I awoke with a start to tough hands grabbing the hair at the back of my neck.
“Get up and make love to me,” my three-hundred pound husband growled viciously.
Before I knew what was happening, Steven threw his full weight upon my head and shoulders. He was trying to smother me. Something that I’d held in check for the year and a half of his stalking and emotionally violating me welled inside of me and exploded into a burst of energy. My upper body arched upwards with a strength I’d never experienced and he was thrown off balance. I then jumped on his chest and grabbed his hair.
“If you ever touch me again, I’ll kill you.”
That ended the year and a half of courtship and marriage in hell. I will never forget that night. I’d endured demonic fits of rage and hatred directed towards me and anyone who was my friend or family member. Steven threatened to kill my sisters if they didn’t stay out of our business and reminded me if I didn’t marry him, he would track me down to the far ends of the earth and kill me. I walked on egg shells everyday in fear of upsetting him. He forbade me to wear anything attractive and God forbid a man should lay eyes on me. They would also be threatened. Everything set Steve off.
I got the shock of my life when after our wedding ceremony and dinner, he took every check and cash gift and deposited in his account. I never saw a dime. His heartless control of every aspect of my life made me want to kill myself, but I had my two precious cats I didn’t want to leave behind. I was certain God hated me to put me in bondage to this monster of a man I was forced to marry. It became more and more debilitating to daily deal with Steven’s extreme moods and equally traumatic to realize I was vulnerable and defenseless. Wherever I turned, there was no help. Even my pentecostal pastor and his elders were useless in their prayers to stop Stevens violence and hatred. My weight plummeted and I lost all hope that God cared.
Looking back, I realize that even though totally unequipped and ignorant about demon-possession, God had a purpose in allowing such a trial. It was a lesson that would give me confidence and strength for the years to come.
My journey to spiritual freedom and confidence would take almost two decades. As I share my journey with you, I pray that you can avoid unnecessary pitfalls of spiritual bondage and a defeated Christian lifestyle. I’m thankful to Yeshua, Jesus Christ, for His gentle healing and especially God’s word which have truly established my being and identity! I am forever grateful that I stuck it out with Him through my many blazing fiery trials.
How it came to the point of marrying such a disturbed man can be traced back to my early girlhood. I always had a very timid demeanor and was easily frightened by my mother and father’s displays of anger and disapproval. I remember well two of my earliest traumas.
My father was trying to teach me how to tell time. As my father repositioned the hands of the clock and I answered wrong, he knocked me with his strong fist on my forehead. I cried each time and couldn’t wait for my lesson to end. Though he didn’t criticize me, I was still wounded with shame that I couldn’t understand how time worked.
Years later, when I was about twelve another devastating incident forever solidified my fearful temperament. My six-year-old sister was running around the house noisily and my mother exploded in a rage. She lunged towards my little sister and pushed her to the floor. I screamed hysterically as she was stomping on my little sisters legs.
“Mommy, “Mommy, please, stop!”
I grabbed my little sister and dragged her to my room, where I tried to comfort her. From that point on, I became easily nauseated every time I sensed my mother’s mood was darkening.
When my father enrolled us in Catholic school, my younger sister and I had a ten block trip each morning. A few times, bully girls from the bad side of town, saw us, circled us and asked us what we were doing in their neighborhood.
“Weird-looking, half-white bitches, get outta here,” they spat and kicked us hard in our rear ends. We hurried to school tearfully and when we got home to tell our mother, she just scorned us. “What do you want me to do about it? Tell your father.”
My fear of angry, disapproving people continued to establish itself, but one thing for sure, I was very creative. I learned to sew very well by watching my mother and designed beautiful costumes. Teachers also complimented me about my illustrating talent. I could draw anything. My first love though, was fashion and I made beautiful paper dolls with outfits of their native land. My mother wasn’t impressed though, for one night, while the family watched the Osmond brothers perform on the Ed Sullivan show, she looked at us with disgust, “Look at those talented boys…and all I have are stupid bums who play with paper dolls.” Her words stung like a bee bite and all of us realized we could never be able to please her, no matter what we did.
Another memory that shamed me happened on my first day attending seventh grade art class. I had transferred from Catholic school and was the new kid. Difficult as it was to transition from being the teacher’s pet and having adoring friends, I focused on my creativity.
That day, my classmates were immersed in a painting project. As I admired my handiwork, a tall, dark-skinned girl stood over me with a piece of black construction paper. Her coal-black eyes, glittered as she sneered as I looked into her eyes. I sensed she did not like me and my stomach lurched with anxiety.
“You see this, here?”she hissed with disdain, “You are as black as this paper and don’t you ever forget it’”
Her utter scorn for me took me by such surprise that I was never the same. From that day forward, I’d questioned my worth and wondered did I deserve to take space on the earth.
My parents relationship got worse as I entered high school. The tension was unbearable as my sisters and I heard my parents yelling and belittling each other nightly. I doubted my moms sanity as she threatened to call DYFS, (Division of Youth and Family Services) on the grounds that daddy and I were severely disturbed! Ddaddy moved out and soon after, a social worker came by one day to pick my younger sister who was sixteen months younger than me for placement in a foster home. A few months later, six months before graduation, my mother called the police on me and I was ordered out of the house. My whole life was unraveling before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it.
Anxiety, fear and self-loathing followed me through high school. Though I managed to graduate, I knew that I had so much more potential. All the tremendous stress, rejection and hostility of my life squelched my desires to be a professional musician and fashion designer. I grew restless and depressed and over ate bread and pasta. When I put on ten pounds, mostly in my hips and thighs, I despised myself even more. I developed a shame complex to the point of my heart skipping a beat anytime women (or men) stared at my shape or gazed into my features. I often wondered what was wrong with me that I was so disrespected and scorned.
I managed to find some gainful employment, but found few encouraging connections with the women. Usually the urban women would stare at my backside and laugh behind my back. I read an article in a fashion magazine about some college women controlling their weight through vomiting, so I tried it after my starvation diets made me weak and desperate. Some of us don’t like to admit such a thing, but coming out of the closet will help some precious young girl or woman heal from abuse.
By 1981, I was a desperate sad human being. But God knew I was ready for a change!
I settled into a rut, sharing my apartment with my best friend and room-mate. Our only excitement was hustling pool games at the Race Place, with our favorite handsome pool aficionados every week-end. We befriended a nice guy who always preached about Jesus. Every week, he’s asked us, “When are you gonna get saved?”
We laughed and said, “Soon.”
After graduation, my room-mate went our separate ways and lost touch. One week-end, I went back to visit the Race Place and bumped into Billy. He invited me to his church.
That night Billy picked me up, he explained that church would be a little different that what I would expect at a Catholic mass.
To this day, I’ll always remember my first experience at a Holy Ghost, Pentecostal, foot-stomping’ church service that scared the life out of me. Billy was right, my stoic Catholic worship experience didn’t quite prepare me for my first evening at Pastor Fox’s service.
The former marine, with the Jesus tattoo adorning his huge biceps and southern drawl made me tremble with fear. He slammed his fist on his wooden pulpit and screamed, “If you die tonight…are you gonna go to heaven….or hell?” His glittering black eyes bore into my soul. My head was bowed down as I timidly tip-toed to the front of the room. I said the “sinners prayer” and became born-again that night.
I must admit, it was a bumpy start, but after I got accustomed to the hooting and hollering and the special connections I made with my sisters and brothers, I settled in. For the first time in my life, I felt part of an accepting and loving family. I felt more secure. Several of the sisters were musical and invited me to be part of their music ministry to the areas nursing home patients. I was exhilarated singing three-part harmony with the church twins. I was blooming like a rose and it seemed all the shame of my past disappeared. My life was so full and exciting, I had no interest in eating carbs. I soon lost fifteen pounds and was delighted with my very slim shape. So what happened?
A year into being a part of my new spiritual family, a church sister called me one afternoon to tell me that our pastor was in jail for child molestation of several children in our congregation. Our assistant pastor also charged him with adulterous relationships with several women and he was involved with one of the twenty year old men. I was shell-shocked for a week. I loved and trusted my pastor. I couldn’t believe that while he preached holiness he was making love to a young man who himself bragged about staying pure until he married!
The devil must have had it out for me and/or God may have groomed these traumatic incidents I didn’t know. Something had to give.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion and how Jesus Christ intervened to begin transforming and establishing me to be His glorious workmanship. You’ll be amazed at the myriad more trials that I had to endure before I finally became the spiritual Pit-bull I am today!
God bless you and if you’re in an abusive relationship, think about taking Jesus’ hand and letting Him heal you!