There are some days we will always remember for the rest of our lives. Some are very historical days like the day Kennedy was shot. My dad told me one time he remembered exactly where he was and what he was doing the day Kennedy was shot. My generation knows a similar day with 9/11/2001. I was saying the Pledge of Allegiance in sign language along with my middle school classmates at exactly the time the twin towers were struck. The day someone escapes from an abuser is one of those days we seem to never forget no matter how much we try. This is the story of that day….
It started just like most days during my life at that time. I was working part time for a new preschool that had just opened in Smyrna, TN. I was only working part time until business picked up enough for me to come on full time. I remember my husband at the time was mad at me about something from the night before. He was insistent on being right even though half the time he wasn’t. Ladies, this is probably the first sign of an abuser. They will manipulate and HAVE to be right on ALL things. Even subjects they have no idea about.
I was tired of fighting this constant battle. I was tired ALL THE TIME. I was tired emotionally, tired physically, and tired spiritually. It seemed like I was ALWAYS fasting because my husband had told me if only I prayed more, the anxiety I was feeling would go away. Well, it doesn’t exactly work that way for someone who has battled anxiety since the age of 15. I was probably malnourished due to all the fasting. My hair was cut very short and not very maintained because we only had enough money to get a haircut at the local barber college. I had cut it short because my roots were coming in where I was used to getting it highlighted. I figured if I got it cut short, the roots wouldn’t look so bad. It didn't work though.
That morning I woke up and made breakfast for my husband. I had been reading the Love Dare based off of the movie. The dare for that day was to do something unexpected for your spouse, like make breakfast. So I made eggs, cut up some fresh fruit, and brought him breakfast in bed. He acknowledged that I brought him some food in bed. We ate in silence. He then began to revisit the conversation we were having the night before. I honestly don’t know what the argument was about. I definitely know it was probably something very trivial and minute. I think it might have had something to do with our car. He wanted to have it for the afternoon, but it made more sense for me to have it to drive it to work...since he did not work at that time. I was not in the mood to argue and didn’t have the strength anymore to defend myself. I just wanted to eat and get ready for my afternoon at work. When I finally gave in and told him he was right just so I could get in the shower and get ready for the afternoon, that still didn’t seem enough. I remember asking, “What more do you want?” To that he answered, “I don’t just want you to say I’m right, I want you to BELIEVE it.”
I didn’t quite know how to respond to that statement. I just knew that I had started a new job, wanted to keep it, and the clock was ticking. So I decided to simply try and ignore him. He became so persistent that at that point, I decided to lock myself in the bathroom so I could finish my hair and makeup...what little I wore back then. The next thing I knew, there came a loud screeching noise. SCREEEECH!!!! As I looked around to see what was making that terrible sound, I noticed a screw wiggling out from the doorknob. I felt like I was in a horror movie. I don’t know what it was, but something inside told me I needed to run and get away. Maybe it was the small child in me that had experienced similar situations from my first step-father? Maybe it was the Holy Spirit? I can’t say what it was exactly, but the intuition came from somewhere.
As he unscrewed the doorknob off of the door, I bolted out of the room with my phone and made it to my in-laws room. Yes, we were still living with his parents due to lack of financial stability...particularly from him not working. He proceeded to chase me around the house...with the screwdriver in hand. I did the only thing I knew to do. I had to call my boss at the school, the very one that had been entrusted by my mom to look after me since I wouldn’t talk to my mom very much at the time. Remember Marie from my previous post? I called her mainly to say that I was going to be late and that I needed a ride to work. She could hear the fear in my voice. I continued to keep her on the phone, another thing of intuition. There I was hunkered down in my in-law’s closet as if I were playing hide and seek. Only I wasn’t playing hide and seek. I was being chased after by my own husband with a screwdriver in his hand. It was then I realized. It was as if God had come down and said, “Ok, this is really bad. You need to get out and get help”. To this day I don’t know where that voice came from. I may never know for sure, but I know it had to have come from Jesus. It wasn’t even my own voice. It was like a friend’s voice that I had known since I was born. Something instinctive.
“Keep me on the phone. I’m coming to get you. Do NOT hang up the phone,” my boss said as I stared into my husband’s eyes. He knew he needed to stand down at that point. I honestly thought he was going to try to kill me before that phone call. I was praying in my head the entire time. Lord, please keep me safe. Please let her get here fast. I grabbed my purse and that was it. She picked me up and we drove off. To this day I owe my life to this wonderful angel of a woman. She had a brand new school to run, but she stopped what she was doing and ran out to rescue me. I’ll forever be grateful and indebted to her. You know who you are Marie.
I remember crying in her car on the way to the school. I was trying to stay composed so I could go in and do my job for the afternoon. I loved my new job and wanted to stay as long as I could. “Sarah, listen to me,” she said. “God doesn’t hate divorce. He hates sin, the originator of divorce.” It was as if she already knew what I had been through even though she didn’t know the specifics, which tells me she had gone through something similar in her life. She seemed to know exactly what I was feeling and how confused I was. I felt defeated, shame, and guilt. At this point, I didn’t know what to do about my marriage. My emotions were too raw to make any kind of good judgement. I just knew I wanted to go do my job for the afternoon, and then get to some sort of safety after my shift was over.
That evening after I closed down my room at the preschool, Marie took me to some sort of safety. It just so happens that she lived just down the road from my mom. This friendship has been a blessing from the Lord. Marie had been friends with my mom since college. Somehow they found each other in the same town and neighborhood after many years later. You know those friends you have that you just seem to pick up where you left off ever so effortlessly? That is what she and my mom had. My mom told me that during the time we were estranged, she would often drive by Marie’s house and pray “Lord, how I wish I could talk to Marie today. I could use someone to talk to.” Nine times out of ten Marie was outside her house at that exact moment, checking her mailbox for the day or coming home from a hard day’s work. Marie knew all the ins and outs of my situation before I did really. Being respectful, she asked me that day if I wanted to go to my mom’s house. I said yes. I swallowed my pride knowing that there would likely be an “I told you so” to the conversation once I saw my mom again….
But there wasn’t. Marie and I pulled into the driveway of my mom’s house and the reuniting was just like the story of the prodigal son. She embraced me with such a tight squeeze. Tears running down her face. That is also a moment I’ll never forget. There was no “I told you so.” Not even a glimmer. My mom was just so overjoyed that I was standing in front of her...safe. She told me I could stay as long as I wanted or needed to, respectful of the decision she knew I needed to make with my marriage. I will always be forever grateful for that. I knew how she felt. She knew it had to be MY decision. She could not make it for me. Possibly because she herself had experienced similar situations in her past. That is where I will leave you until next time friends.
Here are the full lyrics to the first track in my recorded testimony “Victory”. The song is called “For Good”. May it be a blessing to you today.
Take a listen or download under "Music" on THIS site!
Written by Justyna Kelley and Sarah Taylor Young
Young and green, just out of school
Didn’t have a single clue
One flash of those dreamy blues
That was when I fell for you
Wanted to believe your vows
To make all my dreams come true
Must have been true color blind
‘Cause everybody but me knew
For so long I was none the wiser
‘Till you chased me ‘round with a screwdriver
Now it’s time to say farewell
Leavin’ you to save myself
Bustin out the way I never thought I could
And my ma always told me I should
Leavin’ for good, yeah for good.
And my ma always told me I should
Leavin’ for good, yeah for good.
All the times I tried to leave
You would always bring me back
Playin’ on my sympathy
Lyin’ keepin’ me offtrack
I’m done with those crazy moods swingin
Finally got the strength to go out singin’
Don’t try to come around my door
Don’t wanna hear from you no more
Don’t try to call me on the phone
When it comes to you, I’m not home