This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.  -Elisabeth

I married a year after I graduated college. Looking back I should have seen that he was abusive but as a starry-eyed 23 year old I just wanted to get married. The abuse started less than two months after we got married. He didn’t like something fairly innocent that I said and punched me in the gut. I should have left then, but I didn’t want to admit that I had made a mistake. We went on to have three children. The first one was born just 15 months after we were married. At this point the physical abuse was sporadic but he emotional abuse and controlling behavior were rampant. When our next one was born 2.5 years later he was furious that I was pregnant and wanted me to give her up for adoption. Two years later I found out I was pregnant again and was terrified. He was better about it this time around and we ended up having a son. Five years later, I was living in fear. I wanted to leave but was afraid that he would follow through on his threats to use my mistakes against me and get at least 50-50 custody.

When our youngest was 6, he made a clumsy mistake and his father erupted on him: verbally, emotionally, and physically attacking him. I made the decision to get a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order and have him removed from the home. The divorce process was long and drawn out. I ended up moving home with my parents: not an easy thing to do when you are an adult with 3 children. That has also proven to be a challenge. I realized that even though my father was not physically abusive he was and is controlling and manipulative. While, moving in with my parents was probably the right decision over all I know I could have handled some situations better. Living with them also led to some depression. I was overwhelmed with being under their roof and being an independent adult in that situation. In addition it just felt like all kinds of terrible things were happening.

Shortly after my divorce was final, we hired a new pastor at our church. Under his guidance I have learned to truly believe that God loves me. I have come to believe that I can be secure and confident because of that. I can stand up for what is right for me and my children. I can make wise choices because I am not afraid of what others will think of me. I am not afraid of rejection because I don’t live up to someone else’s expectations. I can do what God is telling me to do and rest in His love. I am even able to look back at so many “bad” things that happened and see how God used all of them. I am now 10 years out and am more happy and confident than I have ever been and God has even brought a wonderful loving man into my life. Sometimes I am amazed at how well he treats me and then I realized that this is how it’s supposed to be. I shouldn’t be shocked at being treated well. This has been emotional and trying experience but I can truly say that God has used and is using it to continue.

-Leona

If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:

If you would like to join one my private Facebook groups (difficult marriage, separated/divorced, single moms, remarried), please email me at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com.

If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books

If separated/divorced: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95

If a single mom: Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books

If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my mentoring courses.

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