My devotion this morning really spoke to me as a survivor of abuse and having to find the courage to make tough decisions.
I knew in my heart for years that things were not right in my first marriage. It wasn’t about not liking something my ex-spouse did like those little daily irritants which can rub us wrong — you know the ones — like leaving the cap off the toothpaste, the toilet seat up, and socks on the floor. I knew deep down how he treated me, and our two sons, was wrong. I never felt courageous enough though to take a stand and therefore, continued to stay in a marriage which was destructive to both myself and my boys.
And sadly, many well-meaning Christians would give me wrongful advice such as saying I needed to just stay and suffer through for this was my lot in life and one day God would reward me with a huge crown for not walking away. Unfortunately, it was those type of ill-fated words which only caused any courage left in me to dwindle to nothing, allowing hopelessness to set in.
God on the other hand justifies those who have placed their faith in His Son and He gives us hope. He does not stop loving us or turn His back on us, but ironically, there are those Christians who often do the very thing which our God does not — offer up condemnation and no hope to those who are hurting.
I know there are many women (and men) who are facing hard decisions regarding their marriages and who live with abuse on a daily basis but do not feel they have the courage to stand up against such wrongfulness. They are waiting for someone, especially God, to set them free. The truth is, not one person can tell you what to do but God can and will guide you when you seek Him. But often I hear women in abusive marriages comment on how they are waiting for God to get them out of their situation and what I’ve learned over the years is God does lead us, but not typically with a burning bush sign to light the way.
You see, God will meet us right where we are and often uses various ways to speak to us so hopefully we will hear. He may use people who have walked through similar circumstances to come into our lives and speak the truth to us or lead us to resources such as books and websites which confirm and validate what we feel to be true about our situation. He speaks to us in the way we are most likely to ‘hear’ Him, but too often while we are still waiting for a lightening bolt sign to point the way we miss the obvious.
And yet, while you can get other peoples’ perspectives and learn about your situation through various books, websites, and so forth, the only sure thing which can give the courage needed to step away from abuse is by finding your worth in the Lord. And this is something each one of us needs to do for ourselves. For you see, even if I or someone tries to explain how much you are worth to Him, it’s only when you seek that out for yourself that you will truly come to value who you are.
God loves each and every one of us, and He justifies us through faith when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing — not anything you do will take that away.
So, without further ado, here is the reading from my devotion this morning:
The Foundation of Courage – excerpt from The Applause of Heaven:
“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)
“[God] justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 8:1)
For those in Christ, these promises are not only a source of joy. They are also the foundations of true courage. You are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus. When God looks at you, he doesn’t see you; he sees the One who surrounds you. That means that failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure. How could you not be courageous?
May you, dear reader, find courage in whatever you are facing today. Do not be held hostage to what others think or by waiting for thunder and lightening from the Lord to direct you; set yourself free in Jesus and know that you are worth too much to your Father to continue being hurt and abused.