My personal story can bring hope to those who desire freedom from a painful past. Uncontrollable, traumatic events in my life forced me to embark on a journey to find hope and true empowerment. May it encourage you!
When I was eight years old my parents separated and I was taken from my home to live with my dad. A drawn-out custody battle soon followed. I was repeatedly told that my mother was incompetent to raise me and that she didn't love me, causing me to become bitter towards her. Shockingly, within a very short period of time, the mother I once loved so much was now perceived as my enemy. My dad was very busy and gone most of the time, building his business and a new relationship. I spent much of my time alone trying to cook meals, clean the house, and do all the laundry. I had to fall asleep many nights with no one there, feeling lonely and afraid. Sadly, even when my dad was home, I didn't feel much stability; having to deal with his unpredictable behaviours and demeaning words towards me. Being verbally condemned without cause, and neglected on an ongoing basis, soon planted seeds of inadequacy and inferiority within me. I tried to solve the problem by attempting to please my dad all the time, but it never changed anything.
Being alone and responsible for so much at a young age led me to become disillusioned and I began to worry a lot. In reaction to this growing anxiety, I started praying to God daily. I didn't realize at the time that I was really looking for God to be a Father in my life. After weeks of prayer I miraculously received my first copy of a Bible from a school friend. I was fascinated by the Bible and read it every night; mainly the red letter words indicating Jesus Christ was speaking. I did not fully understand it but kept reading anyways, while asking God to help me comprehend the verses. Within days I started to better understand the scriptures. My Bible became my strength and carried me through many lonely and scary times in that home. I simply believed that everything Jesus promised to people in the scriptures was equally available to me.
Prayer, faith, and reading Jesus' teachings began my healing journey. At age twelve, my dad and I moved into a new home, along with my dad's girlfriend and her daughter. This new living arrangement provided me with some needed support but, unfortunately, couldn't stop the psychological abuse and controlling behaviors directed towards me. I repeatedly tried to confront the problem but was always told that I needed to accept my dad for who he was. I tried to think this way but it only enabled the abuse to grow stronger over the years until it escalated to the point where it became too threatening for me to stay any longer. At this point, further denial of the abuse was no longer an option for me. I chose to immediately find a place of my own and leave home, confused as to why this had to happen to me. It was difficult to do and required ignoring the critics, who were not concerned for my well-being whatsoever. On and off, over the next several years, I tried to maintain a minimal level of relationship with my dad but found that the abusive patterns that were long established could not be broken. My time with him continued to rob me of the confidence and strength that I needed to be a husband, father and business owner. Realistically, I just couldn't manage this unhealthy role and maintain my priorities any longer. As I prayed for answers, God revealed to me that He had a far greater purpose for my life, and that I needed to start redirecting my energies toward His plan for me. This truth was my freedom from all the lies that had held me to abuse for so long. I now wanted to live for God's approval more than anyone else's. I loved and respected my dad, and even knew that he cared about me, but decided that love must be tough enough to do what was right for everyone. Out of necessity, for the health and safety of both me and my family, I had to separate myself from him and get on with the business of living.
Getting away led me to the next phase of my healing journey. The longer I stayed away, the more I was able to "unthaw" and see the effects of the abuse in my life. I could more clearly see the damage to my self-worth and the thoughts of failure, guilt, worry, and abandonment that were oppressing me. I also, naturally, had derived some misconceptions of God from these oppressive emotions. I had faith that Jesus Christ could walk me out this emotional pit and lead me into the good life He had always planned for me.
Over time, Jesus has given me much freedom from those old toxic thoughts and emotions. The oppressive thoughts and preoccupation with the past can no longer rule my mind! Thankfully, the resentment that held me down was replaced with a new peace. The freedom and ability to love my mom again was restored too. Jesus gave me a new identity and greater purpose for my life than just being a survivor of the past. To my surprise, He also gave me a voice through songwriting that can now encourage many others throughout the world.
Like others, I never did receive real acknowledgement for the wrongs done to me. However, Jesus has acknowledged them and has assured me that He is just and can be entrusted with every situation I have faced. As I make the choice to forgive and surrender the past to Him, I find freedom from resentment and its destructive influence in my life.
My past certainly led me to depend much more on God in my life, and for that part I am thankful. I have seen hope come out of a hopeless situation. The fact that you, the reader, are reading this is a further confirmation of this truth. Today, I consider myself a work in progress. Jesus is still liberating me by exposing old thoughts that have held me down and replacing them with the truth from His words. Now I, and my wife and children, continue to experience healing miracles, both spiritual and physical, confirming God's goodness. It is a journey filled with anticipation of wonderful things yet to come.
I have chosen to share some of the details of my past because I know there are others who are quietly suffering in the same way and need to identify with the issues shared in my story. I know that verbal/psychological abuse is real, even when others can't see it on the outside. It's real even when others try to deny it and convince you that it's normal, or wrongly tell you that you can't get away from it. It fills your mind with lies about yourself, it can destroy your confidence, and crush your spirit. If you have been damaged by abuse, I know that Jesus wants to heal you, too; not condemn you. I can say from my experience that He has power to overcome abuse and wants to renew hearts and minds. I am living proof! You have great worth in the eyes of God and He has a wonderful purpose for your life that nobody can take from you. If you are interested in learning more about the healing Jesus Who has been there for me, then feel free to continue reading the 'HOPE' tab section directly below.