ARMS Her Journey played a vital part in my recovery and healing from an abusive marriage. It was through tremendous pain that I came to truly recognize God’s unconditional love for me.
He would control conversations, blaming me for everything. The conversation would never deal with the original issue but circle around spiraling from one thing to another, constantly leaving me confused.
He was jealous of my other friendships / relationships. One time he told me I had to choose between him and my mom because he didn’t like me talking to my mom on the phone when he was at home. I walked on eggshells for years. He would have mood swings and I never knew what was going to set him off. He would say cruel and hurtful things.
I remember wishing he would hit me or yell at me in front of someone, so that people would see what he was really like. This was years before I understood it was domestic abuse.
A counselor for my children saw things that concerned her. She suggested that I read the “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”. I realized this book was describing my life. She then told me about a support group called ARMS Her Journey. At the time, it wasn’t safe for me to attend.
After more years and more struggles, I finally started attending Her Journey. ARMS became my lifeline and helped me survive as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Having been raised in a Christian home and choosing divorce, I felt like a failure. How could God love me still? I was reminded that God loved me, no matter what, and he had a plan for my life.
I realized I wasn’t alone…this was HUGE! To be in a room where other women understood exactly how I felt was amazing. I had felt so alone for many years. I remember sitting silently and crying a lot at the beginning of attending the class. I was so broken, numb, wounded, on the brink of emotional death.
I honestly don’t know where I would be in my healing and growth if it hadn’t been for ARMS. I was in such a low place. God gets all the glory for the changes that have taken place in my life. I truly have been through hell and back. I am at peace and trusting God with my life. I am now married to a wonderful man and experiencing what a healthy marriage should have been.
I am thankful for ARMS, those who have donated money and those who volunteer their time to rescue people like me. I am thankful for new life and for God’s redemptive love.
I had always told myself that I would never marry anyone like my father, yet that is exactly the type I married! I had a 16 year-long, painful marriage that contained many forms of abuse. I should have got out of years ago for the sake of my children and myself but I was too scared of the unknown to actually do it.
I remember the first time my husband went to jail for hurting me. It was in the middle of the night that the police took him. The next morning I had to go to a meeting at church because I was involved in a large women’s ministry at church. I never let any of my friends know there was domestic violence in my marriage and I was not ever going to let them know that my husband was currently in jail or that I was afraid to even go home after the meeting, since I knew he would have been out on bail, angrily waiting for me.
I wanted to fit in and keep my ministry at church. I assumed churches wouldn’t want me in leadership if they knew I was experiencing domestic violence! The only ones who knew were my family. The next time my parents and siblings saw my husband they acted as if nothing ever happened! There were never any consequences for him and he knew it.
My family has been extremely unsupportive. They did not believe that abuse was a reason for divorce. My own father has supported my husband throughout our entire divorce, even volunteering to be his chaperone while my husband was on court ordered supervised visitation with our children.
I attended an ARMS Her Journey class while I was going through my divorce. I was very leery and terrified to go that first night. I always saw myself as a very self-sufficient, smart, independent woman. I was highly embarrassed to attend and admit I had been abused.
I decided that I would walk in and if I recognized anyone I knew or if it was a bunch of down and out women, I would just act as though I was in the wrong class and leave!
I did go to the first class and it was filled with normal women, just like me. I stayed and formed some very close friendships.
One of the most life changing principles that ARMS has taught me was how to have healthy boundaries, not just in marriage, but all relationships.
ARMS taught me how to recognize red flags in unsafe people. I had always wondered why I had hooked up with verbally or physically abusive men in my life. I figured it was ‘just my bad luck’. After attending the Her Journey classes, I realized I had never learned about healthy boundaries.
I feel like I have the tools now to move forward from my hurtful past and live the joyful abundant life that God has always wanted me to have.
I now believe that I am a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, therefore I am a PRINCESS!