Conundrum

I’ve been working on aspects of my book, Lessons from the Trenches, which is due to be released in September of this year.

Part of getting a book to market is getting the message of the book to those who need to read it. Normally that would start with speaking engagements in my area.

But my book is about encouraging women in difficult marriages. Can you see it now? The wife goes to her husband and says, “Hey, honey, I’m going to church for a women’s speaker today.”

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hubby responds. “What’s the topic?”

“Encouraging women in difficult marriages.”

Hubby: “Why would you need to hear that talk?”

Oops.

For awhile  our church had a class called “What to know before you divorce.” Hmmm. I could just imagine going to my husband and telling him I needed him to stay home with the kids so I could attend THAT class!

See, for some women in difficult marriages, confronting the issue and even seeking help, can be dangerous. It can increase the abuse they suffer in the marriage. I can’t risk putting a woman in danger no matter how much she needs the help.

Also, my real name is not Lilly Grace Brown. I write under that name to protect my family as I share my own story. I want to be vulnerable about my struggle so that women know that they are not alone. Because of this, I cannot do speaking events close to home where someone might know me. The real me.

If this blog has been helpful. If you know someone who is hurting. Please pass the information along. I’m going to do everything I can to promote my book to reach the women who need it most, but it will be hard to do a speaking platform to accomplish that.

Having said that, I am in North Carolina (Ashville) in a few weeks and I would gladly meet with women while I’m in the area. I’ll be in Denver in May as well. Wheaton in June.

If you don’t feel comforable commenting here, I get that too. Social media can be an open book in many cases. I want women to be safe, emotionally and physically. But if you know someone who is hurting, please pass this information along to them. I would love to be able to encourage them.

Having said all that. I can do messages on Sanctification and how that impacts marriage, on the Attributes of God, on Submission (I know, a dirty word!) and other topics surrounding the issue. As a married friend of mine said, “Your book could probably help everyone – not just those who are struggling most.” That may be true, but I want the weary wife who is holding on by her fingernails and wondering if it’s worth it, to know she is not alone and there are people out there willing to listen and help.

What do you mean by “Difficult”?

My book, Lessons from the Trenches, is due out in January of 2014, through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I wrote it to help women in difficult marriages.

But what do I mean by that word: difficult?

I’m not writing to the woman whose husband snores or drops the clothes on the floor in the bathroom for visitors to see when they stop by. I’m not talking about a man who has bad breath or perhaps can’t balance a checkbook to save his life.

I’m talking about men who may have a mental illness, including but not limited to personality disorders. I’m talking about men who might even be emotionally, verbally, and financially abusive. I’m talking about men who are controlling. Maybe they have a physical disability that interferes with their ability to be a husband. Maybe they are just he victims of bad family relationships but refuse to get help? Maybe they are not believers. Maybe they charmed you into thinking they were a Christian but now that you’re married you find that there is no evidence (fruit) to testify to their faith. Maybe they charm the pants off of everyone else and neglects and ignores you (another form of verbal/emotional abuse). Maybe they struggle with addictions: alcohol, drugs, pornography, or perhaps gambling.  Maybe they have even had an affair.

Now we could go round and around about which of these justifies seeking a divorce. But Jesus said that permission to divorce was due to hardened hearts.

I want to encourage you not to harden your heart towards God, no matter how much you just long to be free of the pain you are experiencing in your marriage. All relationships can be hard. Difficult conversations can leave scars. Trust has to be earned.

How do you respect a man who does nothing worthy of that? How do you stay married to him? And why would you even try?

I’m raising a lot of questions here and not giving many answers. Most of the marriage books out there don’t give much help to those of use who struggle in marriages like these.  It is exactly to women in these kinds of marriages to whom I am writing this book to.

I wrote it to remind myself of the good God has done in the midst of my pain and struggle.  I was encouraged to publish it to help others who desperately need that help from someone who is walking that same path, not knowing what the future will hold.

I  can’t promise you God will fix your marriage or that if you do X, Y & Z your marriage will be changed. I can promise you that God will walk with you through the struggle and grow you and change you and use you in ways you might ever expect.

When I’m in pain that’s not always enough to comfort me. But knowing that there are others who are walking that same path, trying to honor God, is comforting.

If you want to join me o that journey. Keep coming back here and follow my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lillygracebrown.

Blessings,
Lilly Grace

Blown Up Bridges

I’m going to say from the outset – I’m PRO marriage. I’m for sticking through it even when it is tough and feels hopeless.

I find it interesting though that those who have more tenuous reasons for divorce, especially over instances of ongoing verbal (which includes, emotional and financial) abuses tend to be pro-leaving. Now,  not all are like that, but I found it interesting when I was trying to get editors and agents to consider publishing my book, Lessons from the Trenches: Staying in a Difficult Marriage that women who had left argued for me to leave too.

I’m not judging them for divorcing. It may not have even been their choice. The end result though is that they are free from the ongoing assault and want others to share that freedom.

I get it. I really do. I know that verbal abuse can have health impacts far more damaging and long lasting than physical abuse and that it can escalate to physical abuse and that women who chose to leave find themselves in the most dangerous period of time ever.

But God hasn’t given me permission to leave and I first and foremost have to obey Him. It is painfully difficult. It wounds deeply.

I thought about how in wartime, enemies would blow up bridges to keep their opponents from moving forward. A marriage with a verbally abusive spouse is like trying to cross a blown up bridge. Planks are missing, the railing is gone and  the supports are broken. Sometimes you have to jump to get across the empty spaces and my legs are short.

In real life, no one would even attempt to cross a bridge like that. But in a marriage, when a spouse has blown up the bridge with his words and actions, it takes great faith to take those steps and not abandon the bridge. If this were a physical bridge – you would be considered a fool to cross. Even with the marriage bridge blown to smithereens, many would consider those who stay equally foolish. Grenades explode all around. Bullets fly. If we seek to walk as Christ did, we don’t abuse in return.

Sounds painful. Impossible. Insane. One therapist I saw told me I had to leave. This was toxic. And he was right – it is toxic. But we don’t criticize a family stuck in a house filled with black mold making their kids sick, because they stay. We can understand how hard it would be when you have a mortgage and you can’t sell the home and how are you going to live when your money is invested in a home that is worthless?

But isn’t it like that in a marriage? No one is going to bail you out and make it easy. I know from walking alongside friends who have made the choice to leave, just how gut-wrenchingly painful it can be. Sure they have some freedom from the abuse but they also carry other heavy burdens as well. The grass isn’t always greener.

God is faithful. He has been my support when the under-girding of my marriage has been decimated. He helps me over the gaps and helps fill in the holes with his presence. It still hurts. Many times I wish I could jump off that bridge into the world of single motherhood but to do so without His holding my hand would be suicide.

So I stay. And it hurts. And I despair the bridge ever being able to be rebuilt because my spouse refuses the tools available to him by the Master Bridge Builder, the only One whom I can trust.

Blessings. Stand firm.

Lilly Grace