Rachel A. Lehman RN
Do you ever wonder why you are still alive? Do you ever feel like it would have just been easier if you would have died by the hands of your abuser?
I've had those thoughts. It took me years for me not to have those thoughts! Yes, they came less and less often the longer I was away, but those thoughts stayed there for longer than I would have liked.
At the time, I couldn't understand why God would save me from the hands of my abusive husband, but yet then 'cause' me to suffer by me not being able to support myself, 'get over' what happened to me, or move on.
What I realized from feeling that way and going through the recovery process like I went through is this:
1. Today, I can relate to (and typically help) lots of people. There are many that have those same thoughts and may even try to kill themselves. I want my story to help them.
2. I realized God was FOR me. Even though it seemed He was sometimes against me in the recovery process, He wasn't. He was always there, loving on me and helping to give me courage to stand back up and keep going. He wasn't 'doing this to me' as I had previously thought. He was actually helping me to get out of the cycle of abuse and never go back to that lifestyle. Such an amazing God and Father who cares about us enough to teach us how to live differently...to live in Freedom and to actually show us how to enjoy our life instead of always thinking death is right around the corner.
3. I met so many great people during that time in my life. Many of whom I never would have met if something bad wouldn't have happened. Lifelong friendships!!
4. I learned that I could do it on my own. I could succeed. I learned that I wasn't ugly, stupid or crazy. I learned that I was smart, beautiful and worth fighting for. I didn't learn these things from another man in my life, but because God was working on my insides and helping me to see how He sees me. My worth comes from Him, not others around me. Ideally, it also comes from me. I learned that how I see me, greatly impacts who I allow into my life and who I allow to be in my tribe. The less I thought of myself, the more I would cling to others when really I should have been doing things on my own.
5. I realized I didn't 'need' a man to make me anything. What I needed was a self-esteem and confidence. I gained a lot of that during those difficult times and even learned to search after attaining these things.
6. I gained so much inner strength at that time in my life. Sometimes it's the struggle that helps us the most.
I'll leave you with the story of the butterfly...
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Life's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Remember nature needs no help, just no interference. There are processes of life, things we all go through. The struggles are a part of our journey and are preparing us for what awaits. They are preparing us to fly.
Rachel Everhart RN