“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
I remember the day I walked into my first Her Journey ARMS class. It was July 6, 2017. A very hot July day. Power was out all over the area. Because of the power outage, the class was being held on the lawn outside. The leader welcomed me, told me how brave I was to be there, prayed and began reading the lesson. My life had undergone such significant change the previous year and a half. My husband had moved out, saying he no longer wanted to be married to me, that he hated me and did not trust me. After hearing those words enough, I didn’t fight his decision. I was at ARMS because a woman I knew thought it might be good for me. So that night as I listened to the lesson, I became acutely aware that I was an abuse survivor. I cried tears of deep pain and agony. I was where I belonged. And my heart was breaking.
My story of abuse goes back to childhood. I was not raised in a Christian home, but rather a home that believed in things quite ungodly. My mother was passive and submissive to my father, who was angry and controlling. Fits and bouts of anger color my childhood memories. All the while, my mom silently sat by. We only know what we are taught. I didn’t know that there was any other way for a family to function. So this was my normal.
What followed my childhood experiences and abuse was choosing men, for the most part, who would treat me in a similar fashion as my dad had. Controlling and angry. Never physically abusive, though. I guess that was my one boundary. I thank God for protecting me from that. However, emotional, financial and sexual abuse were present in most every relationship I had with a man.
When I met my ex, he was a fairly new believer, as was I. He was kind, charming, and funny. The most appealing part was that he professed to love the Lord Jesus. A man who would treat me with love because of Jesus’ love for us. I had finally found the right man, I thought. What followed, however, was all the same abuse except this time it was under the disguise of him being a Christian.
After being in my Her Journey class for awhile, the eyes of my heart opened. I began to see and remember what I had been living through for the past 20 plus years with my ex, and my previous significant relationships. I had blocked so many memories and experiences. I was living in denial. Which is why I didn’t originally believe I belonged there. But I kept coming back. I was drawn to being there. I felt a pull from the Holy Spirit. And the Lord began to heal me from the abuse I had suffered.
“Weeping my tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b
I had been in a very long season of living in the darkness of night. But slowly, week after week, and with a resolve on my part to heal and have hope, the love, kindness and compassion offered me by my ARMS leaders, and the work of the Holy Spirit, I have entered into a beautiful season of enjoying the joy that comes in the morning. The light of the world, Jesus, has set me free from the bondage of abuse and oppression.
Psalm 27:13, “I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
As I move further from my abusive relationship, I am seeing more and more of the glorious goodness of the Lord.
For those of us who suffered from abuse,
In pain and agony we feel so confused.
Often asking ourselves what is the use?
So many times we’ve made an excuse.
Yet, there is hope, a freedom so real,
When we trust in Jesus through ARMS,
And with these classes we do heal,
Find new strength, fear no longer can harm.
Be brave, precious and beautiful woman.
God’s got great and wonderful plans for you.
Your power’s in Jesus, not in a man,
Trust and pray, and He will make you anew.
You’ll fly like an eagle, reaching so high,
You will run and never grow faint.
And in His grace you’ll never ask why.
Cause you, my beauty, are one of God’s saints.
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
by Debra Scowden