Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for God’s Provision of Divorce

Christians often lament the high divorce rate, meaning the filing of papers in the court and the approval granted by a judge that makes a couple legally divorced. But to many women, divorce is a God-send, a blessing, a deliverance from death, and a gift of life. I am one of those women. I thank God for divorce. I thank Him for MY divorce. I needed it for my sanity and health. Painful as it was, my daughter needed it in order to have at least one place where she could know and connect with truth instead of being submerged in an environment of fear and lies that was so confusing it made learning and loving close to impossible.

I look at Galatians, my favorite book of the Bible, and see how free God wants us to be. 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Complementarian teaching entangles women in the yoke of bondage to husband authority. Paul tells us to steer clear of bondage. Granted, Galations is talking about circumcision. But the principle of liberty in Christ applies to the bondage males are attempting to force upon women. (In case you didn’t notice, I refuse to call them men. Behavior and teaching that results in bringing women into bondage is 100% unmanly.) Galations 2:3-5:
But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Note that Paul did not submit to the false teaching of circumcision for even an hour. Likewise, we should not submit to the false teaching of husband authority for even an hour. The Bible clearly teaches husbands to be a living sacrifice to their wives. Not once are they told to rule or overrule their wives. Paul said the bondage of circumcision was subverting the truth of the gospel. Their gospel was “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be circumcised, and you shall be saved.” Today the gospel is: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and subject yourself to your husband and you shall be saved.” (Although complementarians would never admit this. But notice how much guilt and condemnation they try to heap on wives who refuse to submit to being sinned against by their husbands.) Both the bondage of circumcision and the bondage of husband authority make salvation something to be acquired by works--by the flesh--instead of by faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.

In addition, the latter destroys the gospel message that Christian marriages are supposed to represent to the world. Marriage is supposed to symbolize the sacrificial love of Christ for the church, and the church’s response of willing and joyful yielding. Instead, because of the husband authority doctrine, many “Christian” marriages represent a ruler demanding obedience, often by throwing thundering rages, combined with lightning swift unpredictable, irrational, and threatening behavior and/or spiritual arguments to keep his subjects cowed into submission. These marriages actually symbolize Satan and his followers instead of Christ and the church.

Thus, I am so very thankful to be out from under Satan-like bondage, and to be free. I have been liberated to serve Christ unhampered by my husband’s nastiness, his sudden irrational and threatening verbal/emotional and occasional physical attacks.

I praise the Lord that my daughter and I have been set free.
Glory be to God!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit


  1. I so agree with being set free to truly be closer to God. I live on less, but have so much more. I'm normally an easy going person, and I was a nervous wreck, and could not truly be there for my children. I'm a great mom, but was reduced to being a robot.

    I had a relative who is very Catholic, and still will barely speak to me because of divorce. My prayers are that he someday will be showen a situation that makes him understand, because I no longer try and explain it to him. I love your blog so much, and get something out of every article.

  2. Anonymous,
    I am so glad you got free! But so sorry you have family who are punishing you for refusing to be anyone's punching bag, whether physical or verbal/emotional.

    My own family does speak to me, but they hold me at a distance, and treat everything I say as suspect. It makes life difficult, but it is still less painful than living with a constant barrage of putdowns, nastiness, name calling, and etc.

    If you have the resources, may I suggest several books to give to your relative? There is my own novel, "Behind the Hedge" that shows the harm that non-physical abuse does. (For the month of December I am sending a free copy to those who feel they cannot afford to buy one. See my website purchase page.)

    "Not Under Bondage: Biblical divorce for Abuse, Adultery, and Desertion" by Barbara Roberts ( takes a very close look at scripture from the angle of what people in Jesus's day heard when He made those statements about divorce, and etc.

    "Woman Submit! Christians and Domestic Violence" by Jocelyn Andersen ( tells how Jocelyn was severely beaten and denied medical help by her abusive pastor husband, and what scriptures helped her get free of domestic violence. Notably, she comments how popular leaders like James Dobson help foster domestic violence among Christions.

    "Would the Real Church Please Stand Up!" by Susan Greenfield ( is the story of a pastor's wife, whose church sided with her abusive husband.

    These books were written in part for people who don't understand. Abuse is often spoken of in terms that blame the abused, rather than the perpetrator. Or words are chosen that make the abuse seem minor. For example, the word "mistreat" sounds similar to "verbal unkindness." Both sound rather mild. In reality non-phyiscal abuse is more like stomping on a person and then wiping boots coated in fresh manure on the victim. It is demeaning in the extreme and so damaging.

    Another option is to send your relative emails with blog posts that may be especially helpful. My blog roll has some blogs, and so does the resources page of my website,

    In other words, I am suggesting that you don't need to explain, that you can send info or books and let others do the explaining. :-)

    God bless!

  3. I am now 63. As I began my ministry in 1970, within the first year a couple came to my office wanting to get remarried after a divorce on both sides. No other minister in the town would marry them.

    I told them to let me do a little Bible research and get back to them since I might be going against the other Baptist ministers in the town. Here is what I found:

    What Jesus said about divorce being legalized adultery was said to a Jewish practice of divorce. It was allowed for any practicing Jewish man to come to his wife, present her with a certain written statement, and they were divorced. It left the woman without rank in society since that was tied to men as well.

    At the time, many men simply got tired of their "old gal" and shed her for a new conquest. Marriage was just an easy contract to leave without making the man less orthodox. This, Jesus clearly says, is the same as adultery. It was just legal.

    Jesus said NOTHING about the woman living for years in a loveless marriage full of selfishness on the part of the husband. More and more we have men who were reared to get what they want when they want it and use women in the process. They put all the home chores and child rearing on the wife. In their opinion, all they have to do is pay the bills and get with their buddies as they please.

    This is the situation Jesus specifically addresses with a critical eye. It was my conclusion that nothing more specific is said on marriage. He was totally specific about loving God and your neighbor as yourself! Here is our measure of a good marriage vs. being used.

    My own daughter, after 15 years of putting up with a child in a man's body, has had enough. Her 4 sons are becoming more like their dad with disrespect, bad language, and rowdy behaviour. This was the real deal breaker. He is trying to beg her back with the same empty promises he gave before when she caught him using drugs. He comes from 2 parents who focus on things and neglected to love that little boy. His momma trapped his daddy with a pregnancy. Both of them really didn't want that child and told him so with screaming rants while momma penned him to the floor spitting in his little face.

    Sadly, he has no measure and hates himself as he was taught. After 15 years of showing love and submission, my daughter has had enough. She is troubled by his begging and wondering if she should give him another chance.

    Here is my advice to her and every other woman who has come to me under these circumstances:

    Tell him you have endured (X) years of hell. Show me the same number of years of proven good behaviour and then we will discuss it, BUT not one day sooner!

    Fair enough?

    No human deserves to be the object of demeaning actions from their spouse. Women can be just as bad as men. It all has to do with "love your neighbor as yourself." Put in total context, no one can love another if there is no self-love. We all fail and must learn to forgive ourselves and go on with life.

    God made us--he loves us--he wants us to find joy and peace through love. First, find that kind of love, then you will experience the joy and love my wife and I have enjoyed for 41 years. It never has been perfect, but it has been, and continues to be, a great journey producing 2 grown children who saw love before them as we guided them and they now guide their children.

    I am proud of my daughter's wise decision. I hate she endured the abuse so long. She has proven to this man a measure of patience he did not really deserve. Now it is time to move on and raise those boys in a healthy love. We will help her in any way we can!

  4. Waneta--

    I have a little follow-up that will tell you how much on target you are.

    For my daughter "all hell broke loose" last Monday. I got a frantic call as she was driving across town to my wife's work. She was so addled she could not rembember the phone number she had been calling 3-4 times daily for motherly support.

    Her "wonderful and demented" husband had shown up in the parking lot where she is the manager for Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It is the height of Christmas shopping pressure on any BB&Y manager. She was to her limit and he knew it. As her cell phone rang with him raging in her ear she looked out the window to see him parked and standing beside her car!

    Normally my daughter is cool and composed under any pressure, but this action spooked her to the point she ran upstairs to her office and locked the doors. Pretty soon one of her employees was there to comfort her. That employee was a lady of divorce.

    My daughter made it to my wife's Physical Therapy office. That day my wife was across the hospital campus doing aquatic therapy duty, but on the way to the main office. When my wife arrived to see the panic on our daughter's face, she also found her surrounded by fellow employees who knew of the situation. One, like my daughter, had been held by the hair while her husband inflicted a knife wound to her--fortunatelly my daughter was not cut in her incident! It happened in front of the children!

    They immediately went to the Lawyer's office which had told her earlier that they could not see her before Friday. Again, she was surrounded by caring people and immediately the lawyer saw her and allowed her to pour out her heart and sob until she felt better. It is now Friday at the end of the week. Yesterday, my daughter gave him the necessary paper work to draw formal papers of separation within 48 hours.

    The lawyer's advice was to not make any waves with Mr. Abuse and let him think he is in charge. As soon as the separation papers are served, SHE WILL BE IN CHARGE! (Lawyer with big smile on face) They should be served the first of next week thank God!

    Meanwhile my wife has packed her bag and is staying with our daughter to comfort her 4 screaming and disturbed boys.

    I had already forwarded your fine article above along with the copy of you first chapter from your book. It was almost identical to what my daughter is feeling. To know another woman was in the same situation and is happy now brought more comfort to her than you can imagine.

    I am a minister/father and I have more understanding than most arrogant, hard-hearted clergy these days. She knows this--AND I am the father who immediately called our local police Monday to have an officer find her at the lawyer's office so she knows the law is there to help. In NC it is an automatic 48 hours in jail for harassment of spouse.

    The most real help she got, besides her loving mother, was your honest story. I cannot thank you enough for writing what you have! If you were where I could see you I would give you a hug and kiss on the cheek. Words are just never enough to say "thanks for your help!"

    As soon as my daughter has access to her home computer (he has it password protected), I will be putting her on your website. Her work computer is for work only and there could be repurcussions if it had outside use--another thwarting rule from businesses usually run by men!

    I hope the women reading this blog have friends and parents surrounding them with support. In these hard economic days too many men are taking out their frustrations on the wife who happens to make more than them!

    Enough of this abuse--GET OUT NOW!!!!!!!

  5. Rather than fill up another slot with commentary on divorce, I invite you to look at my most recent blog post:

  6. "What Jesus said about divorce being legalized adultery was said to a Jewish practice of divorce. It was allowed for any practicing Jewish man to come to his wife, present her with a certain written statement, and they were divorced. It left the woman without rank in society since that was tied to men as well.

    At the time, many men simply got tired of their "old gal" and shed her for a new conquest. Marriage was just an easy contract to leave without making the man less orthodox. This, Jesus clearly says, is the same as adultery. It was just legal."

    Gene, one of the local pastors researched this and said the same thing you've said here. Thanks for bringing this out. Barbara Roberts also spells this out in her book "Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion."

    Barb and/or the local pastor also point out, the husbands were kicking their wives out or abandoning them, and sometimes taking them back years later. The wife was still legally married to the jerk who kicked her out, she could not remarry and had very few options. As you said, she had no rank in society. It is possible she could go home to Daddy, but what if Daddy wouldn't take her in or was no longer alive?

    That pastor pointed out that Moses commanded these husbands to give their wives a paper saying they were divorced so the wife would be free to marry someone else, and also so the husband couldn't come along later and ruin whatever relationship she established with another man after he had abandoned her.

    In other words, the writing of divorcement was FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE WIVES, & TO FREE THEM FROM MALE OPPRESSION, because men's hearts were hard.

    Today, many churches and pastors want to take a wife's protection and deliverance away from her. They want to make sure she STAYS oppressed--apparently so men can maintain their power, status, and the benefit of the service of women, no matter what.

    In trying to get us back to a no-divorce culture, they are forgetting what brought divorce in the first place--the hardness of men's hearts. They need to look beyond divorce, beyond that one reason for divorce, (wanting a younger model) and look at the other reasons--like treachery and violence, including verbal/emotional/spiritual violence. I call them violence because they violate the person. The use of fists, knives, guns, and etc are not the only things that constitute violence. The non-physical attacks harm people, too.

  7. "Tell him you have endured (X) years of hell. Show me the same number of years of proven good behaviour and then we will discuss it, BUT not one day sooner!

    Fair enough?"

    Wow! You are harder on abusers than the domestic violence workers are! You definitly bring sense to the twisted logic of so many. They push forgiveness and reconciliation.

    I think of the Damas case, where the husband murdered his wife and children. Guess what the pastor was pushing? You got it. Forgiveness and reconciliation. He should have been pushing safety, don't trust him until he proves himself, (Prov 22:3) and "don't worry about providing for the children; the church will make sure you have enough with a little left over."

    A counselor at the local woman's shelter told me the recommended amount of time to wait before taking an abuser back, is a MINIMUM of 9 months AFTER he has stopped all abusive/controlling behavior. Waiting 2 years is preferrable. It is too easy for abusers to fake it for awhile. The longer they have to prove themselves, the more likely they are to show their real selves if they are not genuine.

    Most pastors push for something like taking him back no later than 9 days after he said he was sorry.

  8. "Normally my daughter is cool and composed under any pressure, but this action spooked her to the point she ran upstairs to her office and locked the doors. Pretty soon one of her employees was there to comfort her. That employee was a lady of divorce."

    Gene, your daughter is one very smart woman!
    Her brain may have been "addled" but she took the correct action. Who knows what her "loving leader" was planning to do, or what would trigger him into doing violence to her and others at her workplace.

    I am so amazed at the support she received! So many women do not get that kind of support.

    What is so sad is that the church so often does not give that support. Far too many abused women end up with their entire church turning against them and supporting their abusers.

    Thank-you so much, Gene, for both supporting your daughter, and for being a pastor who will stand up for abused wives. (or abused husbands) That means so much to me! The women I network with get so excited when we hear of another man who stands up against domestic abuse/violence.

    Again, a heart-felt thanks!

  9. Women have always been the core workers in any church, yet the SBC is sending the WOM (formerly WMU) packing. How stupid!

    These same men are probably obese and love to eat fried chicken despite what the Bible teaches in abundance about gluttony.

    Since 1979 the model taught at Seminaries is the Mega-church king pastor who rules everything and does little more than sit in the office while others do the dirty work of hospital visitation and personal calls to church members' homes.

    Were that pastor to get off his throne and if he had a loving face which invited women in distress to share their hurts, he might just discover abuse and ruling going on far too often. None of them has the guts to say what I have said from the pulpit and it is a crying shame. Such pretense is a far cry from the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

    Thank you again for the kind comments and please keep my daughter and her boys in your prayers as well as my wife who is hurt to the core that anyone would be so evil as to hurt his own children.

    I pray for this man every day, but I don't want him around my daughter or my grandsons. Only God and a long term of psychological counseling will ever get him in touch with his demons. They are real!!!! According to my reading of the Bible he is destined for eternal damnation and that damnation is already robbing him of any joy life might bring his way until he changes.

  10. Gene,
    I am praying for your daughter, her sons, and you and your wife.

    I, too, have a dificult time getting my mind around the fact that anyone could be so evil. I suspect it is especially hard for women because our culture is so full of wife-blaming comments and attitudes.

    Please assure your daughter that she didn't do anything to deserve her husband's nastiness. Even if she was as bad as he said, she didn't deserve what he did.

    I am so aware of the difficult time your daughter is having (and will likely have for a long time) in containing the damage to her children and setting them on a different and better path. It is here that church and community support is so important. Church folk must be careful that they avoid saying ANYTHING negative about your daughter in the hearing of her children. Instead, they need to use wisdom in pointing out in the hearing of the children, or even to the children, how she has tried to follow the guidelines in the Bible, how it is her love for them that prompted her to separate from their dad, etc. Your daughter could say that 40 times, and they will never believe it. But if another adult says it, they are much more likely to take notice. At this point, that adult probably has to be a male, since their dad has modeled to them a contemptuous attitude toward women.

    I, too, have concluded that according to the Bible, abusers are destined to eternal damnation. It really bothers me that so many churches refuse to deal with the sin of abuse and oppression. Don't they care about the eternal welfare of the abusers? And what of the children who will copy that abuser's mindset and behavior? Why are they so concerned about the lost "out there," but excuse the lost who are sitting in their own pews?

    "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption..." Aren't the pastors who excuse the sin of abuse also sowing to the flesh? Won't they and a large portion of their church reap corruption? It is a leaven that is leavening the whole lump.

  11. Gene,

    With your position and insight as a pastor, do you have any suggestions for how I and others who are working to stop domestic abuse can be more effective in the churches? So much of the time we come up against a brick wall from both pastors and lay people.

  12. Wanetta--

    I am one of the most optimistic people who has ever lived--otherwise I would have ended my life with the serious situations I have faced.

    Sadly, despite my optimism, I am not optimistic about most current conservative churches--be they Catholic / Protestant /Jew. Their primary goal is to support male dominance through MIS-INTERPRETTION of the Bible.

    I think you are doing church on the Internet and people who have enough intelligence will somehow find you.

    The only optimism I have is with female clergy who minister with a heartfelt love few males can muster. I had a fellow female minister when I was pastoring a small rural church where the 2 most prominent families had the spouse (40 ish) caught in a sordid affair with the youngest daughter (still a teen) of the money with BOTH wealth and influence.

    I was seriously considering biblical exclusion of these 2 sordid people who had violated every law and church practice in the book. I called my female pastor friend and asked her opinion.

    Her advice was to show love / forgiveness / compassion. With that I encouraged the members after the next Sunday's service to pay a visit to the lady across the street or the one up the road--whichever they felt most able to love and affirm.

    Therein, was the start of healing without a church split! Women know things us heady, testosteron-filled male minister cannot seemingly conceive!

    Thank God for a female minister friend who is a great chaplain at a hospital now. She spoiled her elderly congregation with love to the point they do not want anyone but a woman for their Pastor to the present!

  13. Gene,
    What a positive vote for female pastors! I, too, have been ministered to by female pastors in a way male pastors chould not touch.

    On the other hand, don't short-change yourself. Those male-biased pastors (and elders, and influential lay people) plug their ears and talk loudly to drown out what we women are telling them the Bible says. But they may listen to you. Since you are the right gender, according to them, they may respect you enough to listen at least for a few minutes.

    I keep thinking God has each of us here in this century for a specific purpose. So many males refused to listen to the godly women who started the equality movement. But here you are, 160 years later, and somehow YOU got the message. Not only that, you are also passing that message to others, including your daughter, your grandsons, your son-in-law, your church. and who knows how many countless people on the web. God has definitely brought you here for such a time as this! What I'm pointing out, Gene, is that God has a purpose for your style of ministry, too. Keep up the good work!

  14. I appreciate the chance to make a positive male contribution to what is--by a vast amount--the land women know best.

    There are abused husbands also. I have no knowledge of the statistics, but I would suspect about a .333 percent of men and .666 for women. Without a doubt, because they are physically less agressive and trained by Judeo-Christian socialization women suffer most.

    I have all but given up on my Southern Baptist heritage as a place for sharing intelligent information. There has never been much receptivity to intelligent sermons from SBC churches ever. They want to be entertained and have their presuppositions stroked!

    The more intelligent former SBC churches have now joined the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Still there is not much being said about spouse abuse even though they are open to ordaining women.

    Methodists probably have the most intelligent / educated / psychologically tested clergy. I just don't know much about their most recent discussions and it is too late to change denominations for me.

    I have spent a lifetime speaking and writing and could certainly use these skills if I were invited and a proper consultation fee were provided. I have no financial support outside my struggling small tree surgery business. All small businesses are in the 10-30% (of what was made 3 years ago) world right now!

  15. More updates on my blog for my daughter.

    Please note Waneta's titles come up when someone checks me out. Let's help her in every supporter's profile!

  16. Well, I am back after an overnight visit to my daughter's house--as much to be with my wife as anything else. All people there are hurting!!!!

    He had the boys for Sunday visiting with his parents. They proceeded to show all the boys their presents so they would get praises yesterday and again at Christmas--it's no gonna happen! You can't buy those boys off with ostentatious gifts. They have so much junk from their in-law grandparents they don't even care anymore. The action figure parts fill a whole laundry basket. It is as if those 2 grandparents are single-handedly supporting the expensive child toy industry.

    All we can do is give love and 1 gift each!

    He came in all huffy. I spoke to him with all kindness asking, "How are things going?" He slammed the paper fast food bag making it pop and scaring the boys.

    After muttering and walking around he left with more muttering and the only thing I could understand was, "I hope you all enjoy MY house and MY TV and MY food" before he slammed the door behind him and raced down the street in his mother's borrowed car. Had he been in his "hot dog" Mustang he would have squalled tires all the way down the road. Such a hot head!!!!

    A little later I found out why my greeting got met with such actions---he had been cuting me and my wife down all afternoon with his parents and without any respect to the boys' listening ears. Now he had to confront my smiling face after all the slander--and watch the boys rush to me for love. Actually, I thought it was "just what he deserved."

    Later I found out he had called and left a vile message on my daughter's phone--first threatening to kill himself, and then calling her every vile and female-degrading name in the book along with accusations of unfaithfulness---YEAH---like a monther of 4 boys getting no help at home and running a busy large Bed, Bath, and Beyond Store at Christmas has time or energy to do anything but sleep restlessly as she is constantly verbally abused.

    S-o-o-o, I simply called my daughters lawyer on the way home to see how things were coming with the Separation Papers. A quick explaination of the above observations got a quick reply from the lawyer's lady assistant: "I will call your daughter immediately and see if we have spousal abuse and threats to life beyond what the saparation papers cover--because we can get an immmediate order for arrest in NC which is no joke."

    The crazed and mouthy husband left his message recorded---and that saved recording is like a stick of dynamite now in my daughter's hand. The more orders, the more cost, BUT now if he wants to renig on signing the papers, the next question is, "Do you sign OR shall we play the recording to the Magistrate and wave to you as you go to jail in handcuffs--which do you choose???"

    Right now she is working for a simple "no fault divorce after a year of separation" with minimal charge of about $1,600. Why spend any more if this will do. On top of that a Magistrate's order is free, if he takes one more step or pulls back his lips or fist again!! In addition, my daughter has no worry about calling 911 and a delay---I had her store the dispatcher's number in her phone who, while she listens, calls the closest cruiser to arrest him for a minimum 48-hours cool off--possible more should he utter the threat words!!!

    He has now hung himself!!!

    I hope the above steps are carefully considered by any of you ladies who are in similar situations:

    *get a good and caring lawyer immediately
    *try not to spend more money than necessary
    *have a caring relative present at all times
    *if you are lucky enough to have work associates keep them close as witnesses
    *don't let any more free verbal shots escape recording or documentation
    *forget the "righteous idiots" trying to tell you the Bible says stay--IT DOES NOT!!!!!