Eight months after I decided to pursue becoming a licensed minister, everything important to me was snatched away. My close friend battling cancer got a bad report. After we prayed, I said to myself, “I need to see her next week.” But next week never came. She passed away two days later. After her death, my dad was diagnosed with late stages of Alzheimer’s. I flew home to visit, but dad didn’t recognize me this time. I realized he would never be the same. And after years of crying out to God about my abusive marriage, I made up my mind that I would no longer take the abuse. I had had enough of my husband’s drunkenness and abandonment, his pictures on social media with other women, his illegal activities and his verbal, financial, sexual, and emotional abuse. While he sat at home drinking and playing video games, I had been working three jobs. He was reckless and aggressive towards me. Trapped and unsure of my future, I thought to myself, “I will not let this man kill me.”
Several years earlier, after being diagnosed with Lupus, my first husband decided that he “didn’t sign up for this;” and as a result, I made the choice to end that marriage, feeling emotionally abandoned by the one person who was supposed to be there with me in sickness and health. Now, with the realization of a second failed marriage, I was left with feelings of inadequacy. I hid in the shadows of depression and anxiety. Although my husband never physically beat me, he intimidated me with his aggressive temper. The more he drank, the more the abuse increased. I don’t know why, but I felt like I had to pretend like our marriage was great. I buried myself in “busy-ness” to self-medicate. If I could convince myself, then maybe everything would be “okay.” But during my agony, I sensed God revealing to me my self-worth. I realized how much God loved me and how valuable I was. One morning as I slowly got up off the floor after waking up with dried tears stained on my face from crying myself to sleep, I knew something in my mind had changed. God had answered my prayers for strength and courage. I made the decision that I would no longer be a victim.
When I confronted my husband, I asked for a separation. He said, “If I want to drink, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll go to church when I feel like going. I’m not going to hear you preach all the time and I’m not going to go to counseling.”
Numb, I said to myself, “Lord, if that wasn’t clear, then I don’t know what else could be.”
First thing Monday I filed for divorce. I waited until he left, packed my valuables in my car, and moved in with one of my friends. Within a four-month span, I walked away from my house, my marriage, quit my job and moved to the opposite side of town. At this point, I had no choice but to trust God and totally depend on Him. As I walked away from everything, I lost friends, and even my dignity. God removed my self-pity and replaced it with humility.
Solomon said, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). God removed my sense of self-sufficiency and replaced it with a total dependence on Him. I sought biblical counseling, and I surrounded myself with people to help encourage me through my path of healing.
Although I was starting my life over, I was reassured that God had never left me. God was always there during the most difficult decision of my life. Thus, my worship for God increased, my faith in God increased and slowly my heart began to heal. If I had walked away from the abuse in the beginning, it would have saved me years of suffering. As God rebuilt in me the confidence that I had before the abuse, I began to flourish in my new job and in ministry. I continued to pray, worship and serve. My faith was the only constant in my life. Without it, I would not have made it through those four months.
I admitted my faults, and learned from my mistakes of allowing the abuse. I acknowledged my mistakes so that I would not make them again in the future.
I read Jeremiah 29:11-13 which says, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” I realized at that moment my life was moving in the right direction.
Today God has restored everything that I lost when I walked away from the abuse. I have a home, better credit, a recent job promotion, and my ministry is exploding! I am even more dedicated to helping people understand their God-given purpose and how to live intentionally. In addition, I’m currently active on the Writing Team at Chase Oaks, serving as a Women’s Ministry Bible Study Table Facilitator, and leading a 10-week “Established” group. On top of all that, despite having lost hope that I would ever find happiness in a relationship again, surprisingly, I met a gentleman at church who shares the same spiritual values as I and treats me like a queen! We agreed to practice celibacy so that our relationship honors God in all that we do. God has completely restored my life, and now I hope it is a testimony to you of how God can restore your life even after it has been broken.