Domestic Violence

Thy Word:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 NIV

*****

My Thoughts:

A Fictional Story…, or is it?

My life has encountered some big rough patches and things are changing almost daily. I feel empty, restless, vacant, dirty, and broken. My life looks a lot like this parking lot:

IMG_0573

My marriage is over, I’m scared, everything feels like it takes too much effort, I’m easily aggravated, and I hear myself being negative a lot. My life feels out of control, my patience is low, my tolerance is high. All I see is everything that happens to me is hard and everything that happens to him is easy. It’s not fair.

But, I keep going back to the last item on the list: my tolerance is high. That has gotten me where I am today and it’s a very hard thing to face.

You see, it’s more than just a simple divorce because I have a secret brokenness that only my closest family know. I am a victim of domestic violence. Bile rises in my throat as I say these words and I feel so ashamed. You won’t hear me talk about it and once I get this divorce behind me, I’m going to try to bury that little secret. I’m going to try to get the old ‘me’ back.

Let me back up a little and tell you about the day the walls of silence crumbled. I was at a retail store with my children and my husband. He was engrossed in some guns so I told him I was going to walk around with the children. Once I was safely out of his hearing I quickly called my Mom and told her tearfully that in a fit of rage that morning my husband had pulled out his gun and pointed it to my face, daring me to take it from him. I was terrified, but I also knew our relationship had turned a very ugly corner so I had to do something.

Do you know what was strange? I learned later on that night that my Mom realized in that moment what was going on. Here is the weird thing, I didn’t know it; I just thought he was being a jerk.

She firmly told me to call the police immediately. Before I could answer, I had to quickly hang up because I saw him looking for us. I told the children not to say anything about me calling Grandma.

When we got home I received a call from my Dad and he also told me to call the police. I couldn’t do that because if I did my husband would lose his job and we couldn’t afford that. I pretended I was talking to my dad about a TV show we both watch to let him know my husband was close by. I told him I’d call him back later that night.

Mustering up a little courage, I told my husband he needed to leave, that I’d had enough of him. My husband has a job where he is gone for multiple weeks at a time, and then he came home for three or four days. He was scheduled to leave in a few hours anyway and although he acted like he was mad, I knew he was ready to go. He thought he was fooling me but I knew he was cheating on me with multiple women. He thought I was asleep when he got up and called one of them to say he was anxious to leave. Even though I hated him for what he was doing to us, my heart was broken that he was seeing other women.

After he left, I spent the rest of the day with my children and got them ready for bed before I called Mom. What is it about calling your Mom that brings on tears? The minute she said ‘hi’ I started crying and I told her I was sorry that I had made such an upsetting call earlier. I felt like she was probably mad at me. Do you know what she said?

“Mad? Why in the world would I be mad? Honey, I am so glad you called me; it was the right thing to do. Besides, you need to understand this is not your shame, it is his.” I was a little surprised at her calmness.

Puzzled I said, “Shame? I don’t understand…?”

It was then she told me she was going to ask me a series of questions and wanted only yes or no answers. One after another I answered her questions and the tears began to fall again as I realized what the questions were revealing. The outcome confirmed I was a victim of domestic violence.

If you knew me, you would be shocked because I am a strong and independent woman. But what I also learned is that abuse happens very slowly and it grows like a cancer. The first episode is typically small but if nothing is done to stop it, then it grows and spreads until a tolerance is developed. I was physically sick that I hadn’t seen the truth of what was happening to me.

I used to go to church where I had a community surrounding me but I left when they had some internal issues. I kept saying I was going to find a new church but since my husband didn’t like me going, it was easier just to stop. Did you know that being set apart from others is also a form of abuse? Your abuser wants you to be alone so you don’t tell anyone what is happening.

I’m so tired and even though I don’t feel like fighting most days I know I have to make these changes for the safety of my children and myself.

My family has encouraged me and they have been a lot of help. My Mom reminds me regularly that with Christ there is always hope. I have to rely on those who are stronger than me because I can’t seem to grasp this truth some days. On those days I simply cry to out to God and let my tears speak for me. I know that’s okay because God says:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 NIV

Do you see what that says? The Spirit speaks the words I can’t seem to find on those hard days, and I know there are going to be more hard days until I get through this and find myself again.

However…, don’t you love when you see this word? It means there is more and I need more right now!

However, when I look again at that picture of the broken parking lot that represented my life, do you know what I saw? I saw this:

IMG_0574

IMG_0575

Can you believe it? In the middle of that dirty, broken, vacant lot, there was a beautiful flower growing. It’s a perfect picture of my future because I truly believe that something beautiful will come out of this brokenness if I stay the course and stay strong.

My story is far from over, but I’m going to hold onto the truth that when this is all over our life is going to be beautiful again. When I need help being strong Jesus says he will help me with that too:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Jesus is the core of my strength and this verse has become my life verse. I know the Lord will take me through this hard time to a place He has set aside just for me. All I have to do is lean on Him and look for the beauty even in the brokenness.

*****

Summary:

In my latest blog on Matthew 5, we reviewed adultery and divorce. Although I mentioned that God does not expect us to stay in an abusive relationship, I wanted to address the topic a little more in depth. This fictional story captures how subtle domestic violence is but sadly many stories don’t have an ending that is one of hope, because in real life the story often ends in death.

My family is laced with good people for whom I am extremely grateful, but there are also incidences of domestic violence. I talked about that in my own personal testimony at the start of this blog (The Power of Words). What I am about to say may shock you: two of the worst abusers in my family are women. Yes, you read that correctly. Although the documented cases for domestic violence for women are much higher, the numbers of men being abused by their spouse or partner are growing at an alarming rate.

Domestic violence rarely becomes resolved by ignoring what happened and if there are children in the marriage/relationship, even though your children may not be physically harmed, what they see and experience will leave permanent scars, and your children may even mimic that abusive behavior. Get them counseling!

Leaving or removing yourself from an abusive relationship will not be easy, but it is the only answer for healing your family.

If you or someone you love are being abused, you can get help immediately by following this link:

https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/

If you are concerned about safety or your abuser finding you have gone to this link, at the bottom of the page is a large “X” in a red box. You can quickly leave the website by clicking on the “X” icon or by pressing the Escape key twice. Users of the Microsoft Edge web browser will not be able to use the “back” button to re-enter the website after hitting the “X” or “Escape” button.

On the website are toll free phones numbers and resources available to help you get the specific help you need.

If you are truly not sure whether or not you are in an abusive relationship (remember, abuse starts small, and abusers often employ mental and verbal abuse to further confuse us), there is a section on this website titled “Is This Abuse.” There you will get facts to help you understand what abuse is and how to look for those warning signs.

*****

Closing Prayer: Father God, I pray if there is someone struggling in this type of a relationship the facts and the information included on this website link give them courage and the proper resources to get away safely. Father, we love that you are a God that loves us enough to be our voice when we don’t have a voice. Give them courage and strength so they can start anew with you, Lord. We know it may not be easy, but the long term reward will be worth the end result. Finally, thank you for the many men and women who work tirelessly to help those being abused get out of this terrible situation. I pray an extra blessing on them as well as on those who are trying to get away. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Domestic Violence

  1. More women need to understand this is not their fault. I was in a abusive relationship and I fully understand how trapped you feel. Took me 20 years to get out. As I said in the last chapter of the series I wrote about analyzing you past, No one should be allowed to be mean to another person or animal. We are all created by God and we are HIS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Anita, and abuse has become more pervasive in our society. If you read the statistics for how many young teens are abused it will make you sick. But our legacy, my legacy, says in my house that stops! Praise a God!

      Like

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