By Toni J. Spearman
When the choir started singing, I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through by Deon Kipping last Sunday, I could barely contain myself as the tears fell.
Almost two years ago, my marriage began a vicious decline. The man I loved the most became the man I hated the most. I almost started hating him more than I despise the devil! To be honest, I felt like he WAS THE DEVIL, incarnate!
There was an evil in my house that went from a typical husband/wife disagreement, to me concealing a small/sharp blade in my nightstand drawer, just in case. The verbal assaults were no longer mean, they were now sinister and gut-wrenching. During one such assault, he looked at me with venom in his eyes and told me to get down on my knees and worship him!
I was livid! With my heart beating like crazy, I put on a hoodie, some sweat pants, my Nike kicks and walked to the Baptist church parking lot half a block from my house. It was midnight.
I cried out to God like I never had before under the glow of the moon and stars. I screamed and ran and fell down and got back up until my soul found relief! Dear Jesus, what is this, I begged? What or who is this demon in the guise of my man?
The Lord patiently waited until I calmed down, then He ministered commanding words to me.
With new levels, come new devils. If you want to go higher in me, you will encounter powers on a higher dimension. You are moving from base level opponents to high ranking forces that will do everything they can to break you! For you are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places. . .
You are in warfare and in order to win, you need a strategy!
It was in that moment that I realized it was not my husband who told me to get down and worship him; but in fact the enemy himself.
Being the woman that I am, willing to fight for my family, I asked the Lord for His strength. I’m loyal and committed like that because no weapon formed against me (or my family) will prosper!
The following months were difficult, my sleep was disrupted and many nights I tossed and turned while my husband struggled with his own inner demons. Yet I prayed and remained faithful. The greatest attack of all came when the enemy tried to distort my trust in God. I became exhausted and complained about why my husband could treat me horribly without consequences. Why Lord?
Then one day, the strategy to overcome became clear.
I had been focusing relentlessly on my problem and was missing out on the beauty all around me. I decided that if I could not control the length of my trial, I would make a choice to fight back with love until my trial was over.
I initiated unconditional love towards my husband, my children and other women and their children who were going through the same thing as me. I was going to love my way out of depression, out of stress and into a new beginning. “I will sow seeds of love and support to other hurting wives (and their children) by starting a support group in my community. I cannot change my husband, but I can change ME,” my heart declared.
Hope began to rise as the details came together. I got excited and felt a renewed zest for life. Today, M.A.T.C.H. is a reality, and stands for Mothers and Their Children Hangout which meets once a month in my city. It is a support group for survivors of domestic violence (physical, verbal and sexual), understanding that healing is a life time process.
Having hope and a purpose is like fuel to a car. It will keep you going. Several times I was tempted to abandon my dream during difficult moments, but with determination I stood, not willing to run any more. And it wasn’t until I began to invest in others that God began to invest in my marriage and turn things around for the good. By the grace of God, I am a two-time survivor and I declare that this cycle has been broken!
Weeping may endure for a night but joy does come in the morning! So fight for your family and fulfill your destiny, for you’re so much stronger than you think!
Toni J. Spearman is an author, (2 Faces of a Preacher’s Wife) is available now, editor and Life Coach in West Texas. Follow her on Twitter @ToniSpearman1.
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