Breaking Ties

I sat in my apartment on Sunday rather than going to church. On one hand, I long for fellowship with other Christians. On the other hand, I can’t bear to hear the same trite sermons. Feel the disapproval for leaving my abusive husband. After all, he never left a mark. I should have just prayed for him and been an example of Christ, right? Even those who feel I was justified in leaving still believe that if I remarry I will be an adulteress. Not that I have any desire to remarry. The thought of being in an intimate relationship with a man is terrifying.

The “marks” my husband left are more indelible than any bruise. The judgement from the pastors that counseled me like a slap across the face. Somehow, I was responsible for my husband’s anger. Pray more, be more submissive, don’t respond in anger, model love in the face of contempt. I was even responsible for his salvation. I needed to stay so that through me he would be saved. Who was going to save me and my kids? Continue reading

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The Strange Bedfellows of Fear and Hope

This past weekend my husband texted me, asking me if I wanted to take one of the dogs. He doesn’t contact me often. In fact, by and large he leaves me alone. He said he was getting rid of the dog if I didn’t take it. I only took one of the three dogs when I left, and can ill afford another one. But, I couldn’t bear the thought my little dog sitting in the pound, so I agreed. When my husband texts me I, it always seems like I should feel something. Loathing, fear, nauseated, disgust, something. I mostly just feel strangely disassociated. Like I’m looking down on my life, watching myself interact with my husband. While we were negotiating how to hand off the dog, he stated that he would leave the dog on the porch and wrote, “I’m not comfortable having you come in and not ready to see you. I hope you understand”. It struck me as ironic. He was not comfortable letting me in the house? He was not ready to see me? Continue reading

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Slowly stepping forward

“In any given moment we have two options.  To step forward into growth or to step back into safety” – Abraham Maslow

Sunday is usually a busy morning of getting ready, dropping my son off at work and then going to church.  But, this Sunday I just didn’t feel like going to church.  I felt a twinge of guilt, but thankfully it didn’t last long.  Instead, I went to one of my bookmarked blogs here on WordPress, Spiritual Sounding Board.  Julie Anne has a weekly virtual gathering on Sundays where she invites readers to share church struggles and concerns.  I “attended” the gathering, shared my feelings and, amazingly, people reached out to me.  I haven’t had that experience in a long time.  I know virtual fellowship is nothing compared to real fellowship.  But, if only for a little while on a Sunday morning, it felt good to be comforted.  I just sat on my bed, reading, typing and being encouraged. Continue reading

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The angst of becoming a strong woman

I went to church again Sunday.  There was an eager, young guest speaker.  As I understand it, he’s been a Christian for about one year.  He seems very certain of his beliefs for one so young in his faith.  He said things like, “People have said I’d be good being a preacher my whole life.”  He was, indeed, a good speaker.  I’m just not too sure of his actual content.  The first time I heard him speak was at last Wednesday night’s apologetics bible study.  The material was well spoken, but I wondered where exactly he got it from.  My skepticism can perhaps be explained by my personal experiences with The Church.  The conservative American church, to be exact.  You know the one.  Wives submit to your husbands, home school your kids, respectable married women with kids don’t work outside the home, women don’t preach, vote Republican church.  And, don’t forget, if your husband abuses you, it’s just the unfortunate consequences of your own poor choices.  Suck it up, because God has declared that’s it’s your own tough luck, and the rest of us agree.   Yeah, that one. Continue reading

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Moving On

Funny thing, time.  One would assume that pain would lessen over time.  That memories would fade and their sting become dull.  But, it seems that as time goes on I feel more unsettled.  When I first ventured out on my own, everything seemed like a bad dream.  My recollections of what had transpired with my husband seemed fuzzy.  Perhaps it was better that way, at the time.  As I struggled through the semantics of living on my own, I had to focus on the task at hand.  Now that I feel stronger, the memories are slowly coming back to me.  And as I remember more, I have to think more.  I think about how my husband was able to manipulate me into thinking that I couldn’t make it on my own.  That, somehow, I was dependent on him to keep going on.  I thought that I was totally dependent on him for support.  Emotional support as well as financial support. Continue reading

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Effective Immediately

I walked into the church.  It was my second time here, and I was bit unsure of myself. I don’t generally do well in new social situations, so I was slightly nervous.  Okay, maybe a little more than slightly.  However, I really liked the pastor last Sunday and wanted to hear him again.  Besides, I don’t want to be a hermit and never go anywhere but work, home and the occasional visit to the grocery store.  Which is exactly what I would do if I didn’t push myself to experience social situations that make me uncomfortable.  I stood at the back and perused the room for an empty seat.  The one I sat in last time was taken.  “I can deal with this” I told myself.  There were no aisle seats near the middle.  I didn’t really want to sit on the side where it was kind of dark.  Who knew that picking a seat could be so stressful? Continue reading

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The Imprint on My Soul

My eyes are often drawn to the imprint of my wedding ring on my hand.  I haven’t worn it in six months, yet there it is.  Mocking me.  Taunting me to move on.  The grief cycle is a peculiar thing.  When I first left my husband, I struggled to remember exactly what happened.  The details seemed to be just out of reach of my memory.  I could remember the feelings, but not the events that caused them.  As time goes on, the memories now haunt me.  Vignettes of moments in time come to mind without warning.  A picture of my new husband throwing a wad of bills on the nightstand after we had sex.  He’d look straight at me, daring me to react.  I’d try my best to act like nothing was happening.  But, surely he could see the hurt and confusion on my face. He must have enjoyed it, because he’d do it again.  The part that haunts me is not that this happened.  The part that haunts me is that I don’t remember ever asking him to stop.  Why didn’t I take the money and throw it back at him?  Why didn’t I tell him that his behavior was totally unacceptable and I had done nothing to deserve being treated like a whore?  Instead, I did my best to appear stoic. Continue reading

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