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Today’s Truth

He drew me out of deep waters ... he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Psalm 18:16-19

Friend to Friend

Debbie was a pastor’s wife who felt worthless for years. She was verbally abused and emotionally abandoned in her marriage from the very beginning. She had been a virgin when she met her husband, so she knew something was very wrong when, seven months into their marriage, her husband went out of state for a “business trip” and gave Debbie a severe pelvic inflammatory disease when he got home.

Her doctors explained that she had gotten a bacterial infection that can only be sexually contracted. Debbie was hospitalized for five days and placed on strong medications. The IV antibiotics she received unknowingly rendered her birth control pills ineffective, and a pregnancy with their first child resulted. So Debbie stayed in the marriage, though she was wronged and mistreated.

“I was convinced that I deserved all that I encountered,” Debbie said. “I also remember licking my wounds with thoughts like, Well, at least I’m the wife, not the cheating lover.”

The shame of it all kept Debbie silent and trapped in an unsafe marriage. Behind closed doors she endured verbal cruelty, and she believed the lies of her abuser. When her husband was in a good mood, things were good at home. But if he was in a foul mood, Debbie bore the brunt of his abuse and anger.

Unfortunately, she endured the abuse for a long time before she left. Three kids, twenty-plus years, many affairs, and many lies later, Debbie finally had enough. She mustered up every ounce of courage she could find to leave and divorce her cheating, abusive, pastor husband.

You can imagine the scandal that took place in their church. Because the congregation was unaware of their pastor’s abusive and immoral behavior, Debbie was victimized all over again in the court of public opinion. She bore the weight of public shame, humility, anger, accusations, rebellion from her children, and never-ending feelings of defeat and worthlessness.

The weight of it all was heavy. So heavy that it pushed her into a deep pit of depression.

Debbie lost most everything in the divorce—her house, her identity, her financial stability, her dignity, and almost her sanity. In the aftermath, she even lost the intimate relationship she once had with Jesus Christ. She was still His daughter, saved by grace, but had run away from Him. Broken and angry, Debbie felt that God had let her down. She didn’t understand how God—who is supposed to be good, who is supposed to hear our prayers, who is supposed to be our Protector and Defender—didn’t protect her from the betrayal and the abuse. So, like Hagar, she ran to a desert to get away. Only Debbie ran to a desert of sin.

To soothe her pain, she temporarily turned to alcohol. The numbness she experienced from drinking brought an all-too-short reprieve from the sharp pains that pierced her heart when she was sober. And though she strayed from the heart of God and rebelled against His ways, He pursued her relentlessly. When she finally realized that her “victim mentality” had allowed her to trust a lying abuser instead of the God of truth, she turned back to the Lord.

In His mercy, God has restored Debbie’s broken faith into a beautiful faith.

He has redeemed her wounded heart and has filled her with His greater joy.

And though, like all of us, she still experiences struggles and pain, by faith Debbie now embraces God’s sovereignty and accepts His healing love. She is a changed woman. Changed by the unrelenting pursuit of God’s unconditional love.

Changed by the One who sees her as precious.

For a long time Debbie thought she was worthless because she was treated as if she were. She was told that she was. She believed what she heard from another person, even though what he said about her were lies. Debbie says, “I thought that I was a failure—that I didn’t deserve to be loved with integrity, honesty, and faithfulness—that I caused my husband to sin and commit adultery because I wasn’t good enough. I believed a whole pack of lies.”

Other people can make us feel worthless. It happens all the time…even within the church. If you are in a relationship that beats you down and causes you to feel like dirt, in the name of Jesus reject the lies that are being projected on you. That’s not who He says you are!

If you are being mistreated or abused, tell a trusted friend, meet with your pastor, or get with a professional Christian counselor right away.

And in all cases pray—without ceasing.

No abuser has the right to define who you are, to tell you what you think, to control or manipulate you, to tell you how you feel, or to condemn you for who you are or aren’t. Only the God of heaven has the right to define you, and when you are in Christ, you are perfectly beautiful in His righteousness…not broken.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,

but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me.

(Psalm 18:16-19)

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for loving me for who I am, where I am. Please help me to accept this truth when I doubt my value and to lean on Your strength and support when I struggle.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17. What truths do these verses confirm about your value?

Who came to your mind as you read today’s devotion? She needs this message. Please pass it on to her.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen’s book Broken Into Beautiful. Every step of healing begins with the heart of God. If you’d like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God’s beauty, get your copy today. To order the book go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s web store.

Get 20% OFF Gwen’s BROKEN INTO BEAUTIFUL book today when you order from her website and use the code: 20OFF

6 Responses to “Crushing Feelings of Worthlessness”

  1. MaJunta says:

    Although my exhusband was not a minister, my stepfather served our church in this capacity as an inner-city youth minister. He was extremely abusive and I learned to feel worthless through his words. I repeated the pattern and married an abusive man with whom I have 3 children and lost another child after he beat me while I was pregnant.

    Eventually I gained enough strength to leave him but today suffer ramifications for coming out of the closet about all of this abuse. I have strained relationships with two of my children, my exhusband’s family, my own family, as well as my stepfather’s family who one of which considers me a “non-entity” always asking me “why aren’t you dead yet”.

    Needless to say the young woman in your testimony today Gwen, can be completely understood. I cannot blame her for seeking an island of solace. Many people do. Anyone reading this who is suffering physical, mental, sexual abuse by another, You are implored to exit this situation as quickly and as safely as you possibly can. -Mj

  2. Renee says:

    Her story sound eerily similar to my situation, pastor husband, married 19 years, 4 children, mentally and verbally abusive, pillar in the community, but very different private life, etc. I did not turn to alcohol for comfort, but I did walk away from God for 2 years. I did not want any part of religion or church people. My un-churched friends were more understanding and supportive than any “Christian/Church friend” God’s amazing pursuit brought me back through the words of my 8 year old son who asked, “Mommy, Why don’t we read the Bible any more and why don’t we go to church any more?” I still suffer from time to time with depression and feelings of worthlessness, but each time He(God) pulls me out of the pit! He is truly the BEST FRIEND a girl can have. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Christina Smith says:

    Thank you for shring these ladies experiences, they are a wonderful encouragement.
    My daughter went through 17+ years of manipulation and emotional abuse.. when she finally decided to stop the insanity and sought help from her pastor and marriage counselor she was put down being told she wasn’t being submissive😕 and needed to “trust God”. This after her son had been physically abused by his dad and she had spent 17 yrs praying and believing that God would do something for her regarding her marriage. She honestly had no one at her church to support her. She has turned from God and become very bitter, wanting nothing to do with the Lord .. I know that the Lord is seeking her and will continue to do so .. just wish pastors/counsellors would recognize the need for boundaries being drawn in relationships .

  4. Robin says:

    Thank you for today’s devotion, it really hit home, I myself have been going thru a pretty tough time, recently separated from my husband, have been called countless names for years now, I had no where to go and have lost everything, but my niece opened her home to me for a few months until I can get back on my feet again and it’s already happening, but thanks to my Pastor and my church family they are truly helping me and God has his hands all over my situation right now! Once again thank you for this devotion.

  5. Julie says:

    Thank you for reminding me others have gone through similar trials by fire, and have survived. I, too, was married for 25 years to a verbally, physically, sexually and emotionally devastatingly abusive man. Because things were “fine” in between rages and divorce threats, I (and he) increasingly convinced me my dream of a family for my three precious daughters was worth it. It only came out when a perceptive elder from my church knew who wrote my anonymous letter BEGGING for help from my marijuana using, cruel and controlling “Christian” husband and leader. Thus began the church insisted separations and a long drawn out divorce as sexual abuse of my middle daughter was revealed further complicating my already fragile and tangled state. My daughters and I are still suffering fallout that sometimes feels will never end.

    It has been three years since my now 19 year old began cutting to near death. Her last hospitalization of 16 suicide attempts was only months ago and I suffer panic and depression regularly. YET, as David I want to trust in my God as others before me have. HE is good, regardless of any evil that comes our way. Somehow people like you and I who have had that deeply and routinely challenged will arrive at a place deeper than many will ever know. Though seemingly unbearable at times and something we wish we didn’t have to know, it is that faith far precious than gold that perishes. Help us remember that, Jesus.

  6. Claudia says:

    Thanks for the devotion – I can emphasize with Debbie even though my ex was not a believer but I was and believed the lie that I was to blame fir his years of infidelity and mental a user. As a Christian I prayed and believed God for his salvation and was prepared to do whatever it took to save my marriage but needless to say I didn’t realize what my three children were experiencing caught in the middle of this type of environment. God gave me the courage to walk away after 20 years and praise The Lord for all that He provided for him to raise my children. After being single for 25 years the Lord has now brought a wonderful Godly Gentleman into my life who had been my husband now for almost 5 years. He treats me with dignity and respect and together we serve our God.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8