My ex-husband held me semi-captive for about a year and a half in a house he built in a remote area. He took me out a few times, but mostly I was kept locked up or tied up while he was away. No phone; no car. I tried a lot of things to get away, including starving myself. He would give me food sometimes, but I ate only a few bites. I had it in my head that if I got sick he’d have to take me to a doctor, and then I could tell a doctor about the abuse and he would get me some help. I knew a weakened immune system led to sickness, and I thought if I stopped eating I could weaken my immune system. So I did, and I got down to 82 pounds (I’m 5’4″) but I never got sick. I only got weak. I could barely walk and climbing a flight of stairs took about 20 minutes.
“It was then that I prayed to God to help me.
He said to get healthy and He would do the rest.”
It was then that I prayed to God to help me and He said to get healthy and He would do the rest. So I started forcing myself to eat more and regain some weight. My ex-husband started seeing a therapist to stop his abuse. Something he had refused to do for years. The therapist told him he could help him get better, but first he had to get me out of the house so I wouldn’t trigger him. So he rented an apartment about 3 hours away and moved me there. He bought me furniture, let me drive my car again, paid all the bills, and put money into an account every month so I could buy food or things I needed. He still came out to visit whenever he felt like it, and the physical abuse continued, but I had some freedom and some relief. I got a job, continued to gain weight and rebuild muscle.
Three years later, he met someone else and wanted to marry her, so he divorced me and pulled all financial support. I didn’t know how to pay for everything on my part-time salary. I applied for a receptionist position at a tech company, thinking I could get my foot in the door and maybe transition later to a more technical role. I was called in for an interview with one of the VPs and he decided I would be “bored” as a receptionist, so he offered me a technical position right off the bat – they had to train me on every aspect of that position after I started. But I suddenly was back on my feet, independent, and not having to worry about every penny I spent.
I still knew absolutely nothing about Jesus or Christianity and had never been to a church service until I was in my mid-30s, several years after my marriage ended. At that time, a new friend invited me to come to church with him. I turned him down the first couple times, but he kept asking and I finally decided to see what it was like. I asked him what religion he was and he said, “Born again Christian. Do you know what that is?” I said no and didn’t ask about it, nor did he offer more details. We went to church together the next day and the very first song the worship team sang really spoke to me, and to hard times I had gone through with my marriage and resulting PTSD.
“At that time, a new friend invited me to come to church with him.”
I decided to keep going to church with my friend whenever he invited me. I didn’t understand most of what they were talking about, but I wanted to learn and to be a part of it. My friend explained salvation, and the hope I could have in gaining victory over my PTSD and the effects of that. Nothing else was helping, and I trusted my friend and trusted that if it was the same God who had saved me from that abusive relationship years ago, then He could certainly help with any other troubles I would face. So I made that leap into the unknown and repeated the prayer my friend said.
God helped me get healthy, got me away from the physical abuse, got me a place to live, and a job that I enjoyed working with really great people (many of whom I still work with today at another company). Not to mention a job I had absolutely no experience for and shouldn’t have been hired to do. All miracles, all from God, and all BEFORE I knew Him. BEFORE I’d ever set foot in a church service. BEFORE I became a Christian.
All miracles, all from God, and all BEFORE I knew Him.
BEFORE I’d ever set foot in a church service.
BEFORE I became a Christian.
Since then there have still been struggles, with PTSD and other things. But it’s improving, and some mountains have been conquered. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without God’s help. He’s surrounded me with people who care about me and support me, and who are exactly what I need, even though I usually think I don’t need anyone. I have to remind myself often to stay out of God’s way because His plans always work out better than mine.
I’m still amazed all the time by how God cared for me even then. And still does now.