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Strength Throughout All Struggles

My family and I grew up with a catholic lifestyle. I remember my father taking us to a church called Fatima in Camden on Sunday's but that would be the only church time we had. My father passed when I turned 15 and it seemed as time went by we did not attend church at all after his passing.

At that age of 15 I was involved in a relationship with someone that was 11 years older. I ended up dropping out of high school once I became pregnant and then married at the age of 16. At first everything felt good and so beautiful. I was in love and happy. I wanted everything to be perfect.

I had my first baby at age 16. After getting married and getting our first home, we started having arguments about who I was speaking to, if I had other relationships he didn't know about and who I was smiling or talking to. I tried defending myself. I didn't do anything or go anywhere I told my husband but he didn't care and he struck me in the face saying I was lying to him. I could not believe he hit me. That day on I grew fear for this man and just could not come to the realization of him treating me in this matter but in all I still loved him.

As time went by I had my second child then my third child. With lots of fear in me, I came to realize he was very jealous, very possessive, his demeanor was totally different then I expected, he was very controlling, bossy, and arrogant. He would come home pass his fingers on some of the furniture to see if there was dust, basically to see if I had cleaned. He wanted our place to be cleaned when he wanted it cleaned and dinner made when he wanted it.

Another incident occurred, as I was waiting for him in our car in front of my mom's house, getting ready to leave, he stepped into the store to get something and a friend of mine came up to the car and said hello. I didn't want to be rude so I pulled down my window to say hello and nothing else. I knew if my husband saw me I would be in trouble. He came out the store and he also said hi. I was relieved he knew him as a friend so I thought everything was OK. The ride home was quiet and once we were in our house he said to me "Was that one of your old boyfriend's, Did you sleep with him?" and then struck me across my face not even giving me the time to answer. At this point I was so terrified to say anything. I didn't know how to stand up for myself because I was always wrong. I didn't look at anyone or say anything to anyone. I'd always walk with my head down so I could avoid seeing anyone I knew.

A day came when I was given the chance to speak up and tell my mother in law what had been going on. I felt it in my heart to talk to her. I knew this was the day to finally tell someone, her to be specific. I told her that he had been hitting me. So she spoke to him and that was the last day he ever put his hands on me. Thank God for my mother- in-law!

All the physical abuse stopped but the verbal abuse was just as bad. After separating for a year we decided to get back together with help from a marriage counselor. After a few sessions the counselor wanted to have a visit with me alone. She wanted to inform me that he has his ways set and basically wanted to mold me into what he wanted me to be and that he was very domineering and no one should live like that. All I could do was cry and say to myself I do not believe what I'm hearing. I was in a state of mind of unhappiness. Nothing I did or said was pleasing to him. We had no communication. I wanted to be out of this relationship. The only thing I wanted to do was to love and take care of my kids.

Then yet again we got into another heated argument but this one I felt like a bomb blew up inside of me. I was escorted out of my house without my Kids. After the court hearing I was not allowed back into my house. He took advantage of the situation and manipulated the system for his own good after all he was a correctional officer. I could only see my kids on the weekends. I had nowhere to go with a part time job so I had to stay with family. From this day forward, was a battle going back and forth through the courts. I always felt like no one was on my side and the fact that he was an officer everything was in his favor. We eventually divorced. Throughout all of this I became resentful. I felt powerless and helpless. Life without my kids by my side was like missing an entire part of my heart. Once my kids graduated high school was when I started to feel so relieved at peace and had joy back in my life. My kids and I spoke about this day several times. They had decided to lived with me.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34: 17-18

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you most endure many trials for a little while.

1 Peter 1:6-7

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