I hugged my son goodnight. As I turned to walk from the room, he gently grabbed my wrist. “Mom, what do we do if something goes wrong?” My kids had witnessed way too much to be unaware of their Dad’s state of mind. I swallowed back the fear threatening to overtake my words and tried to reassure him as convincingly as possible that everything would be okay.
I argued with my attorney over their Dad’s ability to visit our children so soon with so few restrictions. Not only would the visit be unsupervised, he would be driving them back to our home an hour and a half away. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for me to have to make that trip with wounds still so raw, much less my children having to do so. Since joint custody was granted, I had little choice in the matter. I was told that my only hope was to attempt to appeal to his sense of reason. I had prayed he would take them to his family’s home for the weekend. I knew they would ensure everything was okay, and the children and their Dad would be able to visit in a neutral setting. Instead, he was taking them back home.
I lay in my bed that night curled in a ball, brokenhearted, terrified and crushed under the weight of grief. I had no idea I could feel such pain. I had been the recipient of his volatile anger which tended to erupt at the slightest provocation. I had sat under his endless threats and been subjected to hours of relentless, humiliating taunts inflicted in an attempt to dull the pain in his own heart. I had been the target of his projecting his issues onto me in an attempt to avoid owning his behavior. I knew how it felt to reach the breaking point, then suddenly be taken into his arms and told how much I was loved, that I just needed to listen.
I knew too well the excruciating misery of confusion and complete disorientation as to what was true and real. I understood the utter destruction of one’s sense of self which left no visible scars. The internal damage could not be photographed as evidence. Its crippling effect simply manifests itself to the outside world as a defect in the recipient of the abuse. I knew this for myself, and I wished from the depths of my heart that my children would not have to experience it with no one there to defend them or to tell them any different. My compliance had been damage enough. I could not bear the thought of them enduring any more pain.
That night I was too emotionally distraught to even pray. I could only cry tears that had been pent up for way to long. I simply wanted it to end. I wanted to find the sunlight. I wanted to feel joy. I craved to feel the peace I knew as a little girl flying high as Daddy pushed me in the swing out under the big moss tree. I wanted to feel the sun on my face, the wind in my hair. I wanted to be free to laugh from the bottom of my soul. I wanted to feel the love and peace I felt curled up next to Momma as she read fairy tales of happily ever afters and dreams come true.
Tonight as I sit here writing, tears fall yet again. However, I now see that scene from a different perspective. I see a broken woman lying in her bed curled up in a ball, brokenhearted, terrified and crushed under the weight of grief. However, as I look closer I see she was not alone. Her heavenly Father was holding her close, collecting each tear that she cried. He sang over her with love and compassion. For you see, He promises in His word that He is close to the broken-hearted, and He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Wherever you may be in your journey, I pray you feel the arms of a loving Heavenly Father holding you close, easing your pain. Through Him there is healing and wholeness. As you gradually let go and learn to trust Him, you will once again feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and the joy of laughter from the deepest place in your soul. It is He who holds your happily ever afters and your dreams come true, and provides the deepest compassion in your times of waiting.
Isaiah 30:18 –
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!