Sometimes I feel like I don’t have much to offer with my story. You know, not a lot of teachable moments to offer up as learning tools. But I feel God impressing me to offer you my five loaves and two fish. In John chapter 6, Jesus asks Phillip a question. Seeing a very large crowd coming towards Him, Jesus turns to His disciple with these words on His lips… “Where are we to by bread so that these people may eat?” Jesus already knew the plan for feeding this massive group. Phillip answered His question with what I kinda envision to be a bit of an attitude. Lord, are you kidding me? It would take nearly a year’s wages to give each of these people just a little bit of food.
There was a young boy hanging around this crowd for some reason or another and in my imagination, he overhears the exchange between Jesus and Phillip and steps forward. ”I have some food” I can hear him saying. Another skeptical disciple named Andrew relays the information to Jesus with a scoff… “What good is the little bit of food this youngster has with him?” Oh I wish I could have been among that crowd to witness first hand how Jesus took the only offering to give everything he had from a little boy, and multiplied it so much they had left overs! Let me offer to you my five loaves and two fish and I pray God multiplies it as needed.
As I have mentioned before, I grew up feeling like I could just never be like everyone else in the areas of driving, sports or dating. Well, having the feelings that no man would want damaged goods, I was so delighted when, at eighteen years old, my knight in shining armor came into my life just when I needed him to. Oh he was so attentive and romantic. He called me all the time to tell me he missed me and loved me. When we would go out, he always wanted me next to him to let people know we were in love. I was so blind (if you’ll pardon the pun).
After being together for just a couple months, he began to show signs that I didn’t see then but are crystal clear now. He bought a cassette tape that he said was his message of love to me. The title of the song was “Possession”. I thought this was so incredibly romantic and demonstrated just how much he loved me. Oh, how wrong I was. The main verse in the song says “you’re my obsession, I want possession of you.” He made that very clear over the next several months.
He began showing signs of jealousy when we would go out. He accused me of “checking out” other guys. Mind you I couldn’t even see if it was a guy or a girl but never-the-less, I was cheating with my blind eyes. He began insisting I keep some memento from every place we went. These were literally items anyone one else would throw in the trash. Empty cups, plastic spoons, wrappers, that kind of thing. He demanded I display them in my room so others would know how in love with him I was and no one would stand in the way of that. I quickly was no longer allowed to wear makeup or style my hair to much. This of course was to eliminate drawing any attention from another man. Just who was I trying to impress anyway? It eventually escalated to him pushing me. I don’t honestly remember the incident that triggered that, but it really didn’t matter what it was. Pushing turned into slapping, slapping turned into punching and kicking. It always does! It never mattered what I did, anything would trigger him. Something that never triggered him before, would trigger him another time. The question always gets asked in these situations… Why did you stay?
The answer is different for everyone. For me, it was more than just a fear of leaving. He made me understand in no uncertain terms that no other man would ever want damaged goods. The very term I used on myself for many years. No one would know how to “take care of me” nor would even want to besides him. I witnessed many violent outbursts from him that usually were “my fault.” I suffered many bruises and bloody noses and lips at his hand. One stays with me to this day. I have a fifty-five percent hearing loss in my left ear as a result of his abuse.
I remember very clearly my last violent interaction with him. I am going to share it with you in the hopes the scene will help even one young woman get out of a bad relationship. He had picked me up and brought me back to his house. He still lived with his parents as did I. They however were gone for the whole day. After we arrived at his house, he was called into work. This meant I could either have him take me back home or sit at his parent’s house for the next eight hours by myself. I knew no matter what answer I gave, it would be the wrong one. If I wanted to go home, it was so I could hang out with another man. If I wanted to stay, it was so I could have said other man pick me up where no one would see us. I chose to go home to my parent’s house. At least other people were around to vouch for the fact that I spent the day in my room alone. Mistake.
He flew into a rage accusing me of cheating on him with multiple men and I just couldn’t wait to get home to one of them and make a fool of him. I freed myself from his grasp and ran to the bathroom and locked the door. Unfortunately, the window in that bathroom was not big enough to get out of. He pounded and pounded on the door. Screaming at me to let him in. I didn’t. I heard him move away from the door. I’d hoped he would give up and just go onto work. He didn’t. He had gone to get a screwdriver or something to help him gain entrance to the bathroom. The next thing I knew, the door flew open. He charged at me and drug me out by my hair. He threw me around and shoved me to the floor. Repeatedly grabbing my hair and forcing me to look at him, he called me many horrible names. Never quite sure what direction he would toss me next due to my vision loss, I hoped he would just tire of doing what he was doing and just leave for work.
I don’t really remember how long it went on but he eventually did leave me there and go on his way. Stiff and completely disheveled, I called my parents to pick me up. I of course didn’t mention the real reason why. Just that he didn’t have time to bring me home after getting called into work. They were on their way so I went into the bathroom again and brushed my snarled and ratted hair. I washed my face and returned my clothes to their proper arrangement. I awaited pick up. I went home and never told anyone. A short time later I left him for good because I had my family who knew more than I realized, and friends who were willing to keep me occupied so as not to go back to him and all his lies of promising to change.
That’s all those promises are… just lies. He was lying to me and himself. He could never change without professional help. If I can get one message across to young women who think they are in love and want to protect and help the person abusing them it’s that YOU can’t. You can’t love them out of abusing you. Your love is not the problem. No amount of patience or understanding will stop the abuse. I had and still have healing to do from that situation. God brought into my life another man a few years later who truly loves me. Loves my independents, my desire to follow Jesus, and my passion for helping others. He encourages me to be all God intends for me to be. He doesn’t need me to be at his side every waking moment but loves when I make time for he and I to sit together. Friends, this is the kind of love God wants for us. Freedom to love! God’s love is not demanding and accusatory. It’s open and free. He loves us with an unconditional love and has His arms open to us to CHOOSE Him. It is my prayer and hope that this ministry will help someone understand God’s free gift of love.
God’s word is filled with examples of His love for each of us. Seek those words out and read them over and over. Insert your name into those promises of His love. If you are in a situation like the one I write about here, I will be praying for you. Please consider getting the help you need to find freedom. God be with you friends.
This was food for thought… may I offer you some comfort food to go with it?
This is an old family favorite and many of you may have your own version of mac and cheese. But it’s a great comfort food and maybe this one is a little different…
Baked Bacon Mac & Cheese
2 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. butter (the real thing)
8 oz. Triple cheddar cheese
8 oz. Sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz. mozzarella cheese
Dash of season salt
1 16 oz. box Cavatopi noodles
6-8 Slices turkey bacon; cooked
1 sleeve Ritz crackers crushed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil noodles as label directs in a Dutch oven. In medium sauce pan, simmer milk and butter together on medium low heat until butter is melted. Add flour and whisk constantly for approximately 3 minutes. Begin adding cheeses a little at a time to melt evenly. When all cheeses are added and melted, put in a dash of season salt. Drain noodles and return to Dutch oven. Pour melted cheese sauce over noodles and mix well. Cut cooked bacon into pieces and add to mac and cheese. Pour into 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers over top. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy the ooey gooey deliciousness.