My next fiery trial lasted five years, yet is ongoing. Readers will recall I wrote earlier that if we fail to be tried to perfection in a trial, if we jump over a wall in an effort to ease the suffering and take the easy way out, the trial will be repeated later until the dross is burnt off us. This is exactly what happened to me. This is why so many of us seemingly make the same mistakes in life over and over.
There are several premises for this trial, a consequence of my unfinished time with Philip. Where did I go wrong there? First, I failed to act by faith, instead allowing fear to rule my life. After overcoming that to a degree, I was disobedient to Philip as my husband. Christian wives, in fact all wives, should obey their husbands in love whilst trusting YHWH to make everything go well. This is extremely difficult if a woman has a controlling, immature, lazy, dominating, violent, or in some other way, unfit husband. The wife doesn’t have to trust the husband. To have a trustworthy husband is a great blessing.
So the second premise is: a wife should honour and obey her husband. Husbands, of course, are commanded in the Bible to love their wives enough to die for them (EPH. 5:22-33). Wives also are told to love their husbands, and both are to submit to each other in the fear of YHWH (TIT. 2:4, EPH. 5:21). A husband can’t just go off and do whatever he likes without consulting his wife. Her input is important too. Then, we are told to honour ALL people (II PETER 2:17). Imagine for a moment if everybody on Earth honoured everybody else. As the song goes, What a wonderful world it would be.
The third premise is another at which I failed towards Philip and concerns divorce. Since I was a little girl growing up in the Church of England, I was against divorce. Yet at a hard point I took that seemingly easy way out. And was destined to be tried in like manner again. I will come to that shortly, but first some little known facts about divorce according to the Bible. Nowhere in that worthy Tome does it permit a woman to divorce her husband. There is not one woman within the pages of the Bible who even LEAVES her husband except the prostitute wife of the prophet Hoshiyah (Hosea). And she later returns to him when he is sent by YHWH to find and reclaim her. Her name by the way is Gomer. Paul makes one concession. He says if she does leave (as if perhaps it is not best but she does it anyway), she should be reconciled to him (I COR. 7:10-11). To be fair, the Bible says nowhere that a woman can’t divorce her husband either. It is silent on the matter.
It appears a husband IS permitted to divorce his wife, for adultery or if she is not a virgin upon their wedding night (before he does the deed!). But a closer examination, in particular of Yahshua’s words on the matter, shows that in the beginning a man and a woman were to be joined and no one but YHWH could put them apart. That’s ONE man and ONE woman. No polygamy involved. David and Solomon and all the others were wrong, lustful, greedy, and just plain selfish. How many nights WOULD a woman get with her husband if he had 1000 wives? I’ve got news for Solomon. Some women ENJOY sex. And want it more than once every three and a half years!!
What, some will ask, about the woman (or man for that matter) with a violent spouse? You mean, like I had in Philip? If a woman or man truly loves their spouse and does not act out of fear, she or he will be willing to lay down their life for that person. If we go running off when rainy day violence comes, what does that say to the violent spouse about Yahshua Who laid down HIS life for THEM? Won’t they feel unloved, rejected, and abandoned? When a woman gives birth, or a bodybuilder works out in a gym, they push through the pain to get the baby or muscle. And it’s worth it. Pushing a baby out is for most women agonizingly painful, believe me. So much so that I refused to push with Gabriel and he just fell out, thank goodness! (I was standing up.)
Having said the above, I do not advocate submitting to abuse or violence. That is not, I don’t believe, what the Bible means. There are things we can do in such a situation. First and foremost, if a conversation is escalating to the point of an argument, abuse, or violence, STOP TALKING. DO NOT ARGUE. It will do no good at all. Know this: the other person by that point is not listening, does not care what you say, and is not interested in your opinion. Leave the room. Lock yourself in a room. (I’ve had a certain husband remove the locks from our bedroom door because I did this.) Open all the windows. Go outside. Abusers don’t usually like others knowing what they are really like. I would go under our house so the neighbours would hear. It would go deathly quiet very quickly. Take a walk or a drive. Form a united front with others in the family. Don’t react at all. Pray. Call out to Father. Call someone else to come. Call the police. Give the person a hug and tell them you love them! I did this during some of my husband’s worst tirades. Most importantly, DO NOT FEAR. A controller feeds on it.
Read the love chapter of I CORINTHIANS 13. Love endures all things. I think most of us don’t love at all, nor know what it really is. So my third mistake with Philip was divorcing him. I should have waited. I don’t know what Father would have done. Not my problem. (Whatever it was, I know I would have been able to bear it – I COR. 10:13). But–love is patient. And kind. (I COR. 13:4).
It stands to reason then, that if I was wrong to divorce Philip, I was wrong to marry Anthony. That’s a realization I came to only recently. Anthony was the repeat of my mistrial with Philip. Remember the courtroom in Heaven from my post, Which Accused Them Before YHWH Day and Night? Anthony has been another Philip. Controlling. Angry. It doesn’t matter. It’s what I do that counts. A mistrial, a repeat trial, just means we have to do it again and get it right.
Did I? No. But I did pull up my socks a bit. I didn’t realize all this until the end.
Despite all my ‘wrongs’, it is also wrong to look back–like Lot’s wife. She was turned into a lump of salt for doing so. “Don’t dig up the graveyard,” Philip used to say. The only good reason for looking back is to see where we went wrong there so we can correct it now in our present. That’s true repentance. In my current situation, though Philip would probably remarry me in an instant if we could somehow manage that, the Bible forbids a couple who are divorced and the wife married to someone else, to remarry even if her second husband dies (DEUT. 24:1-4).
Our trip, the calm before the next storm, having finished, we all started rock climbing. This was no small feat for me as I had a fear of heights. This demon went into me when Jed as a toddler nearly fell off a ferris wheel. Around Australia we climbed dozens of rocks and mountains but the fear persisted until Father brought me a saviour named Anthony. His name comes means the WAY. Like the Scripture: This is the WAY, walk ye in it (IS. 30:21). I met Anthony rock climbing, and he taught me how to lead climb up precipitous slopes and down dangerous walls. And like these slopes and walls, our marriage was up and down for about three years before it sank into a quagmire of control, paranoia, and fear. Anthony is a paranoid schizophrenic from being raised in a household full of trouble. He was and still is Father’s instrument in my life and me in his. We were married in my childhood Church of England chapel to the strands of the hymn Holy Highway.
Father however was faithful, as you shall see. Just a few of our difficulties are here mentioned. Locks were put on the inside doors so we couldn’t watch TV. The boys then found a perfectly good TV on a sidewalk cleanup on which to play their Xbox games. Xbox? I would never have bought one for them, but Father blessed them with one for free. Gabriel won it in a card game on a cadet camp when he wasn’t even gambling. Because money was so tight, they would find EVERYTHING THEY NEEDED on these sidewalk cleanups, sometimes on the same day they first desired whatever it was. Anthony accused them of theft many times this happened, but eventually asked, “Are you going to find a Porsche on the footpath next?”
I was forbidden to buy clothes, shoes, jewellery, books, and later, to make calls from the home phone. Talk about being squeezed! But Who was holding me so tightly? Did I obey these directives? No, not really. I tried, but like all of us I have a rebellious nature. So it became a test of my obedience. Not faith this time, though that was involved. In fact, my boys and I were almost totally devoid of fear of Anthony, it having been burnt off in our previous trials.
We were given no money from our family business, until I threatened to close it down as it was in my name. Anthony reluctantly to the point of emotional agony, gave me ten percent, which covered two weeks of housekeeping out of a month. The rest I believed by faith. And SOMEHOW that money stretched. By then we were off government assistance because Anthony’s income from my business and his job was too high.
The boys and I continued to be blessed immeasurably. I had a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes from secondhand shops, clearance racks, my sewing machine, and found in the street! I’d find free books.
We delivered leaflets and phone books for pocket-money. I also had another small business making chalkbags for rock climbers called On the Rock with a picture of Anthony on the label. Meanwhile Anthony was at the doctor almost weekly with some ailment. His utility was continually being dented and needing repairs. Natasha, his daughter was constantly sick. She was sensitive even to heat and excessive sunlight, whereas I could walk the junk mail route all day in the peak of summer with a brim to cover my face and no sunscreen. I’m a blue-eyed blonde with fair skin and freckles. Jed and Gabriel are the same, being mixed race. They wear jeans all summer. I claim PSALM 121 over us: YHWH Himself watches over you! YHWH stands beside you as your protective shade. THE SUN WILL NOT HARM YOU BY DAY, nor the moon at night. YHWH keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
One Saturday for the very first time, three years into our marriage, I went out all day to a ladies prayer summit. I came home to a drunken abusive Anthony saying he had been to a solicitor to find out how to get me out of our house. This was the date the real abuse started. I was shocked, wondering what had happened. Turned out he’d been to the doctor and it was hinted he could have cancer. All day he had stewed in this thought, that he may die and I would inherit all his ‘stuff’. He had convinced himself I didn’t really love him but had married him for ‘his house and money’.
This so hurt me, the way he told me, I reached for Anthony’s bottle of bourbon and started drinking it straight. The pain of rejection was too much. Why couldn’t he share something like this with me like a normal loving husband does with his wife? I’d rung the ladies on the summit camp to pray for us.
In the middle of the night I’m sitting on the lounge in the dark, drinking myself to death, when Anthony comes out, takes the bottle off me, sits down, and hugs me. We talk. Me in a drunken slur. He decides to include me in the cancer tests. Disaster is averted for a week or two. But his plunge into alcoholism and abuse has started. By BELIEVING THE LIE about me from the enemy, Anthony, my Incredible Hunk–yeah, that’s my nickname for him, because he likes The Incredible Hulk—took into himself a demon that tormented him about me and would not let him rest. It would not allow him to believe or feel my love for nor commitment to him, despite everything I tried to do, every way in which I tried to show him, every prayer I prayed. It would only manifest when he was drunk, but he became hypersensitive to alcohol to the point a few mouthfuls would inebriate him. Nor could he go for one day without it. He lost his licence drink-driving and blamed me. Said I told the police he was driving drunk. That was a lie too. The tests for cancer were negative, by the way.
At the year four point of our marriage, Natasha left our house never to return. At least not while I was there. No explanation given. Anthony was frantic with fear of rejection by her. He said it was not to do with me. Personally I was glad to see her go. She had only spent a weekend a fortnight with us; was a typical stepchild, never accepting that her father had remarried; and had been awful to me. I’ve got to say, having a stepchild was new to me. I hadn’t known how to deal with her in love.
Within a few months I was receiving solicitor’s letters with a view to getting me and the boys out of the house, so, I imagined, Natasha could be coerced into returning.
I fought this legal onslaught with every ounce of strength I had. To a point the court supported me by allowing us to stay in our house until Final Orders. I was committed to Anthony and our marriage, refusing to abandon and reject him as I had Philip. But in the end, to save Anthony a lot of money, I agreed to a settlement and to move out. Otherwise we would have had to go to trial and through all the trauma that would entail.
At one point during this time, I overheard Anthony talking to a rock climbing friend of ours. They discussed suicide, having me killed, Anthony’s mental condition for which he was being diagnosed, and Natasha. Anthony believed I was a narcissist because I stood in front of the mirror a lot (to put makeup and stuff on), and mentally ill with bipolar disorder because I was always singing, dancing, and so joyful. He had even tried to have me committed to a mental institution. During the call, when Natasha was discussed, Anthony told Tim she was absolutely perfect, without fault. I had long before chosen not to compete against the delusion of a daughter whom her father considered could do no wrong. Natasha was seventeen, a typical rebellious teenager like Jed and Gabriel. Then again, maybe she was perfect and it was me doing it all wrong.
Within a month of the Final Court Orders, I moved out with Gabriel to a lovely house in the mountains. Jed was already working up north on a cattle station, but he was down for holidays so was able to help with the move. I had a new car by then, bought with cash I’d saved one year from phone book deliveries, and the stimulus package from the government during the economic crisis. Almost everything we moved fit in that car. The computer I am now using to do this blog was purchased the same year. Gifts from a loving Father. The old bus was still going strong despite multiple rust holes when I took it to the scrap yard to be crushed.
Anthony was at his worst during the move. One would have thought he’d have been pleased we were moving. But his violence actually escalated. The police were involved.
Ten months later I still pray daily for him. He is able to divorce me in a couple of months. Don’t know if he will. There’s been no adultery on my part. I have given him completely over to Father. During my deep delving into the why’s, I discovered and was convicted of my disobedience and lack of respect towards Anthony. The lack of respect took the form of angry outbursts and screaming at him, as I had a bad temper when we got married. In about the third year I managed to overcome it. That’s another story I may write. Having repented of disobedience and dishonour towards him, I steadfastly determined to be obedient in this one thing he commanded as I left, and which was in the Court Order: to have no contact with my husband at all. It was heart wrenching to me, but I’ve resisted all temptation. He can ring me but I cannot ring, write to, or see him.
The first time I heard his voice was a few nights ago, Anthony rang me but pretended to be ringing someone else, saying: “Sorry, I must have the wrong number.”
I’ve realized I am feeling as Philip must have felt during that terrible four and a half years I had no contact with him after Gabriel’s birth. I think the Bible says somewhere: As you do, it shall be done unto you. And as Philip felt after I divorced him. Whatever a man sows shall he also reap (GAL. 6:7).
I teach my boys this: know that whatever you do to another, one day it will come back on you, and if it is a bad thing, the agony of conviction is much worse than the initial pleasure or relief of doing it. Before you do ANYTHING to or for another person, think deeply upon it. Will I ever have cause to regret this? For we must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word we speak (MATT. 12:36), and He will judge everyone according to what they have done (ROM. 2:6).