This post is for the one who suffers with blows to your face and to your heart. In high school, I allowed another teenage boy to control my life, to hurt me.
His fist often found its way into my jaw. But I thought that dating a popular boy was the answer. That his status reflected my worth. That somehow he made me whole. But he was ugly to me, his words hurtful, and he abused me.
I remember one Friday night when I didn’t obey his command, how he knocked me out with a few blows to the side of my head and face.
I remember coming to, my head on the asphalt of the street in front of my car next to his house. My lips were swollen, and the street light shone on me like a spotlight of pain. And my boyfriend was nowhere to be found.
Another time, I remember we were at a drive-in movie, and he asked me to go to the snack bar, more like an order. I wanted him to go along, so when I countered his offer, my left cheek received a blow and he tossed some bills into my lap.
I stepped from the car, walking to the concession, moving around the building, and marched myself several miles home in the dark. I wept. I was angry. And I was confused.
At school one day, his anger rose again, and he took my keys and tried to run over me with my own car. He chased me, after jumping from the car, and beat my face as others watched until a teacher came to my assistance.
I look back on those ugly scenes, many I’ll not share here, those moments when the person I longed to be, was a mere shadow of nothingness. I didn’t exist, and yet, I longed to exist. I longed to be loved. I longed for attention. But I struggled with my identity.
And this boyfriend would engage me with his charm after each explosion of anger, and then apologize.
He would give me presents too, using his slick words. Then like a bear his claws would return along with my bruises.
I was searching for my identity and had no idea that Christ was the answer. Christ was the strength and hope I longed for, and the joy I needed. He was the love I longed for too, and I was disappearing before my own eyes.
I didn’t tell many people about the way my boyfriend hurt me, and I struggled to find freedom from the troubled relationship. It became a daily chore to go to school. I could barely breathe. I was suffocating.
And yes, it was years ago, but after a man told me yesterday of his father’s fist hitting him, those memories rose up in me like fresh bruises. So I’m compelled to encourage someone tonight.
So, for anyone who has felt the blow of anger from another person, remember that you matter. That you are worthy. That you are beautiful in God’s sight. That you are made in God’s image too.
May you walk, and not faint. May you find renewed strength to fly like an eagle for Christ! May you be free to serve God with all you are and were meant to be – and may your true identity be found in Him!
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 ESV