My Journey To The Other Side of Abuse

In She Speaks by Lindsey De Los Santos4 Comments

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God has done a work in me, and every day He continues to mold and shape me as His daughter.  I can’t say I knew I would be where I am today, but I can say I praise God that I have made it here.  There were times in my life that I couldn’t imagine actually being happy, having peace, or even just being heard.  Today my story includes a bit of a fairy tale, but I almost missed the best God had for me.

As a young girl there was much abuse in my home and as I grew up I held onto feelings of insecurity, fear, and abandonment.  I was blessed with friends along the way, but there were some dark times that even they didn’t know what went on behind closed doors.  To the outside world my family may have appeared to have it all.  However, it was a nightmare on the inside.

I can say that I know what it means for God to be a calm in the storm, and He truly is the gentle healer.  I can still hear the loud screams of my dad, but I can also remember the amazing peace when I fell to my knees and prayed to my Father God.  I can still see myself praying for help, praying for a way out, and praying He would save me.  I came to know the Lord as not just my Savior, but my Father God.  I had to let go of the dad I didn’t really have, and when I embraced the dad I could have in my God I was given the greatest gift.

I came to know God as a dad who would never hurt, leave, or abandon me.  My Father God began to heal my broken heart.

As a young woman, I still had some wounds and mending to do.  However, I wasn’t fully aware of what they were.  The thing about a broken heart is it may be somewhat like a vase that breaks and you try to glue it back.  It may never be the same, and if you look close enough you may find a piece that needs to be fixed, found, or let go.  In college I found a campus ministry that for the first time in my life gave me a family that loved me without abuse.

I had never known what it was to live in peace, and I found myself living in a house with some of the most beautiful women I have ever met.  Their sweet spirits helped to encourage me, and the guys in the ministry served as examples of what men should be and how they should treat you.  While I was surrounded by these amazing leads of love, God continued to work on my heart.  I still had some growing to do in order to prepare me for future relationships.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it.

When I was graduating college, I found myself engaged to a guy I thought was the opposite of my dad, and who was a Godly man.  After we were married, I realized I had entered into another nightmare.  This one looked different, but the pain and fear were very similar.  He began to be verbally and emotionally abusive.  After some time of enduring his abusive rage, I started having seizures.  I had never had a seizure in my life, and found myself with this condition in a home I was scared in.

He began to use my health against me.  My ex told me I was lucky he would take care of me, and he made me feel even worse about myself.  I started having seizures when he was in a rage.  His stature of 6’6’’ was even scarier as I am 5 feet tall.  After three years of doctors trying to determine what my health condition was and what brought on the seizures, I stayed in a research hospital for a week.  It was determined that I had epilepsy and stress was triggering my seizures.  The doctor spoke with me in a way I will never forget.  He looked at me as if her were looking right through me and very compassionately, yet firmly said, “Whatever is causing your seizures is not here, so you have to get the stress out of your home and out of your life.”

When we got back from the hospital my husband went into another rage.  I began to hear the verse “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  Trust in His ways and He will make your paths straight.”  I heard the verse over and over, and this is what it means to have God’s word written on your heart.  An overwhelming peace came over me, and it gave me a “knowing” that it was time to end my marriage.  Since I left my home seven years ago I have had only two seizures.  Before I left my home I was having them all the time.  The toxic state of my home was making me sick and keeping me from what God had in store.  

Before I left I felt paralyzed with fear.  I didn’t know how I would get out or how everything would work out.  I had to finish my teaching contract, find a place to live, and decide where to go after the school year.  My health was also a concern at the time.  I remember one quote I read on a friend’s email,For courage to happen you must be scared.”  Leaving took more courage than I thought I had, and I clung to my God every step of the way.  He led me out of that life and brought me to a place of complete healing and joy.

The other side is a beautiful place to be, and I want to tell all women in abusive relationships to hold on.  Hold on to your God, your faith, and your hope.  Let go of your fear, the abuser’s lies, and your doubts.  You can do more than you think, and God will help you with the rest.

I now find myself as a newlywed with the one I believe God prepared for me.  This may not have been the road I would have imagined taking to this place, but I am here so I must believe each step in the journey had a purpose.  After I had some time with just me and God, I met my new husband.  He is perfect for me and more than I could have imagined.  He is a reminder to me to always trust God.

We can’t always know what lies ahead, but if we trust our God who does know we will end up in the right place.  I smile like a fool sometimes on my runs.  I look at the beautiful lake in our neighborhood, think of my life, and just thank God.  The best is yet to come may be a cliché, but it just might be true.

Comments

  1. Pri

    Lindsey, thank you so much for sharing this. Your story is very similar to what mine was growing up. There are times in which I, at 23, still feel controlled by it. But I hope to join you on the side of peace soon. Blessings to you always!

  2. Lindsey

    Pri,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The journey to the other side is one that can’t be rushed. Our past experiences good or bad are chapters in our life. As I was working through them I realized they weren’t what defined me as a person. They were what made me grow and become the person I am. It was important for me to spend a lot of time in prayer and do some personal reflection to help me move forward. As I did, those hard times and the people I had to leave became a part of my story, but a chapter that I closed. That gave me the chance to have peace. You will find yourself there, and I will pray you find the happiness you deserve.

  3. Amanda

    Lindsey, your story really touched my heart. It gives us HOPE that there is life after experiencing abuse. I am looking forward to my peaceful ending!

    1. Lindsey

      Amanda, I wish you the best. There is hope for every woman even when it is hard to believe. God will see you through. I will pray for your peaceful ending.

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