Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting Your Family Back After Abuse

I have watched and counseled with parents whose children were taken by CPS, spouses who necessarily were taken away from their families due to domestic abuse, a plethora of other similar situations.  My heart has bled for these people who have engaged in abuse and neglect as they have felt the frustration of trying to regain their lives and I have listened hour upon hour to their sobs.  They have told me how hard they are trying to turn their lives around and meet the standards to regain their families, and I have noticed a pattern and thus a solution to their sorrow.  Please allow me to share that with you now. 

Initially virtually every single person who has lost their family due to their own abusive actions or neglect has begun with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, crying out, "It isn't fair!  I should have my family back!  If only I could get my family back!  That's all I want and I should have rights!"  Really?  Abuse negated those rights, because they tread on and shred the basic human rights of others.  We first need to understand that.  They have feelings too.  I see these people trying to jump through hoops trying to get their way.  IT NEVER WORKS! It will never work for long because if that is the case, we are forgetting two very important aspects of this equation.  We are forgetting the person's relationship with God and their relationship with themselves.  We are also being dishonest with ourselves and thinking that our behavior wasn't that bad and that the people affected are not really feeling humans but our own pawns to use and control.  I had a dear friend whose children were taken by CPS.  I tried to get her to focus not on the situation swirling around her but on her relationship with God and in cleaning up her own life so she could be happy and filled with the Spirit.  God help her!  I have no doubt she tried her best but thus far has lost everything, sank into an abyss and my heart aches for her precious soul.  Another woman I know lost her children due to neglect.  She also tried furiously to get her kids back to no avail.  Then she calmed down.  She focused on making herself a better person, not for the sake of getting what she wanted but for the sake of being a better person.  She let go of the need for having her way.  Today her kids absolutely adore her and though her situation ended in divorce, it also resulted in her children loving to be around their strong, kind, and very involved mother. 

And we have to make concessions sometimes.  Whenever abuse or neglect has occurred, we have to recognize that there may be eternal consequences to our actions, which makes it even more necessary to focus on the person inside first.  A man abused his wife for years, went to a psychiatrist where he blamed his anger on his wife instead of accepting his responsibility and because he was trying to lie, blame her and still have his way the situation worsened until she became mentally crippled from his abuse.  It was only after the truth was made known in every corner of his life, his counselor, his family, his parents, his children, his pastor and everyone else knew, and he was necessarily removed from his house that suddenly a miracle occurred and he realized he needed a relationship with himself and God.  I have hopes for him personally, though only God can undo the disaster and heaven only knows if he will have his family back the way he wants it.  

When we engage in abuse we need to remember that we have not only offended those around us but we have offended God and our own spirits.  We have injured our own selves and sinned against our Maker.  Our first priority should be to turn to God in repentance, recognizing we have stained our souls and pleading for a way to be forgiven of Him.  It isn't about getting what we want.  As Rhett Butler said, "You are like the thief who isn't the least bit sorry he stole but he's terribly, terribly sorry he's going to jail for it."  That kind of thinking can't get us anywhere.  But God can pick up the pieces and give us, perhaps not what we want, but certainly what we need. 

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