When we go to doctor’s appointments as new patients, we always have a ton of papers to fill out so that the doctor can better understand your health. While I was sitting in the waiting room, filling out the forms I began to feel a bit embarrassed by some of my answers
- Alcoholism √
- Anxiety √
- Depression √
- Psychotic Disorders √
These were all things I had to check in my family’s medical history and they were all things that had to do with my father. I thought to myself, “How embarrassing. This doctor is going to think I’m crazy too.”
When I got called back to the exam room, the nurse asked me about the boxes I had checked to see what side of the family these illnesses came from. Each time I answered, “My father” I felt a tinge of shame and embarrassment wash over me. I thought, “If this nurse only new my story and the pain I have had to endure because of this man.” But the nurse didn’t think anything of it, so I eventually began to feel less embarrassed about my answers and my history.
I’ve always reminded myself of this simple truth, “I am not my father.”
When my dad began to drink on top of abusing his prescription drugs, my life turned into a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. How could a man who used to preach and pastor churches become such a monster? How could my father abuse me when he said he loved me and would do anything in the world for me? Why would he destroy us as a family? These were all questions I used to ask myself growing up. Even today, I still catch myself asking the same familiar questions.
I was in fifth grade the first time my father “spanked” me too hard (he actually beat me with a braided belt), lost his temper, and dragged me into the bathroom to stick my head in a bucket of water to “teach me to behave”. He apologized and said he didn’t mean to.
I was thirteen when my father threatened to throw my cellphone out the window of the car because I refused to get off the phone with my friend and he reached around the seat, hitting me in the face as he grabbed my phone. He said he hadn’t meant to hit me, but was reaching for my phone.
I was fourteen when my father beat me in front of my sister for riding to school with a guy older than me, making my sister not be able to go to school because she missed the bus due to a car accident. It wasn’t my fault, but he blamed me anyways. My sister, three years younger than me took a softball bat to get him off of me. My dad apologized and said he didn’t mean it.
I was fourteen when my dad hit me in the face with a liquor bottle when my mom and sister went out to shop for the day. He said he didn’t mean it.
I was fourteen when my dad called me a whore for painting my nails red and for wearing makeup. He said I would never amount to anything but a pregnant teenager.
I was fourteen when my dad tried to kill himself in front of us.
I was fourteen when my dad drove my sister and I drunk and high to the hospital to see my papaw.
I was fourteen when my dad threatened to kill my mom in front of me and my sister.
I was fifteen when the harassment and emotional abuse only got worse thanks to phones and social media.
I was fourteen when everything went bad.
At only fourteen years old, my dad destroyed our house, leaving my mom and us without a home. Luckily, my papaw was able to take us in until we could get the house fixed. I lived in constant fear for not only my life, but my moms and sisters lives too. I lived in constant anger and decided that I wouldn’t serve God anymore because if God really loved me and my family, none of the abuse would have ever happened.
But I was wrong on believing that God didn’t love me or my family. I learned through a lot of bad choices and hitting rock bottom, that God did love me and my family more than I could ever know. It wasn’t God who ripped my family apart because of drug abuse and alcoholism. It was my dad’s choice to sin freely that ripped my family apart.
These were all things I thought about yesterday as I filled out my family’s medical history in the doctor’s office. I thought about the pain and the suffering because I realized I have come a long way since then. I’m a walking miracle according to many. So many don’t understand why I’m not an alcoholic myself or a drug addict. My only response to them is, “It is because of God that I am the person I am today.”
My story is a painful one and there are days that I still get upset and cry over it, but God took that pain and suffering away. God protected my family and helped us to make it when things got hard financially for my mom as a single mother. God saved me from my own drinking problems and lust problems, changing me into the woman of God I am today. God replaced my anger with peace, so that I could live a life for Him.
The abuse I have suffered through was traumatic, but the God I serve was there every step of the way to put the broken pieces back together. I could have easily stayed a sinner, drinking and partying my days away, but God cared too much for me to let that happen. I’m thankful that God reached down and picked me up when all hope seemed to be lost.
John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
A sin problem and Satan may have destroyed my family and my relationship with my father, but God gave me my life back and made it even more beautiful than before. Because of the abuse, I am a stronger, smarter woman. If it hadn’t been for the abuse, I wouldn’t have the life I have today or be the woman I am today. Sometimes it takes very ugly situations to make us into an even more beautiful person than we already were.
Psalm 82:3 says, “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.”
Psalm 145:14 says, “The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.”
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
If you are a survivor of abuse, always remember that God is with you. Your life doesn’t always have to be so dark, but it takes making a brave step forward to get out and to build a better life for yourself. The abuse that you’ve endured doesn’t have to define you negatively. You can choose to let the abuse define you in a positive light and help those around you who are suffering. Let your survival story be a blessing to those who are suffering in the dark valley today. They need to hear that they can make it out too.