Safety First

So that He sets on high those who are lowly, And those who mourn are lifted to safety. Job 5:11

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord,
make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

"Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise," says the Lord; "I will set him in the safety for which he longs." Psalm 12:5

Seeking Safety
(from the book “Healing the Broken Places” by Kate Johnson)

When it comes to our own safety and the safety of our children, we can never be too careful. Although nothing can guarantee our safety, there are things we can do that will add to our ability to feel safer and more protected. Psalm 140: 1-5 states, “Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars. They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men Who have purposed to trip up my feet. The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set snares for me. Selah.” (NASU). This scripture is not talking about rescue physical violence, but verbal and mental anguish.

When we think of safety, it is also important to learn about safe people and unsafe people. It is all part of personal safety. Unsafe people are those who you ask for support and they are all too willing to give you advice, tell you what you should do, and/or tell others what is happening. They enter your world and criticize your decisions but do not offer true support for where you are at. Safe people respect your decisions, and while they may help you think through what your choices are, they do so in a supportive way where you feel empowered and loved. It is important to find safe people with whom you can be yourself and receive encouragement. It is okay, and even wise, not to disclose too much or feel that you must tell everything to everyone who asks. You have a right to safety in all relationships. If you need someone to pray for you and there is no one you can speak with or trust, consider emailing us.

Just as God commands David to seek safety from Saul when his life is in danger, so God wants us to be safe from those who would do us harm. Another example of God condoning seeking safety is the story of Rahab hiding the spies.

When Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. It was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land." And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land." But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. "It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them." But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. Joshua 2:1-7 (emphasis added).

In this, we can clearly see that God blesses those who help His people escape from those seeking to harm them. It is no different for those in abusive situations. The Lord is our protector, using whatever means are available to do His will. And His will is for you to be safe.

What a safety plan is and isn't:
A safety plan can help you to be safer both in and out of the relationship. It is important for you to know that it is okay to take care of yourself and your children. Your emotional, psychological, sexual and spiritual safety are just as important as your physical safety. Scripture shows us that we have a right to not only protect ourselves, but God wants us to be safe. God is our refuge and our strength for our spiritual health and well-being, but our physical health and well-being depends on careful planning. It is also important to know that leaving an abusive relationship does not guarantee your safety. As the abusive person feels that they are losing their power, they may escalate their abuse in order to try to regain their power and control. The most dangerous time is when you decide to leave or just after you have left the relationship. This does not mean you should stay. It just means that you must be careful. As Scripture says, we are to be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. For instance, if you have separated from your abusive partner and do not have money to install a security system, you can pile pots and pans by the doors as a passive alarm system. When we are informed about our options, it helps us to be more prepared and empowered.

Below is a safety plan for guidelines, however, do what you feel is best for YOU. Calling your local domestic violence hotline or the National Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE might help with more ideas.

“Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief… I have become like broken pottery… But my trust is in you, 0 God; I say, 'YOU are my God' My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.”
Psalm 31:9-15 (NIV)

Be prepared to get away…

  1. Keep a spare set of keys, a set of clothes, important papers, prescriptions and some money with someone you trust.
  2. Keep any evidence of physical abuse (ripped clothes, pictures taken of injuries or destruction of property) or verbal abuse or threats (messages left on the phone or voice mail).
  3. Plan the safest time to get away.
  4. Keep your cell phone with you at all times in case violence escalates and you need to get help. If you do not have a cell phone, contact your local domestic violence agency or police department to see if they have a free 911 phone.
  5. Know where you can go for help. Tell someone you trust what is happening to you so that someone else knows.
  6. Call the police if you or your children are in immediate danger.
  7. If you are injured, go to the hospital or doctor and ask them to document your injuries and cause in your file.
  8. Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them to go or someone to call for help. Teach them how to call 911. Reassure them it is not their job to take care of you, but to stay safe.
  9. Arrange a signal with a neighbor or friend to notify them of danger (such as turning on a porch light in the daytime) so they can call for help.
  10. Contact your local domestic violence hotline to find out about area resources to use during a crisis (such as a shelter) or for support.