Friday, April 24, 2009

Trusting God

One May my mother sent me a little wallet card with my name and a Bible verse that read: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). I was amazed and touched. My Mom had never sent me anything Christian before. I kept the card with me and pondered its meaning. A month later, I got a greeting card from a friend that included the same verse. I knew it wasn't a coincidence. I knew God wanted me to focus on the verse. "I trust you, Lord" was my heart's response, "Help me to trust you even more."

About a week later or so, my whole life changed. I turned a corner and saw my husband choking our five year old son. It was as if a curtain had risen and shown a terrifying tableau and my denial shield fell to the ground. I knew I needed to save my children from my husband's violence. His storms against me was one thing, but our children needed to be safe. I knew our marriage could not continue as it had been up to that point. I went to a shelter and began taking a women's class on domestic violence to try to figure out what to call the last 14 years of marriage and what to do to change our home. The first day of class I learned that I was an abused wife with a husband who used many forms of abuse to control me.

Many things good and bad happened over the next 6 weeks. A friend who had no idea what was happening in our home, stopped me at church, handing me a card and saying, "I saw this a few days ago and thought of you. I think God might want you to have it." It was the same verse again: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."

I gripped it tightly. I knew I needed to trust God wholeheartedly during this traumatic time.

About two weeks later, I was praying late into the night, asking God for help. I needed God to show me what to do. I was horribly stressed, confused, and frightened by how threatening my spouse had been that evening. The tension was high and I knew his next angry explosion would happen soon. Suddenly, I heard the loudspeaker version of God's voice saying loud enough to rise above my frantic thoughts, "It is time to leave, Tanya. After he leaves the house for work, you need to take the children and leave."

My thoughts churned. "Leave? Where? Where can I go? For how long? What kind of leaving are we talking about?"

"Trust me, Tanya, and lean not on your own understanding."

Suddenly my mind stopped whirling. I had an assignment from God and I was going to obey. I would leave with my children. More details slid into place in my mind. I knew where we would go, a friend's home in another state. I knew I would need to pack quickly and lightly as soon as my husband went to work.

I got up an hour early and mopped my kitchen tile floor, killing time. I was still in shock, but I was clear headed just the same. God was leading me and I did not need to fully understand where he was leading me.

After my husband left for work, I called three people to let them know what I was doing and why. Then I wrote a note to my husband letting him know that I needed to think and that we'd call him in a few days. I knew as the kids and I put backpacks in the trunk, that I didn't know how long we would be gone. I wondered if my husband would finally come to his senses. As I buckled my youngest child into his carseat, I longed for a better home, one without anyone trying to control others, a safe home for everyone under the roof.

I put the car in reverse and backed out our long driveway. Just as I pulled out of the driveway and began driving forward, I looked back at my home--and the rear view mirror fell down onto the floor. "So much for that. No more looking back," I thought, driving off into a new, completely unknown future. I was trusting in God alone. It was enough.


Tracy said...

Hi Tanya, this really makes me think. It is truly amazing that you got the same message three times. Obviously, not a coincidence. And the rear-view mirror falling off? If that's not a message, I don't know what is. I've been thinking about trust a lot lately. Specifically about trusting myself and trusting God. You said trusting in God alone was enough for you. Can I ask if you trusted yourself at the time as well?

Cynthia said...

First, that was an incredible end to this post. more looking back!

My story is so similar. I too came home one day and saw my husband physically assualting my 7 year old daughter. I too heard "Its time to go" from God. I too went to a shelter and heard those words for the first time "You are an abused wife". Like you I waited until he went to an all day conference and , leaving a note on the table, took off, telling him I would contact him in a few days.

I too never looked back. God provided me with an amazing man and for the past 12 years I have experienced what God intended in a marriage.

Your blog is VERY important! Be faithful to His voice always.

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Tracey asked if I trusted myself in addition to God when I left my abusive spouse. My honest answer is no, I was extrememly beaten down emotionally from years of emotional abuse. I trusted my parenting skills but that was probably it. I felt weak, stupid, and exhausted.

I truly believe I might never have left if I had depended on my own understanding. I was so convinced that God had to redeem my marriage someday. I was sure things would change if I endured long enough. My feelings were very numb, I was in emotional survival mode all the time. I told myself and everyone else that I was doing fine.

If I had managed eventually to leave on my own strength and trust in myself, I doubt that I would have succeeded in leaving once, and only once. Most abused women return several times. But trusting in God allowed me to stand strong when it was obvious that he wasn't really interested in changing anything.

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Thank you for sharing and encouraging, twofinches. Isn't God amazing! What are the chances of someone reading this blog having such a similar exit story?

I pray that God uses this site to help victims of abuse and former victims of abuse to hear His voice and trust in Him.

Delilah said...

Tanya, I can't tell you how important your message and your understanding is to so many. I was so in awe of you on Susan Murphy Milano's show, explaining the goodness that God can bring about from the evils of violence.

Your path has taken the turn God set you upon and your voice is like a light in the darkness for many.

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your experiences so that many others can benefit from the knowledge that God really does have something better.


Tanya T. Warrington said...

Thank you, Delilah! It never ceases to amaze me how others can be impacted when we step out in faith with what we say or write. God is so good. His way of orchestrating things amazes me.

There is something exponentially better than living in abuse! Getting the word to those who are stuck and trapped in the horrors and degradations of living in abuse is the trick. But God is finding ways--even through the new technology of the blogsphere.

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft