Last night I got in the letter below. When I die, I’m going to ask God for a favor. I’m going to ask him to show me where he keeps the language I wish I now had to express how I feel about the pastor in this story.
And then there’s this woman’s “husband.”
This stuff is just so grueling. I can’t even believe what animals so many women are forced to deal with.
I saw that there were some other women telling their abuse story, so I figured I would share mine. I believe that the more light that is shed on this issue, the more the darkness will flee.
Around 1998, I met my ex-husband. We were married for 10 years. Spent that 10 years in the church, a mega Southern Baptist church. I was involved in the Women’s Ministry there, and taught Bible study, the whole thing. We had four children together, adopting our youngest from China. About three years ago, while things were still “perfect,” I could not sleep one night. I didn’t know why. Finally, something (what I believe was God) kept pushing on my heart to check his cell phone. I had NEVER once done that before, never mistrusted him. But, I kept feeling led to do this.
So, I went downstairs and looked at his phone. There were emails between him and another woman setting up to meet for a drink at a bar. This was from someone that supposedly led the “Christian life”; my husband never drank, never smoked, never stayed out all night. He was a suit-and-tie executive type.
I was astonished. I stayed up all night. When he woke, I asked him for his email password. He got angry, refused to give it to me, and left for the office.
I told him we need to go to marriage counseling if we were to stay together. I even chose a Christian male counselor to be sure he would agree to go. I was ready to stay with my husband, because that’s what I felt was what God wanted me to do. After the Christian counselor told him he was in the wrong, my husband refused to go again—saying the counselor was “too liberal.” Following this, his controlling behavior escalated.
He became more and more angry. He threw my then 7-year old son into our kitchen island because he couldn’t find his keys. He angrily beat my 8-year-old’s bottom so hard her feet came off the floor. He would keep me awake all night. He threatened suicide, saying he was going to take the kids and I with him. I would wake in the middle of the night with him pacing around our bed, staring at me angrily. I woke one night to find him laying down facing me, his face just an inch from mine. Daily, he would scream at the top of his lungs, threatening me and the kids. He told my 8-year-old that if she would just behave, he wouldn’t scream, and our family would be perfect again.I was a stay at home mom for 10 years, homeschooling. What could I do at this point? He took my credit card, bank access, driver’s license and keys from me. He sent an email out to everyone on my church email list saying I was not taking my medication and so was going crazy, and asking them to pray for me (I wasn’t on medication).
We changed churches and started attending a Calvary Chapel church. I called the Pastor of our church after one of my husband’s tirades. I told him I was afraid of my husband, and needed his advice. I pleaded with him not to let my husband know that I called him—that it could be dangerous for me (my husband had told me never to tell anyone at our church what was going on in our home). A few days later, the Pastor called us both in his office. He then told my husband that I had called him and told him what was going on. The Pastor then continued on to blame me for not being a better wife. He said “men can get agitated” for lack of sex. Even after I explained to the Pastor that my husband had me on a “sex schedule” of every other day, it was still my fault.
I shortly fled my home with our four children. My husband refused to help me with anything for them. Not even food money. I got a job offer across the country and took it. I loaded up a U-haul with the little we had, and moved across the country by myself with four children. My husband found out where we were. He stalked me; hired PI’s to take pictures of me; had the IT guys at his office hack into my emails (4 separate accounts); pulled my credit reports; canceled my credit card. He did the usual abuser type things—calling/texting me at all hours to threaten me and our children.
It took me two years to divorce him. I am now still fighting him over visitation issues. He is trying to take our children out of the country without informing me of where they are going. So, his abuse continues on—but now through the court system. His verbal abuse continues with the kids; the court says they still have to talk to him on the phone, even though all of their counselors will tell you he is destroying them emotionally. Even physically—both our oldest children have had medical issues that even the ER doctors attribute to stress.
After all this, the kids and I are still joyous to be living a (mostly) free life. I am involved in an online forum for abuse, Our Place. These women have saved my life. My prayer is that the women that are still “in” will see that it is hell, and get out. But there IS heaven waiting on the other side.
P.S. Thanks for all you do. Your work is SO very important.