by Linda Dominique Grosvenor-Holland
When I was the host for a popular website I was in charge of their their domestic violence section for two years and in one of those years I was able to interview a man who wanted to be frank and honest about why he hit, hurt and abused his wife on an if not daily–then very regular basis. I was skeptical at first, because I believed that he was going to blame her for everything or make excuses for what he did and so I didn’t want to give him a platform to do that on the website. After sending him the initial interview questions I was thoroughly shocked to find out that he was willing to put himself on the chopping block to help others and found that he was being forthright with what had been going on inside of him while he was abusing his wife. What it all boiled down to is that he was insecure with himself, his unmet goals, current failures, past hurts and unresolved pain from his childhood and other relationships and he used his wife as a scratching post to relieve any pain, anger or uncomfortable feelings he was having in life about any of those things. It wasn’t until he fully accepted Christ into his heart, however, that he was able to make the transition from abuser to loving husband, and even he said, “It wasn’t an easy road”.
By now I’m sure that even if you don’t listen to R&B music you’ve seen the police photo of Rihanna and heard that she confessed that she and Chris Brown had an escalating amount of violence in their relationship over the past few years and that even recently in an interview with Oprah she said she still loves him and is praying for him. It’s clear to me that just because she is in the public eye that she is held to some higher standard or deemed an immediate advocate or spokesperson to the girls and women who look up to her–and it is somewhat understandable. But there is something that I learned a long time ago: Only what’s in you comes out of you. Just like the anger that pummeled her face to an almost unrecognizable condition came out of someone who appeared on the outside harmless, but wasn’t–what came out of Chris Brown had to be in him.
The whole world wants her to, but just like other women who are abused daily there is no way that Rihanna could stand up for herself if she didn’t see herself as the precious jewel that God created. If it’s not in her, how can that esteem and instant worth just surface if it isn’t rooted and grounded in her? Plenty of people were shocked that she took him back, for even a short period of time, but when you know better you do better and when you don’t, you do the same thing you’ve been doing–accept behavior that is unacceptable because you don’t know your true worth. I witnessed a baby dedication at church awhile back. The Pastor said that those who are assisting with helping raise the child should read the Word to them daily. He went down the line and asked each of the people standing for the children if they had read the Bible that particular morning. Some may think it odd, but the knowledge of your own worth has to be innate and you get the knowledge of who you are “in you” by reading, praying, communing with God so that you know exactly what His Word says you are, not an angry spouse, a jealous peer, a jilted lover, a drug addicted mother or sometimes absentee father.
If the fortified Word of who and what God says we are is not in you, when it’s needed it’s can’t just magically surface in times of emergency. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Would someone who had never dined on the Word and supped on that scripture repeatedly and let that scripture plant itself in their heart know to stand on Psalm 139:14 in that moment when they are being verbally abused and called every name except “wonderfully made”? There are people from all walks of life who are abused. There is a big misconception that an abuser can only abuse you if you have low self esteem. I had a friend who was vibrant, bubbly and powerful in the Lord. She met and married the wrong man and became something like an indentured servant to him. When I hear women say, “If he did that to me, I’d–” I cringe because it’s not that simple. An abuser doesn’t come into your life with his fist balled up saying, “I’m going to beat you and call you names whenever I’m not in a good mood.” They are often romantic, attentive and so many other things that it could appear that you’ve met Prince Charming–and you will believe that you have. They will slowly use the love you have for them against you and slowly manipulate and control you and make you feel like you are their property when the Word clearly says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:20.
That’s why in my book The Plural Thing: Spiritually Preparing for Your Soul Mate I absolutely love Chapter 4 that’s titled, “The Counterfeit”. It’s my favorite chapter in the entire book because I have seen too many women grab something with two legs, a pulse and figure that’s the only criteria they need for their relationship to work. Men snatch up a woman with a curvy figure and think, “She looks good, I’ve made it!” When some women find a man and when some men find a woman, God takes a back seat in their lives. I know some very skilled and experienced drivers, but I’ve yet to see one who can drive from the back seat. If you want to get to your destination, you have to give the person driving the wheel! We have to get to the place where we understand that we are worth what God says we are and if we want to get there we have to climb into the passenger seat and let Him drive. We don’t have to accept all kinds of behavior that goes against His Word just to have someone sending us a text message in the middle of the day, giving us a red heart shaped box of cheap chocolates or just to be leaving out of a restaurant on a Friday night with a doggie bag. I vowed to God long ago that if I had to be alone, at least I would be safe and happy. In that time of aloneness I sought His face, His Word and reprogrammed my mind with what the Word said I was and should be and now I have a man in my life that knows my worth and I know his too. It is so important that you know all of the beautiful and heartwarming things that God’s Word says about you for yourself, because no one is going to treat you like a precious jewel if you don’t believe you should be treated that way. But those of us who love and fear God are indeed His precious jewels. His Word says, “And they shall be Mine, says the Lord Almighty, in that day when I make up My jewels,” Malachi 3:17. He didn’t differentiate. Man or woman, you are God’s jewels. Jewels differ in shape, durability, rareity and beauty, but they are all His.
Stripped down naked, bulge or no bulge, brown eyes or blue eyes, In Proverbs 31:10 we know that God equates a prepared and efficient woman to a price far above rubies. That’s why I’m here to tell you, your worth is in the Word! You are a child of God, (John 1: 12), the temple of the Holy Spirit, (1 Corinthians. 6: 19), a branch of the True Vine, (John 15: 5), the apple of His eye, (Zechariah 2: 8 ) and covered by the shadow of His Hand (Isaiah 51: 6). If we don’t get “in” the Bible and begin to devour it we are doomed to a life of proving ourselves to others and trying to impress people and will be at the mercy of any well-dressed, expensive car-driving, fork-tongued slacker that just like the man I interviewed who only wanted to dominate his wife to make himself feel better, is out there seeking someone to oppress. Love is a beautiful and wonderful experience when God is the head of your search committee. If you want a man or woman for that matter that will treat you delicately and reaffirm what His Word says about you, find God and leave your choice for a mate in His hands. He is the only one who can instill in us, true worth, He knows who and what is the best fit for us and let’s face it, we really can’t love anybody until we embrace He who is the epitome of LOVE first.
Linda Dominique Grosvenor-Holland is a wife, mother and the Author of The Plural Thing: Spiritually Preparing for Your Soul Mate and her second relationship book titled The Love Better Manual was released in 2013. You can follow her on Twitter, Friend her on Facebook and visit her website at www.LindaDominiqueGrosvenor.com.
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