I have always cherished reading and studying the Bible. Even as a child, I loved hearing scripture stories and learning of the important messages from God that can help us throughout our lives, especially in troubling times. My childhood and young adult years were wonderful. Despite the normal bumps in the road we all experience, life just seemed to smoothly roll along.
Then I met the man of my dreams. He was easy to talk with and was of the same faith. He also loved music and being around family and friends. We had so much in common and had many good conversations. As we looked toward marriage, I had hopes that we could weather any storm head-on, hand in hand. I had hopes of a love and a marriage that would last forever.
Little did I realize, I was heading straight into a tornado – a storm of such magnitude that it would almost destroy me. It all began during our engagement and worsened with each passing year. I was demeaned and devalued, lied to, raged at, called horrible names and made to feel stupid. It didn’t take long for me to become very codependent and frightened. Very frightened.
I spent more and more time reading my Bible, looking for answers. Prayer became vital to me every moment of every day. I always had great faith and knew that God was listening to each earnest prayer of mine. I strongly believed He truly loved me, knew my heart and how much I wanted our marriage to work. With each prayer – most said while sobbing uncontrollably – He told me to be patient and things would get better. I held onto this for many years while I looked for the silver lining among the dark clouds.
I especially love the scripture in Matthew 17:20, “ . . . for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Wow, nothing was impossible! I just needed to be patient and have enough faith that God would work a miracle.
Years passed, and I began to develop health and emotional problems. Retreating to my safe corner seemed easier than confronting the reality of my marriage. And yet, I held tightly to that mustard seed!
Finally in 2012, I’d had all I could handle and took a stand. I knew for me to survive, I would need to get counseling and plenty of it.
I knew my anger couldn’t continue, so I prayerfully sought help. I found a fantastic counselor who gave me all the tools I needed to heal and become emotionally healthy again. I learned about my codependent patterns. I also learned how not to be a victim anymore.
For the first time in my life, I began to set boundaries. The changes came slowly at first. Each time I was treated badly, I had to take a deep breath, exhale and relax. I looked forward to each counseling session. My doctor helped me learn how to break my dependency on others for answers and help.
There were books for me to read and study such as Breaking Free of the Co-Dependency Trap by Barry and Janae Weinhold, Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor Payson, The Emotionally Abused Woman by Beverly Engel (one of my favorites), and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick (another of my favorites). Because I had so many fears throughout the years, I also was greatly helped by reading Fearless Living by Rhonda Britton.
Despite a pending divorce, my stress levels – so terribly high all these years – were now significantly lower. My anger and pain were almost gone. I was sleeping better, and my health was improving. As I continually sought guidance and strength, I freely prayed aloud around the house.
But what about that mustard seed? My faith had already moved many of the mountains that had plagued me for years. Through prayer, I learned that my painful experiences were essential in developing a true empathy for other women in similar straits. I began volunteering at the Outreach Services program in my town, along with working at a crisis hotline. This offered me many learning experiences.
God’s plan for my life is unfolding. I have enrolled in college and plan to get a Master’s Degree in Psychology. I want to open a practice counseling other women in emotionally destructive and narcissistic relationships. I know my life will be very hectic and challenging for a few years, but I’ll just keep holding that mustard seed tightly. I won’t let go just because mountains are in front of me.
As I look back and see the mountains that God has already removed from my life and then look forward to those in front me, all I can say is, “Get ready, mountains; here I come!”
Pamela G. is a mother of six home-schooled children, grandmother of nine and a full-time college student. She enjoys her horses, dogs, cats and chickens, along with gardening, cooking and almost any craft imaginable. In her spare time, Pamela loves building things in her workshop. She is also writing children’s books in her ‘other’ spare time.