I was driving along the road thinking about the text I received the day before. The text simply read something like “smile for me, love you, my only true love”.
Still, I wondered how my “smart phone” allowed his text message to get through when his number is blocked. Dumb phone isn’t so smart after all.
The text also had a picture attached. As I thought about the picture, I realized I had just laughed out loud…a little. Apparently the thought of seeing him look the exact way he did in the 80’s when I left him somehow sparked a little joy in me. “Still the same and stuck in the 80’s”, I thought to myself.
My mind drifted to the day I should have left him alone. I remember thinking of how I was only 17 and that he was going to kill me.
The pain in my head left me dizzy. While trying to get up from the ground, I lost my balance and slumped backed down. As I tried to assess the damage to my head, he was yelling “Get up”! But the pain and the yelling confused me.
A brick wall. He beat my head several times against a brick wall. The wall on the side of his mom’s apartment building.
I went home to my mom’s house determined to never see him again. But, I did.
The Day I Left
After I turned 19, we got an apartment together which should have been a happy time for us. But one fateful morning, I was crying off and on because I was so stressed from the fight the night before. I ran to the bathroom because the nauseousness, I assumed from crying so hard, was overwhelming. He said “What’s wrong with you? Are you pregnant?”
Pregnant? The thought never crossed my mind. Although I had planned to leave him that day, like so many times before, the thought of having a baby while living with him secured my decision to leave.
When he left the apartment, I called my best friend. I told her he was gone and I needed her to come help me pack. She rushed over and within 2 hours, my car was packed full.
I went home to my mom’s for one day and the next day moved out of state.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Still driving along in my car, I began thinking how loving God has been to me. I also reflected on the how enemy of my soul has used rejection throughout my life to keep me bound in fear for years. That is until I was delivered and set free from the spirit of rejection.
I was so young and naive during that first relationship. But most of all, the fear of rejection gave me permission to linger in an abusive state longer than I ever could have imagined.
The pain of him not wanting me was so emotionally overwhelming that it crushed the core of my total being. I had lost my middle.The center of me. That inner place where the joy of life flows and the strength of a person lives. In its place was a paralysis. The paralysis of rejection and the fear of being alone.
God took me out of what could have been a deadly situation. Not only for me, but for my daughter as well.
He provided a father for my daughter who raised her as his own along with our two other children. The way he loved her has always been a blessing to me. He wasn’t great at the husband-thing, hence our divorce, but he has always been a great father to all of our children.
God knew I would leave my abuser someday. Although the pregnancy was not planned, God knew that I wouldn’t stay with him while pregnant. She, the baby in my belly, was a part of God’s plan. My daughter played a huge role in the saving of my life.
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
There are two verses of Psalm that nearly took my breath away when I read them sometime ago. Psalm 37:32 – 33 says “The wicked lie in wait for the [uncompromisingly] righteous and seek to put them to death. (But) The Lord will not leave them in their hands, or [suffer them to] condemn them when they are judged.”
I love these verses because they are a reminder that the enemy (the wicked) had slowly tried to kill me. Granted, the physical abuse was horrible. However, the pain to my soul caused a far greater damage than any hit ever did.
But verse 33 says that the Lord will not leave me in the enemy’s hands or allow me to be condemned. God didn’t leave me there in that place of abuse. As a matter of fact, He kept me, even during those times of abuse.
I didn’t just survive, I lived. I lived because He drew me back to my core, to the center of me, where Jesus resides and where His love lives in me.
Through the eyes of Love
I still can’t figure out why he still says he loves me and texts me pictures of himself. Once, I tried to remind him about how abusive he was to me and that he couldn’t have possibly loved me. But he claimed he didn’t remember those incidents, then offered an apology and begged me to call him to discuss it.
I never called.
I forgave him years before he offered me an apology. However, I can’t relieve him of his guilt and shame because God never intended me to. My shoulders aren’t big enough to carry the burdens of another. He has to lay that burden down, give it to God, and ask God for forgiveness. That’s between him and God.
I feel sympathetic towards him now because I see Him through the eyes of love. Not my naive, fearful, and emotional love. But God’s love.
I see a man who is trying to recreate his past and is hurting because, at almost 50 years of age, he is still living the same empty life.
I see a man who is disappointed that he doesn’t know his daughter and has only seen her maybe 10 times her entire 24 years of life.
I see a man in need of forgiveness.
I see a man in need of a Savior.
I see a man in need of the Father’s redemptive love.
May His love overwhelm you,