Broken Love

We all have to learn the delicate balance of allowing ourselves to be wronged at times, but not allowing ourselves to be set aside over and over again in a serious relationship. If you allow yourself to be set aside over and over again, it rips you from your self-dignity and self-love. When we are desperate for someone to love us, we start compromising who we really are. That is not what love was meant to do for anyone. Love, real love, is supposed to leave you feeling secure, never earned or worked for. If you find yourself working too hard for someone to love you, you are probably in an unhealthy relationship. When someone loves you, they will come after you. They will find you without you working overtime to make them love you. You are a precious treasure that someone is waiting to find. Keep your gems securely inside, and don’t give them away until it’s the right time.

Here are some truths that apply if you find yourself married or in a serious relationship with a person who continually disrespects, demeans, and leaves you feeling confused. If you’re not currently in an abusive relationship, these principles will allow you to best protect your heart from pain if you are looking for love:

Know your value:

Daughter, know your value. You are loved, forever loved, and accepted. Don’t ever make the mistake I made of trying to work harder and harder for someone to love me. The truth is that if a person makes you earn their love, they are themselves broken, unable to love even themselves. It’s a losing battle, where there are no winners. The love they are giving you is broken love.  It really is the worst thing you can do. You are responsible for no one’s happiness. There are people, broken people, out there who will stop at nothing to hurt your heart. It’s how they live, operate, and survive. They need a supply of someone’s pain to feed their sick soul. They are dangerous people to be in the relationship with because they will slowly, quietly kill your soul. It’s not easy to spot them, and lot of times you don’t see them until it’s too late.

There are people, broken people, out there who will stop at nothing to hurt your heart. It’s how they live, operate, and survive. They need a supply of someone’s pain to feed their sick soul.

Be transparent about your relationship:

My advice would be this: be as transparent about your relationship as you can, and let people who love and care for you the most know what goes on. My mistake was that I hid most of the abuse, which allowed him to continue fully thinking that I wouldn’t ever tell. One of the last things he told me after coming out was, “I thought you said you’d never tell.” He said this with the hurting face, almost like I had broken his heart.  Yes, he had counted on me keeping his secrets, but eventually I had gotten strong enough to tell the truth. I had made him feel that I would never tell people what he had done to the point that he thought he was safe to keep doing what he was doing. Well, it had been 16 years. But he didn’t know that God had, years before, started a master plan of awakening me to do the hard things.

Cover yourself:

People can’t help you if they don’t know.  If something doesn’t feel right, sound it off with someone who has more experience and has your best interest at heart.  If you have a history of making bad choices in relationships, the more important the principle becomes. Cover yourself. Talk to your friends, family or pastor. You might miss important red flags that other people with no emotional ties will see. Be open to admitting you’ve made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Sometimes the pride in us keeps us letting the loved ones around us know what really is happening in our life. Many other reasons such as fear, shame, and love for that person can also stop us from opening up. And know this, you are never too deep in a relationship, or even in marriage if it turns abusive, for you to turn around and say, “I don’t want this.” You have a voice, so use it. You are never too deep for God to help you and pull you out of what ever situation you find yourself in. You have to remember this. It is never your fault if someone decides to hurt you physically or verbally break you down. You chose a beautiful thing to love a person. The other person chose to misuse that love and take it for granted. Don’t blame yourself for loving, but know this:  sometimes there comes a time when you have to walk away and never look back.

Be emotionally healthy:

The best defense for making good relationship choices is that your heart and self-esteem is healthy. If you know this is an area of weakness, it can set you up for a failure. Even if you find yourself a good man who is wonderful, he cannot be responsible for fixing you heart. Many marriages struggle because of this. Find yourself and allow God to fill those empty holes in your soul that no man can fill. Learn to love yourself, seek counsel, read books, go after the things of God, and do what ever it takes to get you heart healthy.

A year and a half later after I had left, I found myself pleading with God to make me whole. My heart was shredded into million pieces and I so desperately wanted to be whole. I didn’t want to be person anymore who begged people for scraps of love. I knew I needed help. It became almost a life obsession on my part. I was determined to find my healing. I was telling God, “Make me whole again.” I was desperate.  I was intentional. And I think that is what God honors. When He sees we are desperate for Him to change our lives, He bends His ear to hear.  I sat for hours outside at end of summer 2016 drinking my coffee and desperate for change in my heart. I studied the word, surrounded myself with loving friends, went to therapy, read books like Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, Unashamed by Christine Caine, and The Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere. I went on a quest for healing.  God really started deep healing process in my heart that no one else could have done. This process was painful because I had to look at myself honestly and find the holes in my heart that allowed a person to degrade, demean, and devalue me for over 16 years. The damage he’d made to my heart was deep. I cried many, many tears. But, oh, the sweetness of life when the love of Jesus started pouring into my desperate broken heart and started to put it back together piece by piece. My life started broken but ended with beauty. It really is beauty from the ashes, from brokenness to beauty!  I love Jesus so much for what He did for me, and this is the reason I write today.

This love and truth is available for everyone.

Nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:39

Joy does Come in the Morning

If I could hold you, my friend, and tell you the pain doesn’t last forever, I would do it. I was screaming more than once just begging God to take my pain away. This was agony, a serious emotional pain to the point of feeling physical pain in my body. There was no more pain that I could humanly take. I wanted it to end. But somehow I kept going. I had no choice but to keep going. I held on to God like He was the only one who could save me. Little did I know that holding on to God was the very thing that would save our lives. I was up against something far stronger than I could handle on my own. I was married to man who abused us mentally, verbally, and physically. I was about to battle for freedom from a personality type that doesn’t allow you to leave without you suffering serious consequences. I knew this in the back of my mind. 

I knew living in abuse was many times easier than getting out.  Freedom was going to cost me everything — he made sure of it.  The high cost of leaving is a sad reality for many women and children. You have to be wise, and it takes a whole lot of courage to take steps into the unknown. It was hard partly because I was already beaten down mentally and emotionally. I had no value; I didn’t love myself. He had made me believe that I was a total looser, worth nothing. He had made me think that he was actually the one suffering and not me. This is what mental abuse does. Not even people closest to me understood what was going on. I was conditioned to obey his ways because obedience was the right “spiritual” thing to do. How crazy is this: I was trying to get my value from the very thing that took it away.  And when the abuser thinks he owns you and tells you that you have no right to leave, things can turn ugly pretty fast. It did for me.

Somehow courage rose deep down in my soul. I had come to a point where I realized that if I didn’t do something, I would not make it for a very long time. I might die either way. I was ready to give it my all and leave.

At the time we were working in full time ministry. I made up my mind while driving from Connecticut back to New York in January 2015. I was coming home with the kids, after spending the New Year holiday with friends. I was done and so tired with life that I didn’t care if getting out cost even my life. I was already dead on the inside. I was finally desperate enough. 

The amount of shame I was carrying was like a mountain. Shame and fear kept me from reaching for freedom. They were like twins who never left my side. He was a minister of the gospel in a high position in the church. Thousands of people were looking up to us. The pressure of protecting him and the church was unbearable.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, this shame wasn’t even my shame, it was his.

Shame and fear kept me from reaching for freedom. They were like twins who never left my side.

The Devil always tries to keep us in darkness. He is the father of lies, the enemy of your soul. Jesus came so we can live in the light, in freedom, and in truth. Expose the darkness for what it is; then it will lose its power over you. 

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13  (NIV)

  Expose the darkness for what it is; then it will lose its power.

And that is exactly what I did next. Our lives were about to change forever.