Written by: Brooke
My story begins with a deep, unexplainable desire to be loved. After spending two years in an emotionally abusive dating relationship with a man I was engaged to and living with, I decided I did not want to spend the rest of my life with this person and got the courage to leave the relationship with God’s help. This was the first time that I called out to God in faith. I prayed, “God, if you are even real, you have to help me get out of this relationship.” I had so much doubt in my heart but had a small faith to ask Him for help, and He did indeed hear me.
For the next year and a half, I focused on myself and my growing faith. I began attending church as a young adult and enjoyed the freedom from the continuous emotional abuse I had suffered from my previous relationship. Yet, the deep desire to be loved was stronger than ever! I longed to be married and believed that marriage would provide me the consistent deep love that I desired. Marriage was very slowly becoming an idol in my life, and it was all I could think about.
Almost two years after leaving the abusive relationship, I met what I thought was a wonderful, godly man who could love me the way I deeply desired. I was swept off my feet and felt like I had met the man of my dreams, the answer to my prayers and his, as he assured me! Because I had not experienced the deep healing that I needed for my heart, I walked unknowingly into a marriage that would lead me to a place of feeling so alone, so abandoned by God, and ultimately with no desire to live.
Twelve years into the marriage, I was welcomed with five (soon to be six) beautiful children. I was a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling mother, and I loved it, but I had been suffering silently! I wanted all the pain to stop – all the abuse, the lies, the deception, the confusion, and everything else that comes with an abusive marriage.
In 2013, I cried out to God, telling Him that I felt forgotten by Him. My children’s dad got in trouble for physically assaulting a child at his work. This incident began to help me see that this problem was not in my head, and I was not the reason for his choices as he had told me over the years.
I had been studying the Bible and coming to know Jesus, and I had grown to trust Him enough to pour my heart out to Him. I was still hiding from my parents, friends, and Bible study ladies – EVERYONE – what was really occurring in my marriage!
I would often leave my home to sit in parking lots, cry my eyes out, and beg God for help. One of these days, I happened to hear Leslie Vernick on the radio. I got her book, devoured it, and did not feel alone for the first time in twelve years.
On May 17, 2014, I read the words in Jeremiah 50:33b-34, “All their captors hold the fast, refusing to let them go, yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is His name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that He may bring rest to their land.” I journaled, “Lord, I know you will bring rest. I know your timing is perfect. Help me to trust in your redeeming power and to praise you while I wait.”
From this verse, I knew God would rescue my children and me from our situation. I also knew I needed to wait for His timing and continue to seek Him as my guide and that my rest would come by Him and through Him.
While waiting, I began seeing a counselor from my church who was trained in domestic abuse; I was becoming stronger as I came out of denial. However, I still felt as though there was something I could do to change him and to make him love me the way I desired.
In March of 2016, my son was physically assaulted by his dad. Six days after the incident, I poured myself into the Word to answer my situation that I knew Jesus understood so much deeper than I did.
Jesus was speaking to me, but the shame was deep and still controlling my decisions. Not only had I been covering up so much and pretending that we were a happily married couple; I had chosen not to call the police, and that month became pregnant with our youngest son.
I would continually tell myself Jesus came to bring light to the darkness! Finally, my eyes were opened when the Holy Spirit showed me my sin of hiding and covering up the darkness, despite being a follower of Jesus, who is the light. I had the light of the world in me, yet I chose to cover up the darkness rather than expose it.
I was ready to tell my parents, my church, and my closest friends that we had been living a lie. Our marriage and relationship were nothing like it seemed. I was ready to desire the praise of God over the praise of people. I was ready to expose the darkness with light. I was about to have five children and an infant, and I had no idea how God would provide, though I knew He would because that is who He is.
……stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow….