It is so much easier for me to avoid blogging when I am struggling, to not share the messy parts of my life. For that reason I have only posted 5 times in the past year. And honestly? This is really scary for me to publicly tell my story. It's a pretty messy story, but this is also true: God specializes in redeeming messes and bringing beauty from ashes. This I do know. I know it even when I am crying out in despair because I am in the thick of it all right now. He always meets me in those dark, dark places. Every time.
|the hope of new spring growth|
First of all, let me just get this out of the way. I am now divorced. I can't even tell you how much I hate even typing that word. I was married for almost 28 years and divorce was never something that I considered or even thought was an option.
I will tell you this: divorce stinks. It's as bad as I had been lead to believe, and even worse. This is true as well though: living in a peaceful home, without fear, without the drama, without the abuse (yes, not only am I using to use the "d-word", but also the "a-word") is something that we are all deeply grateful for.
|spring daffodils dancing in the breeze|
During all of those years I did not tell my best friends or even my parents about anything that happened. I know, it's really difficult to understand, unless you have been in an abusive relationship. (It's difficult to understand even when you have been in an abusive relationship!) When I began to realize how wrong many of the things were that had happened in our family, at the hand of our abuser, I realized that I needed to be brave and reach out to a friend.
I initially chose an out of town friend, that I had known for many years (since my college days... which is, ahem, a few years ago!). I trusted her and knew that she loved the Lord and would give me conservative, truthful counsel. I was afraid that I was overreacting and that the events which had so wounded the children and me were actually "normal."
Part of the reason that I am choosing to share this here, in this venue, is that I now know that of all of the readers that I am addressing, there are, most certainly, others who are living what my children and I lived for so many years, and oh (!!) how my heart goes out to you. To my remaining readers who are not in an abusive marriage or relationship, the odds are great that at some time you will have a friend or acquaintance who is in a situation similar to mine.
Let me pause for a moment here to share a definition of abuse, which I first read on the excellent website A Cry for Justice:
Additionally I have begun a page listing resources which have been helpful for me. The link is at the top of my blog.
Back to my story: Once I stood up to our abuser, things became exponentially worse. I finally was forced to take my children and flee. I don't even know how to express how grateful I am that my parents have been so supportive and helped us escape.
The past 17 months since we left have been the hardest, darkest times of my life. I am now a single parent to the ten children who are still living at home and in school. (I also have 2 adult children who are out on their own) Single parenting so many children is more challenging, and at times overwhelming than I will even try to explain right now. But we are safe and now have our own peaceful home. How wonderful it is to feel safe!
In part 2 I will share a bit more about the past 17 months of our life and what it has been to walk this path and gradually begin to heal from many, many years of abuse.
This I will say: God is good. He is! He has so gently and faithfully walked with us down this path ~ a path I never would have chosen, which has so often been very dark. He has provided for us through faithful loving family and friends. As challenging (and honestly, many days "challenging" is an understatement) as this is, I am confident that He will continue to lead and care for us.
Next, part 2 of my story, in which I will tell you a bit about the past year-and-a-half and about how the Lord has met us and cared for us in so many ways.