Sipping sweet tea

I was in my early twenties when I met him. He was so charismatic, funny, charming, smart, and cute. He was a DJ and locally “famous”. He said I was beautiful every day. Literally every day, he told me how beautiful I was and how much he loved me. He told me he loved my body. I followed him everywhere, to the grocery store, to his new apartment because he decided to move to my town (leaving his children and their mother), and followed him all over Florida for years. When things went wrong we always moved back to our hometown and stayed with one of our parents, weaving together whatever lies we needed to just long enough to stay. 

Then I got it. I got what I believe was my first big obvious warning from God (who I didn’t know yet) that this was not the man for me. 
He wasn’t working at the time and had developed a habit of not coming home at night. On this particular morning, I knew where he was and I drove over there before work to get him. I found him locked in a room with a hooker and a bunch of drugs. He was drunk. I was so angry, upset, and confused. I tried to leave, but he followed me. We argued on the porch. I slapped his cheek, he spit on my face, then put me in a head lock and pushed me to the ground. I remember my face being pressed onto the wood planks of the porch at the house where he was partying night before. Don’t get me wrong, I had partied too, just not on nights where I had to work in the morning. He was good at putting people in headlocks; he’d been a wrestler in high school. But he’d never done it to me before. Not once. That morning in particular, he didn’t want me to leave because I got paid that day and we had drugs we needed to buy. I tried to get In the car and leave, but he took my keys and wallet with my ID so I couldn’t cash my paycheck. Finally all the screaming must have woken up one of his drunk buddies. They stumbled out asking what the heck was happening and they convinced him to give me my stuff back so I would just leave. They didn’t want the neighbors to call the cops. 

I drove home, woke up my mom and cried to her. She said he couldn’t stay in her home anymore. I wailed “I can’t start over! I’m too old. I can’t do this without him. My life is over.” 

Truth is, my life wasn’t over, it was just starting to roll down hill, and as it did it would gain momentum, getting faster and faster. Quickly approaching the dreaded “rock bottom” where everything would come to a halt. Rock meets rock. My rock would shatter into a million pieces. Then, left with nothing but shards of a broken life, I would look around and find myself completely alone.
But rock bottom was still at least 6 years away from that morning. I still had so much awfullness to face. So much loneliness and darkness, terrifying moments that would make that morning on the front porch feel like sitting in a rocking chair with your neighbor sipping sweet tea.

Most importantly, I still had to find God. Of course He was always there, waiting for me, but I didn’t know it. He was just waiting for my messed up life to come into alignment with His plans for me. God was waiting for me to want something greater, better, safer; something more. Something I could only find through Him.

And thank God I would.

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I’m not abused. Am I?

Abuse. Abusive relationship. Being abused. My loved ones, the ones I trust, tell me that I was abused. My brain understands the concept, but my heart doesn’t believe it’s true. The thing is, we really did (do?) love each other. He was my best friend, and I was his. We were together all the time for 12 years. Maybe that was his way of controlling me; I don’t know. Maybe he did it purposefully, but I don’t think so. I never saw it that way. Honestly, I still don’t. I’ll talk about that later. I’m starting therapy this week or next, so I’ll write about that after I’ve had some time to hash it out with myself.

For now, I’m going to continue to share my story. It’s not pretty or easy or fun. It hasn’t gone the way I thought it would. My plans were not even close to God’s plans. Thank God. I’m going to keep sharing this journey because God’s plans are always better than our own. God has a great plan for me, and I cannot wait to see what I’m becoming.

“Becoming”

So after “the beginning” https://breenicolem.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/in-the-beginning/ I followed my boyfriend all over Florida, moving for jobs or just because our lives had crashed and burned where ever we were living. We moved back home, staying with his parents or mine more than once. Continuing to abuse drugs and emotionally abuse each other. Needless to say, life was not good. But Jesus was there. I know this now because I can look back and see him through the tears. He was waiting for me. He was protecting me. He was loving me. I just didn’t know it yet.

My boyfriend and I were abusing drugs. It’s gross and I look back with shame and disgust. We managed; we were what you call “functioning addicts”. We held down jobs (usually), had friends (drug dealers) and we were able to look like a normal couple. I think. But maybe not. I’ve never really asked anyone who knew us if they thought something was going on. I don’t really think I want to know what they suspected because I thought I was doing such a good job of pretending to be ok. I’ve written about how I came to Jesus earlier in this blog if you want to check that out here: https://breenicolem.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/tell-me-about-jesus/

What I didn’t know at the time is that in order to truly find Christ, I’d have to lose myself and be broken into a million shards of scary sickness and sadness. Of course God had a plan for those shards, but I needed to surrender. And I did on November 20, 2016. I left my life and walked toward a God I cannot see; blinded by tears, terrorized by my thoughts and feelings, and guided by the Holy Spirit.

I want to tell you all about what lead up to that horrible, terrifying, exhilarating moment of surrender. The months of constant attacks and hardships. Then I want to tell you about my healing and my growing relationship with God. I’m still in the middle of all of this, I have no idea where it will lead.

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Surrendered and Free

Five months ago my husband attempted suicide. Four months ago I was in a bad car accident, totaling my car. Three months ago the abuse in my marriage escalated to physical abuse.

But God was there. He never took His eyes off me. He gave me Splendid and women who poured light and love and Jesus into my soul.

Less than three months ago, in a matter of hours I decided to leave my whole life behind trusting that God had something better for me. I left my husband in a whirlwind of tears and fear. I quit my job and lost my health insurance. I had no car, no job, no money. I had my purse and a couple of outfits.
Who would have thought in the midst of that chaos I would find peace. True peace like I’ve never known before, and rest and hope and love.

Surrendered and scared, I cried out to God. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was so confused about everything. So I asked for peace.
He heard me and answered. I received peace and so much more. So many truly unbelievable things have happened. Unbelievable … but God.
So many blessings. All because I surrendered to God, confessed the truths in my heart, acknowledged the lies i was living and chose Jesus.

Six months since my life fell apart I now have an amazing job, my own money in the bank, health insurance, reunited relationships with my family, and new friends. Today I’m flying to Texas to see my best friend and join her at IF:Gathering.

Yes, God is with us all time. Even in the hard stuff. Especially in the hard stuff.

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In the beginning

A while ago a girl met a boy, the chemistry fantastic; like nothing she’d felt before. Yes, he had a family, 2 daughters and one on the way. But he wasn’t married; so she thought it ok. Her heart skipped a beat when he drove over 4 hours just so they could meet. Then he’d drive back home to his family. She was young and confused. Surely thIs is love she thought; he loves me.
(Doubt that’s what the mother of his daughters thought).

Many days and months passed; he’d hold open her doors, and hold tight her hand, paying the bills, and being her man. He once brought her roses “just because he can”. Swooning at the sight, she thought “this man is just right”. At night before bed, the comforter he’d heat, a few tumbles in the dryer is all it needed. Providing warmth and comfort, it’s what she needed. Surly this is love, she thought. Surely this is love indeed.

One day he was crying, we needed to talk. With tears in those big brown eyes he said “I’ve fallen in love with you”. Excitedly she said “I love you too!” But the boy replied, “No, this is my moment to love you”.

I was young and that thought was sweet. But looking back now, I wonder if this is where the control started, because it only got worse. At the time it was sweet, but now it’s perverse.

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The night it happened.

So much for daydreams, checkers on the beach,
laughing till it hurts,
and prayers that stop the world.
God listening, tears flowing
my stethoscope shows a broken
heart; how bout yours?
More lonely now than before
that night
where I couldn’t even see Gods light
Through the blinking lights, red and blue
Emergency!
Knees on the wet ground
He’s crying out for you, I’m told
but stay here (in the cold)
wet and alone, clutching The Word.
Until I heard your voice.
You’re always able to bring me home.
You remind me and are kind to me
Until my broken is too much
for you
and promises get broken too.
With broken dreams and
the emptiness
of where you used to be.
Sadly, it’s looking more like
solitaire on the beach for me.

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