Throbbing head, clenching muscles in the stomach, hands shaking, she paces the kitchen, watching out the window for any sign of his return. Kids are at school, thank God, but the storm is brewing. There appears to be no way out. Finances are stretched to the absolute max, and some bills aren’t going to get paid this month. Parents are threatening to step in because they don’t like the looks of the situation. One teacher called to report worries about the youngest, who is crying and withdrawing at school.

There’s nowhere to go. Friends are afraid of him too. Relatives will try to take over and cause him to really go ballistic. Shelters are there, but what will that do to the kids? And where would the dog end up? There are no more tears to shed, no more idealistic dreams that he will stop. His lame promises from the last blowup are a caustic memory now. And, in the impending storm on the horizon, she knows that no matter what she says or does, it will be all her fault, and he will do whatever he wills. She cannot change the course of his rage, his attitudes or behaviors. It is hopeless.

October is a month that focuses on domestic violence. People who have never experienced it, do not understand it. The comments people make to women are ridiculous. It is not simple. There is not an easy fix. Yes, she probably made some bad decisions along the way, (besides hooking up with him), but nothing constitutes abuse. Nothing. The reality is that she will hear the constant drum of “if only,” or “you should have” which beats menacingly in her ears night and day. She will hear it from him, but she will also hear it from family, friends, church family, neighbors, her own children, and finally from herself. Guilt and shame, mixed with fear, feed a rising tide of hopelessness in her soul.

Educating the public on this topic is critical. The jokes, the passing sarcasms, and the defense of “provoked” men is unconscionable. There is never a justification for abuse. Mature, responsible adults can find help. It’s out there. Life is tough. Life is stressful, as is marriage and parenting. Jobs are difficult, and being jobless even more so. Add addictions to the mix and the help needed becomes more intense, but there are resources for help in all those areas. For the men as well as the women. It’s a matter of choice.

Years ago I was that abused woman. The agony of failure and hopelessness was overwhelming. Today I look back and can hardly recognize myself. God saved me from myself, and my abuser. This is not about “religion.” It’s about a God Who loves deeply and directs your path right into the answers to the hard questions. He heals. He changes situations supernaturally. He had a stalker mysteriously apprehended and taken out of state. He opened doors of opportunity for school and work that before appeared nonexistent. He brought peace to my weary soul. I don’t call myself a survivor. I have scaled heights so much higher than merely surviving. God has healed me, taught me, moved me to a deeper understanding of myself, of others, and of Him, that transformed my life. It can happen for anyone who seeks Him. Programs and shelters are wonderful. I support their work wholeheartedly and have been employed there. Resources are gifts never to be ignored. But the bottom line is a Savior Who doesn’t just rescue, but heals completely, transforming the thinking, leading to a secure, confident identity, making fear a thing of the past. It isn’t an overnight miracle. There are steps to freedom. Those steps are the best you’ll ever take.

If you are in an abusive situation, please call your local DV shelter or program and start those steps to freedom. Contact me if you would like to talk with me or for me to pray for you. Your life can change. There is hope! I care. Others who work in the domestic violence field care very much. Never believe the lie that no one cares or that you have to stay where you are. Do it today. You can begin with a fresh start and have people who have walked a similar road there to go forward with you. Do it now. I am praying now for you to have the courage to make the call or send the email. You can do it!