I loved you effortlessly. I was trusting, giving, and naive. I loved you before I knew your true nature. Your smile, your ease, your power put me at peace. We talked for hours about God and His goodness, Jesus and His love.
It was love at first sight. We talked and walked in the summer sun, we laughed and ran to avoid the Florida rainstorms. I thought in my heart that a man who feared God would be the man I would be with forever. Before I knew what I had done, my heart was yours. I would follow you to the ends of the earth.
Little did I know that to you I was a tool; you had always manipulated to get your way and were a seasoned abuser, skilled at stabbing and twisting at just the right moments. You said God told you to take my virginity away from me. Did He also tell you to shame me after my first time? You named me a whore, a temptress, a slut that lured you into hell, and then you pulled me close and kept me for yourself.
Did God tell you to scream at me in public any time you were trying to get your way? Did He tell you to publicly humiliate me, throw things at me, to make me bleed, to make me suffer?Did He tell you to use scripture to shame me, to make me feel less than human? Did He tell you to throw me against walls and scream at me? What did I do to you? All I gave was love …all you gave was abuse.
Before I knew it you had moved me in, you had planned my schedule. You controlled everything. I wasn’t allowed to talk to my parents, to leave you for any amount of time. I was either on the phone with you or next to you. You knew what you were doing. I was fulfilling some sort of sick fantasy of control, of dominance, and you weren’t going to let me go. You loved to see me shamed, you loved to break me down. You were convinced I was full of demons, convinced I was a slut who was dragging you down. I couldn’t stop myself from believing I was a slut.
One day, I stopped trying to make you happy. I became numb to it. I just phased out and let you do whatever you wanted. You raped me …like it was nothing. I was just lying in bed, and you forced your way on me, and did whatever you wanted to. When you got off I could see it on your face, the same look that I had had for almost a year: shame.
You only liked me when I was trying to please you, trying to love you. You liked the challenge of subduing, controlling, defeating, dominating. Now that I was numb and apathetic, the challenge was gone. You had broken my spirit. It was time for you to move on. You went to the church we attended every week, you told all our friends about what a slut I was and how you needed help escaping my clutches. People I trusted told you to break up with me. They encouraged you and tried to help you.
I was shunned. Outcast from everyone except one person, my best friend. She was the only one who had spoken up at all to me, voiced her concerns, the only one who cared.
Our relationship was still on and off. You said I was too much to resist. I had given everything to you, so I was still looking for a semblance of love and hope. I was convinced I needed to marry you.
You had taken everything from me, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. What did I even believe? What was there left to live for? Now that I was apathetic I could see everything for what it was. We had sex one last time before I went home to Texas. Afterwards, you put on your clothes, called me a whore, and told me to leave. I was empty. There was nothing left, and yet you took some more from me. You were never satisfied.
I tried to kill myself by just not getting out of bed anymore. My best friend and roommate kicked me out of bed after a few days and forced me to eat, to live. She loved me. A week later I contemplated drowning myself in the ocean. The Lord intervened on that night and it didn’t happen.
When I got home to my family and to support I was a shell of myself. I just slept during the day, but I couldn’t sleep at night. I started chain smoking. I had severe anxiety. I saw death coming for me in a shadowy figure everywhere I went. I had left real life and entered into an altered state of reality. I was consumed by fear. I often forgot what I was doing, where I was going. I had severe flashbacks and severe panic attacks.
You but you still weren’t done with me. You called me up accusing me of cheating on you. You texted me horrible things, verses in scripture condemned me to hell. You had to keep on hurting me. I had to change my number.
You wrote me a letter, and an email, both listing Bible verses about how I was a whore. I believed I was nothing because you told me so often. You used brainwashing techniques and extreme manipulation tactics to bond me to you. I was your slave for a year.
You are not a man of God. You are a psychopath, a devil, my deepest fears realized. You broke every belief I had, but in a way, I need to thank you. My relationship with God has become real. I no longer lean on religious stigma, and I no longer care for pleasing others. I only care for my God, His will, His love, His word. The God I know will never welcome abuse, will condemn a heart filled with hatred, and will cast away manipulators and evil doers.
The Lord my God heals the broken-hearted, lifts the meek in spirit, saves those who have been crushed, and redeems any who call upon Him. I may have been broken by your hands, by your words, by your deeds, but God has built me up stronger than I ever dreamed of being.
Although I struggle with forgiveness, my anger is well placed. I will always be changed by what you did to me and took from me, but I hope God changes you. If He can take emptiness and create fullness, He can change hatred into love. I will continue to heal, to be angry, to find a voice in me that needs to be heard.
Now that I have God by my side I am no longer afraid. I need to tell of the darkness turning into light. It was a miserable journey for me, but by the grace of God, I am so full I am overflowing. I am filled with love, strength, purity, and identity.
Genesis 50:20 WE ARE LIGHTS IN THE DARKNESS. WE SHINE BRIGHTER EVEN WHEN YOU TRY TO PUT US OUT. You will never take away my freedom to live abundantly.