"We made it, we survived. When the enemy came in to take our lives. God lifted a standard to be my protection. No weapon formed, can prosper against us. I made it this far by faith. My future's brighter than my today. I'm holding on to my praise. I made it! I survived! I'm a survivor!!"
The lyrics are from one of my favorite songs by Bishop Hezekiah Walker. This is the last week of October. All month long we've been celebrating Breast Cancer Survivors it's a been sea of pink and love and it's been wonderful. October isn't just for Breast Cancer awareness, (you ladies are phenomenal and I in no way diminish your fight. I salute you!). There are a group of women who have survived a different sort of cancer. The one of a toxic relationship. They have survived the hands of the one who in some cases vowed to love, honor and protect them. They have survived the horror of the person who claimed to love them above all else. They too are my heroes. I take a moment to honor them and appreciate them - For their honesty, for their transparency, for sharing their struggle, for being brave.
Your stories help others who may not realize that their reality is or has been similar to the one you share. You are not weak. You are more than a conqueror. You are me and I am you. I have a story. I am not weak. I am more than a conqueror. I have survived.
The details I will save for another day. Today, I am here to send encouragement. If you are in a relationship and things just aren't ok, even if you may not know why or you might not even know what's happening. I'm going to ask you to trust the still small voice that's within that is telling you to move, to let go, to do something. Once you hear that voice, act on it. Please seek help. Do not stay in the abuse. Emotional and mental abuse are just as damaging if not more so than physical abuse. While outward bruises heal and can be covered, this is not normal, this is not love. Internal bruises begin to reshape who you are and how you see yourself. Nothing is worth losing yourself. I know you may actually love him and it's easier said than done. I know you may have children involved. I know you may not feel like you can do it on your own. But I'm here to tell you, you can and will be ok and can make it on your own. Reach out to a friend, loved, one, pastor. You can even reach out to me! Nope I'm not a counselor, (...yet, coming around ~2023), but I am a great listener and I will gladly objectively hear you out, pray for you and hopefully help you figure out your next steps. Nothing is hopeless or helpless. You are valuable. You are loved. You have help.
To those of you who are not victimized but you may know of a victim, please be there to support and encourage them to get help. Don't turn a blind a eye. It's like we teach students about bullying, be an upstander, not a bystander. You are important to the process too. We must all work together to end these tragedies.
For more information and encouragement please visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline. And again, I'm here for you, find me on any of the ways listed below. This is not for likes and followers, this is for your life. Please know that I sincerely care for you.