Breaking the Silence

The words of Elie Wiesel resonate with me as I write my first ever blog post.  I have been nudged and prodded by the Holy Spirit to write about my experiences as a way of bringing not only closure for my own journey; but also support and encouragement to women who may be enduring hardships that are similar to what I have endured.

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor and it took him 10 years of silence before he was able to even verbalize the atrocities he witnessed, experienced, and survived.

“I wanted to be sure to find the words, the right words,” Wiesel said. “I’m not sure I did. I have doubts. To this day I have doubts, because there are no words.” [1]

There is something deeply unsettling and unnatural about trauma. It’s not what God had designed for us when He created us. We were not meant to carry the burdens we often carry, and in this unnatural state, we don’t have the vocabulary to be able to communicate properly what we truly have endured.

My prayer is that by breaking my silence, as Wiesel finally was able to do when he wrote his memoir, Night, is that I may be able to shed light on circumstances and experiences that some women face. And by so doing, allow us to move forward in community and support for women who are facing trauma and trials right here in our own communities.

To pretend that abuse and harassment don’t exist doesn’t help us deal with the issues, it only sweeps them under the carpet and causes the woman who is living in an abusive relationship more shame and disillusionment, believing herself to be completely alone. I realize that Wiesel was talking about human injustice in a different context than domestic abuse, but I want to parallel the truth that human injustice exists in the homes around us as well, and our greatest enemy is indifference! When we pretend it isn’t happening and refuse to address the issues because they make us uncomfortable, we simply perpetuate the cycle.

Wiesel states, “I came to a conclusion that the peril threatening human kind today is indifference, even more than hatred. There are more people who are indifferent than there are people who hate. Hate is an action. Hate takes time. Hate takes energy. And even it demands sacrifices. Indifference is nothing, but indifference to hatred is encouraging hatred, and is justifying hatred. So what we must do — I mean your peers and mine – is fight indifference.”[2]

Today marks one year since I walked away from a 12 year marriage. A marriage that I spent 12 years of my life trying to love a man who couldn’t love himself and therefore lacked the capacity to love me.  I tried desperately to love him into health and wholeness.  As I have spent much of the last year reflecting on this relationship and its inevitable demise, there are many things I have learned.  One major thing I have learned from all of this is that even though my marriage has failed, I am not a failure. I have a gracious Heavenly Father that delights in me and is in the process of turning the ashes of my broken life into a beautiful new life. He is granting me beauty for ashes because though divorce was never on my list of life-goals; my God is willing and able to take the shambles and broken pieces and turn them into a beautiful work of art.

Psalm 18:16 -18 says,

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

I just adore the last line of that passage, read it again. “…he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

A woman who has been told repeatedly all kinds of lies about herself, no matter how strong and self-confident, eventually starts to believe that these lies might be true. She starts to believe…

“Maybe I am not worthy of love”

“Maybe I am not beautiful”

“Maybe if I work hard enough for my husband’s affection, he will love me”

“Maybe I have to work for God’s affection”

“Maybe I have to prove myself through being perfect. If I can be perfect for my husband, my family, and for God, than I will be lovable.”

These are lies, but they are thoughts that plague women in abusive situations daily.

I am here to tell you that those lies, all of them, are FALSE! God says right there in His word that He DELIGHTS in YOU!

  • Even in the midst of a messed-up life, He still DELIGHTS in you.
  • Even when your world feels like its crumbling around you, He DELIGHTS in you!
  • Even when you can’t put two coherent thoughts together to form clear communication, He DELIGHTS in you!
  • When the laundry is unfinished and the sink is filled with dirty dishes, He DELIGHTS in you!
  • When you have indulged in one too many sweets and couldn’t fit in any exercise, He DELIGHTS in you!
  • When you feel like you are living duplicate lives, happy on the outside and dying on the inside, He DELIGHTS in you!
  • When you have expended all you are to your family and have absolutely nothing left to give, He DELIGHTS in you!

You are lovely to God simply because you are HIS! He crafted you in His image because he wants to walk with you through your pain and your trials and your broken and your hurt and your chaos.

Let’s stop believing the lies, ladies, and start believing the truth about who we are and WHOSE we are.

Let’s stop living in a world of indifference and let’s step into each other’s messy lives and get dirty caring for one another’s hurts and brokenness. It’s time. It’s time to speak love into each other; to make time to sit down and have a cup of tea with our fellow woman because we were created for community. Together, we can break the silence by breaking bread together. Together we can stop the plague of indifference.

[1] http://www.wbur.org/news/2014/02/10/elie-wiesel-visionaries

[2] http://www.wbur.org/news/2014/02/10/elie-wiesel-visionaries

10 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence

  1. A beautiful truth – beautifully written. 💕 Funny, you have been on my mind today. I was eager to read your post when it came up on my feed. You are inspiring and your words are full of truth and light. There is power in your story – so glad you chose to share.

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  2. Part of me greaves as I read your words. Part of me takes a BIG sigh and is thankful that we have a creator who delights in us. I myself am a survivor of sexual, mental, emotional,and physical abuse. I am a byproduct of my mother divorcing three separate times, having three different last names. I ended up with a name that isn’t even mine. Kathleen you are courageous for breaking the silence. It has been my experience that when you face the darkness, the unspoken, and the lies you and your children will become more resilient.

    Gods peace,
    Lee

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  3. Thank you for breaking the silence. Beautifully and vulnerably written. How important it is on this journey of healing that we get the feelings “up and out” so that we can experience wholeness and full delight.

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  4. Wow. What great and inspiring words. My first marriage only last 5 years and it was very abusive. With 2 small children, it took me time to believe that it was ok to leave. That God would somehow forgive me. And that maybe I was not the horrible person my ex had me believe I was.
    God richly blessed me when I met Tony. And we have been married for 20 years – not always happy but always working together with Christ as the center.
    I pray for you and your family every day. Grace is a beautiful young lady whom I enjoy having in my Sunday school class.
    If there is ever anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.
    And I will look forward to reading your blogs!
    God is good and gracious and He is with you thru all of this and whatever tomorrow brings!

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    1. Louise, I had no idea that your story included an abusive marriage. Your sorry gives me hope that God is indeed working all things out for His glory and that there is hope for a bright future. Your prayers are very much appreciated! Thanks for sharing your story with me. ❤

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  5. Such an amazing set of thoughts and very well written. There is truth to this beyond measure and I am sure this resonates with more women (and men) then you will EVER know – my prayer is that God will protect your heart as you vulnerably open up about your journey so that others can be assisted in finding healing and wholeness and seeing God’s hand at work in their lives as well. ❤

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    1. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement! I appreciate your specific prayers as it will be the heart that gets hurt the most when we open up about our stories. But without feeling real pain, we can’t feel real love. It is worth the risk if it means my words can bring encouragement and healing to others.

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