The abuse I endured just over a decade ago left me with more than a broken nose and bruised ego. I had a broken spirit.
That same broken spirit morphed into a mindset of resentment and callousness that I only recently disowned.
I recall sharing this pain with a stranger. When I worked in customer service, a young lady called to talk about how messed up her marriage was and as she explained the details of what she endured speckled with flecks of self-loathing and debasement I sighed, rolled my eyes, and almost said, ” I am not your counselor.”
However, I remained silent considering her insults of self would have to cease at some point. Yet, as five minutes grew to ten, she finally slowed her momentum, realizing I hadn’t said a word. I thought she was done, but she only slowed for a speed bump…a question…I hadn’t prepared to answer nor had I desired to do so. Still, as she took a deep breath waiting for my hypothetical response, I could only offer her what neither of us expected in the exchange. I shocked both of us. To her question. “I mean what would you do in my shoes?” I found myself saying, “I wore your shoes. I walked in them for years.” I was supposed to have been gone for the day but she was my last call. Interesting how God brings things full circle. That call served as my alarm. I’d been asleep.
Revealing myself to her was when the shell began to break. I surrendered. When she mentioned how she’d been cursed out and cheated on and constantly berated by her husband, how her mother seemed to make her feel worse for marrying him instead of helping her, I involuntarily allowed my wounds to breathe. For the next several minutes, I disclosed how God delivered me from being unequally yoked…how my husband left after I’d finally surrendered for God’s will to be done.
I recalled the prayer as if it had just been uttered. It began, “Lord, just make him leave! I can’t raise my children to believe it’s okay to be treated like this….and ended with Thy will be done. Before my prayers had been a broken record of sorts, “Lord, heal my marriage.” I imagine as much as I tired of saying those words, God tired of hearing them.” I guess it’s because I was not honest with my request. I truly wanted a way out of the choice I’d made. I just felt like it was not the “godly thing to do” since I’d been divorced once before. The truth is I knew immediately after I said “I do” to my now Ex-husband, that I would not fully be able to say the same to my God. God never agreed with the union. I was trying to justify living in sin with a man I didn’t even like. Those are the kinds of decisions we make when we are broken.
That night when I was finally honest with God, tears soaked my daughter’s bed as I’d knelt to pray there. I’d usually pray with her, but that night, I collapsed at her bedside as if I had no energy left to stand. I wonder even now if Kayla understood what I was going through. She was five, ready for bed, and was supposed to have been kneeling with me, but that night she felt the need to stand beside me instead.
That following week my now ex-husband announced his plans to leave. Initially, I objected, saying to him, “you’ll regret it,” only to pause 30 seconds to realize God had heard my prayer. I quickly amended my statement, with, “No, this is the best thing for both of us.” Even before he left the room, a weight had been lifted.
She said, “Well, what would you do differently if you were given the chance again?”
“Nothing.” I said to her almost before she finished the question.
I then began to recount why I wouldn’t change a thing…
I would not know God like I know Him…that I am worthy of His best…I would not have prayed and been able to minister to you today…I explained to her that the beauty of God’s love is that while He is fully capable of “making everyone” follow Him, He allows us the choice to do so. Had everything gone perfectly in my life by the world’s standards, I wouldn’t know I need a savior in Christ nor that I was broken for good use.
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