Today I have a sweet friend that I went to high school with who will be sharing her testimony with us. Gina has always had a kind and sweet spirit. Her testimony is very powerful. I pray you will be encouraged today by it!
” And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
II Corinthians 12:9-10
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and one that God has reminded me of many times in my life. I am going to tell you of something that is very personal about myself and something that most people do not know about me, something that is not easy to talk about. However, I feel that it may help someone that may be going through the same situation or even some other hardship.
I was married to a man for five years that was physically and verbally abusive. It wasn’t always this way. When we first started dating, he was a dedicated Christian, went to church regularly and read his Bible. Then, he began allowing the enemy to slip in, hanging out with the wrong people, taking prescription pills, and then came the alcohol. I was in denial most of the time especially when we were dating. It became worse once we got married. It started with little things, like lying about where he had been, what he had been doing. Then, came the physical abuse, hitting, pushing, shoving, beating. I lived in fear for those five years, mostly blaming myself for the situation that I was in. I would somehow believe that it was all my fault, not being a perfect wife, not cleaning the house right, asking too many questions, etc. He made me believe that I was to blame. I was so embarrassed about my married life that I did not want anyone to know including my parents, although they had an idea that something was very wrong. You see, I was raised that once you got married, it was for life. You take the vows very seriously, and you work through the hard times. I didn’t want the embarrassment of getting a divorce, of being a divorced woman. I didn’t want people to talk about me.
I didn’t have any friends. I couldn’t see my family most of the time because either he was in one of his “moods,” wouldn’t allow them to come over, or a new bruise was visible. I was isolated from everyone and everything. I felt so alone and scared. We had two beautiful boys together, and I think they were two of the reasons that I survived. They gave me a reason to not give up, to hold on. God gave me the other reason.
He couldn’t keep a job, and at the time, I wasn’t working. We didn’t have much money most of the time which meant we didn’t have much food or couldn’t pay bills. I would have to hide money for groceries and bills when I could, so that he didn’t blow it all. My parents brought over groceries a lot of times and gave me money when they could. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them. I can remember my mom and dad telling me that I didn’t have to live like that. They told me that I could just leave him and come live with them, but I would just tell them that I would be ok. I would just say that he was getting better, things were going to get better. I would try to convince myself of this too.
The beatings were rough. There were times that I thought that he was going to finally kill me. There were times that he would beat my head against the wall and it would be so sore that I could barely wash my hair. I had new bruises on me as soon as the new ones would heal. He would apologize and things would be better for a few days, then it was right back to the way it was before. I would cry and pray and ask God to save him, to change him, to help me. It seemed like God wasn’t listening to me or that’s what I thought.
One day, he beat me pretty bad. He hit me in the eye, and it immediately was swollen up and black. I went in the bedroom and was sitting on the bed, crying and thinking that I cannot go through this much longer. I called out to God, “do you hear me? where are you? please help me!” Then, I could hear this song playing over in my head and was immediately comforted: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong.” This was a simple children’s song, a song that I would sing to my son over and over and yet God was giving me this song in one of the darkest times of my life to remind me that he still loved me. God was trying to tell me that he heard me from the very first cry, the very first prayer and that he was going to help me through it.
Most of you would say that I was crazy for living in that especially with two babies. I did try a couple of times to leave, and he threatened to kill me if I did. He told me that I was not going to take his kids from him, so I stayed. I couldn’t imagine not being around for my kids, leaving them to him. I stayed because I thought that I didn’t have a choice. Now, I look back, and I cannot believe that I lived in that situation, but I know there is a reason for everything. Eventually with the mighty help of God, my parents and my pastor, I was able to leave him and get out of that situation without any problems.
God is a good and faithful God. Even though, I went through five years of a lot of pain, fear and sorrow, God brought me through. I still praise him for that time of my life because I have two beautiful boys, and I learned some valuable lessons. I grew in faith and now I know that I can trust God even in the darkest times of life. He has truly blessed me, and I am forever grateful. Now I have a wonderful, loving and hard working husband that takes care of me and our three boys and gives unselfishly of himself, his love and time, and I have a testimony that I can share of God’s faithfulness and love.
No matter what you are going through in life, just put your trust in God. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Even when you think you are all alone, he is there. He longs for you to call out to him. When you think he may not be listening, he is. He hears every prayer and sees every single tear, and your answer is on the way. Just hold on. Weeping may endure for the night, but Joy comes in the morning. God’s grace will be sufficient; it will be just enough to help you when you need it most. When you don’t have the strength to carry on, he will be your strength. Lean on God, and he will see you through. His love never fails!