The physical and mental 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 I only recently disowned.
I recall sharing this pain with a stranger a while ago. 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 quiet. I considered her insults of self would have to cease at some point, right? As five minutes grew to ten, she finally slowed her momentum, realizing my silence. I thought she was done, but she only slowed for a speed bump. She posed a question, “I mean what would you do in my shoes?” I had no desire to answer, but I did. I could tell she somewhat held her breath awaiting my response. I shocked both of us with “I worn your shoes. I walked in them for years.” It was the end of my shift when she called. I was ready to go home. That day, her call served as my alarm. I’d been asleep. It’s interesting how God brings things full circle.
Revealing myself to her was when the shell of who I thought I needed to be for acceptance began to break. I surrendered. When the young lady 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 I ended with Thy will be done. Before my prayers had been a broken record of sorts with a constant rambling of, “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 until the night I begged that His will be done. 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 though. 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 and myself, 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 stood beside me instead.
That following week my now ex-husband announced his plans to leave. Initially, I objected, saying, “you’ll regret it,” only to pause 30 seconds later realizing God heard and answered my prayer. I quickly amended my statement, with, “No, this is the best thing for both of us.” Even before he left the room that evening, a weight had been lifted from my head and heart.
She said, “Well, what would you do differently if you were given the chance again?” Again, I surprised her with a single word, “Nothing.”
I then recounted why I wouldn’t…
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 marriage or with my mother, I wouldn’t know Christ the way I do now. Everything I endured was necessary. I was broken to be of good use.
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