Forty-Five Years Is a Long Time

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 8:36

It’s been difficult to write lately. Not for lack of desire, nor for lack of content, simply because a lot of things have been difficult.

On one side I’ve been learning even more reasons to add to my list of reasons to never, ever, in a million years trust my ex again, and it’s so painful to be reminded so often that he cares so little for me. Especially knowing he is still telling people that he loves me and wants to get back together with me.

I asked one woman who knows the situation and she said she thinks he desires companionship.

I gave her a confused look.

“But he never even wanted to talk to me.”

She shook her head.

“He just doesn’t want to be alone.”

So, I guess I rank somewhere around ‘dog’ with him.

On the other side I’ve been forced to deal with some really difficult truths in my past, all the ways I was set up for this abuse in the first place, and, most difficult of all, the incredibly huge role my grandparents, two of the only people I ever thought loved me in my life, played in this set up.

It was my grandparents who told me I could absolutely never get divorced. It was they who told me I had to put up with my ex no matter what he did to me. It was they who said that I could never say anything bad about him. It was they who told me that what I wanted never mattered only what my husband wanted.

Yes, most of the churches I attended and most of the marriage articles I read backed them up, but I read lots of marriage articles that didn’t, and I attended a few churches that didn’t. If it hadn’t been for their overt teachings on remaining in abuse, I probably wouldn’t have. I respected my grandparents and thought they loved me. Why would they tell me things that would hurt me and my kids?

It’s been really painful, to the point where there are moments I cannot function. I can’t move. I can barely breathe.

That’s when the spiral ought to start. The self-talk about how worthless I am, about how I’m no better than my ex. And it did, until I realized something. I have spent 45 years living under abuse. I’m not even 46 yet. That’s my entire life under abuse. I might have a few things I have to work through. Probably? Definitely. And some of those things are going to be overwhelming. And sometimes I’m just going to have to deal with them and spend an hour or so not functioning. But acknowledging that means that I do function again. It means that things end up getting done.

When Jesus saw the crowds of Jewish people following he had compassion on them. They were beaten down, not just by Roman rule, but by the religious leaders. They had no hope. They were distressed & dispirited (NASB), harassed & helpless (NIV), confused & helpless (NLT), they fainted & were scattered abroad (KJV). These are the sorts of people upon whom Jesus has compassion. These are the types of people He always reached out to during His earthly ministry. He came to seek and to save the lost, not the people who thought they had it all together. (Mark 2:17)

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