They say that hindsight is 20/20, right? Looking back on the last 20 years of my life I can see things so clearly now.
At 19 years old, I was full of hope for our marriage. He loved me. He said he loved me and so I thought he would love me. We both went to church and trusted Jesus. I was convinced that the worries I had would work themselves out. At times while we were dating I felt ashamed of who I was and felt like I could not live up to his standards. I was a really enthusiastic, bubbly teenager, but all he needed to do was give me a certain look and I knew I needed to scale it back. In hindsight, it was the beginning of the control.
I found myself married, but to someone who seemed to change overnight. Within the first six weeks of marriage, my husband began to physically confine me to our bedroom and hold me to the ground. He would say things like “this is for your own good, or you need to be disciplined.” In our “honeymoon phase” told me he did not find me attractive anymore- the control progressed. To be honest, when we fought, I did not even know what we were arguing about, I just felt confused. I did not understand what was happening in our marriage. I see it now in hindsight.
I grew up in a home that didn’t prize Jesus, but from a very early age, I believed. I went to church, and I knew I was a sinner. My home wasn’t particularly encouraging so I started to believe the bad things I heard about myself at home. By the time I was married, I believed I deserved what he was doing to me. He never apologized and he blamed me for our fights. I was used to doubting myself.
We have 4 beautiful children together. Two boys and two girls. When our youngest was born I started to feel like I did not exist anymore. My husband was neglectful to our family and I had to take care of everything and everyone. Daily I was struggling to measure up to his standard of approval. Sadly, I thought God thought about me as my husband thought about me. We often tried counseling or to meet with Pastors at our church for help, but we were told we needed to keep working on our relationship with God. They never saw it for what it was.
I began to give in to the relegation of the tournament I was living in, the constant control, temper, and confinement. I knew this was my future. My pastors told me divorce was not an option. Hope was fading away. I was fading away. I went through the motions of life for 2 years, but I didn’t live. I did not pray and I did not want to talk to God. My body started to give out from the stress and trauma and I got very sick.
Through it all- God had a plan and he started to teach me about GRACE! I learned that God was my Father and he was pleased with me. He loved me on my worst days as much as my best. I had hope again for my marriage and wanted my husband to know of the deep well of Grace I had discovered. I decided that I wanted to fight for our marriage.
His rage grew. He started saying things like “I was making him want to beat me up.” He started working from home, so the anger and control were always present. I went to the church and they again, told me that God was against divorce.
My husband and I attended a marriage conference together and it was at that conference that someone finally saw what was happening in my marriage. Someone said the word. ABUSE. Things at home started to further unravel and escalate because I started putting up boundaries- it was at that point my husband told my son he wanted to kill me and “slit my throat from ear to ear.”
The elders of our church asked him to leave and he did, but then returned and it got no better. I was convinced our marriage was over. I filed a protection order. And the divorce process started.
Barely holding my life together, being a single mom to 4 kids, I was in deep turmoil and trauma. I was desperate for help. I found Called to Peace Ministries. I read Joy’s book in 1 day. I realized there was hope for me to survive and recover beyond the 20 years of abuse I had endured. I connected to her ministry and began to see that there is a network of women who had similar stories. Called to Peace has taught me how to heal through the power of Christ. I do not doubt that if I had not found Called to Peace I would still be stuck in a spiral of bitterness and trauma. I wanted to heal, but I did not know how to start. Through CTP I found a road map to wholeness.
There was a specific moment at the CTP conference where God gave me my hope back, which I had not had for a long time. I knew right then and there, He healed me. Now, one year out from my divorce I am able to move forward in my life.
"Called to Peace has taught me how to heal through the power of Christ. I do not doubt that if I had not found Called to Peace I would still be stuck in a spiral of bitterness and trauma."