Overcoming Domestic Violence: Turning Pain into Purpose
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
No one imagine they will ever be in a domestic violence situation. I know I didn't.
Domestic violence exists in every aspect of society. It crosses every ethnic, racial, and demographic. Yet, it is often suffered in silence out of shame, fear and guilt. I walked through an abusive relationship on and off for four years in my mid-teens to early 20s.
After it happened, for three years I didn't speak a word of the trauma. The first time I spoke about it was to a counselor in college for three + months, Then, I openly spoke out about it to students on campus.
The comment I most often got was "I can't imagine you in a domestic violence relationship". That's just in. Domestic violence comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
This past week, I attended a Candlelight Vigil with Partnership Against Domestic Violence. Since 1977, PADV has worked passionately and tirelessly to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors. .As I heard the victims of domestic violence in Georgia, tears came for them and those they left behind.
At the same time, I feel gratitude for what I've walked through and turning pain into purpose. Did you know that 1 in 4 women are impacted by domestic violence? Every 9 seconds a women is beaten, and over 20,000 calls are placed to hotlines daily. Daily. The average woman in an abusive relationship takes 5-7 times to leave. That is when the danger is the greatest.
Transformation is required. It is not okay in any day and age and in any country.
It is my hope that this helps increase transformation and inspiration.
Overcoming Domestic Violence
When I met my first boyfriend, I never imagined the nightmare I walked into. I thought all the extra attention, checking up on me, and suspicious comments were flattering or normal at first. From the moment my mom met him at the grocery store, she said "there is something wrong with him - stay away". Yet, I stayed.
The first blow came months after we dated from nowhere. Literally, blindsided me. I didn't know the stages of domestic violence. I learned through the experience things I wished I didn't learn. I experienced the cycles of hitting and apologies and gifts were consistent. However, the frequency was not. From the beginning,
I am a fighter. A fighter for faith, freedom, and purpose so that others may see an example too. I knew deep down inside - this - is not love. This is not my story. Yet, I stayed for 4 years. Many people are baffled why battered women stay. It is easy to judge situations you are not in or have not walked through. I didn't understand it until I was in it either.
We think they will go back to what they were in the beginning. When we get a glimpse of peace, we think it will stay. We keep hoping. We often think (like many do in many relationships) our love will save them.
I've learned first hand through this relationship and other situations in life I cannot control or transform anyone in my strength. Only God can transform many situations way above our own strength.
I am reminded of John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
It seemed as I was fighting not only him, but my love for myself. That and leaning on God to get me out. Keep in mind this was after I ignored countless signs from God to leave. It's a difference when God asks us to submit, surrender or silence. There is wisdom in knowing the difference.
I walked through spiritual, mental, physical, relational abuse in every way. There were scars and trauma I buried so deeply I didn't even realize when I fully started releasing it all in 2010. It started with choosing sacrificing sex before marriage. I felt deeply pulled by God to truly get to. freedom and wholeness that obedience in this area is essential.
Pain into Purpose
I will not sugar coat or say that the healing journey is easy in any way, shape or form. The three months I went to counseling in 2003 uncovered many layers. The times I spoke and shared my story released more layers.
In 2011, I decided to go to Richmont Counseling for a year for spiritual, mental and emotional healing. Richmont Counseling focuses on healing, transformation and restoration. The year I spent there with weekly sessions definitely transformed me from the inside out. So many tears were shed, I lost count.
There were layers and levels to releasing trauma. I've experienced extensive forgiveness of him and myself. New thinking enters my mind all the time. I am reminded of Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of the mind. I've learned to reframe what love truly is.
I feel new levels of awareness and healing tied to identity and worthiness coming up frequently.
This led me to return to counseling in 2017 partially related to the trauma. This included another 6 months to a year of processing history, beliefs, and stories with a counselor. This included undergoing EMDR treatment, which is specialized for trauma involving eye movement and reprocessing memories.
This treatment involved going deeper with deep seated beliefs and experiences before the abusive relationship that led to allowing it to happen. I am grateful that I prayed to be released and nothing or no situation even remotely similar came into my life.
You may imagine there are layers of my heart that continue to be uncovered and trusting again fully. After that relationship, for years I would put anyone that even remotely tried to date me in a 90 day plan similar to an employee performance plan. I went from one extreme to another.
God revealed different things to be in 2016 that led to more layers of healing with a special situation and person. I can tell you there is no way that I would be healing without God walking with me daily in every way.
Things That Helped Me
Counseling 3 Times
Choosing Purity in 2010
Daily Bible Reading
Releasing Old Self
Time in Nature
Sharing My Story
Words I Would Say to My Past Self Now
You are deeply loved. You are worthy of lavishing love from our Creator, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Submit to God. Trust Him. Let Him fill your heart with love first. Love yourself fully. Set healthy boundaries. Don't be afraid to say no.
You are worthy of being pursued. You are priceless beyond measure. You are forgiven. You are free. You will overcome this. I am so sorry I made these choices that were not aligned to love. I am so sorry that you experienced so much pain. I break off in the name of Jesus, fear, shame, guilt, condemnation.
You are free. Walk in freedom now. Know that God knows every hair on your head. Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Know that your story is and will be used powerfully. That every mistake may turn into a miracle.
Trust that God is orchestrating a beautiful story of love that will inspire millions here on earth. Wait on God and His timing. He is the Creator and knows what He is creating with your life. Above all else, have faith, hope and love. Love each and every moment of your life and the miracle that it is.
Turning Pain into Purpose
You may have overcome domestic violence, or know someone that has experienced it. Perhaps, you have other areas of pain in your life. We all experience pain. We do have the choice to turn pain into purpose.
Sharing our stories allows others to know they are not alone. We all have moments in this human experience we didn't imagine that resulted in pain.
With each and every step we take to overcome pain, we become stronger. There is strength in the struggle if we allow it.
Never ever quit on you or someone walking through pain. Sometimes, we may pray, cry, or be distant from someone in pain. We all process pain in different ways in different seasons. Let go of the method and surrender the timing.
Most of all, forgive yourself and others. Hurt people hurt people. We all have a history and a story. Forgiveness and love will free you like you never imagined. Open yourself and others to the possibilities. After all, love is the most powerful force in the world. 1 John 4:18
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