I may have a degree in musical theatre, but this was my best acting ever.... I pretended as if everything was ok, and I placed. a few pieces of clothing for each child and myself in laundry baskets, trying to think - if we never came back what do we NEED, and then I pretended to do the laundry but in fact slipped right past him and placed the baskets in the car and drove away never looking back.
You see, my children and I were victims of domestic abuse. I didn't know to use this term before, I would just say "Things are really bad" it wasn't until this last week that I understood. You see, I saw the eyes of my daughters looking back at me, questioning if this was the way they should dream their own lives should be... I knew then I had to make a change to show them that they are valuable, treasured and never deserving of abuse.
Last week I handed my husband papers to legally separate and end our marriage. I love my husband, and I have been praying that throughout this that God would give me a supernatural love for him that allows me to react and act in a way that blesses him and my children, but love does not excuse abuse. My husband struggles with mental health and when he is in a dark phase he is abusive to me and my children. The wonderful times don't excuse the bad and I am compelled to protect myself and my children.
Abuse comes in many forms, but it always works to strip away your value and humanity. I pray that through my vulnerability someone else would feel they could break free from abuse they may be experiencing whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual or sexual. You (and I) are valuable... Our value is innate and can never actually be taken away.
For many years (12 actually) I always felt God calling me to stay in my marriage. I don't know why, but I didn't have peace about leaving and honestly it was never my desire to leave. If you read my blog post from March you will see my husband went through a dark place and honestly it was such a fruitful time of learning how to pray and teaching my children how to pray. It was valuable and I wouldn't change it. I don't have regrets about my marriage, I thank the Lord that I was able to experience the good and bad and that my children saw me fight for my marriage the best way I knew how, on my knees in prayer. Now however my eyes are open to the fact that what I am experiencing is not just the trials of marriage but indeed an abusive relationship, one that I pray my own children never experience and one I was not meant to live.
If you grew up in an ultra conservative circle as I did then you know that divorce is still taboo, many consider it never acceptable, and many will judge me for my choice. I know this is true and I am sure at some point it will hurt me, at some point it will hurt my children, it will hurt us that someone is twisting the scripture to give themselves the right to judge - however - what I know is that God is the only judge, He is the only one who can give me my value and His opinion of me never changes.
What God says about the truth of who I am (and you are)
You are loved - John 3:16
You are not alone - Isaiah 41:10-13
You will be taken care of - Psalms 55:22
You are wonderfully made - Psalm 139:14
You are a child of God - John 1:12
You are accepted by God - Romans 15:7
You are created in the image of God - Genesis 1:27
You are chosen - 1 Peter 2:9
It is my prayer through all of this that God would be honored and glorified and that His perfect love would cover each person reading this story - that you would know your value and never forget it.
Two songs I have had on repeat... Well, because in times of trouble I always turn to Kari Jobe music.
The Garden - Kari Jobe
" I had all But given up. Desperate for. A sign from love. Something good. Something kind. Bringing peace to every corner of my mind Then I saw the garden. Hope had come to me. To sweep away the ashes. And wake me from my sleep I realized. You never left. And for this moment You planned ahead. That I would see. Your faithfulness in all of the green. I can see the ivy Growing through the wall. 'Cause You will stop at nothing To heal my broken soul You crush all my fears. With Your perfect love"
I am not Alone - Kari Jobe (My all time favorite... If I ever get a tattoo it will be the words "I am not alone" because remembering just that phrase has brought me through 'deep waters' for the last few years)
"When I walk through deep waters I know that You will be with me. When I'm standing in the fire I will not be overcome. Through the valley of the shadow. I will not fear
I am not alone You will go before me. You will never leave me
You amaze me. Redeem me. You call me as Your own. You amaze me Redeem me. You call me as Your own. You're my strength. You're my defender You're my refuge in the storm. Through these trials. You've always been faithful You bring healing to my soul"
The morning I was to escape I woke up with this song in my head... I didn't even know I knew this song, maybe I didn't previously, but I googled the words running through my head and found it. It has been an amazing reminder that I don't need "All this world"... I really can live on 4 outfits, no bed of my own and Jesus.
I will be forever grateful for all the women who were praying for me and with me this week and last. I never really knew I could have a tribe until I just started sharing my needs in a vulnerable way. The enemy wants us to feel alone, those in any sort of destructive situation probably feel alone, but this was never God's intention. Women who prayed for peace for me, women who prayed over my children, women who prayed that the Holy Spirit would come over my home. Someone watched my kids while I had an appointment, My fellow dance teachers sent me flowers, A studio owner just up the street let us borrow chairs for watch week, Most importantly women who CARED about me enough to really pray.
I would welcome you reaching out to me if you are in a similar situation and don't know what to do. I am here to be a listening ear, I would be honored to be the beginning of your tribe too!
I promise to earnestly pray for you and help you in any practical way possible.
My prayer for you (and me) this day
"Dear Father, God you love me, you are with me, you will never leave me. God please bring peace to my soul, bring a peace that is supernatural and not able to be explained except to know that God you are with me. God give me wisdom on how to obey you, wisdom to know who you say I am. God I ask you to bring someone into my life that will be there for me physically and emotionally and so that I may know that you are caring for me on an earthly level. God, THANK YOU that you love me and I can trust you. THANK YOU that you never change and I can depend on you."