By: Susan Bea Good
Psalm 112:6 “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.” (NIV)
This year I escaped from 39 years of abuse from a man who should have loved and cherished me. That era began as I thought I was escaping from 19 years of abuse from another who should have been my protector. The immediate result of exposing my husband was that I had to leave my church, my home, my dog, and a ministry. The ongoing result, which became excruciatingly clear on December 25, was that I’ve lost family-privileges with most of my loved ones, including seven young grandsons. This seems on the surface a very bad place to be. However, this morning, two days after Christmas, I awoke to God gently comforting me with the realization that I am actually in a very good place- standing for righteousness, not just today, but have been all my life!
It’s been suggested this year that my situation is similar to the biblical Job’s experiences with unjust suffering. However, Job did not have Scripture, or the indwelling Spirit of God to guide and comfort him during the trials God ordained. I do!
For many years, especially because I’ve had so many tumultuous ones, I’ve tried to objectively assess the year as it closes out. This year I am reviewing all of the years. Being forced to “start over,” as those who escape abuse must do, I’ve had to get a lawyer, file in the courts for a legal separation, find a place to live, purchase a vehicle, open a checking account, obtain a credit card, get a job, find a different church, make out my will, and learn who I can trust. These steps have brought me to the end of 2017 with the realization that God may be close to finishing my portion of honoring Him in this life. I do feel as though there will not be much time to suffer further, which is a great comfort. It’s also an encouragement to keep standing for righteousness for however much longer I’m here.
God has never left me without hope. He has always given me enough to survive. He has actually always given me enough to thrive, even when I was too young to understand. As an elementary age girl He gave me enough to stand alone if necessary in my school setting and at home. When left un-nurtured by parents He cultivated my soul. When abused and hated by my husband He always reminded me that I was loved and cared for by my Creator. That has been more than enough to sustain and strengthen me as a child of 8 years old until now as a 59 year old woman.
When God calls His children He does it from the beginning. He states in Scripture that His call began even before He made the foundations of this world. So, it should be no surprise when we realize that He has been preparing a specific journey through life for us. He has given each of His children a path to please Him and the strength to traverse that path to its completion.
I expect the new year to find me living outside of the physical reach of those who have chosen to harm me. Those include all who stayed “neutral,” which added terribly to my grief. I hope to stay healthy enough to continue coaching basketball, teaching Bible Club, traveling to Bolivia, sharing the Survive and Thrive workshop, and standing for righteousness until my last breath in this life.
This blog post is meant to encourage faithful Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and purpose to be a part of it. No doubt this particular one will enrage the self-righteous abusers I know. Adonai Eloheinu!
Highly recommended resources for those suffering with abuse or hoping to advise one in that situation are:
“A Cry for Justice” (book by Pastor Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood)
“Light for Dark Times” (Jeff Crippen’s site working to unmask abusers in the church setting)