Rebuilding from an Abusive Marriage :: Jeni B [Ep 246]

May 6, 2019 | 14 comments

Jeni B is a single mom raising and homeschooling her four children. It was not the life she expected when she married as a young grad student and not the life she worked hard to create as she struggled for 10 years in an abusive marriage.

She shares her story of coming to a very painful place of seeking a divorce and fleeing with her children. We talk about the loss of community and friendships that followed and the guilt and shame that threatened to hold her captive.

There can be so much shame and there’s so much responsibility on the shoulders of the woman that it can feel like her job is to respect and to uphold and to encourage and that love covers a multitude of sins. And I’m sure that that works totally fine in a partnership where you’ve got two people under the headship of Jesus Christ who are wanting to please and obey him and serve each other. But when only one person is doing that, it just opens the gates wide for rampant abuse in a relationship.

But her story did end there. Three years later, she is walking with God in a deeper way than she thought possible and finding freedom through healing. In her hardest places, God has been faithful and she shares what she’s learned about his character along the way.

He didn’t love my marriage more than he loved me. He loves me. So a huge part of my own growth and my own awakening is knowing God. It’s a day-to-day walk and I feel the Lord shining on me. It is this beautiful experience of having been reduced to pretty much nothing and having all of my dreams destroyed to a place where God is building a city on top of that very same spot and he’s using other people in the process of rebuilding.

I’m thankful for Jeni’s openness in sharing her journey with God and how he is restoring and rebuilding her life. If you or a friend are going through anything similar, check out the online support group Jeni is in for more resources or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website www.thehotline.org.

What we chat about:

  • Jeni’s story of a 10-year abusive marriage and its painful ending and divorce
  • What it felt like for her to pick up the pieces and move forward as the sole breadwinner for herself and four children
  • The damaging cycle of abuse and why popular marriage books and teachings don’t work in a one-sided relationship
  • How God met with Jeni in her lowest point and the power of the Holy Spirit in that process
  • Why homeschooling her four kids as a single mom was the right choose for her and the stability it brought for her kids
  • Helping children adjust to shared custody and the differences of living in two homes
  • Tips for other single parents who are juggling everything
  • Training your kids to help with household chores in a joyful, loving way
  • Getting into community and taking care of yourself as a single mom
  • The healing she found from an online support group for Christian women coming out of abuse
  • How Jeni has learned to deeply connect with God in the day-to-day and the healing work he is doing in her

Connect with Jeni:

Links Mentioned:

**Amazon Affiliate Link. A portion of your purchase supports the production of this podcast.

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14 Comments

  1. Shelley

    Thanks for having Jeni on the show. I’ve been through similar experiences and most podcasts only talk about marriage and raising children as if you’ve got a supportive family, husband and church family.

    Reply
    • Heather MacFadyen

      I’m honored to get to share Jeni’s story. I’m sorry you’ve had similar experiences to Jeni. Praying for you as you rebuild. Thank you for taking time to share here!

      Reply
  2. Amanda

    Thank you for this podcast. It was everything I needed to hear to finally know there was (unfortunately) someone in a boat rowing next to me. So may “yes, preach it sister” moments.

    Reply
    • Heather MacFadyen

      what a powerful word picture: “someone in a boat rowing next to me.” So sorry to know this is part of your story but grateful for brave women who find each other even in brokenness.

      Reply
    • Jeni

      Yes! Rowing beside you, sister. And cheering you on.

      Reply
  3. Sarah

    Thank you.
    I have been praying for so long to know someone who has been through something like this.
    A friend sent this podcast to me. Your story is almost IDENTICAL to mine -even the time frame and ages of our children. It is an answer to prayer knowing you exist. I yearn to talk to another person that truly understands what this feels like. Thank you for being so brave to share your experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Reply
    • Heather MacFadyen

      Sarah I’m so sorry to hear that you can relate to Jeni’s story, but grateful to know that you now know you are not the only one. Praying for you as you rebuild and untangle.

      Reply
    • Jeni B

      Hi Sarah,

      When you start actually talking about your story, it is CRAZY how many other women have lived the exact same nightmare. I have met hundreds of women now, and it’s all the same…even down to the abusive text messages our X’s send. We have so much more strength in community. I hope you’ll look me up on Facebook and friend me there: https://www.facebook.com/jenibee Cheering you on, Sarah.

      Warmly,
      Jeni B.

      Reply
  4. Debby

    Thank you for your story of courage! I wasn’t sure if you meant to link the book Love and Respect? I know you mentioned it and may just be citing ot, however, it looks like it is recommended. It’s your site so I’m not telling you what to do, but that particular book has caused a lot of grief for many, many abuse targets (including me after 33 years of abuse). I not only don’t recommend it, but highly recommend they DON’T read it or try to follow the advice that is designed for healthy relationships but also emphasizes the complementarian (power over) view of marriage. Just giving feedback. Thanks again. I learned a lot from your podcast.

    Reply
    • Heather MacFadyen

      thank you for that feedback I think you are correct in not linking it here. I’m so sorry to hear about the abuse you’ve experienced. Grateful for you listening to Jeni’s story of courage!

      Reply
    • Jeni B

      Great feedback, Debby. For that reason, I didn’t mention the OTHER books I read during my early marriage that also strengthened the walls of my prison (you probably know what they are). I am so sorry to hear about those 33 years. Praying that God will restore the years the locusts have eaten. And cheering you on, Debby.

      Reply
  5. Liz

    Thank you so much for having this and the following podcast on abuse. It came at the perfect time as I am leaving an abusive marriage. So, so thankful hearing Jeni’s story & the hope for what’s ahead.

    Reply
    • Jeni B

      You are a WARRIOR, Liz. Time to step boldly into the new, beautiful future God has for His beloved daughter. I’m cheering you on.

      Reply
  6. Elisa

    I just got sent this podcast from a very dear friend in my small group community. I listened so intently as if it were part of my story. I am so grateful for your courage to share your life walk. Thank you for reminding me that God IS always with us even in the very darkest times of brokenness and separation of marriage, we only need seek Him with our full heart, dig into His Word, and praise Him through each storm. This brings me such comfort as I begin a journey of grieving loss. I truly appreciate your story and will be praying for you and your family.
    Many blessings & peace.

    Reply

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