“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. ” James 1:2-3
Before, I begin, I have just scheduled posts on my blog, for I have been sick recently, and I wrote a lot of things, and so I have scheduled posts for the coming days. Within my free time, I have finally gone through my drafts and finished other posts, and I have fleshed out other ones, and so I have been scheduling posts for the future, so if you see more from me, that is why!
However, this post is not easy, for I have written this post a good amount of times, yet deleted them each time, for I feel shame for my story. Due to my broken story, I have felt shame, which has brought somber feelings to rise in my soul, but today, I am not allowing my story to own me anymore, but I am owning it, and if I can share the healing found in Christ, then I will, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes me.
Today, I am going to be going deeper into the root of my story, and though I did share my story in small amounts back in August, we are going fully into the weeds, and this is just apart of the woman behind the blog of “Justified and Redeemed.” (A very fitting blog title for my life story.)
This topic is pretty heavy, and I do not talk much about surviving domestic violence, but I did suffer through abuse for five grueling months from the last week of October of 2017 until March of 2018. On March 19th, 2018, my attacker was arrested with felony charges of abuse, and the worst thing about it is that this person is in my family.
Not only was I abused at birth by my biological mother, but I also suffered more abuse from another family member and a few others not too long ago. To give a brief summary to make this post more lucid, my mother had a horrible heart attack in October of 2017, which caused her to stay in hospitals for a long time due to her health rapidly declining, and due to this occurring, distant family members of mine moved in to help out, and I thought, “Why not?”
These family members are still my family, but they weren’t that involved in my life growing up, and when my mother’s health began to decline, they decided to come into the picture after being gone for a long time.
When my mother had her heart attack, these family members came back, and offered to move in, and I thought I thought letting them move in could be a good thing, for we could rebuilt the relationship, but that did not happen.
As my mother was away from hospitals, I began to become abused very badly by the other family members, and not even a week after they moved in, I was already being abused, and it escalated very badly, and so an arrest was made, and this where the court trial sets off. However, I am so thankful for my mother, for my mother was there for me during every step of the trial and healing, so there are positives.
However, to show a glimpse of what I went through, my clothes were thrown into trash bags so they could have my closet space, I was not allowed to eat at some points, I was given a long list of strenuous duties, and when I would finish these strenuous duties, these family members would mess it up again just to tell me to do it again, and I was slapped around, screamed at daily, and I was also strangled and beaten so badly, I was covering bruises for weeks.
The abuse was so bad, that the cops took pictures of my bruises on the scene due to not believing how bad I was abused. The cops were horrified when they saw me, and they looked at my bruises in great detail as I stood there shaking and crying. One of them was so worried for me, that he took me away from the scene so I would not see my attacker getting arrested.
Therefore, I was beaten and battered, thrown around, dragged by my hair, strangled, and so forth, and if you can imagine a tear-stained, bruised, beaten woman, that was me. (I’d rather not go into the details of the abuse, for we would be here for awhile if I did share it all, but I want to focus on the healing, not the abuse.)
Therefore, this where this post begins; at the court trail.
The main person who abused me was arrested on felony charges, and the court trial became very dirty. I had people in my family turn on me, I had people trying to make me look like a horrible person, and I even had people tell me that I was the “Devil’s advocate.”
The trial became so dirty, that the only people in my family who were on my side was my mom and my brother, and everyone else turned. Imagine your entire family siding with the person who abused you, and they knew it. In fact, my abuser admitted to all of the abuse to the court, and my attacker smiled as they detailed the abuse, and yet most of my family still sided with them.
As you can see, this trial was a menacing trial, and I did not tell anyone besides my best friend and an abuse counselor, for I felt shame. I did not want anyone to know that I was suffering, and so I put on a fake smile, and acted as if I was okay, (Please don’t do what I did, for it was horrible bottling the pain up.)
However, though my family was being horrible to me, I still loved them, and I still showed them the same love that Christ showed me. However, it took some time to finally contact the DA’s office about what I wanted to happen. In July of 2018, I went to court and told the ADA, “I want to show my family grace,” and I allowed them to take a plea deal; however, I did not go in the court room, for I could not be in the same room as them due to it being too much.
That day, I received a phone call from someone in my family, and they said, “Why didn’t you tell us sooner! Why did you drag this court trial out if you were just going to let us take a plea.” I allowed this person to yell at me, and I just listened, and I then told them, “Because the Lord had to work within my heart before I could breathe grace.”
I will not lie, at first, I did not want to show grace. I wanted to push the felony higher, I wanted to take this to a grand jury, and I wanted to make them feel my pain, but as the months went on and I began healing, and the Lord began to lay grace upon my heart. During my healing from abuse, I read Lamentations 4 times, and through Lamentations, I was shown the compassion of Jesus Christ.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”” Lamentations 3:22-24
If you have ever experienced brokenness, I suggest Lamentations, for it is one of the best books to read that will show you the love of Jesus in different ways. Though the book is about sadness, grief, and brokenness, the Lord is still glorified and exalted in the end, and the Lord did not just take me through that book once, but He made me read it 4 times, and each time, I learned something new.
By July of 2018, I allowed my attacker to take an easy plea, for I did not want my family to go to prison, so I allowed my attacker to have only a year of supervised probation while attending anger management. My attacker could have gotten at least five years in prison with no chance at parole, and then after prison, my attacker would have received five years of supervised probation.
As you can see, my attacker was let off easy. However, after it was found out of the plea I allowed, some called me “weak,” others called me a woman who couldn’t handle “the heat,” and I was mocked, but this was another test the Lord; how would I respond to those who disregard grace, and I still showed them grace even if they did not want it.
Though some might not understand why I did what I did, I still show them love and grace, for the Lord showed me grace as He hung from a cross for my sin. I do not expect anyone to understand what I did what I did, but what I did came from a humbling that I had to go through. Sure, were there moments where I wanted to go trial and fight? Yes.
Were there moments where grace was the last thing on my mind? Yes, and yet, the Lord dealt with me as I read Lamentations, for He was leading me on the journey of healing that was filled with grace, mercy, and love.
I was abused badly, and if you heard my entire story in full, you’d hear of the horrors I went through, and yet, I still choose grace. It isn’t because of my strength that I was able to choose forgiveness, but it was because of Christ and His love that I am able too.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
I want my family to see their need for Jesus, and the most heartbreaking thing about this entire situation is the fact that some people in my family do not see the beauty in Christ, and if I can be a light on a hill then I will, and so I showed forgiveness and grace even if they did not deserve it, for Christ did the same for me.
My sin placed Jesus on a cross, and I do not deserve the love of Jesus. I do not deserve to be in the presence of the Lord, I do not deserve to sing His praises, and I do not deserve to call Him my Redeemer, and yet He died for me anyways, and if Christ can die for me, then I can forgive even the darkest heart, for Christ died for all.
I forgive my family,
I love my family,
And even if some of them do not love me, I still love them, because Christ loves them, and if Christ can love them, then so can I. If Christ can forgive them, then so can I, and if Christ died for them, then I can pick up my cross and forgive.
No, I am not saying that the abuse is okay, for it isn’t. Though I do forgive my family, I am unable to be around some of my family due to being afraid. The abuse I went through within five months was so horrible, that I cannot look at some of them without fear going through my body.
I hope to write more about me surviving domestic abuse and about Lamentations due to the lessons I have learned through my journey, but it is hard. I have been through a lot of brokenness in my life, and not many understand it, especially when it comes to being abused by family, but that’s just apart of my story. I am a woman who was abused, and it does not define me, but it is a chapter in my life.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
I forgive my family even if they do not see the importance behind my forgiveness, and I forgive them because I hope they see their need for Christ, for even though they did horrible things to me, I believe that Jesus can still make them new, and I pray that they find Christ, because, like me, they are unworthy of grace, yet due to Christ and His unfailing love, grace is offered to them.
And so I pray, I forgive, and I make my heart tender.
Many people say that abuse makes you a hard person, and I refuse to let that happen to me. If I had to choose between being a broken person who feels every stabbing pain or a person who felt nothing, I would rather be a broken person who felt every stabbing pain, for at least I felt something. I refuse to allow the abuse harden me, but I allow it to humble me and make me tender, and I like to think that I have become more tender throughout my life story.
As I journey through life, the abuse I went through was just a part of my story, but I do know that there are amazing things to come within my life one day, and those amazing things are just apart of God’s plan for me, and I will forever rejoice in the grace of Jesus, for no matter how much pain I go through, in Christ, my joy will forever be found.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
I have been afraid to attach my name to my story of abuse due to begin afraid that people would view me as “unworthy,” and I am not that woman anymore. I am Christina Lee, and I was abused by my family, but it is not my definition, it is just apart of my story, and I am more, and I will forever be more. and I refuse to be crippled by shame, for on a cross, Jesus died for that shame, and when He said, “it is finished,” my shame lost hold on me.
I am a survivor of abuse, not only when I was a baby, but also not that long ago, but it is not my definition, for my worth is in Christ, and due to Christ, I choose forgiveness, for forgiveness is freeing, forgiveness is life-breathing, and grace is offered to all, and who am I to not forgive when Christ forgave me and my sin as He hung on a cross on Calvary?