Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Six Months Free

Today is an important day. Six months ago today, I made a very difficult and frightening choice, packed a few essentials, and left my abusive husband. I remember the night very well, and it is a feeling of terror I hope to never experience again. I felt as though I were literally fleeing for my life, and for the life of my unborn child. I knew I could not stay, but leaving was more difficult than I imagined it would be.

It wasn't difficult because I felt a pull to stay. It was difficult because I did not know what I could expect from him. Would he try to find me? If he found me, what would he do? Would he call me that night? Should I answer? I was having some cramping...was my baby okay? I couldn't breathe. My heart did not return to a normal rate until five hours after I left the house. It was terrible. If it were not for the women at the shelter I went to, I do not know how I would have maintained any perspective on things at all. Those women are both vulnerable, and tough as nails, and I am thankful to have met them.

It did not take long for it to become very, very clear to me that there was no going back. He found every way he could to justify the abuse, blaming me for everything. He reminded me over and over again that he never "knocked me around", but I knew from his actions the night before I left that it was only a matter of time before he would. I knew that if I wanted to be safe, and wanted my baby to be safe, there was no returning.

As I prepared for single life once more, this time with a child in tow, I had no idea what to expect. I was met with threats from the soon-to-be-ex, telling me he would tell the court things about me that would let him take away the baby. I see now that those threats were nothing more than empty, and designed to frighten me into submission. Still, when someone tells you they are going to take your child from you, it is terrifying, particularly when you know that person is very dangerous.

God is faithful, though. I can truly say that He has moved legal, spiritual, personal, and financial mountains in the last six months, and has given my son and me everything we need to thrive in our new life together. My son is being born into circumstances that are safe, healthy, and peaceful. My now estranged husband has done things that people have said he would never do, and left us to live in peace. I pray this will continue, and that my son and I will never have to deal with him again. I have seen God's faithfulness in this so far, and I do not think He is about to abandon us now.

I have been tremendously blessed to have the love and support of friends and family in all of this. Not many women in my situation are so fortunate. Many women return to their abusers because they lack the support they need to remain on their own, and keep themselves and their children safe, fed, and sheltered. I am so blessed that this has not been my experience. I am also blessed that it has helped me become more aware of the issues related to domestic abuse, and why the cycle can be so difficult to break.

Thank you all for your support. You have helped me create an environment for my son's growth and develpment that is healthy and peaceful, because I have not had to live in fear for my safety. Your love and encouragement has helped me build a home for my son that is one of serenity, because I know without a doubt that we are safe. Your strength, even when I have felt so very afraid at times, has helped me make legal, financial, and personal decisions that have worked greatly to ensure that my son and I are well taken care of. Finally, your love has helped create a community into which my son will be welcomed and nurtured, and that is something that warms this mother's heart in big ways.

God is so good...I have seen miracles in the last six months, and I know I will see more!

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