I’ve always wondered why people stayed in abusive relationships. I just couldn’t understand what went on in their heads for deciding to stay; and I began to wonder if they had any brains.
Well that was until I got involved with the biggest bully that ever walked this planet.
Mike and I dated for only four months when the first slap happened. Of course he had been aggressive in his tone about three months into the relationship but on his really good days, Mike was a sweet guy. And my friends said how lucky I was to have snagged such a cute guy.
I knew Mike had his flaws but I reasoned that we all do. And I felt I could deal with his. All I needed to do was be patient and more attentive to his needs. Besides where would I find someone who loved me like Mike did. Someone so ready to say sorry.
That was the other thing. Mike was so sweet about making amends. He would come with puppy eyes, apologize bearing gifts. It was so hard to resist. And each time I thought, ‘He really means it. This time it’ll be different.’
Only it never was. As weeks grew into months, Mike became frighteningly violent. I suffered more injuries than I let on. Worse still, he had separated me from everything friendly and familiar. My friends no longer called and my family was flabbergasted at my inability to see Mike for who he truly was. They tried to help but I was unyielding.
I found out I was pregnant but kept quiet about it. By then I was too afraid of Mike. I knew I should have run away and I did a few times but Mike found me each time and his brutality worsened. So I gave up.
He found out I was pregnant and was gentle for a while. I started to think he had actually changed but the demon came out in my seventh month. I went into premature labor. A few minutes later, I looked into the most precious, innocent eyes of a little girl that I named Mandy.
She was my whole life in that moment and I knew that even if it was the last thing I did, I had to rescue her. I couldn’t let her grow up in such brutality. I consulted with the doctor who called my family. I said my goodbyes to my baby girl with so much tears.
My family pleaded with me to come along. They would protect me but I made the wrong decision because I was so afraid, they didn’t know Mike. He would exhaust all his resources to find me and he would find my daughter. I could never let that happen.
They left and Mike appeared in the hospital asking for his daughter and I told him she was dead. He was furious with rage. And in that moment, I knew that even if it cost me my life, I had done right by Mandy.
As months went by, lost and scared and grieving, I started to remember long ago hymns by my nana. In the depth of my sorrow and depression, I would remember ‘amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I was once lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.’
Or it would be scant verses from In Christ Alone. At first I fought the thoughts and reminders with everything until I realized the peace the memories brought.
Trapped and abandoned, I cried to God in my deepest, darkest despair. He saved me. I felt His peace and presence in the prison that held my body. I knew then that I was ready to go to Heaven. Mike could whip my body to death but my spirit was saved and alive.
‘For you bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with your shield of love.’ Psalm 5:12.
‘Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day.‘ 2 Corinthians 4:16.