Christian communities are not immune to intimate partner abuse and violence. May more churches step up to the plate to become safe havens for the 1 in 3 women who suffer. Education and practical training can make a life and death difference.
In 2007, I worked for a large church in the Chicago suburbs. I’d been a pastor for about five years and I served in the capacities of counseling and care. I felt certain of the calling God had placed on my life, and I loved getting to meet people in their moments of personal pain and struggle. In the short time I’d been in ministry, I’d become convinced that I had “seen it all.” I took great pleasure in being able to apply my previous knowledge and experiences to the new people God sent my way.
My (over)confidence was shattered on August 31, 2007. I met with Stacy, a woman I’d counseled on and off for 18 months, and she said three words that changed my paradigm forever. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “he did it.” What Stacy Peterson meant was that her husband, Drew Peterson, had killed his third wife and made her death look like an accident.
Regretfully, I had no idea what to do. Stacy asked me not to tell anyone; she just wanted me to know what happened. Almost exactly two months to that fateful day, Stacy disappeared. She has never been seen again. Stacy’s husband is the sole suspect in her disappearance.
In the months after Stacy’s disappearance, I asked a lot of questions of God. I asked God to show me why Stacy told me about this, and what I was supposed to do about it. I believe that nothing that happens to us is in a vacuum, and I’ve learned to always search for the bigger narrative. About two years after Stacy disappeared, I received a Facebook message from a woman named Susan Murphy-Milano. She shared … Continue Reading