One of our October mamas was kind enough to write out her story. We like to share these precious broken-and-beautiful stories, now and then, to help our constituents understand more about what “our mamas” are facing. It will hurt you heart . . . but please read the story of our October mama — “Safe in His Arms” — below.
When I met him, I was divorced for nearly 2 years and had 2 small children. Things seem to be leveling out in my life and I was getting used to this new “normal” of being a single mom of 2 kiddos. I had reconnected with a local church in my community through a divorce class they offered for a semester and was glad to be a part of the church family. It was through this church that I met him. He was a leader, in our church. He seemed like a good, Christian man with a big heart. He acted like he loved my children, especially my son, who has special needs. We somehow ended up a couple without it ever being said. I was pressured by him into sleeping with him, which I found odd coming from a Christian man, and then when I did, he’d essentially blame me for it and for allowing him to “slip” and that I “needed to connect with Christian women in the church.” I felt dirty and disgusting. I would push away his advances when we hung out, but it would happen again and again. Then, I was shamed again and again by him. I prayed. I read scripture. I took notes while reading the Bible. I journaled about how awful I was to cause him to slip into sin.
He then started controlling who I talked to. I wasn’t allowed to have any male friends. I was to make more of an effort to hang out with Christian women (which in his book did not include Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and so on…he said those aren’t Christians). I complied. I wanted to be a good Christian woman.
Things changed as soon as we got married. He moved into my home and when I came home after the first day back at work, he had completely “redecorated” my home. He replaced all the stuff on the bedroom walls with his posters and pictures, changed our bedding to be to his liking, even took my things on the dresser and put them away. Again, I wanted to be a good submissive wife and I laughed it off. Surely, this was just him trying to be more comfortable in our home. I noticed he drank a lot, something I didn’t notice before because he didn’t live with me before we got married. He’d come over for dinner, hang out for a bit and then go back home. He also smoked pot and pressured me to do it also. I did it twice and told him never again. He promised he wouldn’t either. He lied. I found out I was pregnant within a few months of our marriage. For some reason, I was afraid to tell him (I found out when he was at work or was supposed to be at work). When he got home that night, drunk and high, I told him and he said, “Are you sure it’s mine?” I was floored. I cried. He said the next day he was joking, but that look in his eyes told me it was no joke. That’s the first time I truly saw Satan in his eyes.
My first pregnancy with him was terrible. He would drink starting at noon or so and be drunk by the time I got home. He would berate me and verbally abuse me, sometimes when my 2 older kids were also home. He was abusive (verbally and emotionally, physically) with my son. I recorded him a few times when he was yelling at me and calling me every name in the book while I cowered in a corner, super pregnant, so he could hear himself. He called me the “enemy” in his home. Many times he told me to get the f out of his house and take my kids with me. I spent several nights in hotels during that pregnancy. He would then apologize and then we would restart the cycle. I have no family near and his parents enabled his behavior. I turned for help to them, but it was pointless. His mother said he was the head of the household and that this didn’t sound like him, essentially saying I was lying.
A month prior to giving birth, he unleashed the worst of his verbal assaults on me. It sent me into preterm labor and the doctors were able to stop it. I knew I needed to get out. This would be the first time I left him. He knew I had reached out to our local DV shelter before this point by looking at phone records and then yelling at me about it, so I knew I couldn’t call them safely from my phone. My friends took us in. I ended up returning to him when he promised he would get help. This was the cycle — the cycle that would happen for 2 more years before I left for good.
After the birth of our first child, he didn’t change his ways. He seemed to drink even more, and I found out he was gambling (I didn’t know the extent of how bad the gambling was and how much he lost until a few days before I left him for good). I had no access to finances at all. He even proposed giving me an allowance (mind you, I work full time while he “worked from home”). Having a child didn’t change him. He was no help with her at all — often too drunk/hungover to help. He would pass out on the couch or in bed. There were times he stumbled into bed and missed the bed and hit the floor. He urinated in the bed with our child and me in it. At one point during this period, I suspected he was doing drugs again in the garage and when I went into the garage, I was overcome with the smell of marijuana. I looked throughout the garage and found a huge bag of pot and a six-pack of beer. I brought them into the house and he got mad that I didn’t trust him instead of apologizing for doing these things.
Every time the cycle got the explosion, it was always followed with signing up for classes, major apologies, love bombing, the whole works. I kept praying to God that he would change. I would pray that he could see what he was doing was wrong and hurting our family. A year after the 1st time I left him, he got physically abusive. He was under the influence and I didn’t want him holding our child in this state. I needed to nurse her and he went to lay in bed with her while being buzzed. I tried grabbing her from him and he shoved me into a dresser so hard, I bruised my arm, scratched my back and knocked the T.V. over. My older kids were home. He took my cell phone. He kicked us out of the house.
We would repeat these cycles for another year before I left for the last time, in January, of this year. I left on a cold Friday morning, pregnant with 3 small children, and a dufflebag of clothing hiding in the trunk of my car. He had no idea I was leaving and I acted like it was another day of daycare, school and work. Since then, he’s stepped up abuse and nightmare.
I have since been forced to obtain a protective order. I am the sole provider for my family and am drowning.
But, when I think of what I left, where I am now, with all of its difficulties, is beyond better. God will provide and he has shown this in many ways, most recently through Give Her Wings. I keep having faith that the truth will come to light and little by little it truly has been. I know God sees all and I know that he is caring for my babies and me. The divorce still isn’t final but I have hope.
Thank you to those of you who donate to Give Her Wings. I cannot tell you how much it has encouraged my children and myself. Please know that this is a worthy and integrous cause. They have already been able to help me with so much. In the meantime, please pray for us. We need it all.
“Safe in His Arms”