After a great night out with the girls, we headed back home. I can still remember, like it was yesterday, how heavy the air felt in the car. The silence caused me to nearly tremble. He then broke the thick silence and asked, "So, did you have fun tonight?" The smug sarcasm was obvious. I quietly answered, "yes, it was okay." And inside I was shouting, "Yes, yes, I had a blast! I was away from you. Yes, I felt free and I felt safe." Then suddenly I sprung back to reality by the weight of his fist across my face. The force was so powerful I cracked the passenger side window. I couldn't do anything but cry, the pain in my head, the pain in my face, and the pain in my heart. Everything hurt so bad. By the time we got to our apartment, my eye had swelled close. I remember crying, wondering how I would hide this from the family at my mom's engagement party the next day.
The following morning as I got ready, I remember, although I didn't have a relationship with God, I began to talk to Him. I asked him why was he letting me go through this, and help me to have the strength to leave. I had never left, because I didn't want to have a broken family, but for the first time in my life I feared that one day he would kill me.
Enough. . .
Days later after the engagement party, I had a meeting to attend. So as usual I added my extra concealer and donned my shades to hide the swollen bruised eye. The meeting was going well and as I got up to exit the room, the woman grabbed my hand and said,
"Honey, you know you can get help for that. You don't have to live like this. I can get you help."
I looked at her and said, "oh no, this is not what you think. I had a crazy weekend with the family, that's all." As I walked away, I felt so numb. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. What had happened to me? I didn't recognize who I was anymore. At that moment I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I went home and began to plan my "getaway." I called the local Battered Women's Shelter to get information. Finally, I called my sister Noelia and told her everything I had been going through for the past six years. She said for me to leave with my children and stay with her.
Later on that day we had dinner at my moms. I couldn't eat or think straight as I mentally finalized my plan for freedom. Since he had been drinking I knew what kind of night I was in for. Not today. Not ever again.
As we approached the apartment he got out of the car and slammed the door. As soon as I noticed he was a few feet away, I jumped in the drivers seat locked the doors, started the ignition and and sped away. My adrenaline was sky high, and I remember feeling happiness, and fear all at once. Why was I still scared? I was finally free. My kids and I can finally live a normal life.
When you have endured years of abuse and finally manage to escape it, the world is new to you. You just haven't been beaten physically, but psychologically and emotionally as well. You don't know where to start. Just because you have escaped the situation, you haven't escaped the fear.
The next days were terrifying. Every time I would look out the window he was there, parked , just waiting. I realized I hadn't escaped anything! I was still living in fear and refused to remain that way! I had to stand up and speak out.
Breaking my silence.
One quiet afternoon as I sat on the couch in my sister's home writing down my goals and next steps to take for my safety, I was interrupted by a loud noise coming from the basement. It was the sound of a window breaking. I jumped up and looked out, and seen my ex's car parked, but he wasn't in there. I began to panic as I heard him in the basement trying to open the first bottom door. Terrified, I called my sister and then 911. As soon as the police officers arrived my ex had broken through the door and was standing right in front of me. I could smell the alcohol seeping through his pores. His eyes were bloodshot and he looked completely discombobulated. He ran out as soon as he heard the siren, but was stopped by the cops and handcuffed. At that moment I felt the fear subside. I felt empowered. This was it. It was finally over!
I will never forget my conversation with the first officer that arrived. He told me I was lucky, because who knows what his plans were for me today. He then asked me if I wanted to press charges and I said yes. He began to tell me my next steps, like getting a restraining order and handed me a list of resources. His next words would forever leave a stamp on my mind.
"I really hope you follow through with this ma'am. Today you were lucky, but next time you may not be. Many women say they will leave, but most of the time they return to that life. Especially when this is their first time leaving."
Not, sure what it was about those words that affected me so much, but I knew I wanted to live and I also wanted to prove I was serious—I didn't want that life for me. And sure, not many women left "for good" the first time, but I would be one of those women that did.
I didn't have a relationship with Christ during this time, but I know that He was there all along. I know that he had a purpose for my life even then as broken as I was. I had a story to tell. And because of that I am thankful for it all.
Love doesn't have to hurt, and shouldn't.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If you are where I was, please know that God hears you. He sees your tears, your bruises, your fears and He wants to rescue you. You feel alone, but you aren't. He is there waiting for you to let Him in and restore you. Let Him give you life once more and experience true love. Love that is kind and gentle. A love that protects, not hurts. He knows you and your faults and still wants to use you.
He is there. When you've run out of options, he is there. When you think all hope is gone, he is there.
A thunderous silence
Breaks through my thoughts.
What was once many great ideas
Is now a triumph, lost.
Baffling words tumble through my mind.
Reflections of darkness hover.
A disturbing peacefulness beckons to me,
And inside myself, I take cover.
What would it be like to stay there forever?
To be lost in all my cares?
From the inside, looking out -I cry silent tears
Friend, realize this today: God has you covered. When you're stuck in a dark place, thirsty for someone who cares, drowning in despair—God is with you. He covers you with his hands of hope, protection, support. Rest in his all-encompassing love today.
Let him wipe away your silent tears.
If you think a friend or family member is being abused or is abusive, please call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to discuss your concerns and questions.
Carmen Miller spent her life searching for empty substitutes for God. She tried to find her worth, value, and identity in things and men, only to be left empty and broken. Today, she shares her story of brokenness and the love Jesus relentlessly showed her. A wife, a mom, writer and a lover of her Creator, she is passionate about the body of Christ and being set free from the bondage's that hinder our walk with Christ.