Anna: God’s life of beauty for my life of ashes

 

My name is Anna. Along with Jeff Crippen, I am the co-author of A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church. I’ve spent my life walking the broken pathway of abuse. I know its lonely, craggy, pathways far too well. My father was an abusive drunk. My mother became emotionally and verbally abusive when I was around 9. I was molested. I married into abuse.  If it weren’t for God’s grace, I wouldn’t be here today.

Broken bit by broken bit, God has worked on mending me. Daily He’s delved into my angry, broken heart, exchanging the ashes of a destroyed life for the beauty of His holy one. I’m a work in progress as we all are but He’s patient. He’s working on me still–and what a lot of work it is. Thankfully, His mercy and His grace is far greater than my brokenness.

After being raised in the church of Christ, and making my way through various other denominations, I am now a Reformed Baptist. I love God’s people but I can’t say that I’ve always felt their love in return. Sadly, the church doesn’t seem to know what to do with members who are victims of domestic abuse. Should they tell us that, by enduring abuse, we are suffering for Christ? Or maybe that we should stop talking about abuse, go home to our husbands, and be better wives and then, of course, they’ll want to be better men and the abuse will stop? Maybe they ought to tell us to “just divorce him” while not offering us any help with doing so? Or maybe just put their fingers in their ears and pretend that they can’t hear what we’re saying? Sounds harsh, I know, but the pain that I and others have received at the hands of God’s people (and at their lips) is far harsher still.

Those who have abused me have done all that they could to destroy me but God was greater than their abuse. Abuse doesn’t define me; God does. By His grace, I’m also a proud Mama, a homeschooler, and an animal lover. I enjoy cooking, organizing, and cleaning. It’s theraputic to me to put things away or, even better, to give or throw things away. I’ve rarely met a book or the back of a cereal box that I didn’t want to grab and read. I love taking walks, watching old movies, listening to music, and just being with my children.

Life is sometimes crazy and far too often, I’m still dealing with the affects of having married an abuser. I’ve got a plethora of health issues that sometimes side tracks me. And then with the cooking, and the cleaning, and the teaching, and the blessings of just being Mom to so many children (not to mention the cats and dogs), along with all the happy, difficult, broken wonkiness, I don’t get to write nearly as often as I want to. But when I can, I will.

The most important thing to know about me is that Jesus is my Savior. He’s everything and I’m really nothing. I’m certainly nothing without Him. He’s working on me day-by-day-by-long-hard-day. And I praise Him constantly that He is.

If you are here because you are being abused, my heart aches for you. If you don’t know my Savior, I ask you for a chance to introduce you to Him. If you do, I invite you to praise Him with me through the madness that is domestic abuse. If you are here to learn about abuse, pull up a chair and start learning. And God bless you for your efforts.

The lessons I’ve learned in the fires of abuse aren’t easy lessons. They’re lessons of dependency on God alone, of trust in His faithfulness in the blackest darkness, of hoping in His goodness when all hope was seemingly gone. As God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters to others, it is my desire to come alongside you in your pain and share His glorious healing truth.

Soli Deo gloria!

Anna

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