The scars of abuse

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My calendar has a scripture for each month and when I turned to the month of October this verse was waiting for me:

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”

~Isaiah 40:31

This verse saw me through some very dark times during a 20-year abusive marriage and was one I clung to after my then-husband walked out in 2009. The year I turned forty-five, I had this verse along with a picture of Forget-Me-Not flowers winding around a cross tattooed on my shoulder as a reminder of God’s faithfulness — and maybe because I felt free that year to do something a little radical. 😉

Though I hadn’t always done it well, I tried my best through the years to patiently wait upon the Lord — and one day, He set me free. In all those years, twenty to be exact, I never doubted His love for me, but I did struggle with understanding why He had put me in that marriage and brought me together with such a man as my ex-husband.

My journal entries, while scarce and far between, showed a continuing theme of me wanting to please God and be a better wife, and praying my then-husband would change his abusive ways towards me and our two sons.

As I go back and read the words scribbled in times of hurt, anger and desperation, a picture forms of a woman longing for a love-filled marriage and living each day full of hope, no matter how misguided — yet hope all the same — that one day life would get better.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and maybe now is the time to share more of my story. Over the years I’ve had people rudely ask if he hit me as if not having physical marks of any kind meant there were no problems and I just needed to remember — “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Remember that rhyme most of us my age ran around singing in the playground? It took me years later as an adult who had been hurt by words to realize how untrue that is.

“The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

~Proverbs 15:4

Words do hurt. Words spoken in anger and with the intent to hurt another, crush the spirit and destroy the soul. God’s Word tells us this.

I’ve seen words hurt my two sons and over the years have seen what it’s done to their self-worth and to their bodies, manifesting in physical ailments. Trauma through emotional, mental and verbal abuse causes the body to be on constant alert, ready to flee from danger — fight or flight. And when the body is in this high alert state, called the fight or flight response, it creates havoc in the body which can lead to health issues. So please — for those who carelessly want to drill me about whether I’ve ever been hit — just don’t. The lack of outward bruises do not prove there is no abuse — that there is no violence going on in a home. Maybe some of my journal entries from years past can provide a small glimpse into a home where words did hurt and caused the bruising of souls — where domestic violence did occur within walls that should have held love and compassion, but instead contained hate and anger.

Journal entry – 12/26/00:

“Today is the day after Christmas…we all got lots of things as usual, but it wasn’t the most joyous time. Perhaps it was my fault.”

“…[my son] cried himself to sleep because he said that [his dad] had come in his room and gotten mad at him about something.”

“Please Lord, give me the strength to deal with this marriage and give me the wisdom to handle these situations wisely. Please protect my sons from all evil…”

 

Journal entry – 12/29/00:

“…I pray for [my ex] to have a change of heart, a softened heart…it especially hurts when I see him treating the boys in such a [rude] way…I can’t stand to see [my son] cry.”

“I dream of walking out…I think the boys and I would be so much happier, there would be less stress…there would be be more freedom from worrying if we were doing something wrong…I don’t mind being accountable to someone but not because I’m scared of them or their actions.”

“Give me the strength and wisdom Lord to handle this situation.”

 

Journal entry – 1/22/01:

“Sometimes I wonder how I am to just smile and go on about life like nothing happens.”

 

Journal entry — 3/22/01:

“…I really find myself disliking my husband over the years and have a harder time wanting to stay married to him. My boys hear it too…[my son] gets so hurt when [his dad] uses mean words around him.”

“Lord, my prayer would be for [my ex] to have a softened heart and to have his eyes opened to what he says and does.”

“Lord, I pray for your strength to continue in this marriage and to be the wife and mother you would have me be.”

 

Journal entry — 7/4/01:

“Lord, I pray today for a change of heart in [my ex]…and Lord, I pray that you give me peace in my heart when his words hurt.”

 

Journal entry — 7/16/01:

“We went camping this past weekend and ended up coming home early because [my ex] was in a bad mood most of the time…talking rudely to me and the boys as usual. He just isn’t going to change when it comes to that. Of course I ended up in a bad mood, guess I let myself be pulled down by him and then I’m the one that is looked at like the bad guy. My boys will probably look back in years to come and think of their mother as unhappy and angry so often. How sad because I truly see life as wonderful but whenever I’m in a good mood, [my ex] has something to be mad about or seems to be mad at me for seeing the positive. He is always so negative and hardly ever sees the good in anything. It’s hard for me to stay positive while living with that negativeness. Lord, help me to be a better mother and show my children that life is wonderful.” Amen

 

Journal entry — 7/25/01:

“I don’t feel I can ask [my ex] to help because he will always complain…he always has to lay on me how busy he is and how he just doesn’t have the time.”

“Lord, I’m TIRED! I give this to you…I cannot deal with this anymore. Please help me.”

 

Journal entry — 7/26/01:

“Why does he dislike me so?”

“He gets home from work tonight around 11pm and walks in without saying hello, and is mad because of where I parked my car.”

“Everything is always my fault.”

 

Journal entry — 7/28/01:

“…went to a baseball game last night. We had a good time…but even then it could have been so much better if [my ex] weren’t so distance. I tried talking to him and most of the time he just didn’t hear me, he wouldn’t respond at all. He gets so caught up in work that it’s like he isn’t there half the time, and when he is ‘there’, I wish he weren’t a lot of the time.”

“Today started off alright but the next thing I knew [my ex] was yelling at the boys…yelling because they had left things outside. A couple times he spoke abruptly with me too…I was almost in tears and [my son] was so mad and hurt.”

“I’m so very tired. There are so many days where I wish [he] weren’t here. I feel horrible feeling this way, but the heartache gets to hurting so much I just want it to go away.”

“I keep praying that [God] will work in [his] heart…”

“Please oh Lord, Help me to be at peace with my life…”

“Help me to not react to [him] when he says hurtful things and is angry, help me to respond in a positive way. Help me…”

 

Journal entry — 9/2/01:

“[My ex] seems so depressed lately, it’s just getting worse…how I wish for a husband that enjoys life to the fullest instead of seeing the negative in everything.”

“Lord, I pray for the strength to deal with his negativity and I pray that my children will grow up to see the joy in life and not let everyday circumstances bring them down. Help me Lord to be the best mother to my boys…”

 

Journal entry — 9/16/01:

“We went to an amusement park today with a couple we know and their two kids. As we were leaving the park, [my son] started to cry because he had really wanted to go on another ride. [My ex] got really angry at [our son] because he thought he was behaving badly in public and was embarrassing him…so [my ex] wanted to talk to [our son] alone and told me and [our other son] to walk away. I told [him] to calm down and not be mean to [our son] just because he was tired and upset, and [my ex] got mad at me and said that he too was tired but wouldn’t put up with this kind of behavior in public. He doesn’t discipline, he gets abusive with his words…they are said out of hate, out of anger, instead of out of love, used teach and correct.”

 

Journal entry — 9/14/02:

“Tonight there was a glorious red sky. The boys were in awe, but [my ex] was more concerned about their bikes being left in the middle of the driveway as they played…he insisted they move them immediately and when [my son] much preferred to stand in awe of the brilliant sky, [his dad] got mad that he wasn’t moving his bike right then…[my son] said, “just a minute, I want to see the sky”! What a lesson we can all learn…the kids saw what was truly important at that moment…a brilliant sunset, not bikes lying in the driveway. Oh how, I wish my husband could learn that lesson of seeing what is most important in life…how I wish he saw us as most important.”

 

Journal entry – 9/27/02:

“…God, help me understand my husband. He is mad that the neurologist sees him as a stressed person and is in a bad mood now. When will he ever see how great life is? Maybe I’m the one that needs to see my blessings and enjoy life more. I always feel so worried around [him]. My stomach is in a knot from the time he gets home until he goes to work again. I worry that he’ll be in a bad mood and therefore, get mad about something the boys or myself did or maybe didn’t do.”

“Oh God, how I wish for a life free of worry, free of all this anxiety. [He] is always so wrapped up in himself and how stressed he is. Lord, I ask for your forgiveness because some days I wish he would just go away. I do sometimes dream of life with just me and the boys. A life full of happiness. I know that I can make the choice to be happy or not, but living with someone that is always so high strung brings me down…Lord, give me the strength to deal with this.”

 

Journal entry – 9/29/02:

“Why can I not ask my husband something without him getting mad or jusst unreasonable. I asked him if he can pick [our son] up tomorrow night from scouts because it’s my last [childbirth] class. He responded with, “I will try as hard as hell”! Why can’t he simply answer me?”

“I have a very troubled heart today, Lord. Please help me with this.”

 

Journal entry — 12/16/02:

“I pray, Lord, that you will give [him] the wisdom in deciding about the job in Medford. I pray for to have a heart for you. I pray that will continue to work in his life and draw him closer to you. Help soften his heart allowing him to see all the blessings in his life.”

“I also pray for my boys to have a heart so full of love for you.”

“I pray that you continue working in my heart, softening it in my marriage, keeping me from bad thoughts. Please help me be the best wife to my husband and to completely forgive for past mistakes and hurts. Help me oh Lord, to keep looking toward you for guidance and strength in my marriage.”

 

Journal entry — 2/26/09:

“Six years since the last time I wrote in this journal, and amazingly enough, things aren’t much different.”

“[My husband] left on Feb. 13th, 2009. He walked out of the mine and the boy’s lives. He told a friend he didn’t have a choice, he had to go. I told his friend that we all have a choice and [my husband] made a choice.”

“[My ex] told me that day he left that if I could ever forgive him and if I ever wanted him back just to let him know. Why is it always up to me [to fix things]?”

“Lord, keep my eyes open. Don’t let me forget my Egypt that you brought me out from. Help me remember so I don’t make the same mistakes and end up back there.”

 

Journal entry — 3/4/09:

“This Friday will mark 3 weeks since [he] left. He emailed yesterday wanting to know what I was thinking…where I’m at. I honestly don’t know where I’m at. I emailed and told him that I just am not ready to do anything yet and need time to pray and wait on the Lord. He said okay.”

“My girlfriend things that I’m worried that trying to do anything to resolve our problems maybe feels like a step back for me instead of continuing forward.”

“I CANNOT AND WILL NOT go back to what was!”

“I will ONLY go forward to a life of healing and happiness. If that includes [him] only the Lord knows. I’m done and have been for years. So, Lord, show me the way.”

 

Journal entry — 3/15/09:

“Tomorrow I pray that the Lord leads my steps. Tomorrow I make a hard decision, but perhaps a necessary one. Tomorrow God, help me.”

 

Journal entry — 5/12/09:

“I’m not very consistent in my writing, but it really amazes me how all the entries are similar.”

“[He] hasn’t been here for 3 months now.”

“He was down a week ago and seeing him made me feel confused, angry and sad.” (My ex had moved in with his sister after he left)

“I cannot go back to how things were, I just can’t go back, period.”

“Even if [he] is changing, I don’t trust. I honestly don’t care anymore, but I feel guilty that I’m not giving him a chance. I’ve had friends say to me, how I’ve given him 20 years of chances, how many should he get?”

“Life is so hard right now.”

“My emotions are going crazy, I can’t get a job and I’m not sure which direction I should be going. Lord, lead me, make my direction very clear.”

 

These journal entries are just a few from those times in my life, and there are more which continued after my ex walked out. I married my ex in 1989, but did not start journaling until after I had become a Christian 10 years into that marriage. I found writing to be therapeutic, helping to release those emotions and prayers which I found difficult to share with others. I also had a blog before this one which I started in 2009 after he walked out, and it chronicled in more detail my daily struggles.

One of my biggest regrets is not leaving sooner. I truly wrestled with wanting to do the right thing and was often told that being in that marriage was my lot in life, where God put me and where I needed to stay and suffer. And it didn’t help that my ex would whisper in my ear while I sat on the floor playing with our sons, that if I ever tried to leave him he would take those boys from me. But perhaps the most damaging lies said to me were about my boys being better off in a two-parent home, no matter what was happening behind closed doors, than living with a single mother — boys need their father I was told. If only I could sit for just five minutes with those who convinced me my sons were better off with an abusive father who criticized their every move and raised them with hate and anger — just give me five minutes, and I will explain, perhaps with very strong language, just how damaging such idiotic advice was.

My ex moved out of the country — yep, true story — a year ago, moving far away from his two sons. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of man he is, than nothing else will. My oldest son has just recently let the wall come down he built between us and he now openly acknowledges what his father did to our family. For nine years, since his father left, I’ve had my son criticize me, judge me and hurl hateful words at me because somehow he just couldn’t allow himself to believe his father could really be an abusive man. All these years, I’ve been the fall guy, I’ve allowed my son to perhaps abuse me with his anger and words at times — and through it all, I’ve waited not-real-patiently for him to find his way back to me — to come home. And he has.

But you see, my staying in an abusive marriage for all those years, keeping my two sons hostage to that abuse, did not serve them well. I was wrong for staying and thinking they’d be so resilient and somehow it wouldn’t hurt them, they’d bounce back and never have any issues. I was wrong. The abuse did affect them, it left them scarred. So please, do not ask if we were ever hit — we will all carry the scars from invisible, yet damaging wounds from something called abuse, for the rest of our lives.

If you are in an abusive marriage, and especially if you have children, please don’t fall for the lie that it will not affect them. Abuse destroys, it hurts — it wounds it’s victims. Please seek help and pray for the Lord to lead you into freedom from abuse.

Blessings,

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“She deserves to be happy”

Several months ago, someone told me about a woman from my former church, who having seen me and my current husband together decided that maybe I do deserve to be happy.

At the time, hearing about that made me happy that finally, after all these years, this woman, whoever she is, realized it was okay that I was not with my ex, but then I begin to question why this woman would even say such a thing. Why even bring that up now? And honestly, what did I really care about what other people thought? I had decided a long time ago that it just didn’t matter, there were too many critics and too many not even willing to ‘take sides’ and get involved. Yet, as I thought about what my friend shared with me, I’ve decided to write response to this woman:

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“Thank you for finally showing support to me after more than nine years since my abusive then-husband walked out on me and our two sons, and who I decided to divorce after 20 years. As you can tell, I never took divorce lightly. It took me two decades of my life to finally get the courage to leave and never go back, and it would take two more years after that for the divorce to be finalized.

As far as deserving to be happy, I’m not so sure about that. God never promises us happiness in this life, but He is faithful in providing and caring for us when we turn to Him, and we can choose joy no matter our circumstances because of His love. And that’s what I did almost 10 years ago when my ex walked out and many from my former church turned away, or just showed indifference — I turned to God and sought His will for my life. He was the only constant that I could depend on at that time in my life, and always.

So, do I really deserve to be happy? Let me tell you what I, and my boys, deserved — we deserved to live in a household free from abuse. That’s really all I deserve and that is what I have today. And the only way I was able to make that happen was to divorce a man who chose to make our home a battlefield. My boys and I were always on alert, walking on eggshells and waiting for the next shoe to drop, so to speak. When it was good, it could be really good — but it never lasted. And I knew that, and my boys knew that.

I don’t know that I deserve to be happy, but my boys certainly do. While many judged me for making a decision to leave an abusive marriage, because heaven forbid a Christian should divorce — I judge myself for staying as long as I did, because my boys didn’t have a choice. My sons had to learn to live with the abuse, learn to navigate that battlefield that was their everyday life.

I’m glad you see now that perhaps my leaving that marriage was good, that yes, I am happy and living with a wonderful, loving man who is the total opposite of my first husband, but I don’t deserve happiness — I just deserve others’ to stop judging and condemning me.”

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“Why didn’t she just leave”

Recently, a blogger who writes about abusive relationships wrote something along the lines of — “Instead of asking the question, “Why didn’t she just leave?” maybe we should be asking, “Why did he hurt her?” How true! Why is it the most common question often regarding abuse puts the burden of the issue on the victim? Why is the victim the one questioned about why she was abused, instead of questioning the abuser as to why he chose to hurt the one he vowed to love, cherish and protect?

Why is that?

Perhaps the more important question should be — why do churches so often protect the abuser and shun the victim?

Aren’t we as Christians called to love one another and to take a stand against evil? If so, then why do we love the abuser and treat victims as the evil ones? Seems rather backwards.

I believe one of the reasons this happens is simply ignorance. The fact is, many people have no clue about the dynamics of an abusive relationship and while they may truly have good intentions, often their advice will cause more harm than good. While others simply find it easier to ignore or sidestep the issue and not get involved.

In an abusive marriage, a woman hardly ever feels heard or has her feelings validated, and while yearning to feel love and understood, she is often met with a lack of compassion and caring.

As a body of believers, there are a few things which can be done to help give the victim a voice and the courage to take a stand against the abuse — and become free.

First off, an abuse victim needs to be heard. She needs to feel safe in telling her story and part of feeling safe is having the trust that she will be listened to and accepted for what can be very painful and even embarrassing to share. She doesn’t need anyone diminishing her experience by telling her that every marriage is hard work or perhaps she is doing something to provoke the abuser. She often just needs someone to put a hand on her shoulder and ask to hear her story.

Second, the victim needs love and understanding, instead of being judged and condemned. She does not need to be admonished for not trying hard enough, not being respectful enough or not submitting more as if she is the cause of the abuse. She simply needs people who will stand with her in love and offer her help in whatever capacity she needs, even if they may not completely understand her situation. Lend her an ear when she needs to talk and offer her a shoulder to cry on.

And third, a victim needs to know that God loves her and no choice she makes will ever take away His love or salvation from her. She does not need pieces of scripture heaved onto her already heavily-burdened shoulders to make her feel guilty or doubtful about her situation. Most victims who are Christians already believe God will be disappointed with them if they leave their marriage or that they don’t have enough faith because their marriage is in shambles. So instead of perpetuating those lies, remind her that God loves her no matter what path she chooses and that her worth is in the Lord, not in man.

“Being alone may scare you, but abuse will scar you.”

 

Why didn’t I just leave an abusive marriage? The answer is so very complex — there were so many reasons — and even to this day I’m not sure I have a black and white answer, but fear was certainly a huge factor for me. Fear of the unknown, fear of what others would think — fear of God turning his back on me. But I realize now that my fear was so misplaced and came from a place of ignorance more than anything. While people from my former church admonished me with things like — “God hates divorce”; “We are all sinners”; “You need to forgive and forget”; and “Hurting people hurt others” — I was left feeling hopeless and fearful of losing God’s love. And I let that fear develop until I was keeping myself trapped in an unhealthy and unsafe marriage, becoming a shell of a person — being destroyed from the inside out. I actually find it humorous now how hard I tried to be the good little Christian wife to a man who acted nothing like a godly man who is to love his wife and lay down his life for her — yet it was me who was treated like I didn’t care about my marriage or keeping it together.

The wounds which no one could see, had been festering for decades and destroying my very soul and inner being, until one day, I said no more — Enough! Over the years I’ve had people tell me how strong I am, but honestly, the only time I remember being strong was the day I chose to turn my ears from all those insane words hurled at me and instead turn my focus to God’s Word. And what I found in Him was so opposite of what many were trying to have me believe. I repeatedly discovered that no matter my choices His Love never ends and He would never walk away from me — and He sees me as worthy, even when others made me feel less than. How sad when you think about that — how truly sad that Christians would make a fellow believer feel unworthy and less than for trying to save our own life and that of her children from a destructive situation.

Why didn’t I just leave an abusive marriage? Why did I stay so long? So many reasons but perhaps it’s really clearer than I realize. The judgement and condemnation from a place where I should have received love and support, left me feeling doubtful and even questioning my faith, which in turn made me feel like I needed to stay in an abusive marriage to prove how strong my faith was.

About a year before my ex walked out, a former neighbor who is a pastor said to me with a smile on his face, that one day I would receive a huge crown filled with jewels for staying and enduring, after he had witnessed an incident where my then-husband was being verbally abusive. Another pastor of a former church shared with me many years ago about my then-husband getting nose-to-nose with him at a men’s breakfast and through a clenched jaw angrily telling the pastor he did not have an anger problem, and this same pastor, the year my ex walked out on me, called me to his office to make sure I understood how expensive a divorce would be while trying to convince me how my ex seemed to be changing. As I write of these memories, I can only shake my head in disbelief at what these two men, leaders of churches, and others believed and tried to make me believe.

“Why doesn’t a victim of abuse just leave?” Perhaps because she is truly trying to do the right thing, and hoping and praying that one day her continuing to endure the abuse will cause some miraculous change in her abuser. Perhaps she has come to believe that staying and suffering is somehow pleasing to God because it shows her faith is strong. And perhaps — just perhaps — she stays far too long because those in the very place which should have come alongside of her and helped her out of an abusive situation, chose instead to wrongfully turn the other way after offering bits of judgement and pieces of condemnation.

Why didn’t I just leave?

Why did he abuse?”

 

Blessings!

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Silence

After my ex walked out in 2009, my relationship with my oldest son started to slowly deteriorate. The wall my son began building between the two of us would stand tall for the next 9 years serving to block me from his life. Brick by brick, stone by stone, that wall rose higher. The stones not thrown at me were placed one on top of the other in that wall, becoming more and more impenetrable as time wore on. Slammed doors, fist through walls, hateful stares, harsh words and silence — and up went the wall higher and higher.

While he kept his silence I kept mine too. But my silence was different.

His silence was full of anger, confusion, doubt — and I believe love, which he truly wanted to show at times but decided it safer to stay behind his wall so he could not be hurt anymore.

My silence served to protect — and came out of a place of love only a mother can know. My silence was out of protection against anymore confusion and doubt, in hopes of keeping him from more hurt and pain. My silence was not done with contempt, it was only done out of love.

The silence from both of us grew over the years and I’ve wanted nothing more than to break it wide open, but have been lovingly encouraged to wait. To wait for my son to be the one to break that silence and have him ask to hear my words, my story — wait for him to tear down the wall.

And it’s been a long wait — so painfully long — until this past weekend.

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My son’s wall has finally come down after all these years, at least part way, and he is starting to allow me into his life again — little by little, piece by piece. He has said he feels burned by his family and I can feel the struggle he has to trust and allow me — or anyone — into his corner of the world. And I find myself still tiptoeing warily around those fallen stones for fear of stumbling and failing yet again. My words are spoken with trepidation — said gingerly and softly as if to test the waters on how far in I can wade before being pulled under by anger or swallowed up by silence.

Last weekend I drove four hours to see my son in hopes of reconnecting and closing the distance which had come to feel like a chasm between us — and break the silence which I could no longer bear. How I prayed to be able to speak those unspoken words within the silence which hold the key to unlocking the past and hopefully healing wounds.

I wish I could say the silence was broken, but there is still much to be said. There is a story to be told which I have kept silent for almost a decade — a story worth sharing now that the stones have been laid down and the wall lay in ruins.

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Our time spent together last weekend was more of just being — coming together after all these years. Just my son and I. He talked of his life and he shared parts of himself I did not know — hurts, struggles, uncertainties about life. Perhaps he was opening the door a little for me to share also, but breaking that silence I have kept all these years is not so easy. I too hold back out of fear of pushing him away. So, for now, one day at a time. I will continue to patiently pray and wait for the door to swing open wider while continuing to love him as only a mother can and grasp tightly to the love he is able to give right now. This is all I can do as I wait in the silence.

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Coming home…

As I breathlessly walked through God’s beautiful creation this morning, inhaling the sweet smells of spring and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, I was reminded of many years ago when God set me free — a time where I felt alive for the first time in so many years.

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During those days, I took early morning walks, savoring the beauty around me — perhaps, even seeing it for the first time. My eyes were opened to all I had to be grateful for as Grace filled my heart.

I remembered how awakened my senses became in those days so long ago. Springtime filled my nostrils with intoxicating smells, sounds of birds singing to each other was music to my ears, and the trees and flowers brought beauty to my eyes. And today was a similar day — today took me back to those days of yesteryear when life begin to come alive once again in my little corner of the world as I inhaled God’s presence.

God had removed evil from my home — and began to make something beautiful from the ashes of my life — but it would still be years before new life would be begin to emerge.

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Over nine years ago, my life changed, and it was not in a way I had envisioned 20 years earlier while walking down a church aisle, full of youth and naivety, towards a man who would come to feel more like an enemy than a husband.

When my then-husband walked out, my identity as I had known it for years suddenly shifted, and the hardest part, was losing my oldest son to the lies and manipulation of his father. Those days brought me to my knees, which is truly the only stable place when you think about it, and prayer was my constant companion — on my lips at the beginning of each day before my feet hit the floor running, peppered throughout the day to keep me breathing, and said as a sweet release at night before my eyes closed. Those prayers were my lifeline — they kept me afloat and also, most importantly, kept me connected to the only constant in my life — the Lord.

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One of my prayers was for the relationship with my oldest son to be restored — for us to become mother and son again, speaking truthfully, freely, and trustingly.

Just like the prodigal son, some of us may have had a child leave us whether due to discord in the home, our choice of leaving an abusive spouse, the hurtfulness of divorce, or just their own wanderlust. It is so hard to see a child walk away, to feel as if you have lost them, and the pain of not knowing when or if they will return creates a heaviness in your heart that you carry with you each day. I’m not talking about the normal letting go we do with our children when it’s time for them to fly, but them tearing away from us — taking their love from our hearts.

 

And this past weekend, God answered those prayers — my prayers — I had cried out for the past nine years when suddenly, the wall between my son and I crashed down! My son made the choice to trust me again and share his struggles, his anger, his loss — and his love. My son has come home — he has chosen to return his heart to mine.

I praise the Lord for working in my son’s heart and bringing him back to me,  but he still needs prayers to find his way back to Jesus during a still-dark time in his life.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s patience.”

~2 Thessalonians 3:5

For the first time in nine years, my son admits to his father’s destructiveness in our family. He feels crushed from the destruction his father left behind as he, like the coward he is, left the country and his sons. He feels betrayed and burned by how his father treated him, his brother and me. He says he has become his father, a man he despises and blames, and because of that has lost friends. And he feels helpless to a disease which has afflicted him for more than twelve years of his life.

And because of all of that, my son’s faith has been crushed and he does not know if he believes in God anymore.  Yet, despite the hopelessness my son feels in his life these days — he has come back — he has come home. And while he wrestles with confusion, doubt and anger, one thing is for certain — God has never left him nor will He forsake my son — He will, like me, wait patiently for my son to find his way back.

24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.” ~Luke 15:24

This mother’s heart is overjoyed, yet admittedly, still a little wary. My son is home! But I will continue to pray for direction in how to help my son through his battle with Lyme disease. And one day, these prayers too will answered in God’s timing.

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Blessings!

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