I now realize why it was so hard to write this article. I thought it was just writer’s block, but actually it was a self preservation tactic; not wanting to pull back another layer in which God wanted to heal me. I was not willing to look at how being exposed to domestic violence had impacted my emotions in the past, present and in my behavior today.
As I am typing, I can feel tears welling up because this is a topic I have never felt led to discuss. Moreover, we rarely hear of it in Church or among family. Yet it is a very real issue in our communities. Over half of the women in prison are in there for taking matters into their own hands against their abusers.
At four years old, I remember my Mom lying on the couch depressed with a black and blue eye that was swollen shut. I walked up to her wanting to talk, but she did not smile or rise to greet me. She just laid there, quiet, still and hurt. My Dad in a rage expressed his anger through violence against my Mom. It is one thing to be upset; it is another thing to strike another human being. Needless to say, it did not end there. I also watched my Step-Mom abused by my Dad. I would see him hit her with his fists and with hangers. I overheard them fighting many times and I always found myself caring for her after the ordeal. I believe I was nine years old at the time, but I wanted it to stop. I remember praying and asking God to help my Dad and deliver him from drugs, which were a huge part of the domestic violence in our home.
When I married my first husband, violence was how I dealt with my anger. I remember being so upset that I charged him with my fists, hitting him until he restrained me. I realize now that this was a learned behavior from my childhood, but I needed God to help me control my emotions.
Sitting in church one Sunday, my Pastor said we do not resolve our issues in the flesh through arguing, fighting and throwing things. We must walk in the love of God no matter how much we hurt because violence is never the answer.
I love my Dad, Mom and Step-Mom today. I have forgiven my Dad for his choices and I have learned to appropriate my anger by walking in love. I am happy my Mom was strong enough to start her life over again. But it is sad when people allow themselves to remain in abusive relationships. They feel trapped. I am sure they are afraid and believe no one else can love them. Yet the love they believe they are experiencing is actually control. We can open the Word of God to find out what love is really about. This has to be the measure in which we express our emotions. The Bible says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Father in Jesus name, I lift up every person reading this prayer who has endured domestic violence in one degree or another. God may your living waters flow into every heart. May You love, mend, protect, guide and keep families together. Cover all children who were exposed to this type of pain. In Jesus’ name.