A few years back, a very sophisticated looking 37-year-old woman, Phyllis, asked if I would pray with her in confidence. She was adamant that I promise not to divulge her secret before she told me why she was so troubled and seeking prayer. After I had given her my assurance, she confided that she was being severely mistreated by her husband, and had been for the last few years. Although he had not harmed her physically, the emotional and mental abuse had left her barely able to take care of herself, let alone her two children from a previous marriage. Phyllis’s husband, Joe, is a very successful person. He’s not bad on the eyes, extremely sociable, and known to be well-versed about a number of topics. When she first met him, she swore he was her knight in shining armor—the man she had been praying to meet for six years.
Phyllis owned a small professional cleaning franchise, and although it was successful, the insurance she needed to carry on her business and employees was eating into the profit, and she hadn’t been able to keep up with the demands of an expanding clientele. With no time left for herself between her kids and the business, she felt as if she was being swallowed whole. Soon after she and Joe began dating, he introduced her to a friend of his who was an insurance broker, and that connection proved to be extremely beneficial to her business. It didn’t stop there. Joe’s resources were plenteous, and he seemed to love lavishing them on Phyllis.
After a while, she noticed that Joe became increasingly critical of the way she was conducting her business, and when she didn’t take his advice, he’d become angry. It was nothing for him to make an embarrassing comment about her during a social outing with friends, or to ignore her input in conversations all together. His resentment was so out of control that he’d belittle her in front of her children, and he totally withdrew any display of affection towards her. They were both social people, but Joe’s vengeance and jealousy was so unpredictable that Phyllis was too afraid of what he might do in public. She didn’t go out unless it was absolutely necessary.
Joe flipped the script to such a degree that Phyllis was left questioning her own ability to make sound decisions. She wondered how she could have been so wrong about someone that seemed so right in the beginning of their relationship. She was angry with herself for having married this man, and found it incredibly difficult to forgive herself for what she was putting her sons through. She said that she couldn’t remember what happiness felt like, and was so disappointed that her children saw her this way every day. Joe’s connections and money was entangled with her business, and her sons were dependent on his involvement and gifts. She felt stuck, with no way out.
Phyllis kept all of this from her family and friends, but she finally took one of the most important steps that we can take when we’re hurting, and it is to let someone in. When it comes to pain, many of us turn into keepers of a secret. We’re too embarrassed to let others see that we’re hurting, because we don’t want them to think less of us. We don’t want anyone to know that we’ve made a mistake that has caused suffering. In a nutshell, this is shame, and it is the most deceitful weapon in the devil’s bag of tricks.
Shame is a feeling that isolates us, and one of the first steps in its demise is to recognize that its grip is not strong enough to stop God from rescuing us. He’s our Savior and Refuge. Rescuing is what He does. Heavenly Father is never far away from us, and when we make even the smallest move to open ourselves to Him, He will take the ball and run with it. James 5:6 (NLT) tells us to “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” God wants us to know that prayer is effectual, and when a person who loves and honors God prays with and for us, it produces wonderful results. We need to know that it is available to pray and ask Heavenly Father to send someone across our paths that we can pray with; a confidant that will listen and pray without judging us. God is delighted to help us in this way.
Suffering, shame, and guilt will block our view of the Cross of Christ. It will keep us from seeing how much Heavenly Father loves us. We can’t see past the pain because it is a web that seems tangled and endless. It makes us feel as though there is no way out, but this isn’t the truth. It’s a lie that the devil wants us to believe. Jesus Christ tells us in John 14:6 that he is the way, and indeed he is. When we can’t see a door or a window, God will make a way out. He’s God, and He doesn’t need our help to be who He is. If we believe that His love isn’t enough to save us, we’re fearful. He tells us in 1John 4:18 that His love is perfect, and it will cast out fear every time. We just have to trust Him.
We’re so busy doctoring on our mistakes and missteps, trying to make ourselves perfect that we forget He loves us with all our imperfections. He knows the mistakes that we make, and He loves us in spite of them. In 2Corinthians 12:9, He tells us that His power works best in our weakness. So God has our backs, no matter the circumstances.
In John 10:10 (NKJV), our precious Lord and Savior said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus Christ didn’t give his body to be broken, and his blood to be shed so that we would have a life more miserable than it was before we knew him. He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. He wants us to expand and increase, not shut down and isolate ourselves. He knows that when we’re operating from a good place, others will see our light and glorify God.
We spend a lot of time believing the worst about ourselves and our circumstances. 2Corinthians 3:5 tells us that God is our sufficiency. He is the only One who deserves this spot, but sometimes we begin to think that another human being can fill those shoes. No man can. God in Christ will forever be our rescue. We need to take a leap of faith and let God take over the reins. It’s easy to trust Him when everything is going well, but when we feel like we’re in the belly of the beast, that’s when we should give Him the chance to prove what a loving Father He is. It might feel as though we’re stuck with no way out, but He will prove that it isn’t so.■
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
“Stuck, with No Way Out? Not So!” written for Overcomingdomesticviolenceorg.wordpress.com ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!