why the church needs to discuss domestic abuse

At church last Sunday, I was riveted by the guest pastor’s powerful message about the importance of prayer. I wasn’t drawn to it necessarily because of the message, but because of the style. Rarely one to hide my honest opinion, I told my friends afterwards, “I felt like I experienced emotional whiplash.” He had us laughing one moment, and then seriously considering God’s exhortations the next. I wasn’t sure that I really liked it. But then at the very end, he shared the most important part – his story of experiencing extreme domestic abuse as a newlywed husband in the deep South. He shared in the last 5 minutes what I wish he had started with: his story of survival and God meeting him and his wife and healing their family as he sought the Lord on his knees in desperation. Why didn’t he start here? I don’t know. But I’m guessing shame might have something to do with it, added with the uncertain reception of the congregation. Did he hesitate to share because we don’t really talk about domestic abuse at church? And especially not a husband’s experience of domestic abuse?

I cannot be too quick to judge him, for I share the same hesitancy to speak of the dark parts of my own story, and to enter into the dark parts of yours. I would rather wear “Pollyanna” glasses than see the darkness of abusive behavior indicated by unexplained bruises and unhealthy fear of a spouse.

Unbeknownst to most of you, my loyal followers and readers, I wrote a mini-book on domestic abuse that released in the fall of 2019. Why am I only now sharing about it in this space? Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would be received. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to be part of the dialogue that I hope will be started by this small book. I was also going through a difficult season of depression, with accompanying anxiety and self-doubt. And it’s a heavy topic. I wish there wasn’t data to support the need for this book. But what I find difficult to write about pales in comparison to what others are living through painful day after never-ending night.

So, without further ado, and in a very belated way, I announce to you the release of my second book. As before, I would be honored for you to read it, review it, and share feedback with me. It is available via e-book, or in packs of 5.

A few quotes from book are below – and if you can relate in any way, please get help now. Don’t wait to read my book, but get to a safe place now, especially if there are children involved. {The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233; their website linked here.}

Usually victims of abuse feel powerless. That’s a typical response from someone who feels stuck in an abusive cycle. … Domestic violence tarnishes the glory and beauty of both humanity and marriage. … Take comfort in knowing that God sees the way you have been afflicted through domestic abuse, and that he hears your cries to him about it. [excerpted from Domestic Abuse: Help for Victims (New Growth Press: 2019)]

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