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He was my mother's new love interest after my parents divorced. I didn't like it when he slept over. I peered into the livingroom one morning and saw him lying on the floor in the make-shift bed he'd made the night before.
I crept in the way children do when they've been warned not to get out of bed again at night. He pulled back the blankets and invited me to join him. I clenched my sweet gown with one tiny hand, shook my head "no," and took refuge in my room.
I wore a pink dress to the wedding. In pictures, I grasp the lightweight chiffon with the same clenched fist--powerless over the heaviness of unwanted touch. Leaving the room was no longer an option, and what followed over the years to come forged a humiliating template for adulthood relationships.
Fast forward: April 2013
Me: I've just spent eighteen years in a relationship that shouldn't have lasted eight days. I am not unintelligent. And I'm always in a ten-week Bible study. How did this happen?
Psychologist: When you were a child, leaving was not an option. You learned to survive. But now the very skill-set that preserved you as a child works against you in your adult relationships.
Have you heard of a book called The Betrayal Bond?
What I learned that year:
I absolutely hated how my husband treated me most of the time but not once did I look in a mirror and think I don't deserve this. My brain was as bound to him as it was to the man who sexually abused me when I was a child.
That's how it happened.
The success of #MeToo is not solely contingent on public cries for recognition and demands for social justice. (Though necessary components.) It must include tangible steps to reconciliation and restoration. A re-forging of skewed relationship templates, beginning with how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to God.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself" (NAS).
I had no idea my mind played tricks on me--that "Mr. Right" was all wrong. After all, I'd prayed about our relationship before we married. But truth is, I'd yet to learn to love myself. Love for self came AFTER I conceded that God's thoughts are higher than my own.
There are two words, in my opinion, that every survivor should become well-acquainted with in the care of God:
If your "love" for a man extends beyond the capacity of your love for God and self, you will lack discernment in your decision making. (Trust me. I learned this the hard way.)
We get better together,
Published on Thursday, June 7, 2018 @ 7:58 AM CDT
It was Thomas Merton who wrote:
"For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair when, instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on the air. Hope is always just about to turn into despair, but never does so, for at the moment of supreme crisis God's power is suddenly made perfect in our infirmity."
Published on Saturday, September 2, 2017 @ 12:01 PM CDT