"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out; you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalms 139:13-16 MSG
During my first few years in the military, I engaged in what is known as false love. I can now identify and call it what it was… Abuse. It was easy for me to accept this relationship because I didn’t know how to love or what love was.
Abuse is about power and control over another individual, it can not only be physical, but it can also be mental. Abuse is using power, and manipulation for harm, often stemming from insecurities, family trauma, and lack of security.
I will never forget the first time; I remember it like it was yesterday. The first time he ever raised his hand at me. A night of fun at the club on the military base turned into the unimaginable. After being struck I fell to the ground, coming up with a broken heart and a bloody nose. I continued life as normal thinking this wouldn’t happen again, until it did. The second incident - a recreation room- he was playing pinball. I was sitting on a high chair unaware of what was about to occur. I was thrown to the ground and slammed in between two gaming machines. A young gentleman we both knew stepped in and stepped up. The gentleman’s words will never be forgotten “The next time you raise your hand at her you’ll have to go through me”. I will forever be grateful for his kindness and his words.
Take a moment to read one of the most profound incidents of manipulation:
"Then Jezebel, his wife, said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” She wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. She wrote in the letters, proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die. So, the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it is written in the letters which she had sent to them.” I Kings 21:7-11 NKJV
Read the whole chapter; Jezebel is called the wicked woman for her manipulation practices.
"And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then, he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.” I Kings 16:31-32 NKJV
To truly understand love, we must look at God's love for us. Agape is the highest form of love in the Bible. "It is immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure."
To evaluate ourselves for this kind of love, we must first look within ourselves.
There is always a lesson to be learned on this journey called life. If you take a moment to evaluate yourself, you will learn that. Throughout this abusive and toxic relationship, I learned to understand word coding and phrasing. "Why do you do the things you do?" It was a narcissistic way of keeping me down and quiet. I decided that enough was enough, I held close to the Promises of God. I loved the Lord then and still do now. This is one of the many statements that pushed me to reevaluate myself. Why would I let someone abuse me? Break me? Destroy me? Belittle me? No one should live like that. Often wondering why he didn’t want better for himself, and us. Wondering why he would continue the cycle of abuse that we have both seen in our families. As I grew closer to God and began to understand His love for me my esteem started to develop, and questions were answered. Life started moving in a more positive manner.
I thought my journey of abuse was coming to an end, until I realized I encountered the physical, but not the mental. Years later I found myself battling once again in a very toxic relationship, but this time my physical body wasn’t hurt, my mind was. I trusted him. I loved him. How can this happen again? So, the journey continued to find myself once again and I did that, through the word of God. Training myself on strengthening the mind and heart. I want to take a minute and encourage you to fight for yourself; choose you, choose God! It may not happen overnight, but you will overcome it.
The greatest gift for freedom is the one Jesus gives us, Forgiveness.
I encourage you to meditate on these scriptures below, they are perfect examples of how to see ourselves as Christ sees us:
· Ephesians 2:10
· 1 Peter 3:4
Monique Tedder, Blogger
Lonnie Miller, Editor