Oct 312014
 October 31, 2014  No Responses »

domesic violenceIn my previous article in this series, I stated that it’s self-destructive behavior to allow your feelings of abandonment to lead you to accept abuse from any man.

Unless you’ve been under a rock or hiding in a cave, you’ve seen the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching then-fiancée Janay Palmer and dragging her out of an elevator knocked out cold. Days later, Ray and Janay were married. Some women wondered why she still married him, while others approved because he makes serious money—and could possibly change his abusive ways.

Since the Ray Rice story, other incidents of domestic violence involving football players, professional and college-level, have made the news. Even before Domestic Violence Awareness month in October, we’ve been reminded that this problem exists at all socioeconomic levels and affects women everywhere.

I try not to quote lots of statistics in my writing, but with this hot topic, you need to know the National Hotline gets about three million abuse calls yearly. A television report also noted 4.7 million cases of abuse occur yearly and three women die daily from abuse. Sadly, only 55% of cases are reported, with most abuse cases being women between ages 18-24.

As a therapist, a married man before my wife went home to live with Jesus, a father of three daughters, and having grown up in a house with a mother and two older sisters, there is no way I can condone a man hitting a woman under any circumstances.

I once facilitated a group of women who had been emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. The most difficult part was the first three or four weeks when the women had psychological transference issues and saw me as another perpetrator trying to manipulate them.

One of the women secretly tested me, which allowed me to gain her trust after she saw my compassion for their plight. The tension was reduced, and the women opened up and shared things that almost stopped my heart as I empathized with them. How controlling, insensitive, uncaring, angry, and brutal some men can be!

I listened as they discussed tear-filled, sleepless nights, past pain, bad choices, and desperation. They shared their regrets and how the past continued to haunt them.

I said to them and I say to you now:  stop looking back at what you’ve done or what you’ve allowed to be done to you. It’s in the past, and it’s the pain and problem of yesterday. You have to know your value and that you don’t deserve to be abused. How do you know you have value? “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). Knowing this truth from God’s Word, the ghost of abuse can no longer haunt your dreams, invade your sleep, or convince you to live a lie another day.

No woman should ever be abused or tolerate abuse in any manner. If you meet a man, and he disrespects you from the beginning, move on. If he talks to you in a condescending manner, move on. If the only emotion he seems to know is anger, move on. If his emotional state toward you is distant or he refuses to show emotion, move on. If he does not value and honor you, move on.

Abuse, whether emotional, physical or sexual, is a curse, and you were never meant to be cursed. But the Lord can turn the curse into a blessing for you because He loves you (Deuteronomy 23:5b). Ladies, you are valuable in the Lord’s sight, so value yourselves by only sharing your life with godly men who will adore you, adorn you, and address you as God would.

by Gerald Bower

Sep 142014
 September 14, 2014  No Responses »

Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (1Peter 5:7).

abandonmentHave people failed you when you needed them most? As a therapist, I have heard women share how their fathers were more interested in drugs, alcohol, or women than spending time with them. Others said mom was more focused on “All My Children” than her own children. Still others had discovered Mr. Right proved to be wrong because he showed no emotion or compassion in their time of need.

All of these women felt they had no value or importance to the people around them. They felt no one would listen or even cared about them. Some even accused God of leaving them alone and not caring about their situation. All of them felt abandoned.

Abandonment is the painful state of being unneeded and emotionally thrown away, or left behind, by a loved one. The experience of constantly being left, or ignored and undervalued, cuts like a knife through the victim’s heart. Anger, shame, and guilt also surface as the victim blames herself for being abandoned.

The Bible says: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1 NKJV).

If you feel abandoned, emotional strength is available in God. He did not make you to be inferior. He will never leave you, so you don’t have to feel lonely. You have great value in God’s eyes!

Ladies, you are special and deserve to be treated with respect. However, many women feel inadequate to meet the needs of others, so they become people-pleasers. Fearing abandonment, they will put up with men who abuse them—physically or verbally. This is self-destructive behavior.

A man who abuses women is insecure. He doesn’t value himself, so he uses words or his fist to devalue women and control them. Being abusive is his way of hiding his fear and anxiety. He covers these emotions by showing anger—a powerful tool for controlling a woman with abandonment issues. An abusive man can sniff out a lonely, hurting, and desperate woman who doesn’t love herself. He will use her insecurities to take advantage during her weakest moments.

If you have been abused or abandoned in the past, it’s not too late to do something about your future. You can address your abandonment issues before they surface again with the same negative consequences and destructive behavior. Sisters, forget those things that are in your past and reach for the things ahead. Press toward the calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14)!

God is calling you to find help and healing from your abuse. In Him, there is hope to resolve your past and replace your abandonment with adoption into His kingdom, right here on earth. In the title, I said give your abandonment to the Almighty. The name of the Lord God is EL SHADDAI. It means “God who is almighty and sufficient.” He loves to be in the midst of what seems impossible. Let Him in and watch Him change your life. He will remove your insecurities and make you secure in Him.

by Gerald Bower

Jul 292014
 July 29, 2014  No Responses »

WorthlessnessGod asked a question in Psalm 4:2 (NKJV) that seems appropriate for women today: “How long …will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love unworthiness and seek falsehood?”

Ladies, how long will you believe the lie that you are unworthy? You must believe the glory of the Lord covers you, rather than allowing the shame of your past to block it. The verse says, “and seek falsehood,” which means you are looking for the lie. Is the spirit of unworthiness so prevalent that you would embrace a lie rather than truth? The worthlessness you feel is not from God. The Bible says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Jesus came that you may have life and have it more abundantly.

Let’s explore how worthlessness creeps in. First, it can come from the spirit of inadequacy, where you don’t feel you can ever measure up. You feel incompetent about certain tasks and have reservations about your ability to complete those tasks. Another inroad to unworthy feelings is fear. Once you understand you are a child of Jehovah Jireh, the Lord your provider, you have no need to be afraid. The Bible says take no anxious thought because He is with you (Isaiah 41:10).

At times, your thinking can be so distorted that you sink into feeling unworthy because of a mistake or when you sin against God. The prodigal son made a mistake. Yes, he messed up. But in Luke 15:18-19, he said, “I will rise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’”

You have made some mistakes, and because you are flesh, you will continue to make them. But there’s good news: confess your mistakes like the prodigal son, and you will be accepted by the Father—with a reconciliation party in heaven in your honor. Because He loves you, God’s arms are always open. You are His daughter.

Worthlessness can also manifest when you set expectations beyond your reach or attempt to satisfy unrealistic expectations from others. Those who claim to know how you feel or what they would do if they were you will never be you. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

How many times have you believed you don’t deserve to be happy, successful, or stress-free? Are you anxious, focused on the crushing calamities of your circumstances rather than the calming caress of Christ? Call on Him in your day of trouble. He will deliver you, and you will glorify Him.

If you see worthlessness as an enemy in the battle to control your emotions and your thinking, call on Jehovah Tsaba, the Lord your warrior, and let Him fight your battle. You have His protection when you walk with the Lord.

God will preserve, provide for, and protect you. He has promised His presence in your life through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. You are His child, and He declared you worthy when He died on the cross for you. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Be encouraged, ladies!

by Gerald Bower