“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 (NIV)
Before you tune out the previous three blogs as coming from someone who has lived in a fairytale her whole life, let me assure you I haven’t. While I have an amazing husband and wonderful kids, I lived under a different kind of submission for two years that was anything but Biblical… it was called abuse.
I was in college but extremely naïve. I truly wanted to serve God and wanted to find a boyfriend who also loved God, so I sought after Christian friends. I was introduced to someone in a Bible-believing group, and even though initially I didn’t want to go out with him, I was too polite to say no. In hindsight, I think it might have been the Holy Spirit warning me, but I didn’t realize it then.
The control started out inconsistently at first, and by the time I started to think maybe I should break up, I had been isolated from most of my friends. As I explained previously, there was a spunky side to me which didn’t like to be controlled. However, when that flared up with him, trouble ensued until I was left thinking, “What just happened here?” By then, though, my self esteem had hit rock bottom and I obediently believed that I was worthless, no one else would want me, and he was as good as it was going to get.
However, thanks to many prayers from my family and friends, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t be quiet. I couldn’t rest until I listened, so I got up the nerve to break up with him the first time… but went back to him for the same reason I said yes to his first date. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and he was crying and sorry and… I broke up with him the second time, but went back to him again because I truly did believe no one else would want me. His constant belittling had reached my inner core.
God is bigger than the enemy’s lies, though, and when His people pray, He answers. I broke up with him a third time and this time, God used some pretty miraculous circumstances to get me far enough away that I could start to see the truth, God’s truth.
However, as is the case with most abuse situations, he wasn’t ready to let go that easily. What followed was up to a year of stalking, being on guard, and feeling even worse because I was possibly putting my family in danger as well if he decided to take it to the next level. God, in His graciousness, though, protected us and eventually he realized I wasn’t coming back. I lost track of him and that chapter of my life was complete.
Come back next time as I tell how I went from what I experienced above to the life-giving submission of a godly marriage.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016