I was 21 years old, a senior in college, talented, educated, and healthy. I should have been excitedly looking forward to the opportunities that lay ahead of me. Instead, I was facing divorce and the judgment of a family who could not accept it.
I married at age 17 to a guy I believed was a follower of Christ. He came from the same conservative family background as I did and we met at a private school run by our church. After dating for 18 months, we got married. I was ecstatic. The perfect guy had come my way, and we were going to make a life under God.
The week after we were married, he stopped going to church with me. Next, he began to belittle the people in my family. That turned into belittling me. Eventually, very slowly, I found myself in a turmoil of verbal and physical abuse that grew worse by the month like a live frog being heated slowly to a boil in a pot. I had to find a way out.
I finally decided to talk to my sister about the situation. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of things but I told her what was happening. She was in disbelief and she urged me to leave immediately for my safety. She came to get me and took me to her home to live.
The next few months were rocky. He pleaded that I come back. I didn’t want to give up on my marriage. Marriage is for life! Not something you can just throw away because it’s difficult. So I gave it a shot. I went back to him with full commitment and determination to make it work. Within just a few months, he was back to his old ways and worse. My parents feared for my life.
Again, my sister came to get me. I lived with her for a year while I went through a divorce. During this time, some of my relatives who are very conservative wrote letters to me shunning my actions. A few of them wouldn’t be around me or look me in the eyes. They wanted to keep themselves clear of the sinful divorcee. My self-esteem and my commitment to God sank. I thought that if God was going to banish me to hell for getting away from such a bad situation, as some of my relatives had preached to me, then I just didn’t need God.
After two years, I started to date again. I found myself treating men badly, lashing out to hurt someone the way I had been hurt. I met one guy in particular who cared for me deeply. He was kind and honest. I dumped him because he didn’t go to church. Trouble was, I didn’t either.
One day I received a letter from an Aunt. She was very conservative but she had never judged me. She wrote that no matter what I was going through, she loved me anyway. And God loved me more. I just needed to let Him in. Somehow those few words penetrated my hurting heart. I broke down and cried, and begged God to please take care of me. It was clear I didn’t know how to on my own.
I found a church that had women’s small groups. I was surrounded by ladies who had struggles of their own, but they were making it through every day with peace. Through their many prayers and their example, I was able to let God have my heart again. Only through Him and the church family He provided was I able to truly heal and again become a caring and kind woman. The cold and uncaring Javonne was gone.
It’s been 12 years now since my divorce. It’s been 6 years since I surrendered my life to God fully. I struggle. I have difficult times. But I have joy and peace through it all. I discovered that if God brought me through the worst time in my life when I didn’t even want Him, He can and will be right here with me through everything. It’s difficult to do, but to “Let Go and Let God” take care of me is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. And praise God I’m beginning a new chapter in my life now with someone I truly love, and who truly loves me.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
May I pray?
Father God, thank You that You never let go of us no matter where we are. Thank You that You never stop loving us no matter what we do. Lord, I lift up those ladies who are hurting from harsh or abusive relationships. Protect them, Father, I pray. Comfort them. Give them strength and courage to talk to someone who can help them. Bring them peace as they seek You. You alone bring healing to our deepest wounds. You alone bring us to new life. May we put our trust in You and find hope today. Amen.
Q4U: Do you have a Rising Above Real Life story? You can encourage others by sharing the ups and downs of your journey. Names can remain confidential. Please contact me at Joy@RisingAboveRealLife.com .