sit with her and iron out which details she would like to share I will be back.  For now…be praying for her.  Court Battle again.  As I learn what I can post…I will.

She’s not tired anymore though, she is rejuvenated and knows that God is here.  What an amazing feeling to know that you have God fighting your battles with you.  She is definitely learning how to Sail her Ship.  When she figures this out we will give you her notes ;)

 

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…but I know who you are.

Alright friends,

This is not the first time I have brought you music video.  This one by JJ Heller.

It reminds me of Kara and it reminds me often of your stories, your blogs, your frustrations.  We often have no idea what God is doing. We are left feeling immense disappointment, grief, loss, pain beyond words.  The comfort in all of this is we don’t have to know what God is doing but we know who He is.  I bet this song will be a new favorite of yours too!  In this music video it seems almost to be missing something, but watch it a few times.  I get from it that even though in life you don’t understand life’s happening you keep on…trusting Him as you go through the motions, find comfort and reprieve in others.

Enjoy!

 

 

-Em

Learn your lesson

Eat your vegetables

Sit up straight

Don’t slouch

Be polite

LEARN YOUR LESSON

Abusers are lesson teachers.  They punish without thought.  Woven through all of their words seem to hold the same message…”Learn your lesson”.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard Kara’s Ex say that “she needs to learn her lesson”.  Abusers are the best punishers in the world.  They have an ability to make you learn your lesson.  Innately everyone has a way in which punishment hurts them most.  Mine is condescending words and yelling.  Nothing can shut me down faster than yelling at me or being condescending towards me.  My husband and I had a really frank conversation very early on, it went like this… “If you yell at me – peace out, I will never yell at you.”  He believed me…and I have held up my end of the bargain.  What is amazingly odd to me is how often women say their husbands have tried to teach them a lesson.

Point in case:  Kara and the X were in a heated argument (they always were) and in the hours to follow or within the next day her X would say you need to think of a punishment for the way you spoke to me, treated me etc.  She would say “I apologize, sorry, blah blah blah” to which he would say “No, what is your punishment?”.  OK imagine Kara and I having this conversation.  I would be sitting on the floor with her (we were on the floor a lot, we both had small babies and toddlers at the time) – and look at her and squish up my eye brows and say “WHAT? A punishment, make it up? – I don’t get it”.  Because he had already begun to abuse her sexually my thoughts were that he must mean a “favor”.  I asked using blatant wording (that I will kindly spare you from) and her reply was “I don’t know, next time I’ll ask.” So the next time she asked him and that only enraged him.  Looking back at that conversation I shake my head, talk about flirting with danger.  I don’t think either of us really knew the extent of his abuse or what he was capable of.  We were both in the “fix it” stage.  Some time later he asked her again “What should your punishment be?”  So the next time it happened here we are sitting in her living room on the floor, me with my twisted eyebrows wondering how now she could make something up to him.  I guess it took me a few times to realize how ludicrous this was and keeping the peace was just not an option.  We brainstormed and laughed at the idea of being punished…I said jokingly “next time, be sitting in the time out chair pouting when he gets home”.  We got up and sat in the time out chair – we are both small women  - sitting in the time out chair is completely plausible.  We laughed so hard we cried as we would hang our heads with our hair all a mess, making pouty faces, pretending temper-tantrums.  I made sure to leave before he got home.  I don’t think Kara ever used the time out chair because we were just starting to learn about Domestic Violence.  We were just starting to learn that there would be no punishment that would suffice his need.  Poor Guy to have to live with such unsettlement.  Seriously.

What are other ways abusers punish:

- withhold emotions or feelings

-disregard care

-twist blame

-reference past

-cut down who you are and where you come from

-belittle your accomplishments

-physical aggression

-minimize you

The punishment aspect of abuse is an odd one.  Ok – think with me for a moment; whom do we punish and for what purpose.  Punishment is usually meant for children (or criminals), punishment is given to help redirect a behavior or steer a child into conforming.  Ex:  Don’t run in the parking lot…we scold or reprimand our children as a means to teach them to conform to society’s standards and to protect them.  The abuser punishes as well.  Abusers are looking to get you to conform to the person that they feel you should be.  Punishment is used as a form of control.  A woman I recently met was punished for saying “no”.  She learned her lesson.  Her punishment was long enough and severe enough that I can say with 98% certainty she will never tell him “no” again.  Abusers take punishment to a whole new level…ensuring the person being punished never makes that mistake again.  They make it count.  PLEASE let me be clear, you don’t have to be hit to be punished.  Often times the worst punishment comes in other forms.

Kara and I were recently talking about the idea of punishments.  She said “I am glad I never learned my lesson”.  Me too, Me too!

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-Emma

“Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself” – continuation

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Saw this and thought well doesn’t work absolutely perfectly with the last post.  How important it is to watch over our babes so carefully!  We aren’t raising kids, rather we are raising men and women.

Have a Happy Day!

Em

“check yourself before you wreck yourself”

This term has popped up in my mind over and over again lately.  Fun little lyric from a song written by Ice Cube.  Thank God for Google because I had no idea until very recently where this “term” has come from.  The Urban Dictionary has “check yourself before you wreck yourself” defined as:  Take a step back and examine your actions, because you are in a potentially dangerous or sticky situation that could get bad very easily.

I find myself praying big prayers for some girls in my life.  In one prayer I use a verse from the Bible, Matthew 18:6.   “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  Meanwhile, what am I doing in my life to rear up my kids where I could have error or misstep. Here I pray such powerful words for a little girl to be released from the grasp of evil yet I have not looked upon my own life.  Upon my own sin.  Upon my own power.  I have been entrusted with little ones and I find that I am far from perfect in my errors.  What television am I allowing to be on in my home?  How irritated I become having to repeat myself 24 times?  How impatient I am to see growth?  How judgmental I am of others when in my very own skin I too am struggling.  The verse But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone…, speaks very highly of the significance God places upon our children.  Our choices now have affects that last long into our children’s future.

In all fairness the check of myself and the fear that I have for another child really can’t be compared.  Comparing apples to oranges.  But the truth remains, I too need to check myself in the care of my children.  Why?  Because God values His children.  Why?  Because the Bible verses that I pray apply to me too!  <ouch>

What is a Millstone anyhow?

Here is a photo of one, it is defined as being a heavy, large stone used for grinding grain.

millstone

-Emma

Kara is struggling…

Happy to report that with most areas where Kara has struggled she is now doing well with.  Here are some things she has crossed off her list.

Emotional Pain

Dealing with the Past

Letting go of the dream

Understanding she can’t change his behavior

 

The list of her progress continues to grow.  But she struggles with the blog and reading about others.  I would love for her to contribute more, its just not in her.  At this point.

Now with that said, I understand.  I too am tired of him.  I too and exhausted by his antics.  I too hate what he does to lie and manipulate.  I too wish he could move.  I too understand he never will.  So you faithful readers are really just stuck with me for now.

I am in the process of crafting some posts that are coming down the pipeline -

  • Validate me
  • Let loving drive my living
  • Self Preservation
  • Wait for it!
  • He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in
  • Vision check

So stay posted my friends! :)

 

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Photo courtesy of a friend who is a photographer – and she doesn’t even know it…yet!

 

 

Real Deal

How do you identify the counterfeits in your life?  What are the signs you look for when you are meeting people, dating, socializing?  How do you know if they are the real deal or a fake, phony or a fraud?

Here in the good ole U.S. of A. we have of few ways of checking to see if our currency is the real deal.

  • Thread running through the bill
  • watermark bearing the image of the person whose portrait is on the bill
  • color shifting ink

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We have safeguards for protecting ourselves with counterfeit cash.  But what about our hearts, how do we spot a counterfeit?  We don’t get to hold a man up and look at him through a light to see if his face is the same, do we?  We don’t have a thread to look at to make sure its printed?  We don’t even have color shifting ink.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could take a potential friend/boyfriend/companion’s wrist and rub a marker on it.  If it turns out clear “real deal” if not then “no thanks”.

But what if we do have certain things to test?  What if we really do have watermarks to look for and we are missing the boat?

Take for example: 2 faced, being able to hold the bill to the light and see if the faces match…

The two faced boy – lets explore for a moment!  Take the Joker, he is fantastic to everyone around you.  He has your family and friends fooled but behind closed doors he is different.  So often I heard Kara say “It must be me, he never treats anyone else with such disregard”.  These signs started popping up long before he popped the question.  The problem was that he was the master manipulator.   He was able to twist her into believing how flawed she was and how much she needed him.  But the fact remains she saw a different side to him that the rest of us were unfamiliar with.

The thread running through the bill- the security thread

He is often the boy with past experiences that you have heard and seen for yourself.  The essence of him is woven through him.  What are his common issues?  What is his history that has helped make him who he is today?  How does he interact with his family?  How does he interact with other women?  What did his breakups look like?  What does he do when he thinks no one is watching; drinking, drugs, chewing, smoking, pornography?  The tricky thing is that abusers are so darn good at hiding this thread that is woven through their life BUT when you are spending time with him and reading between the lines you start to see things that don’t add up.  As a woman examining this thread are you allowing him to cover his thread with excuses?  Are you choosing to believe the Prince in him rather than who he really could be because in your heart of hearts you soo want him to rescue you?  The thread is a tricky one, its harder to see and darn the luck its easier to overlook.  Overlooking is such an easy thing to do…for a while. But would you accept a $100 bill from someone without the thread?  Why not?  Why would you be so careful with your money but not with your heart?  What’s his thread say?

Color shifting ink

Does he shift your sense of reality?  Do you feel like you are going crazy?  “It can’t be him acting like this, no no it must be me.”  “After all I am the CRAZY one with a past.”  “After all I am the one who gets emotional.”  “After all I am the one who screamed and acted like a complete fool.  The events leading up to my retaliation seem irrelevant now because I reacted, because I am CRAZY.”  One of the hardest parts about shifting your sense of reality is that you yourself start to believe him.  “He acts so charming and wonderful to everyone else so of course it must be me going crazy.”  Point in case – Kara was convinced, let me stress CONVINCED she was going crazy.  She went to doctors explaining she was bipolar. She saw a psychiatrist begging for a diagnosis (which he did not give her).  At his demand or he would divorce her; she called the psychiatric unit and asked to be admitted.  When they questioned her they refused.  Why?  Because she wasn’t in need of those services.  She was in need of a divorce attorney and an order of protection.

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Run!  Run as quick as you can… if any of these fit someone in your life.  The effects of domestic violence span far beyond the abused woman and her children.  If you have friends or people you are allowing in your space, in your circle…RUN if any of these fit.

THE WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSE*

He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners

He is disrespectful toward you.

He does favors for you that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable.

He is controlling.

He is possessive.

Nothing is ever his fault.

He is self-centered.

He abuses drugs or alcohol.

He pressures you for sex.

He gets serious too quickly about the relationship.

He intimidates you when he’s angry.

He has double standards.

He has negative attitudes toward women.

He treats you differently around other people.

He appears to be attracted to vulnerability.

  If you are looking for a go to list I just gave it to you.  Here is a long list to see if he is a counterfeit or not.  The real deal doesn’t posses these traits, he just doesn’t.  You can talk yourself and your family into why he is so perfect but the truth remains.  Why not test him first?  You might not have the marker but you do have the ability to look into him on a deeper level.  Here are some tools – use them!

Do I test people in my life now since Kara’s X?  YES I do!  My family is too precious to me to drag through that mess again.  We were all affected by his lies.  It took a long time for my son to stop dreaming about him.  We witnessed the abuse first hand and we were there through it all but we ignored much of the signs.  We didn’t know what the signs were and we were all too forgiving and accepting of bad behavior!  Before I found myself accepting anyone in our lives, bringing them in and letting them become woven through our family unit.  HA!  Those days have changed.  Our lives are forever changed and now that we have weeded through I see it is for the better!  All the praise and glory go to God!!  Someone once told my husband that we cut friends out of our life because of the animosity between Kara and her X.  At first I struggled with it.  But now I relish in it…heck yeah I cut people out of my life for being an abuser and also those who choose to associate with him.

Catching my breath by Kelly Clarkson….”I won’t be told what’s supposed to be right” is my favorite lyric.

 

* Warning Signs taken from Lundy Bancrofts book Why Does He Do That? pg 121 – Go read it!

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-Emma

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