Amanda, my brave mama friend, is sharing part two of her story today. You can find part one here. This is a tough subject, but I’m so thankful for her bravery in sharing her journey. Again, for those that know her personally, I only ask that you comment directly here on this post, rather than commenting or tagging on social media feeds.
The nurse in me once referenced my healing as like cleaning a wound. A wound needs to be debrided, or cleaned out, before it can heal properly. Debridement involves removing dead tissue from the wound to allow the body to do what it miraculously does to heal itself. Debridement can be a very painful procedure and in my case, there were definite times of pain. What I had deep in my wounds had to be revealed and removed so I could heal and grow.
The irony doesn’t stop there. After a violent physical encounter with my boyfriend at the time (who I will refer to as my “ex”), I sought help from the church I was attending. I was paired up with two amazing, Godly women from the church. These women, who I hadn’t known before that, came alongside of me and forever made an impact on my life.
First, I was given the name of a counselor who was affiliated with the church. I had met with her individually and then with my ex a few times. We discussed the violent encounter as well as other challenging aspects of our relationship. The counselor witnessed firsthand my ex’s destructive behaviors. She encouraged him to meet with her individually to work on his personal issues, but he quickly became defensive and claimed she was crazy, too, and that she was just believing the lies I was telling her. He refused to meet with her again.
I continued meeting with her on my own and had been meeting with her regularly for about a year before I watched that particular “Dr. Phil Show.” After the “Dr. Phil” episode, I called my counselor and desperately needed her to answer one question.
“Would you say that I am a victim of domestic violence?”
She kind of hesitated, then answered my question as if I should have already known the answer.
She simply said, “Yes. Yes you are.”
I guess I never heard that word used in my situation or maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it.
Though I had used the word “victim” for a time, I knew that I didn’t want to continue to carry that title for myself. So, instead, God spoke loudly to me and said, “You are not a victim, you are a VICTOR!”
Google defines a victor as “a person who defeats an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.”
I hadn’t completely accepted the role of a victor right away and at times, I still need reminded of the victor I am in Christ. But God still speaks to me through His word, like in Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) where it says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
It took me some time to realize that the scripture God gave me that spring day about my enemies wasn’t referencing my ex per se. He was referencing satan. I started to understand more. It wasn’t about me versus my ex, it was a spiritual battle of good versus evil.
In addition to my counselor, I was paired up with a woman from the church as a mentor and an accountability partner of sorts, after the violence I endured. She was someone who came alongside of me to help me in my walk back to living a life for and with Christ.
The first time we met, she had invited me over to her home one afternoon and I accepted her invitation. I had just found out I was pregnant and we spoke some about my pregnancy and all the craziness that had been unfolding in my life. It wasn’t long after I was there that she handed me a study pamphlet titled, “Who Is the Holy Spirit?” I remember taking the paper feeling kind of embarrassed that though I grew up in a Christian home and had attended church as long as I could remember, I really only knew that the Holy Spirit was part of the Trinity.
I had to leave before we could really discuss the pamphlet more, but I slipped that in my Bible as well. She had given the study guide to me about a year prior to the “Dr. Phil Show” episode and what I now know as my “Holy Spirit” encounter in my backyard.
It wasn’t that long ago that the pamphlet slipped out of my Bible. Again, I laughed because my Father reminded me that I didn’t really need a study guide. He used a “Dr. Phil” episode instead, but He also used that woman to plant a seed.
When Allison asked me to write a guest post, the Spirit in me immediately resounded, YES! Because throughout my healing, God has shared with me on numerous occasions that I am to share my story, my testimony, with others.
Romans 8:28 (NIV) says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
God wants me to use my bad for His good. I am to help other women either in a similar situation know that they’re not alone in this (as it is often felt), or to educate others to see that domestic violence is not always just the gruesome images you may see of blood and bruises. Often times, you don’t even see the wounds because they are on the inside. These wounds don’t seem to heal as fast as the superficial wounds.
But not long after I replied to Allison that I would write a post for her blog, the enemy started to speak to me about reneging my yes. He was instilling a lot of fear in me and gave me many reasons not share. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
But then I remembered the burden on my heart for my dear friend’s sister who was recently murdered by her boyfriend. Looking back, there were signs. There were things she hid.
She is why I won’t stay silent. We can’t stay silent.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Though, I know there are a multitude of causes that have designated months, I found it to be no surprise that Allison asked me to guest post in October. The first thing that God placed on my heart to write about was the one thing I’ve kept so far deep in my heart for many, many years, but what a better time to share?
It’s time to speak out, friends! It’s time to encourage our friends who may have gone through or who are currently going through something similar as me and the wife on “Dr. Phil.”
God can use you in many ways, as He did with the women I mentioned, as well as many others not mentioned, if you are obedient.
It doesn’t need to stop at just talking about domestic violence, though. It could be illnesses, suicide, miscarriages, anxiety, or depression. All the subjects that a lot of us keep hidden within us because of fear.
Allison’s hope for this month’s writing challenge was to bring mamas together. What better way to come together than to connect with each other? Not to judge each other from the outside, but rather share with each other what’s on the inside. We all can connect to each other’s story one way or another, just like I connected with the wife on the “Dr. Phil Show.”
But fear seems to hold us back from so many things, especially sharing our hearts. I know fear had a grip on me (hence why I’m just writing this the very last days of October). Fear is not of God, but the work of the enemy. God encourages us to be bold and I am sharing this with whomever reads this in nothing, but obedient boldness.
If we take down the veil of Pinterest worthiness or social media scrutiny and just be real mamas, the good, the bad, and the ugly, we can all relate to each other one way or another.
And maybe then we can come together as not only women or mamas, but daughters of an amazingly loving Father.
Amanda is a wife and mother of three cute kids, a dog, and a flock of unruly chickens.