Tell Ruth the Truth

This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.


Finding Wholeness in my Identity as a Daughter of the King

I have been healing from the effects of the sexual revolution for about 30 years now. If you had told me as a 24-year-old that my life would be marked by emotional and spiritual wholeness, that I’d one day celebrate 28 years of marriage and three beautiful daughters, I would have thought you cruel for holding out that kind of promise.

My life up to that point had been overwhelmed by the choices my parents made, which wounded me (divorce, father’s addictions and abandonment, mother’s horrible live-in boyfriend), as well as the destructive choices I started making for myself as a teenager (sexual promiscuity and regular drug/alcohol use). The more I engaged in these behaviors, the worse I felt, and the guilt drove me into evermore destructive choices. My broken family had no religious, moral, or parental guidelines to put limits on my behavior. My mom was completely wrecked by a horrible relationship with a man who I would later find out was a predator. At the tender age of 18 he proposed to me one day during a lunch, complete with a ring and his plan that I would have his babies, but my mom would raise them. This was the man who I had lived in the same house with since 5th grade, and tried to see as a father figure, even though he was never interested in being a father to either my brother or me. It was just one more big crack in my already terribly damaged self-image as a young woman.


I would go on to have lots more hook-ups and drunken, drug filled nights as I moved into my 20’s. But I was getting desperate to understand why I was even on the earth. What purpose could my crappy life even have, and how could I ever hope to be different? I read self-help books thinking that was my answer. It didn’t take long to understand that reading about what was wrong was much easier than fixing it. Those books became a trap for me because I could understand the problems, but knew I was powerless, no matter how many times I determined to start fresh, to get out of the pit I was in.

I was only sure of a few things at that point. I wanted more than anything just to have a family of my own, but I was also committed to never doing to my children what was done to me. It felt like a no-win trap, because I knew in my morally bankrupt lifestyle I would never be a good wife or mother, nor would I ever find a spouse the way I was living. By my early twenties I had become convinced nothing about my life would ever be different, and I would be stuck and alone.

But a kind Christian man would come along in my mother’s life and fall in love with her, though she wasn’t a believer. My brother and I thought she was so desperate for a man that she was willing to settle for a “Bible thumper”! It soon became obvious that he wasn’t like anyone we’d met before. He shared his faith with me, and told me for the very first time in my life that I had a Father in heaven who knew me, loved me, and had a plan for my life. As I listened I was undone. Was it true that the God of the universe really knew me, and not just knew me, but loved me, even the way I was? The offer of salvation, the need to repent of my sins, being washed clean from the stain of sin, and knowing Jesus would be with me always was an offer I could not refuse. (My mom accepted Jesus as well.)

Healing came slowly but steadily as I pressed into living life with Jesus, taking in His Word, surrounding myself with healthy Christian community in a church committed to making mature disciples of Christ. Learning to practice healing prayer where I brought the pain of the past to the cross and Jesus exchanged it for truth and wholeness was, and still is, how I live free in Christ Jesus. The Lord has given me so much more than I could have ever hoped or imagined in this life, the most precious being a deep knowing that I belong to Him.

Submitted by S.


The psychologist hastily concluded I had "hang ups" about sex

At the age of 52, I recently found myself sitting in my mother's psychologist's office. She went to him most of her adult life, though she died six years ago. I knew her psychologist well since, at the age of 14, I was the one who had sought him out in hopes of acquiring help for my family. My dad attended family therapy once, at which time he stood in frustration, faced his broken family, and proclaimed, "I am an alcoholic and have no intention of changing anything."

After my third divorce, I returned home to the Catholic Church. Then, following a year of devotion to praying my mom's rosary, I felt compelled to approach my parish priest about starting the annulment process. The time had come to confront my painful past, and the healing process was subsequently set in motion. It has not been easy, but necessary.

After Mom passed away, I discovered her own annulment documents. They revealed that my father was a sex addict and described in detail the abuse she had suffered in her marriage. It was overwhelming to realize the puzzle of my past consisted of a myriad of pieces. I think it would have been a relief the day dad chose to walk out of our family had it not been Christmas Eve. He was donning a new shirt and void of regret as he walked right past his wife's brokenness and his children's joyful anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus.


After two years of therapy, I found myself still staring at a mound of puzzle pieces--very few connected. In my desperation, I thought mom's psychologist could help trigger some memories. Within the first ten minutes of our visit, I regretted this decision as he hastily concluded I had "hang ups" about sex since I was in a chaste relationship. He suggested that if we liked each other, we should live together. I remember staring at his degree hanging appropriately lopsided on the wall when it felt as if a bolt of lightning shot through my body, which appeared to have traveled upwards from hell, as I realized this man had influenced my mom. She sought help to better her life, and this is what she got. I was now guilt-ridden, knowing I had brought them together.

This sparked an unwelcome memory of my mom asking me to purchase her a condom. I vividly recollected struggling to process the metamorphosis I was witnessing--she was planning a one night stand. At the time I was married with two small children. Possessing only the life skills acquired on my own, I desperately tried to persuade her to reconsider. What was most upsetting was that she seemed so happy, even giddy, at the prospect. I wondered what had happened to my mom, the one who attended mass and confession and was quite devoted to praying the rosary. Now I knew.

I listened to the psychologist as he recalled this very encounter as my mom had described it to him. "It was liberating," he proclaimed, for her to express herself in this manner after being abused by my dad for so long. She now had control over her sexual being and was free to express her sexuality with confidence and without fear. He assured me it was quite pleasurable for her. I felt sick and was rendered speechless for a moment as I absorbed the shock waves of this most recent traumatic event. I  responded to him by leaning inward and looking directly into his eyes with a resounding, "Seemingly!"

It was time to leave. As I walked out the door, I muttered "hippie" and felt somewhat vindicated.

Submitted by D.W.



Divorce never stops being destructive.

Today is June 7th. I found out today that my maternal grandmother died. My mother called to tell me. Mother found out today too. Grandma, my mom's mom, died on May 15, three weeks ago.

My parents are divorced. My dad has been a porn addict since before I was born. I know that contributed to his attitudes about women and the eventual failure of my parents' marriage. Dad is remarried to a woman who had children from a previous marriage. He and his second wife had a child together too. We were strongly coerced to pretend we were all a cohesive family, but it never really took root.

Mom is post-abortive and believes in sexual "freedom." She's been married four times and now lives with a man who has never been her husband. She struggles with depression and has attempted suicide numerous times.

I was close to my grandmother and loved her very much. Despite her death, the saddest, most injuring thing about today is how, even 36 years after their divorce, my parents are still so awful to each other. My brother was my grandmother's power of attorney. He and my dad talk regularly.

I've been shut out of my dad's life because of my decision to have a relationship with my mom and because I told my sister that good Catholics don't cohabitate with their boyfriends. (I have been branded someone who tries to "force their religion" on other people.) I expected not to be told when my grandmother died. Mom is angry. She said, "I don't believe in hell, but I hope your father goes there."

I think attitudes of the sexual revolution led to the demise of my parent's marriage and all the fall out that I still experience. Divorce never stops being destructive.

Submitted by T.K.

Fighting Against No-Fault Divorce in Texas

Three long years ago, my husband and I separated. The intention was to work on our marriage; I never thought it would turn into divorce.

I know the agony of a broken home. My parents divorced when I was not quite two years old. My mother remarried, but their marriage ended ten years later, just a month before my own wedding. I thought, If this is how marriages turn out, do I ever want to be married? But I also knew that my husband and I were both Christians. No matter what difficulties we would face, we would face them together, I told myself. We married almost 20 years ago.

So, what happened?

In a word: offense. My husband and I did hurtful things out of our own pain and immaturity instead of solving the real problems in our relationship. We can be hurt by others and yet not take up offense. Offense happens when we compare ourselves to one another, instead of in humility comparing ourselves with Christ. We need look no further than the Cross of Christ to see the cost of our own sin, to feel the weight of the price that was paid for our mistakes to be forever removed. Our obligation, having received such a gift, is to give it away, to share it, by forgiving others. No matter how badly I have sinned or been sinned against, it is nothing compared to all my sins put together that Christ had to forgive for me. Should we do anything except fall with our faces to the ground, crying out great thanksgiving to God for His mercy? Having received such a gift, do we owe anything less than complete forgiveness to our brothers and sisters?

The enemy of our souls had fed us a lie, that our situation was hopeless. With Christ, there is no such thing as hopelessness! We got to the point where we told ourselves, I can’t take any more of this. But in hind sight, the pain we experienced then is nothing compared to what we’ve been through since. Oh, how I wish I could go back, put my hands firmly on my own shoulders, look myself in the eyes and say, “STOP. Now. If you go any further, you will experience pain and sorrow that no English words can accurately describe.” I would have dropped all offenses immediately. I would have apologized faster. I would have repented sooner. I would have guarded my mouth with utmost diligence. And I would have realized with great sobriety just how easily divorce can happen in our culture.

Davis and children at the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol Building

 


 

We would do well to heed the Proverb: Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster (17:19, NLT).

Days became weeks, weeks became months, and then that message I’ll never forget: “I want a divorce.” Despite my desire for reconciliation, our family is still facing permanent division. A wise man once told me: divorce is like tearing a tree in two. Trees don’t rip neatly; they tear. If you’ve ever heard a large branch break off a tree, the tearing is loud and violent. To me, ‘divorce’ means “division by force.” Three times now in my life: once as a toddler, once as a grown adult, and now as a wife and mother, divorce has been forced upon me, and there is nothing outside of prayer I can do about it. All three have happened in the state of Texas, and all three under the “no-fault divorce” system put into place before I was even conceived. Forty years of agony. If you’ve been through it, I need not explain how it feels.

Back in January, just a few short months ago, I sat in my attorney’s office working on draft #3 of our divorce decree. I asked my attorney, “At what point can I stand up and say to the judge that I don’t agree with this, that I don’t think our marriage is irreconcilable? Or insupportable?” Her reply, “Well, you can say it at final trial, if the case goes to final trial, but it won’t matter. The judge will still grant the divorce, even if she doesn’t want to. It’s the law.” It all seems so very wrong. Why can a judge who has never met my husband, myself, or our children, agree that our marriage relationship cannot be reconciled and our family healed? Why is this ok, if one of the two parties in this court case disagrees with the “charge” of insupportability, especially the defendant?

About a week after that meeting, however, a friend and mentor of mine shared with me, “Have you heard about this new bill in the Texas House? They are asking for the repeal of no-fault divorce.” I couldn’t believe my ears! You mean, someone is standing up against this decades-old failed social experiment? I looked it up online. I wrote to my Representative. (Did I mention we are a homeschooling family?) And thanks to a homeschooling program called Capitol Days put on by Texas Home School Coalition, I found myself in the state capitol with my four children less than a month later, on my birthday. Though we were tired by the end of the afternoon, we made one more stop and went by the office of the Representative brave enough to author this bill, just to share our story, just to say thank you.

They asked me if I would testify for the bill.

I could not have asked for a better birthday gift! After feeling helpless against divorce for so long, I was given an opportunity to do something about it.

On March 8, I went back to Austin to testify for House Bill 93, authored by Representative Matt Krause. I was overwhelmed, as out of the millions of people who have suffered this tragedy in my state alone, I was among eight in the office that day, ready to stand for marriage with this Bill. The Committee gave me about 3 minutes to tell them what I had waited about 40 years to say: Making divorce easy makes for disaster. The local news asked for an interview. You can view it here.

While I was there, I met another person who had shown up to testify, a constitutional law attorney. He was willing to say that no-fault divorce cases are without due process, and it is therefore unconstitutional to have such a law. He said he would challenge the Legislature’s law right up to the Supreme Court of Texas if he could find someone willing. I knew I had to ask if my case qualified; I was willing.

The attorney and I spoke. We were on a very short court schedule, so getting everything we needed done in such a short time would be difficult. I needed two things: 1) an extension to one court deadline to get all the paperwork for the challenge submitted, and 2) funding for the case to move forward. I only had a few weeks. We asked for a hearing before the judge to see if the deadline could be extended. That hearing was held April 20. The judge granted us the extension, but only for 8 additional days, until April 28th. It was not enough time. After all the effort, my case could not move forward. Even if the House Bill passes, it will not affect our marriage as our case was already filed.

I find myself back where I started: facing unilateral no-fault divorce, with nothing but prayer to help me. I cried. A lot.

But all is not lost! House Bill 93 is alive and moving through the Texas House. You may follow it here. Please contact the House representatives, and let them know you support this bill!

Are you walking through no-fault divorce and would like to use your case to challenge the law? Or maybe you are able to contribute financially toward such an effort? It’s an investment that could affect millions of lives for the better, especially the lives of children! If so, please contact me at nofaultrepeal@gmail.com.

Lastly, please pray for our family. After standing for our marriage for so long, I am nearing my 20-year anniversary; I’ve spent the last three anniversaries without my husband. All four of my children have dealt with various issues because of this divorce. Our case is scheduled for mediation on May 18th, just two weeks away. And yes, I am still believing for a miracle. With God, all things are possible!

Standing with you for marriage,

Kristi Davis


Watching home videos from before the divorce is heartbreaking.

My dad divorced my mom after 26 years and eight kids. He subsequently married three more times. I was out of college when my parents divorced and so was least affected. I've heard that divorce is the suicide of the family. I have to agree.  I'm 50 and not married. I'm a marginal Catholic. My youngest sister became a Marxist in college. She has two kids from different men and will likely continue this trend. She was four at the time of my parent's divorce. My youngest brother was nine. He still lives rent free with my mom and verbally abuses her. My sister says he is a heroin addict. These two were so beautiful and innocent before. Watching home videos of them before the divorce is heartbreaking.

Submitted by B. B.


Mommy come back!

 

by Meredith H. (South Jordan)

It started when I was 5. I remember hearing them fight scream while I cried trying to go to sleep. One night as I was asleep I heard some yelling outside my door. Then I heard my mom singing though my dad was still trying to argue with her. As weeks passed the police came to my house so often it scared me. When I turned 6 I went to my aunts house with my sister and three brothers. Only to cry even more finding out they were at court. When we returned home I had found out that my mom had been sent to jail. She got out but shes not doing well. 2 years later we moved. It was the worst I was depressed. But I just smiled hoping everything will be alright. But it never was. I missed my mom so much it hurt to know I didn't have anyone to do my hair. I bubbles my feelings so much that I suddenly burst. I CUT. Voices in my head told it would help but it didn't. My dad started yelling more it was bad. I cried for my mom for help for anyone to save me! I went to a counselor for help she helped me so much she understood me her parents too got in a divorce. It helped but sometimes at night when everyone is asleep i cried and wished for a mommy. I even drew my own mommy. To this day I hate that we moved. I am still depressed and still have feelings i want to spill. My family could have worked. Its been 7 years and I still cry is there anyone out there who just wishes they could have one phone call to heaven.

 


The grass isn't always greener

When I was 13, my mom began an affair with an old boyfriend, who she ran into at a reunion. She eventually divorced my dad, and married him. My father was devastated. My mom justified her actions by telling everyone their marriage had been miserable and my dad treated her poorly. This was a huge source of gossip in the mid 80's in our small town, and I felt like everyone was talking about my family behind my back. Both my parents were too busy trashing each other to notice what their divorce had done to me. My mom felt she was entitled to be happy with her new husband, and people get divorced all the time, and so it was all really no big deal and I would get over it. Karma did get her though--her amazing old boyfriend turned out to have a big drinking problem, and her new marriage spiraled downhill fast. She eventually divorced him too. Like so many people, she discovered the grass really wasn't greener with someone else. If only more people understood this.

I was, and remain, 100% committed to never putting my children through anything like what I went through. I married a wonderful man and we recently celebrated our 15th anniversary. It shocks me when I realize that we are approaching the length of time my parents were married when my mom's affair began. We have two children who are our entire world, and when I look at them I can't fathom for one minute putting them through anything like that. To this day, I still feel pain over the fact that my mom didn't feel the same way. It's been over 25 years and that pain is still there.


I moved in with my girlfriend at 16.

My family were not Christian when I was a child, and my mum was never warm towards me or my sister because we reminded her of her aging and mortality, which she resented. The sexual revolution had made her fixate on being a young woman and gave her no preparation to function as a mum. She eventually committed adultery against my dad with his best friend when I was about 15. My mum left, and my older sister already lived away (with her boyfriend), so it was just my dad and me at home, but he was very depressed. I moved out at 16 and moved in with a girlfriend.

My parents' divorce took four years through costly solicitors and was full of bitter hurt. My girlfriend at the time and I introduced my dad to my girlfriend's mum, who had also been hurt by her adulterous ex-husband. We had meant for them to be friends, but they got together and my girlfriend's mum moved in with my dad and eventually became my step-mum. So I was engaged to my step-sister.
 
We moved to university together, but I was struggling to function and I started receiving humanistic counseling when I was 19 or 20 for about two years. Then my fiancée and I went to couple's therapy on and off for about a year, but we finally broke up when I was 21, after years of difficulty and perseverance in a really unnatural situation. We'd been together since we were 15, lived together since 16, broke up after 6 formative and tumultuous years.
 
Since we broke up, she's been diagnosed as bi-polar: she was physically and emotionally abusive, coercive, and controlling towards me during our relationship, but because of my dad's marriage to her mum, my dad never helped me. He and my step-mum took my abusive partner's side and colluded in her abuse of me, and made me feel responsible for her treatment of me.

Then one day I met an evangelist and after being amazed by the love present in the Christian community I became a Christian and met my now wife, also a Christian, when I was 22. We had a godly courtship for two years and on the advice of my evangelist and pastor we got married when I was 24 after a short marriage course provided by some lovely Christian mentors. My wife is incredibly loving and not at all like my mother or my ex-partner were. However, because of my formative traumatic experiences, I do unconsciously project onto her and so I experience her behavior as rejecting or neglecting me, even when she is not.
 
She knows this about my psychology and is patient and supportive. We talk about these things articulately. I have been in psychotherapy for the last five years and really am healing, with therapy, a Christian marriage, church community, and especially the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God.

Submitted by A.L.P. in February 2016.



I watched as the officers took my dad into the car in handcuffs.

While I was growing up my parents would argue a lot. I thought their fighting was just a normal thing that grown-ups did. As I got older I would try to intervene and stop them from fighting.

One night when I was 12 years old I woke up at about 3AM and heard my father yelling. I came downstairs to see my mom on the phone with 911. I sat down on the couch with my dad. I found out eventually that my parents were getting a divorce and this was the last night that they were spending together before moving out. I remember my Dad yelling that he didn’t understand how you can be in love with someone and be married to them for over 20 years and just stop being in love with them.

The police eventually came to our house to try to get my dad to agree to leave for the night. He did not want to because he worked for our house and so they told him he either had to leave or they would take him. He was mad at the officers and asked for a moment to say goodbye to me, saying you would want that chance too if you weren’t going to see your son again for several months. The police officers told him to stand up and place his hands against the window because he was under arrest. I immediately ran upstairs and went to the bedroom that overlooked our driveway. I watched as the officers took my dad into the car in handcuffs and drove away. This was the last time that I saw my dad for several months.


I immediately fell into a deep sadness, having a very hard time ever wanting to go to school or do anything else. I suddenly could only see my dad every other weekend and had to walk far away from my house for him to be able to pick me up. My parents tried to have me see counselors, but they were not ever any help. No one ever told me why my parents would no longer be together other than that they did not love each other anymore. I could not understand how they could stop loving each other after being married for so long. It was not until I was 22 years old and heard Dr. Morse speak that I ever heard anyone talk about how much divorce impacts children. I grew up very lonely, only ever having one or two friends while at school and never having a social life outside of school or sports.

I still do not feel like I have a family that I can go home to. I rarely visit my family because it doesn’t feel like home, and I have a hard time feeling like they love me. We did not go to Church after my parents' divorce, and I eventually became an agnostic. I only ever knew of God and never saw him as being three persons who loved me.

I was gifted the grace of faith at the beginning of this year and since coming back to the Church have found an incredible amount of love and support for the suffering that I have gone through and still carry with me today. I am so thankful for the Church’s teachings on the indissolubility of marriage. I still carry a lot of pain with me but I have found immense relief in knowing that I am a victim, my parents separation was wrong, and that I was not wrong for being hurt by it. It helps knowing that my parents are still married in His eyes and that God still very much so loves our entire family.

Looking to the future, I am happy that God has gifted me with the incredible grace of a vocation to religious life with a Fransiscan Order. I am happy that I am finally home-sick when I am away from the brothers as they truly feel like family. I am also able to finally fulfill the deep desire that I have always had within me to spend my life serving those in need.

Submitted by S. R. December 2015.



I never thought to question the morality of abortion.

My mother left when I was six. My sister and I went to a beautiful old house we called “the home” - a group home for girls whose families were under stress. We were fed and dressed well, had lots of play time but, even with my sister there, I was scared. I saw Matron rub a twelve year old girl’s nose into her urine-soaked sheets, and I had seen her pull down underpants in public, in order to spank other girls. That was when I began to live on the margins and keep watch. Like the kid in the movie 'The Blind Side’, I became "99% self-protective”.

At age eight I went back to live with Daddy. I hardly can recall my mother but Dad remains my hero. He and I shared long evenings reading or listening to the radio and talking about plays, music and politics. With him, I participated in anti-apartheid marches. My love of history came from trips we took to ancient places like the Roman ruins at St. Albans and, every year, we went by ferry to his Irish homeland. I loved sitting on deck at night, singing old Irish songs.

By my early teens I began getting in trouble and ended up in boarding school. The school was in a 19th Century mansion, its grounds filled with exotic plants, lakes, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts. A tolerant staff kept watch over us. We danced to juke-box music every weekend. Boys and girls found all kinds of secret places to meet - in fireplaces, by laundry baskets, in the woods and at the trout stream. And we knew not to go “all the way”.


By 1965, the naive little boarding school girl, heavily influenced by an atheist/socialist Dad, went to nursing school and became a bleeding heart. Assisting with abortions was part of the surgical rotation. I never thought to question the morality of it and none of my peers did either. There was no public discussion about it, no talk about women’s rights. It was a scandal for a young woman to be pregnant outside of marriage. They were my peers, and I wanted to shield them.

When Evangelical friends put a Bible in my hands, my life changed radically. By the time I read the Gospels the third time, I was sensing a protective and tolerant Presence, yet I struggled with accepting Christianity. Then came terrible nightmares about dead babies. I felt prompted to read my Bible and start writing. I realized I was dreaming about the abortions I’d participated in and which, for fifteen years, I never had a second thought about. In nursing school, I had believed as I was taught, that the baby was a “blob of tissue”.

The words of Deuteronomy 30:19 jumped out - “I put before you Life and Death, choose…” I saw two armies, one standing behind Jesus and one behind Satan, and my inner ears heard, “there is no gray area”. It was a mandate. My choice had to be an eternal one. After 29 years I went back to the Church, and I was (flinchingly) in the pro-life camp.

However, I continued, as a Public Health nurse, thinking that birth control was a lesser evil than abortion and that the Church’s teachings were wrong, until I learned about the beautiful spirituality of natural family planning. I began to remember women who had strokes as a result of birth control - and malignant hypertension and pancreatitis. Could my sister’s death, from pancreatic cancer have been avoided if she had not taken birth control for thirty years?

Following a hunch, I discovered many horrid complications of artificial contraception besides abortifacient properties - cardiovascular disease, cancers of breast, liver and cervix, egg-producing male fish, personality changes, sterility, miscarriages and STDs.

I know now, as my 69th birthday approaches, that the Church had wisdom about the terrible consequences the sexual revolution would bring - long before science began to identify them.

Submitted by L. P. February 2016.