My name is Dana Love and I am a domestic violence survivor.
Surprise, confusion, shame, sickness, panic, rejection, anxiety, guilt, isolation… Where is God?
Guarded; scared; unbalanced spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically; in and out of a relationship; replacing door locks with my Aunt Jackie; hollering and screaming with rage; broken fingers; random police visits; being called disrespectful names; judged by others; no trust; cheating, court dates; gossiping… Where is God?
Depression; aggression; anger; retaliation; blaming myself; pitying him; choked; slammed to the ground; punched in the face and body; PAIN, PAIN, PAIN; wearing long sleeves on hot summer days to hide the bruises; covering my house windows with aluminum foil so he can’t see me; suicidal thoughts… Where is God?
Self-hate; consequences; loss of employment; drunkenness; pain medication; no help; medical debt; surprise ER visits; surgery. God, please, help me!
Restraining order; lots of alone time; praying. And then a book called Scared Silent by Mildred Muhammed (the ex-wife of the D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammed). People stepped in to help too: my friend Reshun listened silently to me, I began attending support group meetings at the Women and Children’s Shelter. One day at a time. No looking back. Determination and prayer. God help me!!!! God help me!!! He loves me!!!
Domestic violence was the starting point for me to want to get to know more about Jesus. I discovered why He cared so much for me, even when it seemed everyone else was against me. I prayed a lot to Him and He showed me His grace and mercy. But, I didn’t make Him my priority. I didn’t invest time with Jesus and didn’t read the Bible; I wasn’t even aware that the Holy Spirit lived within me. I didn’t know how to give to myself or to others freely and willingly the grace, mercy and forgiveness God offered to me.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. –Ephesians 4:32
I would read verses like this about forgiveness and loving others, but they held no true meaning to me. I felt like I had no right to forgive after I was hurt repeatedly. How could those Bible verses pertain to me?
January of 2014, I endured the tragic loss of my father after he committed suicide. I found myself reliving some of the same feelings and pain relating to domestic violence, in addition to the new pain.
Family and friends supported me, but they couldn’t even began to see the hurt inside of me. I had to completely give up the pain and learn daily to lean and depend on God. I began reading my Bible more and feeding myself with His word. This was my only hope within.
Through these circumstances, God showed me that He was always with me. He never left me; He just wanted my full attention, so He could help me. God allows us to be uncomfortable, even to endure pain and suffering, in order to prepare us, give us maturity and strength, and to lead us to a higher purpose. For example, I had to completely surrender my plans and submit to His. I look back at my past decisions and clearly see that my decisions were not the best. This encourages me to fully trust and believe in Him. As such, God gave me a new desire to learn how to forgive and to love others His way. He is also healing my heart and spirit daily, so I can grow forward into the purpose He has for me.
If you are in a violent relationship, recently left the relationship, or if you are having thoughts of suicide, remember, you are not alone. It may seem that no one understands can help, but God is still near! He cares very deeply for you. He wants you to talk to Him. He loves you and needs you; that is why He created you.
Nothing happens without God’s permission. He does not allow a difficulty unless He has a divine purpose for it. There is hope, change, freedom, life, newness, peace, forgiveness, relief and so much more in the arms of Jesus.
I started with reading the Bible and praying continuously. Next, I reached out to my local women and children’s shelter for domestic violence support groups. Sometimes, being with other people going through what you are going through helps a lot. I also enjoy reading, so I read a book called Scared Silent by Mildred Muhammed. I actually sent the author an email, and she replied the same day.
God will place people and opportunities to help you, if only you can take the first step towards Him. So, call a hotline for suicide, someone at your church, a friend, family member, or loved one. Let them know what’s going on inside of you: the pain, ache, loss, confusion, lack of understanding, unending questions or lack of closure. People may not have experienced the specific situation that you’re going through, but they will listen and pray with you. And, if someone needs your help, listen, pray for them, call, tell them you love them, and actively show people they are needed regardless of their mistakes. Be quick to forgive, merciful, and loving…because God does this for us!