For many women, and men, trying to recover from domestic abuse, faith communities are important, even though many teachings handed down to us kept us stuck in the violence:
‘Marriage is for life; if you divorce you cannot remarry.’
‘Women are subject to their husbands.’
‘The man is the head of the woman.”
These teachings were part of my upbringing as a Catholic in Scotland, but there are similar teachings in all faith communities. When I began reclaiming my life after my husband and I separated, dealing with these unhelpful rules was important to me; challenging them took a lot of courage and strength. Over time the word ‘God’ became too loaded for me, and I preferred the Hebrew word ‘Yahweh’ – I am that I am. ‘Yahweh’ became a clear space for me, allowing me to honour my own experience, insights and understanding. All relationships require the participation of all concerned; my relationship with ‘Yahweh’ required me. Over time I came to address Yahweh as Mother, expanding my understanding of Yahweh, and including the nurturing energy of The Mother.
I thought for the next set of blogs I would share with you the meditations and images from my book WITNESS *. I’ve mentioned my book in previous blogs, but just to recap: WITNESS relates Sarah’s account of her experience of Domestic Abuse at the hands of her partner, Jamie. They lived in a rural setting in Scotland, they were drawn together due to a mutual commitment as Christians, despite which Sarah dealt with most manifestations of domestic abuse, and their children, Erin and David, frequently witnessed this abuse. At the end of each chapter of WITNESS I included a healing meditation accompanied by a supporting image.
In chapter one Sarah and Jamie’s relationship begins with hope. They come from different backgrounds, meeting through college and friends. Shortly after beginning to live together Jamie becomes nasty and undermining for a short time, which Sarah put down to academic pressure. She met his family over Christmas but who behaved in a way she was not used to, vying for their mother’s attention, and talking over one another. Jamie had an outburst at one of his sisters, and then his father, upsetting the whole household. Gradually things settle when they return home, but it is also clear that Jamie no longer believed in God, and belittled Sarah for continuing in her belief. This part of herself went underground because she felt shamed.
Mother, I place myself in the warmth of your loving arms.
I place my feet on Your Earth and allow myself to be rooted in the Earth, my home.
You see me as good. I accept the goodness in myself.
You see me as worthy. I accept the worth in myself.
You see me as beautiful. I accept the beauty in myself.
You see me as desirable. I accept myself as desired.
Text & image © Kitty Nolan 2016
*WITNESS is also available from :
Barnes & Noble