This is a testimony of the love of Jesus and how His love sees us through. There are increasing numbers of women and men, as well as children who are living in abusive relationships behind closed doors. This trauma often leaves us in a frozen state, fearful and unable to see our way out.
This is a testimony...a road to healing trauma. It is not meant to vilify anyone, but instead to set us on a path to freedom with the love of Jesus.
This is one woman's story, a testimony from the heart of this woman of God whose name only God knows.... I have written the words as they were given to me to share.
I have always understood that my gift of writing is a path to healing, as well as sharing my personal testimony, so that others who are experiencing the same experiences may receive healing, as well.
As I write this today, I am healing. I choose not to try and hide my brokenness any longer in my effort to hide my feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. This is my third marriage. The first, I escaped from in fear of my life, as I was threatened to be killed and buried in our yard. The mileage was regularly checked on my car and I was blocked in at night, so I couldn't get out of the driveway. The ringer was turned off on our phone and I had no way of getting help. We lived in the country and I had two children to care for. I felt trapped. One day, I did leave with my sons. It was hard to do. It is never easy to leave a marriage. It had been 11 years and I didn't know who I was any longer. Once I left, I never looked back.
Three years later, I entered into my second marriage. I truly believed it would be my forever marriage. I described us like an old pair of shoes that had been worn and were just a comfortable fit. He must have never felt that way because one day he became abusive. His anger issues were extreme, as he would throw fits of rage with cursing and mumbling. He would ridicule me, cutting me to the core. I became increasingly fearful of him. I never knew what would anger him next. I wanted to love him. I tried to love him. Eventually, he stayed gone long hours. He didn't want to come home. Our relationship ended when he screamed at me, "Why would anyone want to come home to someone like you?" Even though I had already felt unloved and inadequate in our marriage, those words hurt deeply. They shattered what was left of my breaking heart. Any lingering hope left me. It left me feeling completely unloved and unworthy of love. I wanted a life, a marriage with this man, but he didn't want me. It hurt when I left. Strangely, it too had been 11 years. He never tried to talk things over with me. He never asked me to come home. It was just over.
God slowly healed my heart. He restored to me a joy that
I had lost years before. God restored to me my belief in love.
After all the pain and torment, I still believed in love. God showed me that He had designed a great plan for marriage between man and woman, which was indeed beautiful and to be to be cherished. That pleased me. That is what I had always longed for...a Godly marriage.
I saw that I was unequally yoked in the previous marriages. I had asked God so many times about what a marriage should be and I had gone deeply into His word. As He gave me His answer, I stored it in my heart.
God had a plan. I would wait for a good Godly man. We would be equally yoked and we would have that beautiful marriage that comes with loving God together. We would worship and praise His name. I believed with my entire being that this would someday be my life on this earth, a beautiful cord of three; me, my husband and our God working together in love.
When I met my current husband, it was an instant attraction. I found him to be gentle and caring. As we talked for hours and hours, his sweet words were not something I was used to. His catch phrase "you can't out give a giver" caught me. I thought that I had met the man of my dreams. I believed that he was that man of God whom I had desired. Surely, God had given me the desire of my heart. This was my Godly man. He helped with the food distribution for the needy at his church and he loved to sing. I loved to sing. I loved hearing him sing those Christian songs. Believing that he was my Godly man, I married him. For a time, all was glorious. I believed God was in our midst every day. We read the Bible daily, praised God together and we were like best friends or soulmates. We had finally found each other, I thought. God had brought us together from our past failed relationships into this new and wonderful life with Him at the center.
What could possibly go wrong?
It wasn't long into our marriage that things started changing. Those sweet words that my husband used in the beginning stopped. Then, one day he began to criticize my walk with God. He came against my ministry, my beliefs and he even told me I needed to come around to his way of thinking or he wouldn't have a ministry with me. He told me that my singing voice was bad, that it wasn't feminine enough and that I sang off key. I shared that I was singing to God. It was my praise. It fed my spirit to sing. However, I eventually stopped singing in order to stop the put downs. We stopped reading the Bible together. Then, one day, my husband declared that he couldn't feel love any longer. As I sought to love and encourage him, he pushed me away and then pulled me back in. The hurtful things he would say pushed me further away each time. Then, he would then ask for forgiveness and remind me that the Bible says to forgive seventy times seven. He became jealous of my sons, my friends and even my dog. He sought to destroy my relationships with others. He even declared one day that he was jealous of my relationship with Jesus. It became a weekly cycle for 4 years to which I became accustomed. I was emotionally and physically put into a survival mode.
As the abuse continued, it gained more momentum each week. Fast forward. For the past two years, my husband has exhibited extreme mania in which he yells and throw fits and tells me bizarre things to shock me.
He threatens to leave me, but then apologizes and tells me he won't do it again. I actually keep asking him to stay. I don't know if its out of my desire to help him or if at this point, I have become so broken and beat down that I once again, as in years past, I haven't known who I am any longer. This has been extreme emotional abuse at the hand of the man that I have loved deeply.
Medication hasn't helped him. Talk therapy doesn't work. I have wondered if its a Jeckyl Hyde personality that is determined on taking down my ministry and me. I don't want to think that. I don't want to allow myself to believe that this man that I saw as my man of God deceived me and then set out to take me down.
I invited him into my life as my husband, my partner, my man of God and he embraced none of it. I have made every excuse for "why" he might be this way...depression, anxiety, childhood abuse, his previous marriage, mental illness, etc.
I have shared with him how I feel. I have shared with him when I felt like I was losing hope. I have shared with him how rejected I have felt when he pushed me away and with each time I have shared my feelings with him, it has seemed as if I only empowered him to do even more. I have been alienated, set apart for his enjoyment. He has had my total attention.
I was brought to my knees once again a few days ago. Only this time after Jesus picked me up, I could hear His voice.
"Focus on me. " He said. "Just focus on me. Do not take your eyes off of me. In me alone, you will find what you are looking for."
And with that, as of today...I can see.
I can see His light once again. I can feel His beautiful love more and more every day...like I used to do before I went into survival mode.
I know that in survival mode, Jesus sustains us. He cares for us. He knows our heart, our pain, our circumstance and He never leaves us.
I can see that I needed to be ready to let my husband go, to take my eyes off of him and his selfishness, to stop catering to his desires and to stop focusing on the pain and torment of the years of rejection in my marriage. I became trapped in a cycle of abuse that I couldn't see my way out of. It was a storm that continued to rage day after day, year after year. I saw the cycle , but was somehow rendered useless at escaping the tormenting waves. I was drowning in my own sea of tears.
I was caught with a catch phrase "you can't out give a giver."
I have been the giver and my husband has taken much from me. I used to believe that he had taken all I have, but he has not taken my love for Jesus or my relationship with God.
I have been physically and emotionally drained.
I have been broken to the core of who I am.
I have also learned unconditional love to the point of my own death.
My husband has been a man whose cruel and hateful heart has seemingly sought to steal my soul.
I can see that I enabled him to treat me this way. I have wondered why I enabled him to treat me this way, when I have been able to help others escape from this same treatment.
I know I have been weak. I know I have been broken.
And yes, I have beat myself up for even believing in love and for being in a third marriage that has been more hurtful than the other two put together. A part of me has wanted to hate myself for allowing this. I take responsibility for my mistake, my actions.
Did I take my eyes off of Jesus, away from my Lord and Savior?
Was I tried and tested and tempted by the enemy of our God to quit, to give up on my life, my ministry and my marriage? Maybe.
I don't know the answers. Someday, my Lord will reveal to me all that He wants me to know.
Am I sorry that I believe in love? No, I m not.
I know that I have given my all. I know that it takes two to be in a loving relationship. In a Christian marriage relationship, it takes God at the center and a couple to give and receive from God and one another.
My healing....? My testimony.
I choose to turn to my Jesus. My focus is 100 percent on Jesus. Jesus is the lover of my soul. Jesus is my Savior and it is resting in my Jesus' arms that I long to be. It is the voice of Jesus that I long to hear. It is in Jesus' quiet presence that I seek to heal from these emotional and physical wounds that have penetrated me so deeply.
Many times, I have asked myself, "Where is God in this mess?"
Rejection is cruel. It is a tool of the enemy of our God. Jesus knows our pain. Jesus experienced wounds on His body for every sin, sickness and disease that the cruelty of this world world bring.
Through this all I have never lost my desire for God. There have been many times that I have longed to hear His voice in the storm. I cried out and didn't hear his answer, but I have felt His presence.
In my weakness, it has been God who has made me strong. My words were so often His words, as I sought to speak His truth into my marriage, into my life.
My Jesus has carried me trough the storm. He has picked me up more times than I can count. Jesus sets me on my feet. Jesus is my Rock. Jesus restores my soul. Praise God that I have an indwelling of the Holy Spirit to intercede at times appropriate to save my life. Praise God for His angels that escort me on this journey through life. Praise God for His mercy and love.
As for my husband who has sought to pull me in and push me away, to be emotionally abusive to me, I have asked God many times to help him, to set him free. I do not understand the why and how of his actions and words towards me. I do know that this all has also taken a toll on him, as well.
Our Father speaks to being double minded (Jeckyl Hyde personality). What does light and darkness have in common? Nothing.
It surely torments the soul of the double minded person.
My life, my choice, is that I have a life to live free from pain and torment. With my focus 100 percent on Jesus, I have been led out of the storm and back into the ministry for which God has called me.
I offer forgiveness to my husband for his loss of vision of who God is and for his choice or inability to love anyone but himself. My prayer continues that he one day see the light of God, receiving restoration to his soul. As God calls all man's hearts to Him, surely this man is not abandoned.
This woman is not alone in her journey, her pain. There are countless others in our society that are going through the similar circumstances. It is't just women, but also men and children who are broken in the midst of the raging violence, so often behind closed doors.
As this woman of God has courageously shared her testimony of abuse and her road to healing, let us pray...
Father God, as You alone know our heart and the depths of our love, may we choose to allow you to heal our brokenness and erase the pain filled memories of the past. I ask you Father to please reach down and help anyone else in the midst of a storm. May your presence be known in the strength that arises from within and the love that abounds through uncertain circumstances. May we all seek shelter in You and not in man. May you alone, Jesus, be the desire of our heart.
In loving thankfulness to my Lord, Jesus. We are indeed blessed by Jesus' love and forgiveness.
Unconditional love and blessings to all in Jesus name. Amen.