October is Domestic Violence awareness month. so this week I will be sharing two stories from Christian women who have lived through this awful experience.
Today’s blog post is from a Christian woman I reached out to and she agreed to write for my blog anonymously. To this special woman, thank you so much and you are truly one God’s best kept secrets!
There Go I…But For the Grace
“Why don’t you just leave and come with me?” ”You don’t need him, he needs you!” “I don’t understand Cory (renamed), you’re smarter than this.” “You’re a social worker helping women get out the exact type of unhealthy environment that you yourself are in. These are the questions subtly hidden in the form of judgments that I offered a friend Cory during our senior year in college. She had been married for only a year, but I learned later that she had endured such horrible emotional and physical abuse even before she agreed to marry him. I was so disgusted by her choice to remain that I ended our friendship, citing that I could no longer sit idly by and watch her show up to school or lunch pretending not to notice a new puss-filled bruise on her face, neck, ear, eye, or forehead. To me, I was being a hypocrite to the profession of social work as well as to the definition of being a friend.
Fast forward 22 years, I found myself married and in a similar situation. However, unlike Cory, I had no friend standing on the other side of my apartment door, admonishing me to leave. Instead, I had the accusing voice of the enemy, telling me that I am “not smart” and if I shared what was happening to me- not only would I be an embarrassment to the social work profession but an embarrassing blemish to the body of Christ!
‘Your witness about the great and mighty God you serve would be a lie. Who’s going to believe how awesome God is if you are supposed to be the example? Just make it easy for yourself and everyone you care about and keep it to yourself. No one has to know that your husband is abusing alcohol and emotionally and physically abusing you. No need to share that during the first week of your “live together portion” of your marriage he held you down in a violently painful and air-restrictive chokehold. You don’t have to suffer through revealing that you became so desperate to survive that you anchored your teeth into the lower palm of his right hand taking out a small gulf of his flesh.”
The truth is, I felt cornered and trapped inside between the inescapable tight walls of my mind and living quarters that felt like an oversized jail cell. I was 900 miles away from the closest immediate family and I was no place near home. I initially shared my matter with an older, respected motherly-type member of a church I began attending nearby-but I was quickly shunned from discussing the details of my situation. I was given a subtle response that (paraphrased) “It was to be expected early in marriage and that after many years, it would eventually improve.” Truth?… I only knew to pray. When the abuse continued and escalated for 5 more months, I eventually called the former pastor (who married us) to disclose my heartache along with a contemplated plan to leave. Preparing myself to be advised to continue with prayer for strength to endure the worse portion of my marriage vows, I was pleased when my plan to separate and leave was being supported with advisement to take caution with my planning. I was also led in prayer for God’s intervening, guidance, protection and successful completion to my reaching physical safety.
With continued fasting and prayer, my heartache and pain has been replaced with gratitude as well as compassion for my abusive husband (now, thankfully “was-band”). My regret has now been replaced with the Word of Romans 8:28.