Fifteen years ago, I ran away. I loaded up my six children and fled under the cover of darkness. The borrowed van was packed with enough personal belongings to “vacation” for a month. The rest of our belongings were left behind. I had hoped to collect them at a later time.
My petition to the judge to relocate away from my abuser was delayed indefinitely. Legally, I could take the children on vacation for a month without violating court orders. My advisors suggested I take a much needed vacation.
So I fled to Missouri. The six hour drive was a tearful one. This move would mean cutting off much of my contact with anyone I knew. My goal was to start fresh, to give my children a childhood free of harassment, stalking or other forms of abuse.
I was exhausted from the 30 plus court hearings that included both the criminal trial and divorce proceedings. All of which were messy and traumatic.
What they said would be an open/closed case turned into an ugly nightmare. Sixty-seven felony counts dropped for his guilty plea to three misdemeanor battery counts. He was free, free to seek revenge for my turning to the court system to stop the abuse.
The news came that I could relocate. I returned most of my personal belongings again under the cover of darkness. He had supporters watching the house. So much had to be left behind because it wouldn’t fit. The most painful thing left behind were shattered dreams and my sense of self. What wasn’t beaten down by him was further battered by the court system. I ran away from him but I had to run from friends, family, and all things familiar.
For 14 years, I lived under varying levels of anonymity. It took effort to keep our location secret. However, the Safe at Home Program lightened the load. My sole focus was to raise the children in a loving environment free of conflict.
Goal accomplished. All six children are now adults. The last fifteen years have been a time of healing and transformation. God blessed me with a new life, new spouse and a home full of joy.
God allowed for the healing to refine me rather than define me. The trials became instructive rather than destructive. To be sure, I will always live with emotional and physical scars. But the healing process was transformative.
Much has changed in the last fifteen years. I no longer live in anonymity. But I am still running. Let me explain.
My freedom from oppression was made possible by so many loving people. Getting free from daily abuse was only one part of the process. I had to heal to remain free from residual oppression of domestic violence. God made that possible by surrounding me with amazing people. I have received a lot. Now it is time to give back.
Bright Hope Soap Works was one way I could touch lives. While domestic violence is a specific pain, the lessons of overcoming heartache have universal themes. It has been a blessing to share hope through this little company and touch lives.
But it was time to do more. So, I started running. This time, I was not running away. I am running toward the finish line.
WINGS Refuge is a local ministry whose mission is to help women and children suffering from domestic abuse. They are hosting a 5k. The motto this year is, “We run so she doesn’t have to”.
It empowers me to know I no longer have to run away. Instead, I can now run so others don’t have to.
Training for this 5k has been transformative. Sure, I am losing weight. But that is not what I mean. Each step I take, I praise God for the many precious people who gave a part of their life to help me get free. I also spend time praying for the women who have been and will be served by this ministry.
The race takes place May 27,2023. As a board member and survivor, this cause is near and dear to my heart. I am asking anyone who can to support this ministry by making a donation to help us raise funds. The fund go toward the program costs and assist with the day-to-day care of the women and children in the shelter.
I chose to support this ministry because it is a Christian organization. They are more than just a shelter. They provide training to help women gain true independence and freedom. When they leave the program, they are equipped with skill sets to help them thrive.
You can support this incredible ministry by following the link here.
Help us run so she doesn’t have to.