This topic will be unpacked by our keynote speaker.
This topic will be unpacked by our keynote speaker.
This title does not suggest that you have lost your very precious faith. Yet, many of you have had a crisis of faith in the wake of betrayal. Our sensitive speakers will address the cognitive dissonance you have experienced as your life hasn't seemed to match up with God's promises. Your confusion and your questions do not displease God. He is not surprised when you scream and shake your fists in the darkness, nor when you sit on the ground and water the earth with your tears. He knows how it feels to be betrayed and forsaken. Lamentation is normal when your world has been rocked to the core, and your Faithful God sits beside you, comforting you, as only He can, in your darkest hour.
In light of having tried so hard to make everything right in your marriage and in your home, how do you grapple with the disillusionment that results from a dysfunctional or broken marriage, hurt and angry children, restraining orders and separations, sexual betrayal disclosures, trauma-induced illnesses, court hearings and divorces, and so much more? Where is God in the midst of this unexpected devastation and all your broken dreams?
We will come alongside you as we grapple with these questions ourselves, during our thought-provoking and faith-building sessions. We may never get longed-for answers to these questions this side of Heaven, but we can learn to trust God's heart, even when we don't understand what His hand is, or is not doing in our lives.
Our Gentle Shepherd is always, always, always with us and for us.
Most of us have had our intrinsic worth and God-given value diminished by hurtful and harmful decisions made by our partners. We are not responsible for the indiscretions and betrayals of those we most love and trusted. We may be tempted to believe the lie that if we had "been" something more, or "done" something more, that the betrayal may not have happened. However, you and I are enough: we are precious, we have enormous value, and we are deserving of loyalty and respect. We need to remember who we are and Whose we are.
In the wake of deep hurt and pain, we can still honor the humanity of others, while laying down strong boundaries to protect ourselves from further heartache and injury. When we reaffirm and cling to our truest values, like kindness, compassion, and goodness, we are less likely to lose who we are in this process. We will never be the same, but we can remain faithful to the truest, highest versions of ourselves.
God has given each of us a voice to glorify Him and to speak the truth. From childhood this gift may have been stifled, or completely stolen. It is hard to use our voices if we have never had the opportunity, or even recognized the sound of them. Through tools and support, the cries of our heart can become unified and heard. Let's not be afraid to speak up against injustice within our homes.
Betrayal trauma is a set of symptoms, actions, and thoughts that result from the threat to the attachment bond of a loved one or spouse. The more we trusted in and attached ourselves to another human being, the worse the symptoms will be. Those symptoms can range from sleepless nights and loss of appetite to withdrawal from normal activities, racing thoughts, adrenaline rushes, depression, anxiety, nightmares, a loss of hope, and our sense of self. Ultimately, our safety may be compromised, resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Years of repeated dysfunctional patterns, along with a history of traumatic events, can result in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), which requires more intense and longer-term counseling, therapy, and coaching to heal. Due to C-PTSD, many betrayed and abused women are diagnosed with various and often crippling autoimmune illnesses, which is not surprising, since adrenaline and cortisol are coursing through their veins 24/7 as they try to understand what is happening, why it is happening, whether they caused it to happen, and how they can stop it from happening in their homes.
When we stand at the altar we think we are signing up to live in safe, peaceful homes characterized by love, loyalty, and respect. What a shock it is when the one refuge we have from the world, our own homes, feel, and possibly are, unsafe.
Life becomes very complicated as we try to navigate this strange world of trauma. What will our families think when they find out all is not well under our roofs? How will our children handle their own trauma when they see or hear the conflicts, or even sense the tension in the air? What will happen to their sense of security as the foundation of the family, their parents' marriage, stands on shaky ground? How do we moms continue raising our children when our hearts are breaking?
If you add to those pressures a pastorship, a job on the mission field, or any other (especially public) ministry, partners may have to deal with both their intense grief and the many eyes watching how they handle the consequences of their painful discoveries, or of their partner's denials or disclosures.
Regardless of the details of each particular case, the trail of grief left in the wake of partner betrayal is devastating and has far-reaching consequences.
We are here to support you in any way we can, to help you not just survive, but to thrive.
It has been suggested that betrayal of a spouse or partner is tantamount to abuse. Now, imagine there is actual abuse added to that injury, whether physical, emotional, mental, psychological, financial, sexual, or spiritual. A battered woman may feel like she lives on the front line of the battle, running on adrenaline just to survive each day. Who does she tell? Has her partner convinced her that she is the problem, that everything is her fault? Is he gaslighting her, or using other tactics like crazymaking, projection, or isolation? Is she starting to question her own reality? Does she feel it would be disloyal to "uncover" him and tell friends or family or her pastor what is happening in her home? Would that put her or her children's lives in further danger?
Isolated, afraid, and alone, she may live in an environment that is so unpredictable, so threatening, so frightening, and so harmful to her psyche, she may develop chronic illness and be sick for the rest of her life. That is the story of so many otherwise strong and healthy women.
When she works up the courage to reach out for help, she may be told, "You have issues, too", or "You are the problem because you are not submissive enough", or "Everyone gets angry, and his is a common problem", without an appropriate and thorough evaluation of safety in her home. Domestic violence within Christian families is a very complicated subject: Christian women are often instructed to return home and "have more quiet and gentle spirits" and "respect their husbands", so they can "win them over". We will unpack some of these dangerous falsehoods at the conference, in hopes of freeing women from the chains that bind them. May these women God so loves grasp with both hands and hold tightly onto the truth of their worth and of their freedom in Christ.
*Regarding domestic violence, it is against the law. If a partner is not obeying the law of the land and is hurting his wife or children, the police, the authorities, and the courts need to be involved, in order to protect the physically weaker parties in danger. We are here to support, encourage, and pray with you if you are experiencing any of this harmful and unacceptable behavior in your home, and we have ample resources to share with you so you know your options, including numbers to call, organizations to contact, books to read, and support groups you can join.
There will be many resources shared throughout the conference to assist in your healing process.