Looking to the Good Shepherd Jesus for the example of how to care for others... Keeping a discerning eye on those who claim to be shepherds of God's people... Learning to recognize, heal from, and speak out against abuse -- spiritual, emotional, verbal, and physical -- in churches, organizations, families, and society.
I'm thankful for the privilege of hosting this guest post by Susan Moore. As the mother of a large family myself, I've always loved her old blog, Joyful Mom of Many.
Now I'm delighted to present the most recent post from her new site, Susan Moore. Susan is the mother of 12, veteran of home schooling, writer, photographer, triathlete, and a domestic violence survivor. If you click on the title below, it will take you to the same article on her own blog. Please welcome Susan.
they just gained the courage to flee an abusive marriage.
[Virginia's note added later... In case you don't pick this up, Susan wrote this list facetiously. Before you scream, read further to see what she really thinks you should say.]
you tried … (taking a nap, eating, medication, more prayer…)
never gives us more than we can handle.
sun will come out tomorrow!
you do, don’t try yoga (or
just need to submit more… to God, to your husband, etc
know just how you feel… fill-in-the-blank with
non-abuse related incident, like: “I know just how you feel… my
middle child was *so* colicky!”
you just trusted God more then none of this would have happened.
just need to try harder (read your Bible more, pray more, etc)
could always be worse!
least you aren’t experiencing… (insert 3 hour long personal
yourself up by your bootstraps and move on!
aren’t really struggling; it’s all in your head!
must be in sin.
was the Lord’s will.
you forgiven him?
just don’t want you to become bitter!
remember, God is in control!
Lord works in mysterious ways…
storms will relent if you simply trust God and repent.
you could simply say something like, “That must be so hard!
I can’t imagine what you are going through or how you are feeling,
but I care and want to walk alongside you in this.”
know that it is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings or to
offend anyone with this article! I think that it is human nature to
want to empathize with someone who is in the midst of a challenging
time, whether they are recovering from an abusive marriage, or are
reeling from a cancer diagnosis or perhaps dealing with the
overwhelming grief and concern of trying to help a wayward child.
It’s so hard to know what to say!
fact is, I told myself many
of the things on that list! It is quite possible that I was even
harder on myself than
others were. Also, most people do not have evil intent in saying
these things. The vast majority of people really do care and want to
you love and care about someone, it is only natural to want to “fix”
the situation that they are in. Many of the 20 statements above are
true, but not necessarily helpful. The most helpful thing I have
experienced was friends who cared enough to simply be with
me. They cared enough to check on me, and were okay with the fact
that I wasn’t okay.
didn’t have to pretend to be happily trusting God, when I could
barely get out of bed. They lovingly came alongside me without
judgement or condemnation and refused to leave me, even when I cried
out in despair and didn’t feel like I was making any progress.
cannot imagine how hard it must have been for these few faithful
friends to play that role in my life. I can tell you this though: I
don’t think I’d be here now if they hadn’t stepped in.
about you? Have you been blessed by friends who have walked through
dark times with you, or have you been able to be that faithful,
steadfast friend for someone else?