During the school year, most of my requests to my abuser for extra financial support due to the ebb and flow of kids in school, were met with a huge nope; I don’t have any money. Yet, summer after summer my abuser always had time and money to take the children on a week-long vacation to the beach. Honestly, going to the beach probably isn’t a fair statement; he had time, pretend patience, and money to take them to amusement parks, water parks, and all sorts of tourist activities while going to the beach.
I had the pleasure of joining Virginia Knowles on the Growing into the Ministry Podcast this week.
Though primarily a resource for people who want to grow spiritually as they help others, one of the main themes within Growing into the Ministry is effectively caring for women who have experienced any form of domestic abuse. Please join Virginia and I as we discuss some powerful lessons I've learned during my journey to survivor.
In 2014, seven years after leaving my abuser, I still believed my abuser’s lie that I was a terrible mom. This lie was so ingrained in my thought process that it influenced almost everything that I did and made me feel extremely guilty for the things that I didn’t do. My sense of guilt greatly increased when my oldest son didn’t have the high school grades to get into a four-year college, and he had no particular direction. “I told you so,” the voice in my head would say, “terrible mom.”
This week has been extremely hard for me. It was only Tuesday night and I had to close my eyes for 20 minutes prior to talking with my Bible study friends on the phone. Even though it was only 6:00pm, my body felt like it was 10:30pm and I was late for bed.
Asking my daughter to set the stove timer and wake me up reminded me of when I used to do nap during my depression phase after I left my abuser. But, that was 14 years ago.
Last week, on an otherwise normal morning, I was sitting in my devotion space, carrying on a conversation with God. I usually start my devotion time with a “thank you for allowing me to sleep last night” (sleeping is my new wonder drug) and then deviate from there. Repetitious habit has created a cadence for my devotion time:
- I start off thanking God for specific things he’s done;
- I then move into my conversation about what is bothering me;
- then I start reflecting on turning what is bothering me into prayer requests;
- and I end with my specific prayer request for others.Honestly, prior to writing this blog, if you asked me my devotion format I probably would have said “no clue: I just talk with God”. But further investigation into the question that was placed on my heart last week lead me to examine closer this special time of my day. I am glad I see the natural format my devotion time has created!
It’s 9:30 am on a weekend morning and I’m already exhausted. My three children under the age of nine are all awake, fed, changed, teeth brushed and sitting quietly in the living room watching television. I quiver at the thought of them remaining quiet enough as their dad, my abuser, sleeps in the room above.
Concurrently, I’ve silently but diligently cleaned the kitchen, straightened up the down stairs, and paid bills all while hushing the children to keep silent with their every move. I would love to sit and enjoy a few minutes with them but I know taking time away from my responsibilities risks a painful punishment.
Last week I looked at my bank statement and saw that my car payment draft was two-thirds lower than what it should have been. I believe this deduction was my last payment; I now own a car free and clear.
Six years ago, bankrupt and barely hanging on financially, I walked into a car dealership some 45 minutes away from my house. Embarrassed due to being bankrupt, I thought looking at cars a few towns over would spare me the awkwardness of someone in town knowing my situation.
Not unlike many domestic violence victims, my abuser had over spent and thrown us into bankruptcy a few years earlier.
It’s Saturday and I just asked my husband if it was okay to take some quiet time and do nothing today. I continued on by saying “I’m feeling like if I don’t rest my head, I am not going to be good for you and the kids.”
Shocker #1: I acknowledged my weaknesses of being in an overload mental capacity and prioritized doing something for myself. As my recent weekly blogs have stated, I am teetering at the edge of a PTSD cortisol mental shutdown (that’s my self-described diagnosis when my ability to function shuts down). Given all that is going on in the world I imagine everyone reading this post can relate.
When I am feeling good with minimum anxiety and stress, I know God is in control. Even when my life turns upside down, I know God is in control; yet during stressful times holding onto this thought is extremely challenging for me. Stressful times bring forward a weakness in me that I am ashamed of.
Last weekend, I caught myself thinking about one thing while doing another. Trust me, I find myself doing this all the time! Yet, this time was different; it was more significant because for the first time, I changed my response.
I stopped my thought, realized what I was doing, and redirected my thoughts to my activity.
I was being mindful of the moment. Really, really mindful of directing my thoughts to the task at hand.
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.