Chapter Sixteen

I Am Worthy Of Being Loved

To become a whole person who can establish healthy relationships we must decide…

“I am worthy of being loved.
I am lovable because God tells me I am.”

The Father assures us that our being this cherished by Him is exactly the way He feels about us…

“You are precious in My sight.
You are honored and I love you.”

Isaiah 43:4 NASB

Because we are so precious to the Lord, we deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, tenderness and love. Never again can it be acceptable for anyone to be cruel to us.

To protect us from people who will mistreat us, the Father gives us this clear instruction…

“You are not to associate with anyone who
claims to be a Christian, yet is abusive.
Don’t even eat with such people.”
1 Corinthians 5:11 NLT

The revelation that we are worthy to be loved is basic to being a whole person. Therefore if we end up in one abusive relationship after another, we are not convinced that this is the truth. If we really believed it, we would never allow anyone to abuse us again.

The following incident reveals the defining moment in my life when I finally made this radically life-changing decision...

During the last year of my second marriage, I sat in a chair across from Richard in our bedroom. He sat at a distance on the bed and leaned stiffly against the wall behind him. In icy silence he waited for me to explain to him why I was feeling terribly troubled.

“I’m so unhappy in this marriage,” I began as my voice quaked with emotion, “that I am struggling with thoughts about wanting to die.”

I paused and looked at Richard, hoping to see some indication that he cared about how much I was suffering. But he merely nodded his head to indicate he heard me. He was indifferent to my distress.

“If I don’t die,” I continued as my body trembled with nervousness, “then I find myself wishing you would die so that I could be free. I don’t know how much longer I can hurt in this marriage.”

He stared at me with no emotion whatsoever.

I had invested fourteen years of my life trying to love this man and his coldness stung.

He made no movement toward me to comfort me. He offered no response to my suicidal anguish.

“After all these years I’m convinced you’ve never loved me,” I continued in a strained, hurt voice.

“You are probably right. I probably never have,” he replied with ugly disdain.

At that moment I made a proclamation.

“I am no longer willing to do all the loving and giving in any relationship,” I said as I stood up.

“For the first time I really do believe I’m a loveable person and I’m worthy of being loved and cherished. I will no longer accept being treated with cruelty. This is the last time I will allow anyone to abuse me ever again.”

I walked quietly out of the room and knew that no matter what price I had to pay, what I had just decided and boldly declared would change the course of my life.

In the months following that declaration, I struggled to understand what God expected of me.

Richard and I had spent most of our fourteen years in professional and pastoral counseling, but the problems continued unchanged. We had tried separation, but any improvement in our relationship disappeared shortly after we came back together. I had prayed for years for the marriage to be healed and it steadily deteriorated.

Most troubling of all, my heart ached over the damage my children had suffered from the years of constant abuse in our home.

The stress in the marriage had taken its toll on my physical health. I was sick more often than I was well.

Six months went by and a final incident erupted.

While I was in the hospital having major surgery, Richard’s mother complained to him, “Ruth is the reason for all the problems in the family.” She also called me and the minute I woke up from the anesthetic she told me this as well.

I was released from the hospital in less than twenty-four hours and as soon as I walked into the living room I asked Richard, “What did you say to your mother when she expressed this complaint about me?”

“I agreed with her,” Richard replied with a smug look on his face. “It’s true. Our family was doing great before you came along.”

At that moment I recalled the conversation I had with him six months ago.

Here I was in pain once again because of his emotional betrayal. I was vulnerable physically due to the surgery and I felt extremely fragile emotionally. I needed my husband to protect me and treat me with kindness. Instead, Richard glared at me from a distance with cold indifference.

I calmly backed away from him and resolutely told him…

“That is the last time I will ever allow you to abuse me again.”

I walked out the door of our home that day and never returned.

Immediately the Father took me into His Papa God arms and sheltered me in His presence as I sought Him for direction for my new life. I knew that I had to be free of the constant pain that had battered me in this relationship. But I felt tremendous anguish about deciding to end another marriage.

I will never forget the tenderness the Father showed me as He revealed to me how He viewed this decision. Late one evening He ministered to my heart…

Picture how a loving father would feel toward you if you were his daughter. To him you are exceedingly precious.

Then one day you call him. You are sobbing hysterically as you explain to him…

“Dad, my husband is abusing me. He has been doing it for fourteen years. What do I do? I’ve tried so hard to make this marriage work. I’ve believed for so long that God could heal this relationship, but now I’m in so much pain that I want to die. And the children, Dad, they’ve been so hurt. They’ve suffered so much because of the abuse.

What do I do?”

“I don’t want you to stay in this relationship and be destroyed,” the father quickly responded. “You are too precious to me. You’ve tried your best.

Your mom and I both know that marriage is sacred and that ending a marriage is against God’s Word. He has heard all your prayers for this relationship and He surely wants to bring healing into it. But neither you nor God have any control over the free will of another person who refuses to change. You can’t make your husband change and God can’t force him to change.

So be at peace that you have done all that you could possibly do to make this marriage succeed. Now it’s time to come home. You have a safe place here to heal. Come and let your mother and I help you. You and the children have suffered long enough.”

I cried and cried as I pondered this story. Then the Father interrupted my thoughts.

“Remember the Scripture…

If a child asks her father for bread, he does not trick her with sawdust, does he? If she asks him for fish, he does not scare her with a live snake, does he? As bad as you are, you would not do that to your child. So do you think that I, Your Father, who conceived you in love, will do that to you? Matthew7 MESSAGE

Yes, I hate divorce.

I hate all that it does to the sanctity of marriage because it is a union that is most sacred to Me.

I hate the splintering and shattering that divorce inflicts on innocent children.

But I also hate one of my precious children, who is the temple of My Spirit where My presence dwells, being maimed or crippled emotionally, mentally, sexually or physically by severe and relentless abuse from a spouse who won’t listen to Me.

He won’t let Me help him change.

And he has no intentions of stopping the abuse or changing the way he treats My precious child.

Has it not occurred to you that I, as your loving, caring Father, hate all of this as well?

If an earthly father wouldn’t want his daughter to stay in a marriage in which abuse is destroying her and her children, why would you think I would require that of you?

Do you think I would love you less than an earthly father would love you? How could I ever say to you in My Word that you are ‘precious, honored and I love you,’ if I told you that I expect you and your children to accept being treated so cruelly and so abusively all the days of your life?

This would turn marriage into a horrible prison of pain for anyone who is married to someone who refuses to stop his abuse.

If I required that you stay in such a marriage, knowing all that I know, I would be a monster God. I would be an abusive Father. And not your Father who loves you and your children so very much.”

Wearily I leaned back, rested my head against the chair and closed my eyes. I had never looked at my life in this way. I could hardly absorb the compassionate perspective that Papa God had just opened up to me. Then I gradually began to drink in His overwhelming kindness toward me and my children.

I took a deep breath and sighed audibly. Tension from a lifetime of trying to cope with being abused slowly drained out of me. From my first memory as a little girl, to be alive meant to hurt. Living with that mountain of pain was finally going to be over. From that day I gratefully began a new life because of my Abba Father’s tender mercy and His compassionate forgiveness toward all my failures.

All my life I lived in a land
where death cast its shadow.

But now I felt like my Abba Father
just made the sun come up.