Lying on my back on my bathroom floor, I couldn’t believe how quickly this all happened. I was trying to kick my attacker off me while yelling and screaming. Little did I know our 10-year-old son was calling 911 to get help for me against the attacks of his inebriated father. My heart broke when I realized that he ran out of our house with no shoes in an icy, freezing Ohio January night to guide the police to the right house. He told me of the dilemma he had–he dialed 911, hung up, then dialed again, hung up, and finally let it ring through as he had doubts about calling in the police against his father. His courageous decision no doubt prevented further harm. His father was strong, a former football player.
The police stopped the assault and stood guard while my son and I gathered clothes for church the next morning and fled to my parents’ house.
Several weeks later, after court appearances, psychiatrist appointments, pastoral counseling, filing of separation papers, tears, phone calls, etc. I wandered in the quiet backyard seeking solace, looked up at the night sky and thought about the future of my two children and myself. An unusual feeling came over me as I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit– I could see light at the end of the tunnel- an over-used phrase but a consistent thought that I held onto. There was light at the end of the tunnel- God’s guiding light. That feeling, that knowledge kept me strong and positive through the ordeal of divorce and reclaiming my life with God’s grace.
Have you ever felt alone, abused, or in turmoil, not knowing what to do or where to turn? Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed you had no answers? Where did you turn? What helped you? Who helped you? What did you learn? Have you been able to help others through your experience?
Barbara Miller, of Washington, Mich., is serving on the churchwide executive board.
Photo by Windell Oskay. Used with permission.