“When you are free, don’t ever go back to Egypt.” These are the words my Focus on the Family counselor said nearly 2 years ago. Counselors can’t exactly tell you to leave your emotionally and spiritually abusive husband pastor of 16 years, especially while they are sitting right next to you. Getting me alone she held my hand, looked me straight in the eye and affirmed, “You are very brave to do this.” Chills down my body, I knew what she meant. It was a death to so many dreams. Knowing he would have to resign, we’d have the dreaded legacy of the “D” word to leave our kids. But it also meant death to the nightmare the children and I had been living in as well.
We had been living in a cocoon of sorts. One wrapped suffocatingly in religion and narrow minded (poor) theology. Based on legalism and a Pharisaical show of righteousness, all the while our marriage was secretly falling apart.
By God’s grace I hatched. Stretched my wings and flew away like a butterfly.
From Superficial To Superfruitful
Although not directly stated, most of my posts have actually brought you through this journey. What I was feeling when I realized I had made idols of my husband, marriage and family, I wrote in, Do You Have an Idol? In my journey of moving from superficial to Superfruitful I posted, Is it Spiritual Fruit or Tinsel? When I couldn’t tell the church the truth about their pastor I wrote the post on spiritual abuse hoping I could help others identify what I was blind to for so many years.
Freedom From Silence
Words of Freedom ring loud and clear each Independence Day for me, not only am I grateful to live in a free country but in my own home now where I can decide to freely move furniture, go food shopping, go to Bible studies, date nights with my girlfriends, movies with my children – with out having to get permission or be indebted because of his generosity to allow me to do things.
In our home the man ruled from the smallest to greatest decisions. No questions asked.
For many years I thought this was biblical and wanted to please God and my husband, so I acquiesced to this lifestyle.
After Seminary, my eyes were opened. I was so sheltered, so naive, I was forbidden to share anything personal with anyone. I began to research the subject of “Spiritual Abuse” and my heart sank at the reality of how I allowed myself and my children live in such oppression.
We Need Surveyors
It is possible to be independent, yet dependent on God after 25 years of co-dependency, but not without bumps in the road. When dating, the landmarks of narcissistic personalities and red flags of male dominance and patriarchy often remind me of my previous battle wounds -but not necessarily at first.
I am likely drawn, even attracted to it just like a familiar land.
This is very important to recognize if you have left a similar relationship. You would think we would run from these signs but instead, many times we find ourselves justifying that there is NO WAY this person is anything like our former relationship.
We naturally focus on the good, the positive things we desperately want to see and believe. It’s why we stayed so long in a toxic relationship to begin with.
This can be true for both men and women coming from destructive relationships.
We must allow trusted mentors, friends and pastors a chance to survey the land and speak truth, careful to not just look for approval but for their honest evaluation. Many times those small warning indicators are the Spirit warning us, “We just came from there, don’t you dare go back”.
Just like the Israelites so quickly forgot the misery of the tyranny of Pharaoh, they justify and even have fond memories of Egypt! They are willing to forsake all the freedoms they gave up in order to have some form of pseudo-protection, provisions in the way of food and water – but at the cost of their own souls.
“If only we had died in Egypt!” Exodus 16:3
“But the people thirsted for water there, and they grumbled against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt–to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’” Exodus 17:3
We All Thirst
While I have never wished to return to my former husband’s abusive ways, I have certainly experienced being thirsty. Thirsty for intimacy, unconditional love, life long companionship, for a godly father example for my children, for help with finances…
We all thirst. Thirsting is a sign we are alive! Only non-living things can survive with out water. In fact these aren’t even bad things to thirst for. They only become dangerous when the thirst for these things overrides our thirst for God.
We can become dehydrated on God’s love and His Word and almost like in a dry dessert delirium – without logical thinking we begin to compromise our freedoms, beliefs and convictions.
Singles, when the thirst becomes real, almost overbearing its so easy to find ourselves wandering back to Egypt-like places. You may even find yourself naturally attracted to the same unhealthy characteristics that you just escaped. Instead of camping out there and waking up someday to realize your right back in Egypt again,
Our perspectives can be skewed, allow others to evaluate areas you might not being seeing with accuracy.
Also, let’s remember there is no one who can love us like Jesus, He will never oppress, pressure, punish, manipulate, abuse His authority, hurt or leave us. Let us celebrate all aspects of our freedom this 4th of July, from oppressive countries, people and relationships, and ultimately from Sin!
JESUS IS OUR FREEDOM
JESUS ALONE SATISFIES OUR THIRST
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38
Trust the place He wants to bring us is far greater than any Egypt we have ever experienced.
Songs to Pray:
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