Released from Darkness

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Relationships
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Before I tell my story, I must say that I was nervous about sharing it – afraid of being judged, put to shame, ridiculed and asked the question, “What kind of person would let that happen?”  But I decided that if just one person could benefit from hearing my story, it was worth sharing.  So, I put the fears aside and pushed forward in writing what I pray will provide someone… maybe even you… some hope, strength, encouragement and faith in the unfolding of my story:

My name is Laura and it means honor and victory, however, my early adult life was anything but.  I was young – trying to survive, figure out life, who I was… you know, the usual.  Through that time, I got mixed up in some bad things and with bad people. I ended up marrying one of those people.  My husband would get drunk almost every night and would get mean and physically abuse me – I ended up with broken bones, black eyes, burns on my body, scars that I don’t like explaining to doctors, a dislocated jaw and nightmares that never cease. One night he almost killed me. I was trying to get a knife away from him and he choked me until I passed out. By the grace of God, he let me go before he killed me. But, when I woke up, I couldn’t remember anything.  He told me I had fallen and hit my head hard on the glass table and then the floor – which I had, but he left out the part about his hands around my neck!  Still, I had no memory of the details… just that I was hurt and didn’t really know why.  By this time, I had a baby (Taylor) who was about six months old. Some nights when my husband was on a drunken ramage I would sleep underneath Taylor’s crib – not only to hide from the rampage and abuse, but to protect my son as well.

The next morning after the ‘choking’ incident, I had dropped him off at work and was driving home when the events of the previous night washed over me. I started crying uncontrollably. I had enough – this was it!  I called a friend that I worked with and asked if I could move in with her temporarily – filed for divorce; separating myself from the abuse.
It took years for me not to think about those days. Not to replay them in my mind – the details, the fear, the shame… so much more than I able to share at this time.
A few years later, I took a trip to Italy and visited the Vatican. I remember walking in, still tormented by things that had gone on in my past. I felt haunted – always dreaming of it, even when I was awake. I knew nothing of Catholicism, but I remember walking into the Basillica and feeling an absolute sense of p e a c e. I could feel a gravitation – a intense inner ‘pull’. I knew ‘this’ is where I needed to be.
I have always believed in God – in my own way, but had not yet found a ‘religion’ that meshed with my feelings, but at that moment, I knew there was ‘something’ here that i so desperately needed.  I set out to become Catholic – and let me tell you – they don’t make it easy! I had to complete an annulment for my first marriage in order to become Catholic. I had to present my case as to why my marriage should be null under the laws of the church in front of a Tribunal Court. I had to write twenty some pages of the same things I’m telling you, but in far greater detail, in order for them to say ‘yes’ – this marriage is void. It may seem like a crazy thing to do – but at the time, it was very healing. I poured everything out into this document. Every little detail. And the more I wrote, the more I felt the weight lift off of me. After I was finished, I packaged the whole thing up and sent it off to the Tribunal Court and awaited thier decree. I spent two years going to classes to become Catholic. It really only takes one year, but I went for two — for good measure 🙂
Being Catholic – going to mass every Sunday and being with a community makes me feel better.  I used the annulment to heal – I poured it all out, dusted off my hands and sent it away. Now, every thing was out in the open. I spoke of things that I would never tell another person.  I felt better and regained a sense of normalcy.
Today, I don’t think of the past. I don’t dream of it. I don’t fear it. I believe Jesus has taken it all away.  The bible says – He (Jesus) took our suffering on Himself 
and carried our diseases… the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His stripes (what he suffered), we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). To be quite honest – I don’t even feel the hatred I once felt so strongly against my ex-husband. I feel pity and sadness for him. I am still very close with his parents and they keep me up to date on his well being – or lack thereof. As of late, he has been making progress towards not drinking and doing drugs – and I am genuinely happy for that. Not that it at all impacts my life – just happy for him. It’s wierd for me to even say this…..but it is truly how I feel. I never imagined that I would be able to forgive him…but I suppose that I have.  But, believe me when I say that it was through prayer that I begged for help forgiving him. With God’s help, all things are possible.

In hindsight, I honestly believe that my sudden recollection of the events that almost ended my life was divine intervention….It was God ‘waking me up’ and telling me to escape! He has led me out of the darkness….and it has absolutely changed my life.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Today, I ponder the good that has come of my horrible five year’s of ‘hell on earth’; knowing that God loves me and he can use my tragic experiences for His purposes:

1. Taylor my oldest son; who would not be here without my suffering.  He is such an amazing, brilliant young man – a pure soul who cares for others and shows great concern for those around him.
2. I  continue to maintain a wonderful relationship with  my ex-husband’s parents. They have visited, like clock-work, twice a year for the past decade. We all love them and they love us. I am so blessed!!
3. I am now married to a wonderful man – Josh!
4. I am a stronger person from my experiences.  I am a great example of the “That which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!” saying. Out of the five years, I’ve gained great strength in my faith and I am much smarter and wiser! My darkness has truly yielded great light.  We just never quite know what God has in store for us.
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