Keepin’ It Real…

I keep typing this entry and then it gets far too detailed and turns into a rant session and that isn’t going to be helpful to anyone.  I hesitate to post this, because I still hold so much shame surrounding what happened and how it happened.

After 15 years of marriage, I realized the mess I was in.  He controlled and micromanaged, isolated me from friends and family, shamed and manipulated me.  He told me I was lucky to have him – as he refused to work to support our family and insisted I spend every minute sitting in the same room as him watching tv.  I neglected our child because he didn’t want her around.  He tried to cut me off from my church family and nothing I did was right.  He was always changing the rules.  He was always changing his mind.  He withheld all physical affection.  The mental illness he battled would send him to bed for days, cause him to not shower for over a week, and left me completely alone and overwhelmed.  The manic episodes that resulted in hours of lectures on all of my shortcomings in the wee morning hours, as I tried to sleep…  The Christmas where he threw my family out of the house… Those blog entries where I talk about my clutter and my mess – those things were a symptom of my battle.  The “everything is awesome” posts – those were my cover story.  I had to fight the dark clouds of depression as I tried to survive.  I prayed and pleaded with God.  But my husband refused to seek God.  I submitted, submitted, submitted – and he became more out of control and made more and more bad decisions that led our family down a spiral of debt, unemployment, disability, and poverty.  Food stamps, Medicaid, and working for minimum wage…

But I defended him.  I made excuses.  I essentially enabled.  I didn’t see what other choice I had.  I couldn’t leave.  He made me believe that no one else would ever want me.  He told me how lucky I was to have him.  He told me to stop saying I was sorry and stop messing up in the first place.

Then, a glimmer of hope.  A relationship renewed.  A choice.  To leave?  To blow up my entire life?  The unknown – so terrifying.  But the reality of the situation – equally terrifying.  I told my best friend my plans.  She said “Last summer, I found your mom’s phone number and called her and told her how bad things were and that we needed to do something.  She said she had tried and you wouldn’t hear her and all we could do was pray.  I tried to talk to you, but you defended him and made excuses.  I am SO glad you are leaving!”  I discussed with other old friends, friends who knew me the whole 15 years.  All the same response.  “Thank the Lord that you are finally getting out!  We have prayed for 15 years!”  I had no idea, no words…

The terror of leaving.  He would find me.  What might he do?  Would he use his rifle?  Would it be on me or on himself?  Wasn’t I just being stupid?  He never laid a hand on me.  But the fear was so real.  I needed to hide and get away.

Scott.  Oh Scott.  There was no other way I would have ever left.  Thank you for believing in me and for helping me to start to believe in me, too.  Thank you for loving my girl as your own.  Thank you for loving the Lord and for drawing me closer to Him.

Thank you, Lord.  For saving me, for forgiving me for the choice I had to make – but also for helping me have the strength to make it.  Thank you for helping me learn that everything I have believed about myself is untrue and that a lot of what I’ve believed about You is also untrue.  Help me to embrace your Truth…

I know that I don’t bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There’s days I wonder if You’ll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?
Would You remind me now of who You are?

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful

I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful

You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful

You make us beautiful, oh oh
You make us beautiful

– Ellie Holcomb – The Broken Beautiful

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