Free Indeed: A Survivor Story

This week we continue in our PeaceWorks University member submission series. Many in our membership are already actively engaging the topic of domestic abuse through their own writing and we would like to give them the opportunity for additional exposure as well as thoughtful feedback from our readership. Please be aware that the views presented in this series do not represent the views of Chris Moles or PeaceWorks University.

This week’s post was submitted by a PeaceWorks University member who would like to remain anonymous.

What a difference a year can make. Last New Year’s Eve, my husband physically assaulted me in our new home. This wasn’t the first time of course. I’d been involved in this sick dance for several years at this point. But, something inside my head and heart clicked into place during this (final) New Year’s Eve assault. One, I thought, “you will never touch me again after this night.” Two, “if my daughter and granddaughter were assaulted this way and I knew about it, I would physically remove them from the situation; no matter what it cost. Why then, did I think that I was worth less than that?”

New Year’s Day 2018 started the toughest journey of my life. After fasting (intermittently) and praying for 4 days, I decided to file for divorce. (This was after 2 years of intense counseling trying to save the marriage). I prayed, “Lord, if this is the wrong decision, please close the doors. I don’t know what else to do. He keeps saying he’s changing, but his actions speak louder than his words.”

And the doors stayed wide open the entire year. My husband (now ex) never apologized or took responsibility for his actions. Not once did he admit to what he had been doing to me; physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Not once did he show remorse or shame or brokenness.  All he wanted was money and what I could do for him.

Talk about seeing things clearly. There is still a part of my heart that loves him and because of that love and the vows I took before God, I desperately fought for him (and me) to get well. My dream was that we could heal and mentor other couples in the same situation we were in. But, that was not to be. See, I know that God’s love can change anyone (I’ve seen it over and over again). I know that the love of a good woman can change a man. But, what I forgot about, was “free will.” He chose to break his marital vows by his actions. He chose himself over me and my children. He chose “stuff” instead of relationship. And he didn’t love me even though he said he did. Love doesn’t stab you in the back. Love doesn’t lie about you to others. Love doesn’t physically assault you. Love isn’t cruel and controlling, manipulative and violent. Love is the opposite of these things.

I chose to walk away from an abusive relationship. It has been the toughest choice I’ve ever made, but also the best. I am free from bondage. I am free to love again. I am free to rebuild my life into something that I’m proud of. I am not only a survivor, but am thriving. I am an overcomer! Being abused by my intimate partner was a lesson I never wanted to learn. But, I’m grateful for the Gift I’ve been given. My eyes are open in ways I’ve never imagined. And I will never be the same. And for this, I am eternally grateful!

“I love you, God—

you make me strong.

God is bedrock under my feet,

the castle in which I live,

my rescuing knight.

My God—the high crag

where I run for dear life,

hiding behind the boulders,

safe in the granite hideout.

I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,

and find myself safe and saved.

The hangman’s noose was tight at my throat;

devil waters rushed over me.

Hell’s ropes cinched me tight;

death traps barred every exit.

A hostile world! I call to God,

I cry to God to help me.

From his palace he hears my call;

my cry brings me right into his presence—

a private audience!”

Psalm 18:1-6 MSG

“But me he caught—reached all the way

from sky to sea; he pulled me out

Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,

the void in which I was drowning.

They hit me when I was down,

but God stuck by me.

He stood me up on a wide-open field;

I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

God made my life complete

when I placed all the pieces before him.

When I got my act together,

he gave me a fresh start.

Now I’m alert to God’s ways;

I don’t take God for granted.

Every day I review the ways he works;

I try not to miss a trick.

I feel put back together,

and I’m watching my step.

God rewrote the text of my life

when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”

Psalm 18:16-24 MSG

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