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I was perfect, except for the lies, black eyes, and failed marriage.

I could tell him things I couldn’t tell my friends. I later learned that’s what women who are abused do. They keep it a secret. Well, everything in my life was a secret anyway.

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I suffered from two black eyes one time. Another time I had a dislocated jaw. Many times I was thrown against the wall. I wanted to get out of the pain. I wanted to get out of the fear. I just wanted to get out.

Ron was our family dentist. Ron and I were friends. He was my sounding board. I could tell him things I couldn’t tell my friends. I later learned that’s what women who are abused do. They keep it a secret. Well, everything in my life was a secret anyway. So, I started talking to him and he listened. I had never had anyone listen to me before.

Because my parents were so good I had to be perfect. My mother used to tell everybody, “Janice has always been perfect. We’ve never had a minutes trouble out of her.” I felt like I had to live that image. That was a big burden. That was one of the reasons I never told anybody anything about myself.

My relationship with Ron was a good relationship. It was deep, caring and loving. I didn’t have to perform. I didn’t have to pretend. I could just be me. It was the first time I had ever been me. When he was saved he came home that night and told me he had been led in a prayer to accept the Lord, and that he had gotten on his knees and prayed to accept Jesus in his heart. I said, “Well that’s great.” I was so excited, but I really didn’t expect the change that was coming. He became a new person, and it was wonderful. It was good. That was when I turned back to the Lord. It was 1984. The first preacher we went to wouldn’t marry us because he knew our story or he thought he did. It was wonderful that he wouldn’t marry us because it led us to the next preacher who was thrilled with our testimony. He accepted us and helped us with material to write our own Christian testimony.

A lot of people who were at our wedding were our old friends in our other life. We knew we were not going back to the old life, but the old friends came. God knows my heart. He knows where I’ve been, and I know without a doubt it’s because of his grace and mercy that I’m here, that he loves me, and that he always loved me. I have no fear of that. I do have fear of people sometimes, but I don’t have the mask I used to wear. I’m very thankful for that. God does that. If you allow him, he slowly removes the mask.

Jan - I was perfect, except for the lies, black eyes, and failed marriage.

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