Their love saved my life – Day 23 First comes love series {Domestic Violence Awareness in October}

PRINCESS

PRINCESS SHEILA

PRINCESS CARD

[October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST on your social media sites. It could help save a woman’s life. Thanks.]

They wanted me to know how very much I was loved.

And that I didn’t have to stay in an abusive second marriage.

So they hosted a birthday party fit for a princess ten years ago, the day I turned 44.

The day after  I got up the courage — finally understanding the danger my sons and I were in — and took decisive action to have a deeply wounded and highly abusive alcoholic removed from my home by the sheriff’s department.

“You should have done this sooner, Mom.”

And there will never be enough words to let my boys know how sorry I am that I didn’t.

How I wish I never married a man that I knew somewhere deep inside — including right before I walked down the aisle – was bad for me, and them.

How much I regret the poorest choice of my life and the pain it inflicted into their young lives, leaving scars to this day.

But the past is the past and God’s grace works healing in all of us when we choose to cry out to Him for help and then forgive those who have hurt us.

And sometimes it means forgiving more than once when something triggers a memory.

And forgiving ourselves.

Yet redemption is found in the very things that hurt us the most as God uses them to draw us close to Himself in unswerving allegiance.

But it still hurts and takes time to work through.

October-is-Domestic-Violence-Awareness-Month

Recently I was speaking with a woman and we were sharing about our pasts. She couldn’t understand why a woman would stay with a man who abused her.

And unless you’ve been in a situation like I was during those three years that didn’t end soon enough, you probably can’t understand either.

Researchers have found that some people are more likely to become the victims of domestic violence than others, sharing these characteristics:

  • Poor self-image.
  • Puts up with abusive behavior.
  • Economically and emotionally dependent on the abuser.
  • Uncertain of his or her own needs.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Believes wrongly that he or she can change the abuser.
  • Feels powerless to stop violence.
  • Believes jealousy is proof of love.
  • Grew up with abuse and thinks it is normal.

While both men and women can suffer domestic abuse, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 95 percent of the assaults on partners or spouses is committed by men against women.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I share my story so that other women may know that they can leave.

Help

Maybe you know a woman and suspect she is being abused. I urge you to speak up in love. You just might save her life.

Tell her that there are safe people and safe places for her and her children. And that the time to leave is NOW before she winds up a statistic in a morgue and her children become part of the system.

Or maybe my words are resonating with you today. And maybe you need to make a phone call …

National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Maybe you are married to an abusive man who may or may not abuse substances and may only abuse you with words, not fists. And you keep telling yourself that he doesn’t hit you, as if that makes the control and verbal assaults more acceptable.

Maybe you walk on eggshells believing that if only you were perfect he would stop hurting you. If you were thinner or prettier or cooked better, that he wouldn’t hit you.

But no matter how hard you try he doesn’t stop.

Maybe you saw your mom put up with abuse and you wrongly learned that this is okay.

Perhaps you think it the godly thing to stay in a marriage — that is really no marriage at all — and allow your children to witness and learn abuse, or be abused themselves.

Maybe there are days when he acts like Mr. Wonderful being kind and gentle and lavishing you with good gifts. And you think he is changing — until the next time his anger rises and you have to run for cover.

Perhaps you keep hoping that things will be different and he will become your Prince Charming.

But he never does. Statistically, only one percent of abusers ever change.

Or perhaps, like me, you feel like you will let God down after all the other mistakes you have made.

And maybe your pastor tells you something like mine once did:

“No matter how harshly he treats you, you must submit because he is your husband.”

Or clergy chastises you — seeking to control — for being “overly emotional” and threatens to call child protective services.

And you are so afraid because he is the pastor and he has authority over you that you keep your mouth shut and keep taking the abuse.

Yet God says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and pastors are set as guardians over their flock.

But sometimes men — or women — in places of authority abuse the power of their office.

And it is said that hurt people are the ones that hurt other people and maybe they were too.

Maybe an uncle sexually abused a boy who grew up to pastor a church, doing so with absolute control.

Or a mom burnt her son with cigarettes when he didn’t listen the first time and the pain made him hurt mean like a junk yard dog and when he played the role of step-father he did so with anger and legalism, not love.

POINTED

Maybe you are reading my words right now and you recognize that YOU are the abuser.

Truth be told, anyone can abuse another in any way. With my mouth in anger I have abused, using words to cut and destroy.

We all have a propensity towards evil that can only be overcome by Love.

LOVE CARD

But a decade ago, on that birthday that was a turning point in my life for the VERY. MUCH. BETTER! some of the dearest Christian siblings poured out love overflowing to a birthday girl lost who didn’t have a clue what true love was.

Who didn’t really know God for herself, testing the scriptures, but believed the men to whom she had handed over control of her life.

And because I believed a lie, I lived a lie.

And in fear and shame kept secret how awful the whole mess was and making excuses. But black and blues speak louder than words, and a Christian sister seeing.

And a question that was the beginning of my awakening and escape from the brutality and violence, both at home and in my church.

So that birthday long ago we gathered, me and my boys, and these friends carving out time from busy schedules and family responsibilities to show me how much God loved me by showering kindness and affection.

And you know who you are and I can never thank you enough. And there are others, both near and far, who weren’t at the party but who acted in love to help me and my children. Thank you all and God bless you always…

EW M

CB FT

GH JJ

JJ LH

These dear saints, and others, breathed life into this scripture:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35

They breathed life into me by loving on me.

And when I went home later that blessed evening, I found him stewing from too much vodka, asking me where I had been.

A gentle answer that night kept away his wrath.

And I didn’t sleep a wink, barely breathing from the pounding of my heart, knowing that when dawn broke I would give myself the best birthday gift I could.

Freedom…for me and my sons.

~sheila

[October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST on your social media sites. It could help save a woman’s life. Thanks.]

Today’s post is Day 23 of a #31days series called First comes Love…

All the posts in the series can be found here. And so you don’t miss a single one, please subscribe here.

Heart Cry by Sheila KimballIs someone you know hurting? Or maybe your own heart is breaking? Heart Cry, 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul  Purchase your copy today at our Heart Cry eStore.

MKS Headshot POSTAGE STAMP  If you would like to receive our new posts as we publish them, SUBSCRIBE now  and receive FREE our eBook BREAKOUT Manifesto…When you’re ready to break free of brokenness.
Please LIKE our Facebook page. Or FOLLOW us on Twitter.

Linking with Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and scroll to the bottom of this page to see the lovely blogs we link with.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

35 thoughts on “Their love saved my life – Day 23 First comes love series {Domestic Violence Awareness in October}

  1. Dear Sheila
    Thank you for sharing your story. Your courage to do so and your courage to leave are such great testimonies to others that might be in the same position that you were. I lived for many, many years being abused by my husband’s words and neglect, but today I am grateful that once our Pappa got hold of him, he changed completely. Today we are so happy and he looks after me as if I am his life and he is such a wonderful father to our sons!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • So thankful that your story has a happy ending, Mia. And yes, IF a man will bend his knee to God his heart can change, but statistics prove it is rare. I share my story so that other women might live…Please share this post as you are lead and thanks so much, my friend…

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. Praise God for bringing you out of that situation.

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman’s Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

    Jenifer

    • I hope that too, Alecia. And you can help…please share this post on your Facebook page or via other social media sites. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month and I pray these words can go far and wide…Thanks much for stopping by.

  3. Wow. This message is SO important to share. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in doing it here for anyone to read. I’m so thankful you were brave and got out of the abusive situation.

    Blessings to you, Sheila, and to your sons! What a wonderful daughter of the King you are. You look great in a crown. 🙂

    • You are so sweet, Lisa. And some day a much more important crown! I share these words in the hopes that women who are being abused will read them and find the strength to speak our and leave their abusers. PLEASE consider sharing this post on your Facebook or social media sites. It really is vital to get the word out…THANKS much. Great to see you again.

  4. “Perhaps you think it the godly thing to stay in a marriage — that is really no marriage at all…”
    This, for me, was a big one. We hear so much emphasis, within Christian circles, on the importance of a godly marriage…and a general attitude (sometimes clearly spoken and other times implied) that divorce is ungodly.
    This false impression could not be further from the truth!
    Jesus came as our Redeemer, for the specific purpose of bringing about our legal and just divorce from the kingdom of darkness…to dissolve Adam’s covenant with sin and death. He came to set captives free!
    God’s heart toward His children who are enslaved in a covenant of abusive bondage is to redeem them into a life of freedom in Him!
    Thank you, Shelia, for speaking out so clearly on this topic, and for sharing your own personal story!

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I pray it will help set people free from a bondage they weren’t meant to be in.

    Working in the ER, I would see women come in…too scared to say anything…too scared to leave the abuser.

    On the flip side, I also saw workers too scared to reach out and ask a person if they needed help or if they were victims of violence.

    For some reason Domestic Violence is a topic not many are willing to bring up and/or advocate for.

  6. This is so important and resource/encouragement-filled, Sheila! I don’t think I knew that your first marriage was abusive. And I’m so glad you had people who supported you and spoke truth into you and your situation! I’m sure they “saved your life” in more ways than one, sweet friend. And so thankful that they allowed God to use them in this very powerful way. Thanks for sharing your story today. I pray it brings hope and insight to those who are now facing the same type of marriage.

    • And that I didn’t have to stay in an abusive second marriage.

      It was actually my second marriage, Beth. My first ended when my kids were very young, 1,3 and 6. And in each break up, I bear a burden of sinful responsibility as well as my former spouses.

      Number 2 a “rebound” thing as I see it…my heart was so broken after the first time, I was so VERY broken since my childhood (NOT an excuse, but just what was and by God’s grace continues to be recovered).

      I made a horrible choice with that second marriage. I absolutely was not thinking. It cost me dearly.

      And it has been a LONG rocky road of recovery from MANY chapters of darkness. BUT GOD! And I love HIM with all my heart. He has held me through every awful thing and will always hold me.

      And now my life is so much different than ever before, but still with much to learn. Someday I should post my entire story.

      THANKS for sharing encouragement. It always makes me happy to see you here. PLEASE consider sharing this post with your social media circles — I really believe the words could help save a life.

      LOVE and BLESSINGS, dear friend…

  7. You courage is amazing and you are right many of us don’t understand. Thank you for taking the time to break it down and to may God continue to bless you. Kyle

    • It is really God’s grace that is amazing, Kyle. But thanks so much for your words. I appreciate them dearly. And am so glad you took the time to stop by. Blessings to you and PLEASE consider sharing this story with your social circles…thanks

  8. I too am a survivor of domestic violence. This post is awesome and I’m sure it will encourage someone to seek the help they need to get to safety. So good to see how God provided for you and your children!

  9. Thank you for sharing this important post with us at Create With Joy! I know what it’s like to grow up surrounded by domestic violence. Even though it is now November, every day needs to be Domestic Violence Awareness day as far as I’m concerned. I have made your post my “Must Read” article of the week at Inspire Me Monday!

    • Bless you heart, and thank you so much. You too know what it’s like and I pray that all survivors everywhere will rise up and raise their voices, giving hope and courage to other captives. Thanks very much for seeing the need to share this post. Blessings xxoo

  10. Praise God that you had such good friends in your life to help you out! And good for you on getting out and staying out!