Sixteen years ago, during the election night of 2004, my abuser, three-year-old daughter, and I were staying at a hotel preparing for her upcoming bone marrow transplant. My abuser chose to go out drinking all night long and, due to his outrageous hangover, he failed to go to the hospital the next morning for our daughter’s pre-surgery for the transplant.
Mind you, the bruises on my arm were fresh as it had only been four days since the beating.
So, when Tommy told me he wasn’t coming with us to the hospital for the surgery for a double port to be implanted next to the single port that was already on our daughter’s chest, I was speechless. Dumbfounded. Angry beyond belief. But silent.
Finding faith after abuse
I’m sure many understand, it is hard to take a three-year-old to pre-op by yourself, especially one who doesn't have an immune system. You can’t go to the bathroom; you can’t get caffeine; you can’t leave the little one’s side for fear they will fall off the hospital bed.
My daughter's 9:30 am operating time got taken by a higher priority patient.
Noon came and went, and we were still in the pre-op section. My three-year-old daughter was starving, confused, and crying.
By 2:00 pm, I couldn't handle the situation anymore. Boldly, I took my crying daughter off the hospital bed and into the hallway; I figured her screaming cries might get someone's attention.
Returning to the hotel room around 6:00 pm, I was met with a barrage of obscenities questioning what had taken so long and how I should have been back hours ago. My choice was to listen to my abuser or focus on how three external ports taped on my three-year-old daughter’s chest was the saddest thing I had ever seen to date. Responding to my abuser was never an option.
Years later, as I read the Book of Proverbs, this verse caught my attention:
"Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the Lord, and He will avenge you." - Proverbs 20:22
Clearly, there was no way I could ever hold my abuser accountable for what he did to me over all those years, but the thought of God holding him accountable sparked a glimmer of hope in my heart.
This newfound hope was something I had never experienced before. Vulnerably scared, unprotected, and emotionally petrified, I read promises of hope throughout the Book of Proverbs. God’s word promised that in addition to holding my abuser accountable for what he did to me, He would:
The comfort and peace I obtained from knowing God was walking with me through my transition from victim to survivor greatly enabled me to slowly start believing that moving on from my past was possible.
As tangible or intangible as hope may seem at any phase in life, in order to get some of it, we have to first establish what hope is and where it comes from. A common starting misconception is that hope is something you just have by focusing on the positive in your life. Hope is something divine, given by God when you trust that he will care for you, support you, and protect you, just as the verses above describe.
When we lean on those truths, God can grant us hope. Hope is also forward thinking in that it focuses on God's grace that is yet to come in our lives. That's where trust comes in.
We can kind of think of the relationship between by focusing on the truth, trust in God, and hope as an equation: Action + Action = Possibility
Or, Focusing on God's plan for your life (Reading the Word in earnest) + Trust in God about the future = A heart open to receiving hope.
As I was vulnerable and unprotected in the aftermath of my abuse, the factor that changed was the introduction of trust in God, which opened my heart to hope. The more I read God's Word, the more I built a place in my heart for that hope to live.
We've been building up to this in our series, because we've established:
1. What truth is, where to find it, and how to soften our hearts to accept it
2. How to act on truth, and the role of prayer
3. Gaining wisdom from God's word
4. Protecting your heart by setting boundaries
We now have the tools to establish that home for hope to live in our hearts because we know where to find God's truth, we know how to enact God's wisdom, we can place our burdens in God's hands via prayer, and establish a boundary around our heart so it is not tainted by the ways of the world, but instead there is a place for hope to live.
When we take the actions that make room for God in our lives, God will be there to guide us.
The purpose of this series has not only been to share my own experiences and how the Book of Proverbs helped me tackle the lies of my abuser, but also to encourage others to act in God’s faith so that you can receive the same hope that delivered me from such a dark period in my own life. The darkness didn’t end when the abuse ended, but instead when I decided to battle the lies that were living on in my heart.
Defeating the Lies of My Abuser With The Book of Proverbs
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.