Megan Cox has her MAR in Pastoral Counseling and is certified in Crisis Response with the AACC. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Give Her Wings, Inc.
(To our readers who are in abusive marriages presently: Only you and God know when the time is right to stay or go. He will lead you. I pray for our readers who are in incredibly trying, unbelievably exhausting, terrifying situations. This post is not for you. You have too many other heavier things to deal with right now.)
A friend writes:
When the scales were lifted from my eyes, regarding the abuse my children and I endured, a new heaviness overcame me. Why had I stayed in so long? How could I have let this happen to the children? They will now be scarred for the rest of their lives; they will have to go through therapy. Will they even be capable of healthy relationships? How could I have let them suffer? How could I have allowed such evil in my home?
I am writing this to, hopefully, relieve the false guilt of so many I have heard from this week. I went through this, as well. Only just today, my eldest child told me of something his biological father did to him when he was 6 years old (unbeknownst to me). It broke this mother’s heart. And, yet, I stayed three more years after that. All of a sudden, we realize that we let it go on for too long. Staying in the abusive situation was not as noble as we thought. It was not as “godly” as they tried to make us believe. There is a twinge of our conscience. To this, I want to say two things:
1. Please remember who the victim is or was. And remember who the abuser is or was. Friend, you are not the abuser — you were the victim. He or she clouded your thinking, manipulated, harmed, hurt, devastated and used you. I remember being in my home-that-felt-like-a-prison, feeling like there was ten feet of concrete over my head. I could not hear the voices calling down to me — they were muffled. Nothing was clear. No one seemed to be able to reach me and no one could hear me, either. My own private, personal, little isolated hell. How difficult it is to see clearly! Truly, only the miraculous reach of God’s arm could have lifted us out and shown us truth! Surely, God does not expect you to have been able to see clearly. You were sinking and he lifted you out, just like He lifted out the Eyptians from the miry clay of slavery.
2. If you feel there is anything of which to repent, take it to Jesus. I did repent of some things that happened in my marriage. My dear husband now (my second husband — not an abuser) does not like to think about it because he sees the damage that was done to my soul. I don’t think he really believes that I did anything worth repenting of. But, like so many others, I think I stayed in too long. Yes . . . It is all in God’s timing, I know. But, I see what has happened with my children and my heart aches. I was afraid; I didn’t think I could make it on my own; I didn’t think anyone would help me or want me. I stayed for the wrong reasons. When I took this to Christ, I felt His love envelop me. I could almost hear Him saying, “Megan . . . you didn’t know. You didn’t know. You did the best you could.” Many of us were lied to by those we were taught to trust . . . by our spouses, by our church or by our family. How could we know?
I am choosing not to dwell on how long I “stayed in”. There is nothing that can be done and I am trusting God and moving forward as best as I can in obedience to my Savior (loving Him . . . loving others). I am choosing, alongside my husband, to raise the children in the best way we can, giving them a chance at a healthy life and healthy marriages in the future. That is all I can do. We can only go forward now.
If you struggle with feelings of guilt, whether real or false, take them to Jesus and let Him give you clarity, as He reminds you of His love for you. He was there the entire time. He knows. Release yourself so that you can move on into health and wholeness. Haven’t we been accused enough? I’m taking that walk with you. You did the best you could and God knows that.
You did the best you could.