I want this blog to be unique…
I don’t want it to be all about me, how I have everything figured out, and you should just pull up a chair while gleaning from all this awesomeness.
Nope, not even a little bit.
I know I am supposed to have this blog… to write, share, and relate…
But here is the problem:
I have only had so many experiences and can only reach so many people with them. It dawned on me a while back that I am surrounded by moms/women with beautiful stories.
I have determined to use space to bless more women with the bravely shared stories of others.
There is something so beautiful in knowing that you are not alone.
Without further a due… today I am proudly sharing this space with Cheyanne Watts. I met Cheyanne at our church back in California but I have learned the depth of her story and I know this will deeply touch someone who is not as ready to bring this chapter of their story to light.
I am going to go put myself out there and address something that needs to be talked about more than it is, it is not an easy subject for many and most victims would rather avoid it, but I am a survivor of childhood domestic violence and I hope that some day this won’t even be a reality for anyone else.
My life started out like most children’s. I was a kid being a kid. I wouldn’t say my family was broken, because to me it was perfect. I had my mom and my grandma and my grandpa, we all lived together.
That was my happy family.
That was all I wanted.
My biological father wasn’t in my life much and at the time I was okay with that. I had my grandpa and he was my biggest supporter. I never felt like I needed a “dad.” My mom on the other hand thought differently. I think deep down she felt guilty. Our family has always been very traditional.
I think she carried the guilt of me growing up without my biological father, becoming pregnant at a young age and NOT being married. She was always trying to create this perfect life for.
She went on a few dates with people, but it was never really serious until HE (he who shall not be named for more than a few reasons, besides the Harry Potter Voldemort reference) came along. I liked him at first, but I just assumed he was just going to go away like the others and I would continue on just like always.
I was wrong.
They got married.
Flash forward a few months, we were all in a house together and I was thinking that maybe this was going to be okay. I was wrong. Again.
My mom and I had always been extremely close and HE didn’t like it. He was jealous. He didn’t understand why he didn’t have the same closeness with my mom. He made her feel guilty. Pretty soon all the things that we used to do together including talk about my day before bed and just spend time together, ended abruptly.
Then, of course, there was the fighting.
He would get mad about everything.
He was always mad.
If a dish was on the counter he would blow up. If you were having a bad day he would make you feel worse about it. He had a way of making you feel like the smallest person in the room and then some.
He made my mom and I feel completely worthless.
I prayed a lot.
I always begged God to help us and help him just stop, but it continued.
They fought constantly.
I listened to their fights all the time.
I couldn’t help it.
That’s all that I heard.
Most of the time I fell asleep to them screaming at each other.
Then it got worse. My mom started to have bruises and she would shrug them off saying she tripped or bumped into something,
but I knew better.
I always knew.
I could always hear him throwing things and screaming.
I heard him hit her.
I was terrified.
By the time I was 16 this had gone on so long I was truly wondering if God even existed.
But I prayed anyway.
Every night I would go to bed thinking about possible ways I could over power him, possibly even kill him to protect my mom.
Do I bring a knife to bed?
Would that even work?
I felt like it was my responsibility to protect her.
I was getting desperate.
I would cry myself to sleep at night and beg God to just let her leave, but she never did.
She thought that she could fix him.
She thought she could help him.
So she stayed.
My teenage years consisted of walking on eggshells. I made sure I hardly ever showed my face so I wouldn’t have to listen to him scream at me, or have him make me feel more worthless than I already did. I did anything I possibly could just to get out of the house, but I always felt an immense sense of guilt for leaving my mom behind.
I contemplated suicide constantly.
I couldn’t stand being in that home.
I always wondered what kind of a God would let us suffer like this?
Why would I cry out to Him every single night and still nothing would be done?
Nothing would change.
God was supposed to be a worker of miracles.
Yet here we were, just trying to survive, trying to hold on to our sanity through all of this mess. I know we both felt more alone than we ever had.
He would fight with her everywhere. One time he even had the cops called on him in the parking lot of a store because someone saw him hit her, but she denied it so they would go away.
She was always terrified that him getting in trouble with the police would only make him retaliate against us.
So we kept it all a secret.
I always tried to hint to the people around me about how he was hurting us. I was hoping someone would get the hint, but nobody ever did.
Everyone thought he was wonderful and the few people that did find out about the abuse were shocked to learn about it.
We truly went through hell and back.
Is there some happy ending to this where my mom left and somehow I trusted God completely and everything was fine?
My mom did eventually leave after 10 years of marriage but the damage was already done, I had a hard time after and honestly, I still do.
It was the toughest time of my life.
It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, but to say it doesn’t bother me would be a lie.
I have a lot of issues because of what I dealt with, I battle with depression and anxiety, and I also have fibromyalgia, which my doctor said can be caused by ongoing periods of extreme stress.
Am I asking for sympathy with all of this?
But what I am going to ask is please, PLEASE, if you are in this situation or know of anyone who is, please get help in anyway possible.
It can be a delicate process because there are people who will retaliate, but there are many places that are equipped to handle these issues.
There are confidential non-profits hotlines out there to help you escape or come up with a game plan.
These situations aren’t easy, but I know they can be survivable.
At the time, I wasn’t sure if my mom or I would survive, but here we are.
I wish she would have gotten help.
I wish she didn’t have to go through all she did to finally realize it wasn’t her, it was him.
I don’t blame her one bit.
She was trying as hard as she could at the time.
Instead, I am thankful that we made through that period of our life and lived to tell about it.
I am also thankful that we have many more years ahead together.
Now where does God play into all of this?
I do believe everything happens for a reason.
I’m not sure if the pain and suffering my mother and I endured was part of God’s plan.
But I have learned a lot from it.
I have learned that running away from God or blaming Him doesn’t solve anything. I have also learned that human nature and sin are more powerful than most people think, Satan is truly all around ready to pull us away from God.
My relationship with God has been a struggle,
and it’s far from perfect.
However, I have gone from fearing I may not survive a night, to waking up in my own home, with my 3 little blessings (that I’m completely obsessed with) and a husband that I love more than life itself.
These things can’t erase the past, they never will, but I see the love of God and my Jesus in their eyes and that gives me reason to carry on and fight for my relationship with my God.
So, Satan –
yes, God did let bad things happen to me,
but my God is stronger than you, I love Him and I survived.
You said I wouldn’t, but I did.
And that means you can to.
Please get help if you need it.
Your life may depend on it, and if you have children… they know more than you think they do.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I know, I’ve been there.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Cheyanne, you are incredibly brave. I know this was not an easy thing to share and I am sure writing it brought back ugly memories. I am so proud of your for using your pain for His purpose. I am praying that someone will be encouraged by this and reach out for help. Thank you for being brave, I am in awe of you.
If any of you sweet readers out there have a story you’d be willing to share… I would love to have you.
Let’s follow Cheyanne’s lead in giving pain a purpose.