A Peace that Passes all Understanding

Tuesday, 25 March 2014
A year on from escaping abuse I was rediscovering what peace meant.
Eight years later I still have the Christmas decorations I put up later that year on my wall, one says Peace, the other says Joy. They remind me never to take those things that I now enjoy for granted.

Here’s the original post from 2014

The bible talks about “a peace that passes all understanding”

I used to pray for peace. I loved Jesus, why didn’t I have peace in my home?

I left my abusive husband about a year ago. It was the hardest decision of my life. I had prayed so hard for God to ‘fix him.’ I’d tried to be a better more supportive wife thinking that if I submitted biblically than surely he’d be convicted of his sin and stop? I’d tried to boost his self esteem thinking if he felt better about himself he’d be less derisive to me and the children, I encouraged his faith thinking if his relationship with Jesus was better he’d be a “better Christian”- after all he was a Christian, and Christians don’t abuse their wives and children do they. I prayed hard for peace and I believed God would deliver and answer my prayers.

Thing is, I thought he’d do this by overriding my husband’s free will. My husband didn’t want to be convicted of his sin, he didn’t want to stop being abusive, I figured that God would “soften his heart” and make him see what he was doing to us. It never crossed my mind that he knew all along what he was doing to us.

I never thought for one minute God would answer my prayer for peace through divorce; God hates divorce right? Well yes, but he also hates idolatry. By constantly concentrating on pleasing my husband above all else I put that relationship at the centre of my life. I allowed my marriage to take the place of God in my heart, I made an idol out of it and sadly my idol wasn’t even real, it was a façade, and fantasy that was never going to be. I wanted peace but I was too busy having a messed up relationship with my husband to have one with the Holy Spirit, so how could I expect his peace?

I can’t explain how this dawned on me, or how I knew what I had to do. But I did. And despite my stumbling, my tears, my doubts and my anger I knew deep down that I had made the right decision. God is not disappointed in me, he’s disappointed FOR me, I am his child, he loves me and he doesn’t want me to suffer.

So a year on, I still cry, my children need counselling because of the terrible things their father did to them, I find memories deeply buried re-surface and I remember bruises from twelve years ago that I had hidden to the point I believed they were my own fault. I still sometimes have doubts and sadly despite all he did I sometimes still miss him BUT and here’s the big BUT…..overall I am a million times happier, and more importantly so are my children, my house is not filled with uncomfortable silences or fearful whispers about how to keep dad happy, it’s filled with singing, dancing, joy and laughter….and despite the noise and chaos that comes with three children it’s filled with a peace that passes all understanding, a peace that I prayed so earnestly for, God didn’t answer my prayer how I expected him to, and at first I believed he didn’t answer it as well as I wanted him to, but now I realise he answered it in a better way, because he gave me freedom, and really, you can’t have the peace of the Holy Spirit without that.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

( Isaiah 55:10-12)