I unknowingly married a domestic and child sexual abuser with severe untreated mental illness. I had no idea of any of it until professionals told me. Before that, I believed my husband who told me all of the problems in our marriage and ministry, were my fault. I literally about fell out of my chair when his psychiatrist told me my husband was a pedophile and that pedophilia was a slippery slope from which there was no return. So I divorced my husband and survived to tell my story.
Of course, nothing about living with or leaving him was easy or quick. It was full of toxicity, second-guessing, and child endangerment, while the courts aided the abuser in post-separation abuse.
I remarried and have spent twenty years with Arnold raising our three now-adult children. We live in a St. Louis, Missouri suburb and enjoy Cardinals baseball, spending time in Branson, MO, and being home-bodies while I heal from chronic illnesses.
Besides helping women living in or leaving domestic abuse, I educate the Christian community about abuse in its environment. I also advocate for family court reform due to its lack of accountability, transparency, and adequate training to understand domestic violence.
Lastly, scripture is rich with verses on ministering to and standing for the oppressed. I like to think I’m following in the footsteps of Jesus, emulating how he loved people during His earthly ministry. I live and run my race with my eyes fixed on Him.
Living like Jesus includes:
Building each other up (James 5:15). Carrying one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Strengthening each other’s faith (Romans 1:12). Being kind to those around us (Eph 4:32). And praying for one another (James 5:16).
My church gave me measured counsel for domestic violence over several years, and although I usually felt unheard, I hoped they understood, and I wondered if maybe I was overly sensitive. They recommended I remain in the home with my husband and continue praying for him until God answered my prayers. When I could no longer protect the children, I separated from the abuser in our home, so the church disfellowshipped me. They told me I lacked faith, didn’t trust God’s sovereignty, was outside of God’s will because God hates divorce, and wasn’t submitting to my husband in all things. I received no offer of physical, financial, or spiritual help from church leaders or members. Carolyn, thank you for seeing me. The weak, the oppressed, the disenfranchised, and the disillusioned. Your article, “Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse,” was life-giving to me.
~Kimberly – Florida
I found you in your early days of blogging and want you to know I consider you dear to my spiritual heart. I’m overseas on the mission field, and although rewarding, I can feel the vast expanse between my American routine and international relationships. I came to your site looking for marriage help. I found that and more. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the needs of the people my family ministers to. You once shared that you carry an index card notebook of your favorite scriptures and use a scripture memory app on your phone to always have scriptures on hand to pray when a need arises. I’m now doing the same, and it has been my lifeline. When unmet needs leave me desperate for help and overcome by emotions, I focus on who God is and He is with me in every situation. Problems seem never-ending in this world, don’t they? Praying through my handwritten scriptures is an offering and trust I bring to Abba’s throne room. Your helpful resources/articles have strengthened my prayer life, marriage, and family. Thank you.
~Mindy – Asia
You are a true Godsend, and Jesus knew I needed you to minister to me if I was going to stay alive…a dead Christian cannot fully love others, so I’m not sure I would have made it. Thank you for validating my thoughts, praying for me over the phone, sending me scriptures, sharing music with me to get me through the next shock and adversity, and bringing comfort to my soul with your thoughtful responses and prayer. You are on the spot every single time when you coach me through family and legal issues stemming from domestic violence and dealing with a narcissist. You totally get it. Thank you for caring for me when I’m hurting. God knew I could not have stayed strong this long, alone. I needed your hopeful encouragement. Thank you over and over. In my prayers, I thank Him for you.
~Rachael – Oklahoma
You are in the camp of “enduring to the end,” which we must do to be ready in these last days before Yeshua’s return. There will probably be a special reward for those of us who have had special circumstances to walk through in this life, and then it will be worth it all. Either way, our ministry opportunities have increased, for we can relate to more hurting women than we would have been able to. So that is an honorable position in which to walk as His hands and feet to others who need affirmation, comfort, understanding, and spiritual freedom.
~Fritzi – Ilinois
Thank you for the great job sharing truth from a truly scriptural basis. The Greek/Roman-minded, the misconstrued message of the typical church today has ignored Torah and Hebrew mindset and wrongly indoctrinated men and women. The misinterpreted teachings perpetuate the idea that we are not equal in value and purpose in the Lord’s eye. There has been so much passed down from erroneous church teaching via Catholicism to Protestantism that it’s no wonder the church and our society at large is a mess today.
~Lee – Illinois
Heal so you can hear what’s being said without the filter of your wound.Dr. Thema
Unfaithfulness is leaving the marriage relationship even when you haven’t physically left the home or even the marital bed.Leslie Vernick, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage
If we are to understand Jesus’s mind, His heart, and His choices, we must know His Father, not the systems. Christ is not explainable in terms of a culture but explainable only by knowing the Father.Diane Langberg, PhD