Why I Continue to Tell My Story

Ever since God healed and delivered me many years ago I have made a point to tell my story, to give my personal testimony. Despite the fact that it occurred many years ago, my story is ongoing. My life is nothing today like it would have been had I remained broken and under the control of my abuser.

But God! Although I was saved at 13, at 19 I was completely untrained in how to choose a husband, completely naïve in male/female interactions, and totally inexperienced in using my gift of discernment. Add to that abusers are known to be charming beyond belief during the dating phase and only gradually build their control, manipulation, and abuse over time. I was married for several months before I saw any inkling of his manipulation, control or abuse. Being a Christian I was not one to simply give up and run home to mommy, not that I’d have been received by mommy.

After spending 14 years doing everything humanly and Biblically possible to save my marriage, I was finally forced to divorce my husband for the safety of me and my children. I spent the next 4 years suffering from PTSD even though it was diagnosed as such back then. In interviewing counselors for my ministry and my book I’ve been assured that the symptoms I experienced were indeed PTSD. I was a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual basket case. And, then God reached down and healed and delivered me.

For those of you who still want to show me pity, take a fresh look at me. I’m no longer broken. God has recreated me and given me a new life filled with his presence, one of joy, peace, and freedom of fear.

For those of you who only want to hear the happy ending, I have some questions for you.

How can you appreciate the Victory over Japan without knowing about Pearl Harbor?

How can you appreciate the Victory in Europe without knowing about D-Day, Normandy, or the Jewish Holocaust?

How can you appreciate the Resurrection of Christ without knowing about the Crucifixion?

And how can you possibly appreciate the work God did in my life until you know something of the hell I lived?

So, I will continue to share my story, as God leads me, to those who will listen. And, after I share my history I will tell them the miracle of healing and deliverance God did in my life and the joy, peace, and freedom from fear I now experience with God.

 

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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.

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

Daughters of the King

Daughters of the King By Mina R Raulston 7/11/2016

I first came to know Jesus as a little girl going to church with my parents. When my mother’s mental illness caused my parents to leave church and God when I was eight years old, I refused to leave. Through the years God has always provided me a means to attend church and continue to grow in my relationship with him. My childhood was very unhappy due to my mother’s mental illness and affected how she treated me for the rest of my life. That drove me to seek out God even more and I began studying his word as soon as I was able to read his word even though it took many years for me to understand much of it.

I spent many years being made fun of and ridiculed for a variety of reasons from my physical appearance to my intelligence to my personality. My mother taught me to fear men and distrust everyone. As hard as I tried to ignore her teaching, some of her lessons managed to embed themselves in my being and I reached adulthood with very low self-esteem, strong insecurity, and few social skills. By the time I was 19 all my friends were either married, in college and or in the military, and I was stuck at home in a part-time job. Despite my attempts to overcome the loneliness, I was not successful.

As a little girl, one of my earliest prayers to God were for a godly husband and a godly home since my family had turned from God.  When I met my husband in church and married a few months later I thought that my prayer had been answered. Over the next 14 years, I learned just how wrong I was. I finally had to face the fact my marriage was abusive and my husband had deceived me from the very beginning. I divorced and tried to begin building a new life for me and my children.

For the next four years I was a post-traumatic mess, suffering from panic attacks, hypervigilance, terror, confusion, loneliness, and isolation. At the end of that time, I was finally able to receive God’s healing and deliverance. I began writing, first about domestic violence and over time about a variety of subjects until I self-published my first book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims. This book explained the facts about domestic violence and how to help those trapped in it. In addition, I speak to interested groups on the subject of domestic violence.

Currently, I am writing a companion book, Roadmap to Healing. In this book, I explain chapter by chapter how survivors can move beyond initial escape and survival to find total healing and deliverance through Jesus Christ. Only then can they truly build a brand new life founded on the salvation, healing and deliverance of Jesus and built with the guidance of the Word of God. Too many survivors repeat the cycle of violence, or if they remain free they live as one who remains broken. God doesn’t intend his children to remain broken when he offers healing and deliverance.

Healing and deliverance are a process, not an event. While I am writing and promoting this second book I will be posting blog entries related to the process of healing.

The first important lesson is for each survivor to know who they are in Christ. Check out the next blog entry for that lesson.

What Do I Write About

What Do I Write About

Every one asks a writer what they write about and how they come up with ideas. The answer to that question can be as varied as the writer. But we all started somewhere. The first things that I wrote were personal essays that I only had the courage to show to a few close friends. The first articles that I wrote that were published were about domestic violence, education and articles related to family concerns. The first article that I was paid to publish was about domestic violence and was published in The Evangel Magazine for the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee. That was in the year 2000, three months after I first became a grandmother and three months after my mother died. My one regret was that neither of my parents lived to see my publishing success.

In the years since then I have written many articles. I have been published in several newspapers and church magazines. Then, after years of research, college courses, interviews, and volunteer training all my notes and articles began to form a book. At first I didn’t have the courage to think I could actually publish a book. But, there was no denying that a book was coming together, whether I had the courage or not. As I seriously worked on a book project that would not allow itself to be denied I also began to study and learn how to submit book proposals and how to obtain endorsements. I studied publishers and the difference between traditional and self publishing. In the end I decided to self publish for a variety of reasons but mostly because I knew the material needed to be published and I wanted as much control over my book as possible.

I formally self published it in 2009 and finally self published it with the ISBN, etc in 2012. I knew God was in this book because of all the blessings he provided in the production of it. I was able to hire a good friend who is a professional writer and editor to edit the manuscript. One of my best friends and co-worker created the cover art. One of my newspaper editors referred me to his graphic designer who I hired to combine my cover layout with my friend’s cover art into a wonderful book cover that has been commented about repeatedly at book fairs. That same editor referred me to my first book packager to have the book printed. The last blessing came to me quite unexpectedly. One of the writers in my writers group offered to do the text formatting as her contribution to the book project because she supports domestic violence awareness. With everything else in place I finally purchased my ISBN number and went back to my graphic designer and had it incorporated into the book cover. Up to this point I have been selling my book personally to individuals, at book fairs in various communities, whenever I gave domestic violence awareness presentations and in my church’s bookstore, as well as on my website,.

Tonight I made the next step in my book project. I submitted my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, to the Writers Digest Self Published Book contest. Now I patiently wait until the contest is over and put myself into newer projects, new articles, new subjects, and new books.

What do you write about and what fuels your desire to write about it? Tell me about it here.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

     Jack of All Trades, Master of None was a phrase my father used quite often when I was growing up. What he meant was that he didn’t have a big, fancy college degree; he didn’t even have a high school diploma. What he had was a lifetime of experience learning to do whatever was necessary to survive.

     I remember a story my dad told me about when he was growing up in the county orphanage. His father had died when he was two and his mother when he was nine and his step father placed him in the orphanage soon after. In an orphanage every child had a chore to do. That’s how they earned their keep. My father’s job at the age of ten was washing dishes. He was too small to do any of the bigger work that most of the boys did. One day a man came into the kitchen and asked if anyone knew how to operate a certain piece of farm machinery. “I do,” my dad chimed in. My father didn’t know one thing about that piece of machinery. What he did know was that he was not going to be stuck in the kitchen another day.

     We live in a challenging employment environment. There are articles that abound with advice about how to survive in today’s employment situation. The advice can range from encouraging to down-right depressing but also confusing as one tries to sort it out. Should you specialize or should you vary your expertise? How should you market yourself? Each person must answer these questions for themselves and the answers may change as their circumstances change. In my personal experience though, a person who is a Jack of All trades may not have a high power career, but they will always be employable.