1. I love you, Lord,
Please help me
By forgiving all my sins,
2. By healing me,
And saving me,
And giving my soul wings.
3. I love you, Lord,
Please help me
By redeeming me from death,
4. And crowning me
With mercy, Lord,
Beyond my final breath.
1. I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy (Psalm 28:7; NLT).
He forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! (Psalm 103:2-5; NLT).
2. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; NLT).
Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31; NLT).
3. God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave (Psalm 49:15; NKJV).
4. The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).
Today’s blog is about emotional abuse, and its consequences.
Introduction The following quotation sets the scene, though its relevance might not be clear until you have read the whole article:
Turn your steps towards these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the places where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved panelling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshipped in the land (Psalm 74:3-8; NIV).
An open letter to my mother Mother, despite claiming to love me, you established control over me from my early childhood onwards. You did this through scorn, criticism, bullying, condemnation, rage, and bouts of violent destructiveness. These behaviours made me fear you deeply. I lived in dread of your next outburst.
You continued to maintain control over me during my teenage years and adulthood, too, using intrusion, disapproval, and anger when I dared to express personal feelings, thoughts or beliefs you didn’t like. Similarly, you reacted with fury and threats of coercion if I tried to make my own decisions about what I wanted to do with my life. When I made mistakes, or got things wrong, you never forgave me, or forgot it. All this made me dread seeing you and spending time with you. I particularly hated the sound of your voice, and loathed you touching me, but was afraid to stand up to you, or to say “no”.
Your ways of controlling me have had severe, pervasive, long-term consequences for my mental health, in the form of low self-esteem, anxiety, dread, panic attacks and agoraphobia. I have also had to cope with a constant sense of not wanting to be alive, with chronic depression, and with episodes of acute depression. Furthermore, one question has always preyed on my mind:
How could you say you loved me, yet behave as you did towards me?
It didn’t make sense. I just couldn’t square what you said with what I experienced.
Then, on the 24th of May, 2020, a friend sent me a message she had seen on a Facebook site about domestic abuse. It read:
It’s not CONSENT if you make me afraid to say no.
I stared at these words, instantly electrified by their brevity, clarity and profound truth. Within seconds, a personal variation flashed into my mind:
It’s not LOVE if you make me afraid to say no.
Deeply stirred by this insight, further phrases began tumbling out of my unconscious mind. Here are just a few examples:
It’s not love if you make me afraid to disagree.
It’s not love if you criticise me all the time.
It’s not love if you make me afraid to be myself.
It’s not love if you make me afraid to choose for myself.
It’s not love if you belittle my achievements.
It’s not love if you only approve of me when I behave like you.
At last, in my late sixties, my friend’s message had given me the answer to my question: your behaviour towards me shows clearly that you did not, in fact, love me in any meaningful way at all.
This shocking realisation made me consider what kinds of behaviour do, in fact, reflect and express genuine love. Here are the best answers I’ve found so far:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude. It does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4-5; NLT).
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5; NIV).
I know that none of us is perfect, mother, but when I confronted you, you could at least have admitted what you did to me, and said you were sorry. Over the years, I managed to raise the subject of your behaviour with you several times, always at huge personal cost. However, you never responded with genuine understanding or honesty, instead always trying to justify, minimise, or deny what you had done.
For many years now, I have worked hard to forgive you. Sometimes I even think I’ve succeeded. Fortunately, God understands and accepts the intense anger and bitterness that can still occasionally emerge from my mind, heart and soul. Slowly, gently, he gives me the insights I need in order to be healed, for which I am profoundly thankful.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other (Romans 12:9; NLT).
Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them (Ephesians 6:4; NLT).
At last, the people will look to their Creator
(Isaiah 17:7; NLT).
1. Bear all God sends
Until life ends,
For when we sigh,
He hears our cry.
2. And though each soul
Has missed its goal,
Our heavenly King
Still waits within.
3. So, face the past,
Then say, at last: Your kingdom come; Your will be done.
4. God shares our woes;
His mercy flows:
He will forgive;
Then we will live!
1. My sickness is incurable, but I must bear it (Jeremiah 10:19; NLT).
Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).
While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh (2 Corinthians 5:4; NLT).
He hears their cries for help (Psalm 145:19; NLT).
2. Everyone has sinned; we all fall far short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23; NLT).
The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).
The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; KJV).
3. When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone (Psalm 32:5; NLT).
At last they will know and understand that I am the Lord (Jeremiah 16:21; NLT).
Your kingdom come, your will be done (Matthew 6:9-10; NIV).
4. In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).
In his love and mercy he redeemed them (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).
He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:2; NLT).
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10; NLT).