There’s an area called the Ridge Cut in Chattanooga and that’s where I first got hit. It was a backhand because I asked a question that he didn’t like. So, he backhanded me where that my lips were cut on the inside because my teeth hit when he hit me my teeth cut my lips on the inside. I turned around and I took him back to his mother’s house. She said, “You know you don’t question men. It’s all your fault. You don’t question them. You just take what you get, and you move on. So go on now. You all just go on and have a happy life.”
I spent nine years in that physical abuse. He was in and out of jail. He was in different relationships with other women. He was either in a treatment center, in jail, or on the streets. When my ex-husband got out of jail, I think it was the first or second night. It was his way to go out, use drugs, come back home when the money was gone, talk to me bad and abuse me to get more money.
This particular night I was very upset because he had just gotten out of jail and I had great expectations for our relationship because he said that he had changed. Of course, I knew I had changed. I was sleeping, and he snatched the covers back. He began to unscrew a post on our poster bed that was going to be his weapon. He threatened me that if I didn’t give him money to get more drugs he would knock my head off with this post.
I remember getting out of bed and said to myself, “Someone in this house is going to die tonight,” because I was tired. I had had enough of the abuse, and it was going to stop, tonight. As I stood up on the side of the bed, I heard this still small voice that said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I had been a Christian long enough. I had studied long enough to know that, wow, if you hear Him [God] talking to you your best bet would probably be to listen and do your best to obey. So I did. I stood there with the threat of my head being knocked off. I said to myself, “Okay God if I die tonight, I’m going to die obeying you.” For what seemed like an eternity, I watched my ex-husband pace the floor. It appeared that it was a war was going on. Now I know there probably was. He dropped the post and told me to take him to a place out of town where he got his drugs. I was very quiet, slipped my coat on, got into the car, drove him there, and that was the last time I ever saw him. I was very quiet. I never inquired about what happened to him, but soon after that, I got a call from jail, from him asking me for a divorce. I knew that was my release, that it was the way out that God had granted me, and I had peace about it.
In the midst of that relationship and all that transpired, I went to a prison ministry here in town for help. I found that I could volunteer with women that had been in much the same position that I had been with men and relationships, looking for love in all the wrong places and volunteering my time in prison ministries. When I got there I thought it was going to be a lot more of me blessing them but I was the one blessed because I realized there was not an “us” and “them.” Everyone needs love and acceptance. All of us usually take the route of looking for it in all the wrong places, but we all find it in the same place. That’s with the love and acceptance that Jesus gives.
I am so grateful for this new life. I think there is a book that says, “I wouldn’t take anything for my journey.” I wouldn’t because I’ve learned so much. I am so happy to share what I know with the people that were in the same position that I was in, and watch them receive and accept the love of Jesus, and watch freedom and hope and life come.