The Abuse Over Time

Growing up as I did in such an isolated family life I had little experience to draw from when it came to working out a relationship with a spouse. For that reason I sort of took things one day at a time, figuring that we would learn how to live together just as every married couple learns how to live together. I was wrong in so many ways.

From the beginning he was critical, controlling, and moody, nothing like he was while we dated. Nothing I did seemed to satisfy him. He criticized my mode of dress; he criticized my work schedule; he criticized the roughness of my hands caused by my job. All these may seem small alone, but the incidences built up until they were a daily occurrence. The first physical incident occurred on the night before our first Christmas Eve, a little more than six months after we got married.

I came home late from work and he was already in bed, being an early person. Since I had to unwind for a while after working late, I used the time to begin my Christmas baking. I figured it would be ok since the kitchen was at the other end of our narrow apartment. After a little bit, I heard my husband slam open the sliding door to the bedroom and come storming through the apartment, raging at me for making noise while he tried to sleep. Before I could respond he began throwing around my cooking bowls and utensils, smashing whatever he could, and ruining all my hard work. Then he grabbed me, ripped my shirt and shoved me to the floor and upturned an empty 30-gallon trash can on top of me. Then he stormed back to bed, leaving me in shock.

I had never experienced violence before and I had no idea what had really triggered it or how to react to it. A few minutes later I heard him having a severe asthma attack and when I checked on him he was struggling to breathe. I called the emergency squad and they took him to the hospital where he was admitted into ICU. So, in less than an hour I went from arriving home exhausted from a day at work and trying to unwind with a pleasant activity, to being beaten and tossed around, to spending the night before our first Christmas Eve in the ICU with my new husband. Honestly, my mind, heart, and soul didn’t know how to shift gears in so many directions so fast in so short a time. And since he was the one in the hospital my feelings seemed to get lost in all the confusion. It was all about him and his illness.

That is the way the next fourteen years played out. He would be nice and even sweet for a time. Then he would get sick and would develop severe mood swings that would eventually erupt into violence. Sometimes the cycle would be a few weeks or months. Sometimes the cycle might last a year or two. We did have a few good times or I wouldn’t have stayed for fourteen years and had two children with him. I was told by at least one doctor that he was sick and couldn’t help himself and I had to just understand. That was the same thing people told me about my mother’s mental illness. Somehow no matter who the person was, all the responsibility fell to me. I just kept praying, asking God to work it all out. And, I did everything I knew in the natural to be a good wife and make things work out. It wasn’t until near the end of the marriage that I realized he had a predictable cycle of violence, and it wasn’t getting better it was getting worse.

In my next entry I’ll explain the cycle of violence and tell you how I finally escaped.

My Testimony

So far this month I’ve posted a lot of entries about domestic violence that came from official sources and provided verifiable statistics. While facts and figures have their own meaning, real stories of real people usually carry greater weight. The Bible tells us in Revelation 12:11 that we will be victorious “by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony”, KJV. So, the next few articles will be some of my testimony.

When I met my husband I had no idea he would be abusive. I had no experience with prior abuse. My father would never have considered hitting a woman and I remember him teaching my older brother that it was never acceptable to hit a girl or woman. But, I also had very low self-esteem due to growing up with a mother who was mentally ill.

Due to her illness, I grew up at a young age. I was cooking and cleaning and taking a stand for my faith from the age of eight. When I was ten my brother left for the military and my dad began to work second shift. So, when my mom came home from her last hospitalization I became her companion. I learned quickly to finish my homework at school because my mother required I give her all my attention.

Due to my mom’s illness, she believed her child had been kidnapped and I was a replacement. Until the day she died she introduced me as “that girl she raised.” When my brother was still home, it seemed as if he do no wrong and had every privilege possible. His friends were always allowed in our home and he was allowed free reign in his activities. Over the years my parents celebrated his military service, his marriage and the birth of their child.

For me life was different. My friends were rarely allowed to visit and my parents totally rejected the faith which has kept me strong over my life. They also rejected most of my friends and forbid me to even consider college. When I met my husband all my friends were either married, in college or in the military. In both my family and my church I was more alone than I had ever been. So, when my husband began his pursuit of me his attention filled a deep well of loneliness.

All the time we were dating he was gentle, considerate and attentive. He attended my church and sang in the choir. Everything seemed fine and after a short courtship, despite my parent’s disapproval of him like they had all my other friends, we married. Our first few months together carried the normal stresses of two people learning how to be husband and wife, or at least that’s what I thought. I would soon begin to see the beginnings of the cycle of violence.

In my next article, I will share about how that cycle played out and how he manipulated me and played upon my low self-esteem. Please feel free to respond or ask questions.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. As a former victim, I make a point to speak out not just for myself, but for all the women who are still trapped in abusive relationships. I also make it a point to speak out about God’s healing and deliverance from the post-traumatic physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects of abuse.

There are many stereotypes attached to the subject of domestic violence, which is a very neutral sounding term for a very intimate attack against a person. This is not a violent act done to a person by a stranger. This is an ongoing assault done by one family member against another family member. That is what makes it so devastating to the victim. It’s one thing to react and deal with an assault done by a stranger. It’s quite another to react and deal with an assault done by someone you love and who professes his love to you. Add to that the fact that the assault is ongoing over the length of the relationship.

There are several different types of domestic violence and each has its own dynamics. There is verbal, which includes mental and emotional abuse. There is physical which includes hitting, slapping, shoving, or use of any weapons against the body of the victim. Another type of abuse is social, which includes manipulation and control, and isolation from family and friends. Yet another form of abuse is financial which includes controlling when and where a victim can accept employment, whether or not a victim advances their education and/or employment training, and controlling how much of the victim’s income she actually gets to keep. Of all of these, the one given the most attention is physical. The reason for that is because physical abuse is the only kind that is prosecutable.

Over the month of October, I will be writing about domestic violence: the facts, the history, the causes, the effects and the needs of the victim so she can get free and find healing and wholeness.

My first book, Home Should be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, is available for sale on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Home-Should-Be-Safe-Domestic/dp/1467542075/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475457915&sr=8-1&keywords=Home+Should+Be+Safe%3A+Hope+and+Help+for+Domestic+Violence+Victims

I am currently working on my second book, a companion to this one. The title is Roadmap to Healing and Wholeness which should be complete by the end of 2016. Keep watching my blog for updates on its progress.

 

Journey to Wholeness

My first book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims was informational and instructional. It described and defined the various forms of domestic violence, gave historic examples of abuse as well as a biblical foundation for God’s disapproval of it. The book also teaches what type of help victims need to get free and get safe compared with what help is available. It also tells readers how Christians can make a difference in helping victims.

My new book, Journey to Wholeness, expands the discussion of finding wholeness. It doesn’t matter if you are broken due to abuse, or if you are broken because of some other life experience. God doesn’t intend us to go through life hurting. God is Jehovah Rapha, our healer. The Bible tells us many stories of Jesus healing the sick and raising the dead when he was on earth and he is still our healer. Scripture tells us that “by his stripes we were healed.” I Peter 2:24.

As I work on this new book I’ll be posting entries here on my blog and other social media about our journey to wholeness. It is God’s will that we all be whole in Him, not eternally broken. If you are broken, regardless of the cause or source, please post your questions, responses and prayer requests. If you have found wholeness, please post your testimony here to encourage others.

I look forward to interacting with you about God’s healing as I write my new book. I pray it will be a blessing to many.

Thank you

Post Traumatic Mess No More

It’s only been in recent years that post-traumatic stress has been diagnosed for anyone other than those in the military who served in a war zone. But, doctors have realized that any life altering experience can cause the same effects, whether it be an accident or abuse. My divorce papers in 1989 stated the cause of the divorce as extreme cruelty. As I interviewed multiple counselors over the years as I researched my articles and my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, they told me that the symptoms I experienced would be diagnosed as PTSD today.

A lot of people I knew gave up on me because they didn’t know what to do with me. But, thankfully, my true friends stuck by me and God never gave up on me. In my last post, I shared how God healed me from all of that post-traumatic mess. That healing was the first step on my journey to wholeness. In my book, I share my full testimony and the visions of my healing that God gave me.

It has been 27 years since my divorce and God has blessed my journey in so many ways. We use to sing a song in church choir about God putting the pieces of our puzzle back together. I remember asking God how he could do that if all the pieces weren’t there anymore. God’s response was truly priceless. He said, “Child, I will simply build you a new puzzle.” And that is what he has done. God has built me a brand new life, one that is totally different.

Before I was insecure and had negative self-esteem. I couldn’t seem to move beyond mere survival. But as God’s healing progressed I grew spiritually and gained confidence. Over the years, by the grace and strength of God, I raised my two children and cared for my mother until she passed away. I have completed two college degrees and God is redesigning my career.

My brokenness was from spousal abuse, but God heals from all types of brokenness. It is God’s will for each of us to be whole. God took my brokenness, healed me, delivered me and built me a brand new life. Instead of walking through the rest of my life with a mental, emotional and spiritual limp, I now walk in God’s love and joy, filled with hope for my future in Christ.

If you are still suffering, if you are still broken, I encourage you to reach out to Jesus, right where you are, and ask him to “make the hurting go away”, as I did. Jesus is still the answer, the only answer. God created medicine and one of his disciples was a doctor. But, He wants us to know that you don’t have to settle.

If you need healing, if you need prayer, please respond to this post. If you have questions please ask them and I’ll do my best to answer.

Finding Wholeness

 

Many years ago I made the most difficult decision of my life and divorced my abusive husband of 14 years. For nearly four years after I was a post-traumatic mess. Then, I had an encounter with God that changed my life completely.

I didn’t get better with medicine and counseling, I got better when God healed and delivered me. I did utilize counseling and medicine for the short term while I tried to figure out how to build a new life. Then I attended a ladies retreat with the ladies from my church. It was our annual ladies’ retreat on Mother’s Day weekend and we stayed at a quaint, country inn.

By this time I had prayed every prayer I knew how to pray and claimed every scripture I could find that remotely related to my circumstances. I had come to the end of myself and all I knew. I prayed the only prayer I had left. “Father, please make the hurting go away.”

When I finished praying I felt an anvil lift from my chest, and my spirit felt free for the first time in years. Over the next few months God’s healing process continued and I began the journey to find my wholeness.

My Mission Statement and Declaration of Faith

I am a Christian. Because I am a Christian I seek to honor and glorify God in all that I do, whether it is volunteer work or a paying job, and whether it is my regular day job or my freelance work. God gifted me with my writing talent. For that reason, my mission with my writing is to use what I speak and what I write to point people to Christ. I will do that first, by being the best writer I can be and constantly striving to improve my craft. Talent is what God gave me; craft is how I use it.

I do two types of writing. The first is writing for hire, meaning I write articles and speeches assigned to me by clients. As a freelancer, I have the freedom to accept or decline these jobs. For these, I stay on task and write what my clients’ request, but I also am careful to only accept jobs that do not contradict God’s word or my conscience. I make this choice on a case by case basis.

The second type of writing I do is creative writing of my choosing, mostly non-fiction and soon some fiction. This writing is done on subjects of my choosing, from a point of view of my choosing, and submitted to publishers I have researched carefully before submission. My goal is to build up this type of writing so that it eventually it becomes the greater portion. But, as a freelance writer, I know I have to balance my work so that I can earn a living. This is obviously a work in progress of its own.

Everyone has a conscience and that conscience must come from a foundation of belief. My foundation, as a Christian, is the Word of God. I am a member of The Summit Church in Springfield, OH, which is part of the Church of God International, headquartered in Cleveland, TN.

Here is my declaration of faith:

  • I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
  • I believe in a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  • I believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.
  • I believe Jesus came to ministry at age 30, was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead at age 33. (Wow! Look what one man accomplished in only three years)
  • I believe that Jesus ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of God as our Intercessor. (That means when the devil tries to tell God about our sins, if we have repented and accepted him as our savior, Jesus says, “Their sins are under my blood and forgiven.”)
  • I believe that according to the Word of God, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means each and every one of us needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness.
  • I believe that according to the Word of God, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means each and every one of us needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness of our sins.
  • I believe that we are justified and sanctified, and we become born again by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, through the Word of God and the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • I believe that we are to strive to live a Holy life as directed in the Word of God.
  • I believe in the Baptism by the Holy Ghost, subsequent to a clean heart, and in speaking with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives utterance, which is the initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
  • I believe that all who repent should receive water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
  • I believe in Divine healing, provided for all of us through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • I believe in the Lord’s Supper and the washing of Saint’s feet.
  • I believe in the Premillennial Second Coming of Jesus Christ. First to the resurrection of the righteous dead and the catching away of the living Saints to meet Jesus in the air. Second for us to reign with Jesus on Earth for a thousand years.
  • I believe in bodily resurrection with eternal life for the righteous, and eternal punishment for the wicked.
  • I also believe we are in the last days, based upon all the wickedness that is increasing in our world every day.
  • God has been my rock, my fortress, my provider and my protector since I was a seven-year-old child. He raised me from childhood to adulthood. He has cared for me, comforted me, and loved me every day through all the good and the bad.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, please seek him out. Read his Word, seek out a good church, ask Christians around you to tell you their testimony. And please feel free to ask me questions. I do my best to live by these principles and I freely tell anyone who will listen about my Savior, my Best Friend, and my Big Brother.