Crushing Feelings of Worthlessness

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living 12 Comments

Debbie was a pastor’s wife who felt worthless for years. She was verbally abused and emotionally abandoned in her marriage from the very beginning. She had been a virgin when she met her husband, so she knew something was very wrong when, seven months into their marriage, her husband went out of state for a “business trip” and gave Debbie a severe pelvic inflammatory disease when he got home.

Her doctors explained that she had gotten a bacterial infection that can only be sexually contracted. Debbie was hospitalized for five days and placed on strong medications. The IV antibiotics she received unknowingly rendered her birth control pills ineffective, and a pregnancy with their first child resulted. So Debbie stayed in the marriage, though she was wronged and mistreated.

“I was convinced that I deserved all that I encountered,” Debbie said. “I also remember licking my wounds with thoughts like, Well, at least I’m the wife, not the cheating lover.”

The shame of it all kept Debbie silent and trapped in an unsafe marriage. Behind closed doors she endured verbal cruelty, and she believed the lies of her abuser. When her husband was in a good mood, things were good at home. But if he was in a foul mood, Debbie bore the brunt of his abuse and anger.

Unfortunately, she endured the abuse for a long time before she left. Three kids, twenty-plus years, many affairs, and many lies later, Debbie finally had enough. She mustered up every ounce of courage she could find to leave and divorce her cheating, abusive, pastor husband.

You can imagine the scandal that took place in their church. Because the congregation was unaware of their pastor’s abusive and immoral behavior, Debbie was victimized all over again in the court of public opinion. She bore the weight of public shame, humility, anger, accusations, rebellion from her children, and never-ending feelings of defeat and worthlessness.

The weight of it all was heavy. So heavy that it pushed her into a deep pit of depression.

Debbie lost most everything in the divorce—her house, her identity, her financial stability, her dignity, and almost her sanity. In the aftermath, she even lost the intimate relationship she once had with Jesus Christ. She was still His daughter, saved by grace, but had run away from Him. Broken and angry, Debbie felt that God had let her down. She didn’t understand how God—who is supposed to be good, who is supposed to hear our prayers, who is supposed to be our Protector and Defender—didn’t protect her from the betrayal and the abuse. So, like Hagar, she ran to a desert to get away. Only Debbie ran to a desert of sin.

To soothe her pain, she temporarily turned to alcohol. The numbness she experienced from drinking brought an all-too-short reprieve from the sharp pains that pierced her heart when she was sober. And though she strayed from the heart of God and rebelled against His ways, He pursued her relentlessly. When she finally realized that her “victim mentality” had allowed her to trust a lying abuser instead of the God of truth, she turned back to the Lord.

In His mercy, God has restored Debbie’s broken faith into a beautiful faith.

He has redeemed her wounded heart and has filled her with His greater joy.

And though, like all of us, she still experiences struggles and pain, by faith Debbie now embraces God’s sovereignty and accepts His healing love. She is a changed woman.

Changed by the unrelenting pursuit of God’s unconditional love.

Changed by the One who sees her as precious.

For a long time Debbie thought she was worthless because she was treated as if she were. She was told that she was. She believed what she heard from another person, even though what he said about her were lies. Debbie says, “I thought that I was a failure—that I didn’t deserve to be loved with integrity, honesty, and faithfulness—that I caused my husband to sin and commit adultery because I wasn’t good enough. I believed a whole pack of lies.”

Other people can make us feel worthless. It happens all the time… even within the church. If you are in a relationship that beats you down and causes you to feel like dirt, in the name of Jesus reject the lies that are being projected on you. That’s not who He says you are!

If you are being mistreated or abused, tell a trusted friend, meet with your pastor, or get with a professional Christian counselor right away.

And in all cases pray—without ceasing.

No abuser has the right to define who you are, to tell you what you think, to control or manipulate you, to tell you how you feel, or to condemn you for who you are or aren’t. Only the God of heaven has the right to define you, and when you are in Christ, you are perfectly beautiful in His righteousness…not broken.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
(Psalm 18:16-19)

Dear Lord,
Thank You for loving me for who I am, where I am. Please help me to accept this truth when I doubt my value and to lean on Your strength and support when I struggle.
In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.



Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17. What truths do these verses confirm about your value? Click here to leave a comment or prayer of response.

Who came to your mind as you read today’s devotion? She needs this message. Please pass it on to her.
God delights in you and I do too. We are on the front end of an online Broken into Beautiful Bible Study. It’s not too late to join us. Click here to LEARN MORE if you are ready to move forward in the hope and healing God has for you.

Blessings and Grace,



Comments 12

  1. Being mentally abused for 30 years has taken a very heavy affect on me. I experience anxiety lack of sleep and walking on egg shells. Thankyou ladies walking me through this and lets’ pray for each other for the Lord Jesus to love us! I wander what love is? Love Susanna

  2. my marriage was verbally abusive and I chose to turn to other men to comfort me which I know was so wrong. All I ever wanted was my husband to love me and be kind to me. I loved him and now he is gone and there isn’t a chance to ask his forgiveness or try to undue the past. I have asked God’s forgiveness and know He has done so by Christ’s death on the cross.
    Ijust go into my “past’ sins and think how can God forgive me. I see the many times I have failed HIM. He who died on the cross for those sins. I wish I could forget the sins like He has. Then I read His word and am encouraged by them that He never leaves me or forsakes me and that He loves me unconditionally. God has so blessed me beyond belief sometimes. I am in awe of His word as I
    study it. I can only imagine what the New Earth and Heaven is going to be like. I so want to see Jesus and be there enjoying His presence and the life He has for me.

  3. I was abuse mentally, emotionally since I was a child and it continue unto adulthood by the men I chose in my life. But now I believe/see/live this truth: God chose you (me) as firstfruits[a] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. All glory to God!!

  4. Powerful piece of writing, I am so sorry Debbie that you had to endure all those years of pain and loss until you finally came to realise that truth that you were not the problem and were worth being valued, loved, and know that you deserved better. Have not been married but have had abusive relationships where I felt used. Wishing you and your children blessings and joy in the coming years.
    I don’t know the reference but “The Lord rejoices over you with singing”, lots love

  5. This actually hits home for me. I don’t just feel depressed. I feel worthless. Sometimes I feel God has forgotten me completely. No matter how hard I try, I am never good enough. For anything or anybody. Sometimes I just feel so alone. Completely forgotten and alone. Thank you for showing me that God does love me. Even when I feel the way I do. He still loves me and He will NEVER leave me or forsake me, as He promised in His Word. God bless you Gwen!

  6. Dear Lucinda, The enemy of God does not want you to hear this message but you are sooo loved by the God of the universe. He is your husband and maker. Seek Him with all of your heart. A few scriptures that helped me through a similar trial are: Isaiah 54:5, Matthew 7:15, Ephesians 5:25, Jeremiah 31:3,. Surround yourself with Godly women, and God will help you through this… Esther 4:14; Psalm 62:2, Psalm 46:1-3. Meditate on these scriptures. Also the Philippians 2:13-15.; Philippians 4:6-8. God bless you abundantly! Your sister-in Christ.

  7. To: Lucinda
    From: God- Isaiah- 54:5 For your maker is your husband-the Lord almighty is His name. The Holy One from Israel is your redeemer. He is called the God of ALL the earth.!!!.
    This teaching from Gwen makes me reflect back to my past experiences with an abusive husband , boyfriend, and this present relationship.(husband for 32 years.). We as Christian women think that this person (our husband) who is SAVED is going to treat us special (like Christ Loved the church) Ephesians 5:25;but that is not always the case. The enemy of God knows how to send us wolves in sheep clothing Matthew 7:15 as in the case that Gwen wrote about. In this life pain is inevitable but misery is optional because in the midst of it we can choose joy because of who we are and whose we are. He loves us and does NOT desire us to feel like a door-mat but cherished. Stay close to Jesus. He will supply every need you have whether it is physical, mental, or emotional. For your maker is you HUSBAND! Jeremiah 31:3 says I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have continued my FAITHFULNESS to you. Focus on real love. Never forget it and watch the healing begin. Praise God!

  8. Lucinda–I am a Christian–God loves me so much. He sent Jesus to wipe out all my sins and not to condemn me. And you too.
    There is a Biblical way to break an abuser’s hold. 1. Seek God’s Word daily
    Here is a verse I find helpful
    Philippians 4:8
    New International Version
    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
    What is true? Jesus loves you. The sky is blue. Two plus two is four
    What is noble? Jesus is the King of Kings. It is noble to give up a great seat on a commuter bus to an older person who is struggling even though your feet hurt, it is noble to let another go in front of you in line when their child is crying
    What is pure? God’s love is pure love. It never changes. A mountain spring water is pure.
    Do you see how our thoughts can change? But I really believe it will also take Christian trained counseling–this is a very difficult thing to break away from and that is the hold they have on you–and how to not be a victim again–please get professional help from one trained in this type of abuse. It is a narcissistic type of abuse and a spiritual bondage is also a professional term used. God bless

  9. I was married for 29 years when he decided he didn’t want to be married to me. The words he said before leaving were the worst, but they confirmed how he treated me for all those years. He got married to the woman he left for. My heart clings to what Jesus says about me, and at times it’s hard to drown out the lies I have been told, but God is faithful. Anyone in this circumstance, keep your eyes on the One who really knows you! Be encouraged that He will bring you through the fog bank. He is beside you collecting every tear and mending your heart every time it breaks! Run to Him!

  10. Good day,

    Today’s message is so me. I have been an abusive marriage for 7 years and he finally divorced me after I pushed him six months after my father’s death. He still has a very strong hold over me and I have been thinking that the way he treated me was like Debbie felt after her divorce. We don’t have any children and that is my heart’s biggest desire to be a mommy one day… Right now I am being abused emotionally at work and we have had numerous meetings, but nothing changes. I keep on asking myself is this what God has in store for me for the rest of my life? Will I never find my true love? I am feeling so disgusted by myself and worthless that I cannot stand it anymore. I wanna run away and never look back. His life has moved on and he is dating someone with a child. How could he have proclaimed he loved me since we were in kinder garden and when he finally had me as his wife he mistreated me and even though I know he lied to me why am I believing it? please pray with me

    1. You have my prayers, hon.
      Please, lean hard and long into Jesus!
      Let Him walk side by side with you at all times.
      Trust Him when he whispers your worth into your ear.
      Believe Him, even though you are afraid to because your past tells you it’s not safe to.
      HE WILL NOT LIE TO YOU LIKE HUMANS HAVE. You can trust His love. REALLY.
      Cling to Him. Your life is going to get better. Mine did.
      Prayers and hugs your way.

      1. Debbie,

        How? How do you cling to him? I am dealing with a huge mess in my life. My husband separated from me 13 months ago after our home burned down. He has been emotionally abusive to me ever since. We have a huge mess with our insurance company and most of it is because he left me. He has been involved with another woman and that is our problem too. I have been praying for God to draw him back to God and bring him home. I know the enemy is attacking our entire family. I don’t want to give up on my husband. So how do I only focus on God when in the back of my mind all of this mess is going on.

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