As editor, I pride myself on letting people tell the truth. This one of those case. Worship leader, songwriter and author Janeen Michael has penned a very personal editorial article on domestic violence.When she reached out to share her testimony I thought it was important. Please read and tell us what you think.It is a subject she is all too familiar with as chronicled in her book, Journey to Love, – Oretha Winston- Lead Editor Elev8.com
Domestic violence is a huge monster born of a tiny word: sin. With so much coarse discourse on the subject in the news today, my heart has been freshly pricked on the cold hard reality of this issue that I know first-hand. Today’s dialog consists of fangs sunk into the perpetrator (often into “him”), and accusations hurled for the apparent folly-laden decision to stay (often at “her”). The analysis and reasons for domestic violence abound and is a wall now so thick and high, that it likens to the great wall of Jericho in Joshua’s time. To discuss each brick formation and composition is as helpful as attempting to take down the wall with a nail file. But there is a Solution.
Pride, fear and shame were the bars of my prison. Yes, I have lived through it and my badge of honor is not “victim,” “martyr,” or “overcomer,” it is “free” because I accepted the Solution to this cruel captor.
I had heard of You (only) by the hearing of the ear, but now my (spiritual) eye sees You.
Job 42:58 (AMP)
Fifteen years and God did not spare me. Yes, as His child, He allowed me to stay in a severely toxic relationship for that long. Why? Because it was my choice. More importantly, it is because He was being merciful and loving toward me. How? God was encouraging me to fly, by taking flight in Him. He is safety beyond what any commercial airline, private or militarized jet can provide. He wasn’t going to force me on board, like a hostage, I had to board myself.
“…like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.”
Deuteronomy 32:11 (NIV)
After penning my book, Journey to Love, one question that I have often fielded from interviewers is, “why did you stay so long?” In truth, I was empowered to do “something” about my situation, but I kept doing the wrong “something” which resulted in my prolonged stay. Full of a strong will, I decided to deploy my methods and strategies to cure the toxicity. It was the wrong “something” because it only focused on ridding the natural symptoms to a problem that has a spiritual root cause.
I tried to handle the monster myself, but instead, wound up inflicting a great deal of self-abuse. As an example, one method I resorted to is what I call, performing the role of “do-bot.” Simply defined, I would “do just ‘bout anything I was told,” often marring what God made me to be. Figuratively speaking, I brought a knife to a gun fight, over and over again.
The right “something” was that I had to submit my will (my virtual knife) and learn from God, how to handle the mighty weapons needed and described in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, to be freed from the prison bars of sin that I so bull-headedly allowed to imprison me. Practice makes habits, not perfection. And a strong will does not equal skill. It did not matter how much I wanted my “knife” to win, I was ill-fated at each “show down.” Though it is tough to admit now, God made the keys available that could set me free, even before I even married the senior pastor who abused me.
I was culpable to the measure of my inaction and it was extremely difficult to take responsibility for my portion of the dysfunction that I toiled around in for years. Am I blaming those that have had violence perpetuated against them? No. There is enough sin to go around on this issue– the perpetrator, obviously, but also the calloused observer, who has allowed the enormity and sensationalism of the issue to knock the Godly senses out of them. They become numb to the sound of the exasperating sighs of loss, too cold to empathize with the heartbreak, blind to the brokenness violently spewing through the windows of the God-breathed living souls of those impacted by domestic violence.
Domestic violence is terribly disorienting and all impacted are in desperate need of reorientation. What is the Solution? The Solution isn’t a thing, it is a Him; the person of Jesus Christ. He must be accepted as Lord and Savior, fully and completely. Because in so doing, we are fully vested through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to resolve the matter of sin, trust all that He promised in His Word, and be set free from the clutches of the huge monster.
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
II Thessalonians 3:3 (NASB)
Both abusers and those who are being abused must turn their lives completely over to God. He is the Solution to this problem.