A book review

Last week I was invited to join a book launch group for a new book, Healing From Hidden Abuse, about psychological abuse due for publication the end of August. I just happened to be at the coast visiting my husband while he was there for work and was excited to dive into the book during the mornings while he was working. So I settled in at a local coffee shop with the downloaded book on my Kindle, my journal for note taking and of course, a yummy coffee.

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After reading the advanced copy of the book I was asked to write a review which you can find here: Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery From Psychological Abuse book review.

As a survivor of psychological abuse, or what I’ve always called emotional and/or mental abuse, I have to say this book far surpassed my expectations on the subject.

The author, Shannon Thomas, is a Christian counselor. In her book, Healing From Hidden Abuse, she clearly defines what psychological abuse is, who this type of abuser is and why it happens, and once you understand the what, who and why of this type of abuse, the author outlines six stages of recovery necessary for a *survivor to work through so they can find healing and recovery from abuse.

Shannon’s straight-forward, no nonsense approach to defining this type of insidious abuse left me feeling validated after all these years. Trying to explain what was happening in my first marriage was difficult because most people equate abuse with hitting and battering, but my abuse left no outward wounds only tremendous damage to my heart and soul. I was asked several times after my ex walked out over seven years ago if he ever hit me. And the question was usually asked in such a way as to insinuate that if I had not been hit I had not been abused, and therefore, I had no reason to leave that marriage. I needed to just suck it up, be more respectful and submissive, and deal with my lot in life.

 

This book should be placed in the hands of every pastor, elder and any other authority figure within the church so they can be better equipped, if necessary, to work with survivors of psychological abuse who seek their help.

Better yet, I hope and pray this book makes its way into the hands of survivors so they can equip themselves with knowledge and help for them to overcome abuse in their lives. I know I will be recommending it often!

If you are living with abuse or think you are, please seek help. There are many resources available to help you heal and recover from abuse so you can live an abundant God-honoring life.

Shannon Thomas

Hurt By Love

A Cry For Justice

Lundy Bancroft

Leslie Vernick – Christ-Centered Counseling

Patricia Evans

Blessings!

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*Survivor is the term Shannon Thomas uses for victims of abuse as she believes people who have been in abusive relationships often come out the other side stronger and better able to handle things in life.

 

 

 

 

 

When life feels like a prison…

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“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.

I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.

I cry to¬† you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.

Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”

~Psalm 142

…cry out to the Lord. Ask Him to set you free. Take refuge in Him and have faith that He will rescue you from what ever holds you imprisoned.

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Dear reader, may God give you the courage and strength to fling open the prison door which keeps you from living a full abundant life. Allow Him to break away the bonds which hold you captive and rest in the assurance that His love for you is unbreakable.

Blessings!

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Start walking, stop waiting

“We spend our days waiting for the ideal path to appear in front of us…but we forget that paths are made by walking…not by waiting.”
~author unknown

We’ve all been at a cross road in our lives and find ourselves wondering which way we should go, which way is the right way.

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Sometimes we wait at that cross road a long time hoping that a sign will magically appear showing us which way to turn. We want to make sure we are headed in the right direction, after all who enjoys making a wrong turn? But often we sit still too long. We stop moving. And you know what? When you’re standing still, you’re going nowhere. And when you are going nowhere, well, you are going nowhere. We wait and wonder why God isn’t leading us but until we step out He will not just move us.

Recently I was reading through the blog I started after my then-husband walked out in 2009 and I ran across this post written on the day I had finally decided it was time to stop waiting and time to finally step out into freedom. It was the day I decided to be brave and finally release an abusive marriage once and for all. It was the day I filed for divorce.

I had stood still for so long just waiting for something — validation? confirmation? — to finally push me forward, to propel me to start moving.

Why did I wait so long? Did I really think he was going to change? Or was I just scared?

I truly had known for a long time I needed to let go and move on. I had no hope that things were ever going to get better and it wasn’t because of a lack of faith, it was because nothing ever changed. Not for years. No matter what I did, things never changed. But deep inside I did worry my faith maybe wasn’t big enough or I hadn’t allowed God the time He needed to change things — as if He needed me to do what He would do! Ha! And it was those deceptive thoughts which kept me from moving forward.

Until one day I knew that in order to move into a new life it was necessary to release the old. While I was stuck waiting in the past for who-knows-what the future was moving on by.

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This post, Moving Forward, shares my thoughts of the day I was finally ready to step out into a new life.

Enjoy!

Blessings!

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Let go of the fear and hang on to the Rock

If you are in an abusive marriage perhaps the hardest decision you face is whether to let go or continue to hang on. How do you know if it’s time to let go? How much longer should you hang on hoping for true change?

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Today at Leslie Vernick’s blog a reader asks this very question — Do I let go or hang on?

Her blog post got me thinking how Christians have this faulty view that the choices we make somehow affect God’s capability of working in our lives. If someone leaves their marriage it is often seen as a lack of faith in God’s ability to restore the marriage. But get this — God doesn’t need anyone to help Him get things done. God can and will work miracles in spite of us! What a revelation!

No matter the choice you make God can still do a mighty work in and through your marriage. Sometimes though, He will tear down a crumbling structure in order to begin again from the ground up building it stronger and more beautiful. And that doesn’t necessarily mean rebuilding the marriage, it might just mean rebuilding the life of the victim of abuse.

Now I’m not saying to just make a flippant decision regarding your marriage. I’m not saying that if someone is unhappy to just leave and not worry about it. No, I’m saying that too often a victim of abuse hangs on because they’ve been led to believe that by staying in a toxic, abusive environment God will somehow have a better chance of working a miracle or changing the heart of the abuser. Yet what abuse victims need to hear is that no matter how hard you try to hang on by a mere thread to an already dead marriage it will not change the abuser. God changes people’s hearts, but He never forces anyone to be in His will.

 

People often wonder why victims don’t just leave an abusive marriage. It can be summed up in one word — FEAR! I know that was true for me. For 20 years I stayed with an abusive man who manipulated and controlled my life all because I was afraid to leave.

Fear can hold a person captive. It could be fear of failing God or failing others like a church family who sees separation and divorce as some unforgivable sin. It can be fear for our safety or that of our children, financial fear, fear of being alone or fear of the unknown. There are so many fears which can hold a victim of abuse hostage.

The thing to remember is fear does not come from God but fear is often how an abuser keeps their victim from leaving.

My advice to anyone living with abuse is to define what your fear is, and it may be many. Write your fears down and then release them to God. Tell Him what holds you hostage and ask Him to guide you out of that prison of fear and abuse. Then take that bold step out in faith to walk away from abuse holding firmly to the truth that God will bring forth beauty from the ashes which could mean He rebuilds your marriage or He releases you of it completely.

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There is true freedom in Christ and there is a beautiful life on the other side of abuse.

May we all have faith big enough to trust that God can and will do a miraculous work in our lives no matter what choices we make. Pray, give thanks in all circumstances, and let go to let God do the hard work of building something beautiful in your life.

 

Blessings!

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