Alone in the dark, listening to him breathing as he slept beside me, tears rolling down my face…I silently cried out to God. “If you are real and you are there, please make this nightmare go away, make him go away. Get him out of our lives”. I rolled over and laid there wide awake repeating this simple yet HUGE request.
On this night I had finally come to a place where I couldn’t take one more insult, one more rage, one more attack, one more time of standing between him and my son out of protection. One more minute of isolation from my family and friends. I…could…not.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I was in an abusive relationship/marriage. It didn’t start out that way. It never does. In the beginning, he was good to me, good to my kid. Then, one day, he wasn’t. It was like a switch flipped and it was all downhill from there. I was told I was worthless, stupid, unlovable, ugly, unwanted, crazy and when he would yell or hit, it was my fault. When he didn’t get things he felt entitle too, it wasn’t pretty. Then, he went after my kid. He played the same broken record for my child as he did for me. Worthless, dumb, etc. I can’t count how many times I stood between him and my sweet boy and suffered the consequences. It was worth it to save him even a little bit. I would even protect his daughter as best I could. This went on for longer than I want to admit. Now, it wasn’t all the time. There were ebbs and flows, ups and downs and he wanted to make sure he stayed under the radar just enough. He programmed me to believe I could not survive without him and that nobody else could ever love me. He controlled everything…my time, my finances, who my friends were, when we spent time with my family, even what I ate.
We went to church, like good people do and nobody would have ever guessed what was going on. There were people that knew in their gut, they knew something just wasn’t right. But, he had manipulated us enough and had instilled enough fear into us, that we would never tell and we would defend him if anyone spoke negatively against him. Then the cheating started. I believe it was a total of eight times throughout the entire relationship. It was always my fault. Then came the pornography, well at least I had finally found out about it. That was my fault too. He joined the Army without telling me. At that time, I didn’t realize that this would be my saving grace. We went to some counseling where he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and sociopathic tendencies as well as being a narcissist. That was a hard pill to swallow, but it almost gave him the excuse to be what he was. The birth of my daughter and another affair later, I couldn’t take it anymore and I laid it out on the line with God. The very next day, he received a phone call that he was being deployed. Can I get an AMEN!!!!
I believe that God answered that frightened and desperate plea that night. I left my then husband and never looked back.
That was when I gave my life to Jesus. No second thoughts, no confusion, no if’s, ands or buts. I was God’s. He never needed to do anything else to prove to me that He was there. My fortress, my shield, my rock and redeemer.
As unsettling and ugly as this story is. It is mine. It is what makes me who I am. It is how I let people in on hope. Even in the darkest situations, there is hope. I wish I could tell you that everything was sunshine and rainbows immediately after I left that relationship. I can’t. There have been years of pain, guilt, shame, mistrust, scars and picking up the pieces of not only my life, but the lives of my children. But, you see, there was always hope. It was always there shimmering in the dark, I just had to see it.
I have spent countless hours letting Jesus reprogram me, love me and delight in me. I have spent time showing His love to my children…making sure to tell them how amazing they are and letting others tell them too. We have been working hard on letting people love us and being able to trust again. And, let me tell you, we have never had so much love and hope in our lives as we do now. I am not that woman anymore, but she will always be a part of me. Why? Because she is the reason I get to share hope with others. She is the reason I know Jesus. She is the reason that my brokenness has turned into a beautiful testimony of God’s unfailing love.
So, if this is your story or you have a dark past or even a dark present, there is hope. You are not alone. I hope this encourages you to see the shimmer of that hope in the darkness.
Walking in Hope,