From Hurt to Healing

Deliverance from the nightmare of spousal abuse.

by Kay May with Muriel Larson

Norm seemed like such a nice guy when we dated. He had a great sense of humor, and we laughed a lot. We went to church together. He professed to be a Christian and even taught a Bible school class. Little did I know back then how alcohol would plunge both of us into an indescribable hades.

Alcohol and violence

We married when I was eighteen. Norm was affectionate and attentive, but he also was possessive and tended to put me down at times.

Then Norm started drinking. As his alcohol intake increased, what happiness we had shared was shattered by violence. I began wearing long-sleeved dresses to cover the bruises on my arms. My husband killed three unborn babies by causing me to have miscarriages. He also slept around with other women.

 Contempt for God

One night I picked up Norm from a tavern because he was drunk. Pregnant again, I was terrified of what might happen. Our son Danny had fallen asleep on the couch. Awakened by his father’s shouting when we came in, he saw Norm smash his fist into my mouth. Danny shook with fear as his father picked him up to take him to his room.

When Norm laid Danny in his bed, our little son began saying his prayers. Norm laughed at him. “There is no God,” he declared contemptuously, “and I don’t want you to pray anymore!”

Then he turned on me. “Don’t you ever teach our kid to pray!” he ordered. That hurt me more than my bleeding mouth. When Danny prayed, “Please, God, take care of Mommy,” Norm returned to beating me.

Deciding to leave

On another night Norm staggered into our bedroom, jerked the full-sized mattress right out from under me, and threw it across the room. There I sat on the box springs with my book still in hand. As Norm came roaring at me, I instinctively jumped up, grabbed the lamp, and smashed it over his head. That knocked him out and ended the violence for the night.

That does it, I thought as I looked at his prone body. I’m tired of being battered physically and psychologically, of having him kill my babies. And I’m sick of his infidelities with other women. I’m leaving!

I left, taking Danny with me, and we both moved in with my parents.

Turning point

One night Norm came to my parents’ house to try to talk me into coming back. He was drunk again. When I refused to go with him, he became violent, so my father called the police. When Norm began threatening to kill my father, I had him committed to a mental institution. I realized he had mental problems and was dangerous to my family.

I felt depressed and hopeless about my situation. One night when my parents went to church, anger and self-pity overwhelmed me. I filled the bathtub with steaming hot water, climbed in, then screamed from the pain. Hyperventilating, I slid under the water. I wanted to drown. My unborn baby, now eight months along, began moving frantically. Pulling myself out of that tub, I angrily declared, “No devil is going to take my life or hurt my baby!” That was my turning point.

Deciding to divorce

Up until then, I had forgotten how to smile and hadn’t even been able to pray. Now suddenly I found I could pray again for God’s help. I knew He had saved my life and cared for me.

Unfortunately, Norm was discharged from the mental hospital. One Sunday morning he broke into my parents’ home, his eyes glaring demonically. With her soft, kind talk, Mother kept him from violence until the police came.

After several more violent episodes, I finally sued for divorce. Norm had a heart attack when he got the papers and later died of another attack.

Healing

While reading my Bible one day shortly after that, I came across Ephesians 4:31, 32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger. . . . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I knew God was speaking to me.

Bowing my head, I said, “Lord, with Your help, I forgive my husband for all the bad things he did to me, and I forgive the women who were in his life.” Then I felt God’s incredible peace and joy flooding my hurt and knew it was the beginning of my healing.

God led me to another scripture that lifted me above the abuse I had suffered and assured me of who I really was: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Helping abused women

I am now happily married to a good Christian man. I took no chances on this one: After working through my own issues, I prayed for wisdom and guidance and asked God for a good husband. And that’s exactly what He gave me!

I now work as a nurse in psychiatric hospital counseling other women who have been abused by their husbands. I believe God put me here so I can share the great truths I learned through my own bitter experiences. And I pray He will use the healing biblical truths that released me from the pain and resentful feelings that kept me from being a whole woman.

How glad I am that God saved me from myself and that He is now using this life I almost threw away to help other suffering women.