This post is incredibly hard to post because I’m opening up a part of me that is private. A part of me and a part of my story that I never intended to share. But, I hope this reaches someone who might need a sign.

My journey hasn’t been easy and I wish I could say my healing process was as beautiful and elegant as a ballerina dancing in the ballet. The truth is, my healing journey has been a process but and best described as a clumsy 2 year old girl running and bumping into the walls. Overall, I’m happy, safe, and have peace. Today is my anniversary that I’ve been free from an abusive relationship and I was saved.

I spent four long years of my life hiding the verbal, physical, & emotional abuse. Thinking it was a stage & that it would eventually end. I believed, your words that I wouldn’t find better. That I was worthless and meaningless. Then I believed your apologies because that’s who I am. I forgive. I help. I believe there is good in everyone even in their worst moments. I believe in chances. But, I also believed you when you said you changed and would never do it again- yet time after time you did. I believed in hiding the truth to keep a family.

I lived in the littlest bubble I could. No one knew what was happening & I didn’t tell anyone. He is calm and collective. He talked words that you wanted to hear and held himself in a demeanor that you would respect. But behind closed doors at home his true side came out.

So here’s my letter to you sweet woman. Here is my outpouring of love for you. Here is my letter of hope that things will change for you, that life will get better, and that by moving forward you will grow in strength, inner beauty, self worth, love, & faith.

1. Words DO matter. Growing up we always sang that silly song, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Boy was that song wrong. There is actually something very powerful in words. Words can have a lasting impact on the way we view ourselves & the lack of self-confidence that those words can bring. Often times, harsh words get overlooked or written off as an angry moment or slip up in someone’s vocabulary. But it’s not a mistake. Words are very powerful and are a form of abuse as well. If someone you love is hurting you with words, degrading your spirit, or using words to make you feel helpless; this is NOT okay.

2. If it happens once, it will happen again. Abuse is a pattern, especially in the physical form. I remember the first time my ex pushed me down to the ground while I was holding my daughter. I remember the nights he held a gun. I remember I felt guilty for standing my ground, but then I would think maybe it’s my fault for making him so angry that he would feel the need to do and say the things he did or even feel that way. Then, I realized it was not my issue but his. It progressively got worse. Physical, verbal, and mental abuse is NOT ok. If it happens once, it WILL happen again.

3. When someone asks, ANSWER; and answer honestly. The biggest mistake I ever made was saying everything was OK when it wasn’t. I could have saved myself a couple of years of heartache by saying, “yes there’s a problem” to a friend or relative who asked. Although it can be difficult and embarrassing to answer the questions honestly, you cannot be helped if no one knows what you are going through. You might think you are hiding the pain well, but someone that sees through the pain and is willing to reach out is a Godsend and you should count on that friend. If you are ready to end the cycle of abuse and no one even knows your struggle, there are hotlines and shelters that can help you.

4. There is hope past GOODBYE. Thank you Lord for this realization. Thank you Lord for deliverance. My life is all I could ever dream it to be – LIVING LIFE to the FULLEST with my daughter! When I finally had the strength to say this is it and seek therapy & Christ for healing; I was in awe of His blessings, mercy, and forgiveness that came with it. The guilt and shame I initially felt has faded away at the foot of the cross. My heart healed, my scars faded, and my strength returned. I re-kindled relationships with friends I had lost, and I let go of some toxic relationships that were hindering my progression. I wish I could have told my young self that it would all be okay. I wish I would have known how great life could be after the abuse. I so wish I knew the forgiveness and healing that would come from saying goodbye. If you are there, if you are ready to move forward…do it! No fear, no doubt, no worries. It WILL be okay, it DOES get better, and there IS life after abuse.

Healing is scary. long. and complex but healing is also joy. laughter. beautiful. FREEDOM.

March 6th is a day that I will forever be grateful for.

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