Abuse Survivor: The Debra Johnson Story

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by Guest Author, Debra Johnson

Looking back at my life, I don’t remember a time I wasn’t abused in some way. From the young age of a year and a half I have suffered abuse in one way or another. As a baby I was beat with a baseball bat and suffered Cerebral Palsy as a result. Soon I began learning how to live using one hand.

Then when I was six or seven I again was abused; this time by my stepfather. This abuse lasted maybe 10 or so years before I stepped out of that into my next series of abusive relationships. But before that I had to battle daily abuses so horrifying I have been asked how I even survived it. All I can tell them is this; I trusted in the power and knowledge of Jesus Christ and knew He would not let me go through this ‘just because’.

It was through God’s power and strength I was able to endure such pain and abuse. In high school I remember very distinctly the need to write. I wanted to write a book so others would know they were not alone in the abuse they were suffering from - I too went through it. And because of the love my heavenly father had for me he carried me through those very tough and insolating years.

During those 10+ years every time I tried to cry out to someone and get help my mother - who knew about the abuse - would shut it down saying she would take care of it.

The first time was to a counsellor who when asked “why did I entice a 65 year old man” I told him exactly what was happening. When he told my mom that he would have to notify the authorities she said she would do that herself, he need not worry. She never did and the abuse continued.

The next time was when I went to my aunts for summer vacation. We were sitting in the kitchen when I summoned the courage to tell her what was happening. When she confronted my mother I was sent away to live with my father “because too many people were watching to see if she was going to act accordingly.” However living with my real dad did not last because my step dad threated to leave my mom I assume, because she came to get me and bring me back home.

When I got back home I was punished for telling our little secret. If my dad had been told the truth I most likely would not have returned to her. But because of his health he was just told we didn’t get along.

However all these years God was moving in and through my life letting me know He had a greater purpose for my life. As I look back it is evident by the amount of events and people he placed in my path as I grew up.

My grandmother, God rest her soul, was the first person he placed in my life. After my abuse as a baby she sat by my bed side praying God would bring me back to them. Day and night she sat holding my hand and praying. Finally one day while my mother was visiting I began to awaken. If God did not have a plan I would have died during that time. As I look back, the conclusion I can live with is God placed me here because I was stronger than others and would be able to deal with it – with his help of course.

The next person he placed in my life was in 3rd grade. This friend was the one who actually helped lead me to Jesus when she asked if I’d like to go to church with her and her family one Sunday afternoon.

From that moment on I began strengthening my faith as I learned scripture and prayed.

Finally at 21 I left home and into the arms of a man. To me he was my knight and shining armour. Unfortunately after we married his armour rusted and fell away as I was introduced to violence again. However it was not physical or sexual, but mental and emotional. During times in my marriage when I focused on other things besides God, He never stopped focusing on me. And again would show he was still with me by events and people he placed in my life. One day 15 years later I left. I left not so much because of the abuse but what I had wanted to do – commit suicide because I was not happy. However a solution soon presented itself and I was seeking refuge in the arms of a shelter.

Now after many years of struggling with abuse I know God has and had a plan for my life and I am here willing to accept that plan as I work to take one step closer to Him.

Thank you

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