Domestic Violence–LVJ’S experience—Salvation Army Article! Published Sept 2014

Battered to Blessed
He reeled me in by pretending to care. He hooked me with his sympathetic ear, but it was all smoke and mirrors. In sharing myself, I gave him the formula, so he knew how to hurt me. He recreated the rape, and his disturbed mind experimented with new ways to traumatize me that I dare not write about.
This man was a magician. He distracted me with slight of hand, and he never told me anything intimate about himself. I was a CIA agent; he was a domestic terrorist who just wouldn’t confess.
During the relationship, I invited Christ to be my Savior. My boyfriend’s blatant blasphemy and attempts to deter me from church were the hardest things I had to endure. All the while, I prayed fervently for his salvation. The nearer I drew to God, the worse his demeanor became. Don’t ever date someone who is unequally yoked! “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?”(2 Corinthians 6:14).
One evening he came home at midnight. I went to bed at 3:00 a.m., and he roused me from my sleep around 5:00 a.m. Jumping on the bed, he exclaimed: “Heather, wake up, they’re trying to erase you!”(Later I realized that was a line from a movie.) At first I thought he was joking, but I was entering a whole new nightmare.
He punched out all the windows in our living room, and I called 911. “There’s something wrong with my boyfriend.” Outside, I was coherent and aware but inside I felt confused and petrified. He was running around in his shorts and jersey at the supermarket across the street. The operator encouraged me to call him back inside.
He stormed the front door with ferocious tenacity, followed me to the kitchen and started beating the living daylights out of me. I dropped the phone near the refrigerator. As I felt my life slipping away, I cried,”Oh God, please help me!” After what seemed like an eternity, the Erie Police walked into the house. “Get away from her or we’ll mace you.”
Unfortunately, they hit me too, but I was just grateful my heroes were finally there to catch my villain in the act. They took him away, handcuffed and hog tied, assuming he was on PCP.
I thank God and the Erie Police Department for saving my life. I’m here for a purpose! God has plans for me! “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
After my grandma and I visited my boyfriend in the hospital, we both decided that the man I should stand by was Jesus. Grandma bought me a mobile home outside of the city, and my entire life changed. Reclaiming my salvation in Christ, and therefore my victory, I began storming the harvest fields with a consuming fire.
If not for all the horrible things we go through, most of us wouldn’t see our need for Christ because of our brokenness. God allowed me to go through all this and more in order to make me strong, yet He has kept me gentle enough to help others through their experiences. “He comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others when they are troubled. We will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to tolerate abuse or any other type of mistreatment. Just the opposite is true. The Scriptures clearly command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19). God showed us how to love by sending His son to live among us (John 3:16).
We need to realize what love is and what it isn’t. Love is not verbal, financial, spiritual or sexual abuse. It requires direct, honest communication. It means serving others and showing them they’re important to you through your actions. It is also about accepting love from others, which you deserve as a child of God. Love also calls for self-sacrifice. So be the embodiment of Jesus and seek out others who do the same! Saying you love someone isn’t enough.
If someone is hurting you, emotionally, physically, or psychologically, you have one option: leave! If you don’t, you are disrespecting yourself and God. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Care for yourself as though you are sacred inside, because you are!
I’ve seen God in all His glory manifested in people I have met. Near the point of my “prison escape” from my boyfriend, the non-judgmental, encouraging counselors at Safe Net, a domestic violence outreach center, gave me the courage to shake off the handcuffs of my stronghold and put on my new clothes in Christ! They encouraged me to get a Protection from Abuse order (PFA) and they went to court with me.
I spent a lot of time alone with God. When I learned what real love is through searching the scriptures, I no longer needed anyone else. Praise God,who has promised, “I will not fail you nor abandon you” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 1:5). In addition to giving me eternal life, He saved me from myself and gave me my freedom back. I’d give up everything all over again just to have the peace that Christ gives me. “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
My prayer for all readers who are feeling imprisoned is that you will prayerfully reflect on the unconditional love of God! I pray you will love yourself, that you will boldly walk away, and then spend time with God to see things clearly before you begin a new relationship. Pray expectantly that God will send the right people into your life. Don’t forget: “He’s able to accomplish infinitely more than we would dare ask or hope!”(Ephesians 3:20)
____________________________________________By Heather Dalrymple–PUBLISHED SEPT 2014—(Before my LEGAL name change)