Nine years ago I was a wreck. I was stoned as soon as I woke up and stayed high on something until bed. Jeffrey and I fought non stop and I secretly longed to leave, though that wasn’t even an option. I wanted to go, I was tired of his abuse and I was weary mentally.

Everything made me cry.

We were living in North Florida in a house that wasn’t ours, and our occupancy was contingent on Jeffrey keeping his job. They shut the power and water off on us, right after thanksgiving. The week I found out I was pregnant with Abigail.

The drug use was still constant even after leaving Kansas. Our goal had been to move to Florida and get clean, but that didn’t happen. Without the crack and the meth we were nothing. Fighting constantly led us to both start smoking ridiculous amount of pot.

I look back at the time and hurt for the girl that felt trapped in a relationship that was over six months before I actually left. I hurt for how wounded and anxious she felt. I loved Jeffrey, I really did. I began to see though after I got pregnant that I HAD to leave, to save my life.

I did leave, on a warm February afternoon. I almost slept in my van that night but finally found a place to stay. I went back to motel the next day and knew I was done. I packed my stuff and left. I wanted to make it work with him and be a family but it was obvious that he didn’t want that.

Even after I left I was still a mess. I wanted so badly to believe that I was fully healed by God. At that time I wasn’t even fully aware of how much trauma I really carried. I was living in a peach colored, happy go Jesus world. It would hit me until I moved back to Colorado and my pretty pink bow life fell apart.

I didn’t understand why God, who had supposedly heal me would allow the struggles I was having.

Even though on the outside I was trying to maintain a Godly image I was dying on the inside. It was a hard thing to do to even get up in the morning.

Then I look at who I am today and how those early days, as hard as they were have shaped me. I know my circumstances right now are terrible but I am really trying to focus on healing. Once I started that process of picking through the pain my internal balance changed even though my circumstances continued to get worse.

When I reflect on who I used to believe God was I can see why everything stayed a mess. Healing the internal was all about what I was doing on the outside ie: bible studies, groups, conferences and mentorship. I perceived that if I wasn’t doing those things than I wasn’t invested in growing as a Christian. So while I knew my bible stuff and worship songs and prayer those things weren’t causing growth.

Sometimes I miss that girl I was 9 years ago. She had such courage, courage that she gives to me today to continue to persevere even though circumstantially things are rough. She was also very faithful, faithful to her friends and God. That girl still lives in me, the one who slept with her bible to fight off nightmares. The girl who put scripture around the house to stay protected. Her hyper vigilance to do those things is understandable. Even though I am not that vigilant these days with my faith, I still cling to Jesus as though I have run out of breath. He has been the one constant.

Through everything Jesus has been the one to show me love and the way to loving myself. I cannot walk away from that.

I know my journey is dark and murky but these are some of the most beautiful times.

Because I learned about self, and that I don’t need to continue berating myself to be equated with a saint.

I am human and so is my journey.

As Always,

Bethany

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