As a single woman, you might wonder, “Why write a post about marriage after domestic abuse if you’re single and nowhere near marriage,” and I get it; I should not be writing about this due to being single, but this is a post about healing, and as a woman who suffered abuse, the one thing that Christian survivors go through is the, “Will a man find me worth loving even through my brokenness,” and this is a question I have asked a lot in the beginning of healing.
However, it has been over a year now since my attacker was arrested, and it has now been two years since the abuse first started. To be exact with dates, my abuse started on October 25, 2017 and did not end until March 19th, 2018. Yes, I remember the dates, and I remember the day the abuse started just as I remember the day the abuse ceased, which shows you how abuse becomes vivid into your memory.
“Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah” Psalm 62:8
I will not harp on the negative, for I have done much healing. I have forgiven those in my family who have hurt me, I have found solace in the mercy and grace found in Christ, and I have found refuge in the one who made a way when there was no way; therefore, my healing has been a long journey that has been filled with peace, mercy, and never ending grace as I submerged myself within the Word.
However, today, I want to speak about healing after abuse that no one truly speaks on within Christian circles, and I believe it is time we have this conversation, fr it is one that I have felt loneliness in; loneliness in no one wanting to address this conversation.
I believe it is time that we allow brokenness into churches, into the pews, at the altar, in our homes, and in our circles, because broken people walk into churches with masks on due to the fear of being judged or due to the fear of being deemed “unworthy” or “not that strong of a Christian,” and that is bad theology to believe in.
Therefore, this leads me to how I overcame the fear of rejection. In the past, I used to fear that a Christian man would not understand my abuse story due to the lack of conversation within Christian circle, for when was the last time your church did a sermon about healing from abuse or something heavy?
When was the last time we have had a sermon or a Bible study that truly dug to the root of brokenness, the root of shame, or even the root of despair? Sometimes, we become unconsciously afraid to go to the root, that we have begun settling for comfortable conversation within Christian circles, which has stunted growth.
Therefore, I used to think, “How does a Christian woman go about wanting to get married when her past is filled with desolate plains that have tears, pain, and brokenness? How does a Christian woman begin conversing about abuse to a Christian man when abuse is barely spoken about in sermons? How does one go about opening up about the details of horror that one has faced?
As said, in the past, I have felt a small fear of a man running away from me once he heard my story. No, I am not afraid of men, I am not afraid of men hurting me, and I am not afraid of getting married. Sadly, when some hear of a woman who was abused, some may think, “She is a bettered woman” without second thought, but what if they heard about a woman who was abused by some of her family?
Would they presume she has “issues?” Would they disqualify her of marriage? How would a Christian man view a woman who was not only abused, but was abused by some of her own family? Some men might run and others might stay, but due to the lack of uncomfortable conversation in Christian circles, we have forgotten who to respond with grace to these deep topics of varying forms of brokenness.
In the beginning stages of my healing, I would lay in bed in the midst of the night aching for sleep, but as my eyes closed, my thoughts ran with no signs of stopping. Many of my thoughts regarded marriage, Christian men, and the future. I began to think, “Why would a Christian man want a woman who was abused as a baby?” “Will a Christian man want to marry me when he finds I have a gay brother who is in a gay marriage, for this is a tough topic that not many want to comprehend,” but most importantly, “Will a Christian man want to marry me even though I have recently been abused not even a few years ago?”
Those thoughts plagued my mind for awhile, and then I found healing; healing in Christ from these very thoughts, feelings, and the thought of being unworthy of love from a Christian man. In the beginning, I felt as if my story and the things I went through disqualified me from being a godly wife to a man, and I thought, “How can I be a Proverbs 31 woman with the brokenness I have, for she is perfect?”
But that’s the point; I am not perfect, and that is okay, for the Lord makes beautiful things out of those who are broken, and He makes beautiful things out of the dust, and one of those things being man, and from man’s rib came women; therefore, many beautiful things derive from the dust and the ashes.
I have learned that I want a man as vulnerable and humble to the grace of Jesus as I am, for the grace of Jesus expounds through the deepest waters and valleys
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as [a]have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19
For some reason, when one hears the word “vulnerability,” it seems as if that person is labeled “weak,” or “not strong,” but I think the exact opposite. In world where everything is about being tough, choosing to be a person who opens up their heart is a person of strength, for even Jesus was vulnerable moments before He endured a gruesome death.
The most vulnerable moment of Jesus was when He was begging for the cup of wrath to be taken from Him, and if Christ can be vulnerable and sensitive in that moment, who are we to deem vulnerability as “wrong” or “taboo” in certain regards?
We live in a time where many overlook how our words and actions make others feel, we live in a world where we are cruel, heartless, and where tenderness is a word that is not heard of. When was the last time you heard the word “Tenderness” breathed? I can guarantee you it’s been awhile.
Therefore, I want a man who is vulnerable to grace by humbling himself before the throne, by laying his heart out before God, and by laying out his shame before Christ as grace is poured over him, because I know what it is like to be burdened by shame.
As I found myself on my bedroom floor in tears due to the pain of the abuse, due to the pain of the aftermath, and due to the moments where the court trial became long and tiring, the Lord’s mercies did not fail me, and I experienced the grace of God in ways I never did before, for when you are broken, the power of grace is ever so sweet.
I am vulnerable and ever so thankful for grace, for as I think of the Lord hanging on a cross for my shame, my burdens, my sin, and for my faults, I weep, I cry, and I thank the Lord daily. I am unworthy of the love that was shed for me, I am unworthy of the love that was beaten, mocked, and was sacrificed, and I am not worthy of how God stepped down from His throne, became flesh, and took on all the sins of the world upon His shoulders as He hung there are a human spectacle on the cross.
And yet He did that for me so that I could live in His presence.
How can that not make one cry? When you realize that your sin placed the one who is both God, Christ, and perfect in all of His ways on cross, how can you not feel a sense of unworthiness overflow you? When I think of the valley He was brought me through, I do not deserve to have such a loving God be willing to walk with me in the valley, for I deserve to walk alone, I deserve to wander, I deserve to not be loved by a perfect Savior, and yet I am, for when I accepted Christ eight years ago, He said I was justified and redeemed.
He now calls me daughter,
He now calls me friend,
He now calls me beloved.
Therefore, my abuse story has reaffirmed my precious identity in Christ, and though I walk through broken times, through His blood, stripes, and wounds, I am healed, I am made whole, and I am made free from shame, and so to answer the question of “Will a man understand?” Does it truly matter in the end when grace has prevailed within my life?
I have spent the beginning months of healing wondering if a man would understand me or view me as worth loving, and yet I was forgetting the perfect man on the cross. Here I was wondering if a man would find me worthy of his love, when a man already proved His love on a cross for me, and that is where true love begins.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We are unable to love anyone else if we cannot fully love the one who brought love down, and one day, I will tell my entire brokenness to a man from start to finish, including the details I wish to never revisit, and I am okay with that, because I am not afraid of brokenness, but I embrace it and all of it’s beauty, for He makes beautiful things out of us.
I am okay with laying out my scars, my brokenness, my wounds, and I am okay with allowing myself to be vulnerable, because if Christ can die publicly on a cross for me, then I refuse to have my shame hold me back from allowing vulnerability to show, for even Jesus wept, and so I am not vulnerable due to shame, but I am vulnerable due to being humbled and thankful for the never-ending grace that is found in the one who died so that I could live.
So I open my heart to love, and I always have been open to the love of a future husband, and abuse did not ruin that. I am open to a man loving my brokenness, I am open to expelling my deepest fears, my deepest wounds, and I am more than willing to go to the root of brokenness, for in the root of brokenness lies something even more precious; grace, for greater is He who was overcome the world.
From here on out, shame has no hold on me, it has not power over me, and it has no reign over me, for when Christ said, “It is Finished,” He won, He was the victor, and He was, and forever will be, Lord over all, and so I no longer go to bed thinking, “What if a man does not love me,” but I now go to bed thinking, “One day, the right Christian man will love me and the woman I have become,” and I do not worry, I give it it God, and I go to bed.
“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,” Isaiah 61:3
So here’s to walking the single season, brokenness, and keeping one’s heart open to love, because brokenness does not disqualify one from love, abuse does not mean I am “battered,” and abuse does not mean I have “issues,” but it just means I have a story that shows the wonderful grace in Christ, and I believe in focusing on the beauty of one’s story, not the bad, and the beauty of my story is simple; through the ashes, the beauty will rise.
As Lysa TerKeurst once said, “What if the worst parts of your life are actually gateways to the very best parts you’d never want to do without,” and I believe there is much truth found in this statement, for though it may not look like it, my abuse is apart of my story; the story that will include my future husband, and in order for me to love the good seasons of marriage and children, I must love the worst parts as well, for the Lord taught me many lessons that showed me His goodness.
Through the worst parts, they were gateways to the best parts, and so I am thankful for the lessons I have learned, and while the abuse is something I do not condone, in some ways, I am thankful the Lord allowed me to experience brokenness, for through my brokenness, I have seen the sweet, tender, and loving mercy found in Christ and His grace, and I would never trade that for perfection.
So here’s to healing and here’s to freedom in Christ, for when he makes you free, he makes you free indeed, and no amount of shame can place chains upon me, for the Lord broke those chains, the Lord broke my shame, and the Lord is greater, and forever shall He reign, and with that, I am ever so thankful for the never-ending and passionate love that is found within the presence to the Lord.