We live in a broken world. A world where people mistreat each other and break each other’s hearts daily. There are times when it feels that peace of any sort is too far off to hope for. One of the ways this evil manifests itself is in broken and abusive relationships. Every day, millions of women are beaten down, diminished, and broken. And for many of us, we allow it to happen. We watch as someone attacks our sense of self and security. As they annihilate our peace. As they torture our souls. And yet, we do nothing.
I know this feeling, this experience. I know what it is like to have someone damage your spirit so badly that you wonder if you will ever feel normal again. To listen to someone degrade and diminish you, and wonder if they are right and at the same time, wonder why you are allowing anyone to talk to you in such a way. But you let them. Because really, what else is there to do? Walk away? Walk away from the person whom you love? For some that may be a dangerous option. For others it seems too scary. Too difficult. When it takes all your energy to keep someone happy, it is hard to think of doing anything that requires significant emotional energy. Like leaving the person you love, who is destroying you, hit by hit, word by word.
But we all know, deep down, that it isn’t okay. Somewhere inside a voice tells us, “This really shouldn’t be happening. I shouldn’t bear so many wounds from this relationship.” We don’t always heed that voice because there are other voices, louder ones that clamor for our attention. Like the ones that tell us, “you are no good. He hurts you because you are bad. Because you deserve it.” We choose the voices that we listen to. And for too many of us, we choose the voices that degrade us, that put us down. Maybe because we don’t dare think of ourselves as better in case that means we have to change our circumstances. Maybe because we have lost the ability to see ourselves as beloved.
But we must come to a point where we stop. Where we look at what we are becoming and know that it isn’t how we were created to be. We weren’t created to be assaulted daily by the enemy. We were created to live, love, dream, and laugh. We were created to be treasured and adored. There is not a person on this earth that has the right to devastate us in such a way. We were made as God’s beloved children. When will we start believing that?
For most of us, the leaving process can be just as painful as the abuse. We question ourselves each time the familiar pain and need arises in us. We wonder if we made the right decision. How can the right thing hurt so badly? Maybe our situation wasn’t so bad after all. The doubt creeps into our souls. The self-hatred arises as we find that we actually miss the person that was destroying us. That must mean that we are irreparably damaged.
But in the pain is the healing. In God’s name, we find meaning. As we allow ourselves to be saturated with the love of God and others, we find that love is better than addiction. Love is better than security. It is better than the familiar. We find that peace is attainable. We find that we are precious, extraordinary creations. We have so much to offer the world, and we will not allow evil to rob us of the uniqueness that we possess. We are not worthless. We are the world’s only chance at us. If we allow ourselves to shrink to nothing, we deprive everyone else of our gifts. We take away the world’s chance at seeing us shine. God is waiting to use us. He has big plans for us, and we are fully equipped for them, but we must first allow Him to heal us. Accept the healing. Accept the love. You deserve it. You were made for it. And you will find true love. It is available for you and me. And it is only through God’s grace.
Melissa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and now works as a school counselor on the mission field, spreading love and hope to those around her.