Living Free & Healing Well
You might be new here, or you might have been following for a while on Instagram, but this post is about the abuse my children and I faced from my former husband. I won’t get into too many details of the abusive words/things that happened, but I am just trying to give you a glimpse. I also refer to “he” as my ex-husband. You can see this Instagram post, as well as this one, and this one, which gives some background.
But just giving a quick update, I left my ex-husband in May of this year. Although he was physically abusive just a number of times many years ago, the verbal abuse had been occuring for years, as well as control issues. I have two kids, a five year old daughter and a four year old son (who is diagnosed with autism). My ex-husband has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and although this is a very real disease, he misused this diagnosis to excuse his abuse. My children and I moved in with my parents, and are still living with them as we try to get on our own. My divorce just became final. I don’t want anyone to feel alone in these kinds of situations. God intends so much more for you. God’s desire for us is not abuse, but freedom and abundance. I pray that this would show others what hope looks like. Whether you are in an abusive relationship, or you are just facing a big storm, God is present and there is hope.
The week before I left, we were prisioners in our house for three days. He (my ex-husband) did not allow my kids to leave - and thus, my daughter missed school. They didn’t get to go outside to play. They were inside all day and night for three full days. I was allowed to leave after 1 am, just to go to one “allowed” store and pick up food for him and the kids. The day his “house ban” ended, his mom hugged me and said “Lindsay, that was abuse.” But nothing changed. The following Friday he decided the same thing - we were not allowed to go outside. When my daughter would ask why her and her brother weren’t allowed to go outside or go to restaurants we used to go to, or wear certain clothes, or go on field trips - I always blammed myself, “I have work to do… it’s hot outside… I don’t like that shirt.” But this day, I had enough. When our daughter Gemma asked me why they couldn’t go in the backyard with friends (her cousins were over), I said “ask your dad,” something I have never said, but I felt completly drained of making excuses as to why he had his rules, or called us names or yelled at us.
The day I left, I had absolutely no intentions of leaving forever or getting a divorce. He got tired of hearing the children so in the afternoon he told us to leave and go find something to do. We went outside - where his mom came up and hugged me and said “do you want to leave?” I just started crying. I had not considered leaving, but I believed my children deserved better.
They didn’t have beds because they were “contaminated” and had to be thrown away. We slept on the floor. We each had one outfit, that I washed every night and we wore the next day. Therapists at my sons school thought his one outfit was part of his autism, but we just weren’t allowed to have anything else. There were holes in the walls, and the bedroom and bathroom door had been punched and kicked so much that there were giant holes. The kids thought it was fun to crawl through the door holes. I would tape them up, put paper over it, even decorate it with scripture, but he would just punch and kick new holes. Our vacumn was also contaminated, so the floors were dirty. I would attempt to clean them with my hands because usually wipes would get contaminated as well. When a set of wipes weren’t contaminated I would have to clean the tiles thoughout the house that he walked on - but if one of the kids walked on a tile, or even touched me, I would have to start all over. When learning the alphabet, my daughter wasn’t allowed to say certain letters that were again, contaminated. My son had been diagnosed with autism a few months earlier, but any sensory toys that I would buy for him would get contaminated and be thrown away. There is plently more, including the profanity he yelled at me, calling my autistic son “retarded,” controlling our every move like not allowing me to see my parents, who only lived twenty-minutes away from me, while also cutting me off from all of my friends.
While the kids were playing outside, two of my sister-in-laws and mother-in-law encouraged me to leave. One of my sister-in-laws, through tears told me
“you are a daughter of God and don’t ever deserve to be called those names.”
It's something I kept repeating to myself when I first left. I want to say the same to you. Maybe you’re not in a verbally abusive relationship, but maybe you’re hearing lies from the enemy and I want to say to you - you are a daughter (or son) of God. And you get to speak truth over your life.
While I was not intending for my leave to result in divorce, once gone, I felt like God was bringing everything into the light. Being in a “normal” environment made me see the abuse we were facing daily.
I felt a lot of guilt for leaving, but I kept feeling like God was saying to me,
“I brought you out of the wilderness, why would you go back?”
I prayed for years for God to change my husbands heart - but He didn’t. But He did provide a way for me to be free.
I believe God has us go through different seasons.
David went through different seasons and I think we can see ourselves in many of his seasons.
(My pastor shared this message, so here it is in my own words):
1. God was preparing him. In the fields, God prepared David for battle (1 Samuel 17:31-37).
2. The actual battle. David faced Goliath (1 Samuel 17:38-50).
3. Bringing it into the light. After David sinned, by calling upon Bathsheba and having her lay with him, Nathan brought the sin to David’s attention. David had to bring it into the light - to let God’s grace cover it (2 Samuel 12).
1. God was preparing me. Years before I left, I started memorizing Ephesians 6 (the armor of God). It talks about standing your ground, putting on God’s truth like clothing, and that God is our strength. My dad is a spiritual man, but does not necessarily know the Bible, but something he continually said to me when I moved home was “Stand your ground. You have God’s truth to stand on.” I fully believe God was preparing me years before as I studied his word.
2. The actual battle. Every day was a battle, physically, mentally and spiritually. It was physically exhausting because his excuse for not doing anything was his OCD. I took care of the kids, drove them to appointments or school, put them to sleep, fed them, gave them baths, etc. I drove him to appointments, did the shopping. I worked on my shop to provide for us. I also bred my golden retriever to provide. He did not work, not once in our ten years of being together. Additionally, he did not open doors for himself, turn on faucets, do laundry, open food packages, or make himself drinks. I physically was drained from doing it all. Mentally and spiritually I became drained as well. When someone calls you names that I won’t repeat, as well as comments like, “you are worthless,” “you have no purpose,” “no one loves you,” “God isn’t listening to you, nor does He care,” you start to believe it. Although the physical battle was exhausting, I would say that the mental and spiritual battle was more exhausting. It is difficult to rewire your mind from what you’ve been told for years.
3. Bringing it into the light. Once I left, I felt like I could get honest and call the relationship and marriage what it really was - an abusive relationship. It took me weeks to even say the word “abuse.” I had to let go of the guilt I felt of not only leaving, but also keeping my kids in that situation for such a long time. I would spend time in worship and just cry and cry, but I felt like God was bringing my pain into the light. He was taking every lie that was said into the dark and shining his light and truth on it.
After many months of being away, and no true change occuring, I decided to file for divorce. More than anything, I could not put my kids back in that situation. Divorce can be a touchy topic, especially for Christians. The Bible says God hates divorce. I am definitely not a Bible scholar. I also believe the Bible to be completly true. So I do believe God hates divorce. It is sad and it is the act of breaking up a marriage. However, (this is just my opinion), I believe God hates sin, just like He hates divorce. Because we live in a fallen world, we sin everyday. Divorces also happen everyday. I am not saying divorce is the answer or that you should get one. I still think marriage is a beautiful thing. I spent a lot of time praying and getting council from trusted friends, and I believe that as much as God hates divorce, He hates abuse. I love what Ramona Probasco said,
"God is a loving God. He would never advocate tolerating abuse in order to maintain a marriage... if a victim chooses to divorce, she is simply carrying out legally what her abusive partner already broke spiritually.”
We don’t have to feel guilty for knowing we deserve to be treated good. If you are dealing with verbal, physical or emotional abuse - I want to say to you, that none of them are okay, and you have a God that sees you. He sees you in your pain and it is breaking His heart.
Healing is possible. God is a God of redemption and revival and freedom. But, I had to let go of what I thought my marriage would be like, and call it what it was - an abusive relationship that was destroying my identity, making me believe lies, and harming my children and I emotionally and spiritually.
What God’s Word says on healing:
He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).
Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are my praise (Jeremiah 17:14).
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
God’s deep desire for you is to be free, to heal, and to remember your worth. I pray that you would believe that your pain is not wasted, and that it can be used for good. I pray you would feel empowered over your story and make peace with it.
God, freedom and healing are growing in my life and I pray that continues. When I thought I lost me, you knew where to find me. Heal any remaining places within me that are preventing me from being all you created me to be. Replace any effects of abuse, with your strength and love.
“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” Paulo Coelho
“Your unanswered prayers can be a blessing.” David Woodward
“Maybe it’s not working out, because God is working out something better. Sometimes it takes your breakdown to create your breakthough. Sometimes our greatest blessings come from our biggest dissapointments.” The Good Quote
“You were made for more.”
“God never consults your past to create your future.” Jeanne Mayo
“I forgive, but I also learn a lesson. I won’t hate you, but I’ll never get close enough for you to hurt me again. I can’t let my forgiveness become foolishness.” Tony Gaskins
“You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it.”
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the enivronment in which it grows, not the flower.”
“Forgive anyone who has caused you pain or harm. Keep in mind that forgiving is not for others. It is for you. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is remembering without anger. It frees up your power, heals your body, mind and spirit. Forgiveness opens up a pathway to a new place of peace where you can persist despite what has happened to you.” The Good Quote
“When you come out of an abusive relationship, when you’re on the other side, you know you can do anything. You’ve taken the hardest steps, and no matter how scary the future may be it’s better than spending it with a man who tried to break you.” Jaime M, Worthy.com
If You Are Facing Abuse
If you are facing abuse, let me tell you, that no type of abuse is okay. I think seeking counseling is always a good idea. Please get help if you are dealing with abuse. You are a daughter of the King, chosen, set-apart and created for a purpose, and you do not deserve any type of abuse.
I also read quite a few books, and some books that really helped me work through this were:
- Healing Well and Living Free from an Abusive Relationship; Dr. Ramona Probasco
-From Prisoner to President; Jeanette M. Towne
- She Reads Truth, Mourning and Dancing Bible Study