At the end of myself…at the feet of Jesus

Matthew 25: 40, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

A Peek Inside My Heart


When it comes to abuse, it’s very difficult for me to share my heart. I can state the facts all day long as long as I can remain somewhat distanced from it all; what happened to me, what happened to them. What abuse is. That’s easy: black and white, cut and dry. Abuse is sin and sin is wrong. Case closed.

Or maybe not so closed.

See, all that black and white is easy to discuss when you’re only talking facts: even saying this happened to me is easy as long as it’s from a distance, as long as my heart can stay divorced from it. But it doesn’t want to. Not anymore. Abuse has affected me; at times it’s threatened to destroy me. It affects my children. My family history is full of stories of abuse. I’m rather sick and tired of it. My heart has finally gotten brave enough to let me share peeks inside it without worrying about what others are going to think so I’m going to do just that. So no more distancing myself.

It’s time to jump into the fray and join the discussion. Not only about abuse but about feelings about being abused. One of the things I’ve found to be true in my dealings with abusive people is they never want you to feel, they certainly never want you to tell the truth about what you feel. It’s time to feel anyway. It’s time to tell the truth anyway.

So I’m going to start doing that and open up this perhaps one-sided conversation. This is what I’m feeling; these things are my truth:

I’m tired of being one of “those” families, the ones other “good Christian” families look down on, the ones pastors want nothing to do with. I don’t deserve that distinction. My children don’t deserve such distinction, either. We’re only one of “those” families because of the actions of some very cruel, very selfish, very non-Christlike people who have passed it all on from one person to another without ever stopping to think what they’re doing. My parents didn’t think. Folks behind them didn’t either. Folks on my husband’s side didn’t think. It’s for sure my husband never thought. Still isn’t thinking for that matter.

I’m tired of feeling “less than” because someone in the church can’t quite grasp that I haven’t done anything to deserve being mistreated. I’m tired of looking over my shoulder wondering what some “good Christian” man or woman is going to think of me or of my children because we aren’t quite like them. No, we’re not and, what’s more, we’ll probably never be. I’m thinking that, abuse aside, not being like them may be a good thing, considering how some “good Christian” folks I know act.

I’m tired of pastors who tell abused women to “submit more”, “pray more”, “show more respect”, “love him more”, “fix his favorite dinner” yada, yada, yada. As if we haven’t thought of all of this and tried all of this only to have it all fail. I’m here to shout from the rooftops that I have done all of this and more (far, far more than most of you can imagine–unless you’re a woman in my shoes and then you know all too well) and it didn’t make a dimes worth of difference. Didn’t make a penny’s worth of difference actually. It did give the hubby more reason to walk on me. I’m thinking he thought he had my approval.

Also, and this is really important, I don’t want to be thought of as a victim of abuse; I’d rather be thought of as a survivor. A thriver, even. 🙂

More important than anything is this: I may have been raised in abuse, may have married an abuser but this doesn’t define me. I am more than an abused woman. More than a survivor or thriver, even. I am the proud mother of nine beautiful children. I am a lover of words, of beautiful music, of creativity. A pretty good cook. A sometimes crazy woman who actually loves housework–as long as it is accompanied by the sounds of children’s laughter, much prayer or really good music. Oh, and this: I can’t turn away a stray (I’m pretty sure animals know this). Best of all, though, and the thing that actually defines me is this: I’m a child of God; a daughter who is undeserving of God’s tender grace and mercy but oh-so glad to be blessed by it.

I’m tired. But I’m here and I’m fighting. Against being labeled by “good Christian” folks who don’t have a clue what I and others like me have gone through, against false accusations–by husbands, by family, by the church–that have far too often fallen on me and my sisters by folks who have no clue what they are talking about. Against passing this madness on to the next generation. Against abuse in all it’s forms. In all it’s evil. So, to that end, I’m here to share my heart, my story, the truth about what we’ve endured and who we are and I’m going to listen as others do the same.


9 thoughts on “A Peek Inside My Heart

  1. Pingback: Poem: Song of the Bride « Thoroughly Christian Divorce

  2. Anna, it sounds like you’re feeling angry about the way you’ve been treated. Well done! I reckon that’s a healthy way to feel, when you’ve suffered so much from the ways others have behaved. Anger is a great motivator! 🙂 (I’m not savvy enuf to do those smiley faces)

    And yep, you are a survivor, in spades, and a great writer and passionate and compassionate cyber-companion for others.

    We are not defined by the abuse, but we are sure affected by it, and we need not feel ashamed of that. We can raise our heads high in knowing that we continue to survive and tell the truth about it all. Even if not many others want to hear yet.

  3. Just read this tonight, and wished I could come over … to wherever you are … and give you a big hug. Wished, too, that we could have your gang of 10 over for dinner … what a blessing to one another you must be.

    Anna, you are more than a thriver. You lead. You challenge. You model righteousness. You are the daughter of a King.

    But it’s still okay to be mad. Royally mad. It’s called “righteous anger.” What happened to you and your children was never part of God’s plan. I’m mad, too, that you and your family have felt “less than.” Shame on the folks at that church, and in every church, for looking down their noses at what they don’t understand, what they cannot comprehend. Jeff is right – you are royalty. I think you are a heroine, too.

    Keep writing.

  4. Anna- I suppose that largely what you are describing in your feelings, at least in part, is shame. And that you are tired of being ashamed and working hard to be done with it, as it is not only toxic to you and the children but it has no basis in fact. That is where learning who we are in Christ comes in, as you point out. Sadly, quite a lot of the shame you are describing originates from people other than your abuser – and that includes Christians. The woman at the well was a woman, a Samaritan, and without a husband, used by man after man. Her life changed when Jesus met her by divine appointment and gave her Living Water. In the end, it is up to us to ask the Lord to open our eyes to the shame that binds us and set us free, which is what He is progressively doing in you. Instead of constantly being bound up in “I won’t fit in, I don’t have anything to wear,” – we have to come to realize that we are robed in royal robes of righteousness. No, we don’t fit in. We are royalty.

    • I think that, at least sometimes, shame is more debilitating than abuse is. It robs you of hope, of joy, of freedom. I’ve worked on shame issues for a long time now and I guess I’ll be working on them a while more. It helps to have such great friends and companions on the journey to remind me Whose I am and where I’m heading. Bless you.

  5. So glad to read this tonight! Its *way* past time we got our voices back.

    I wrote a poem a couple of years ago about this very thing. I’ll see if I can find it and post it over on the blog for you 🙂

    Lots of love and a great big hug~

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