Last Sunday in church we sang a song by Hillsong that had the lyrics "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger." and then "Keep my eyes above the waters". I shed a couple of tears as I knew what these lyrics meant. And it is time to tell the world my story of barely making it, of drowning, of waking up day after day to an ocean that threatened my life and left me without a direction to go to for help. This world is full of tragedy, despair and darkness. BUT there is hope. It really doesn't last forever. There is a new day. Everyday I will share a little hope, a little courage and light here. Below, if you'd like to read more you will find the darkness that shows off this light. The stories you might find below will be uncensored and real. They are not pretty but they make my light all the more bright. It is due to the knowledge of death and being alone in fear that I have found my voice. My faith was born when I was a child, I didn't lose it but the darkness left me with deep wounds. Those wounds move me now to give voice to what Bravery entails. So welcome again to Brave.
Bravery in the darkness has many faces. I am convinced now that most faces walking in bravery wear survival. I did. I couldn't see anything past getting through each night and hoping the next one wouldn't been like the one that was happening. And happening it was. His punch found the bottom of my rib cage and my expected and accurate response was to hit the floor like a dead weight. I had no air and got up to a kneel while gasping like a fish. Horrible dry air filled my mouth but nothing went in, nothing was happening. My brain felt scattered and frantic and then air. Peaceful air came, my mind settled just as his bike shoe landed on my back and then my upper thigh. OW, ow, ow and I scrambled out of the way. He was yelling at me for moving, for complaining, for not having dinner ready when he got home- but this all happened in the windy tunnel that would suck up his voice when it got scary. I don't think I could process the fear or maybe his anger that seemed so senseless. The windy tunnel allowed me to see the kids are watching, moving slowly and silently out of the way... good. I just needed to move quicker, not too quick to show too much fear, but quicker than the - ow- bike shoes so they wouldn't get my face. He took me head and put it to the wall- I thought about how that should have hurt. My glasses were no longer on. I was crying, he was yelling. But everything was far away, farther away. Then I found myself on the floor. He went downstairs. It was time to clean up and be good so maybe it wouldn't get worse later. My head hurt. My children had such blank eyes- that must be what my eyes are like. Dinner, I had to get dinner finished. Breathe and smile. Survived. That is ok, that was ok, it is ok- I told myself. Be ok or later will be worse.
If you reached the end know this: Bravery is birthed when evil or harm presents itself. Bravery first may wear survival before moving on to courage. I wore survival for a long long time. The story you just read is nothing compared to how it was- as that was a very mild story and because nothing can share the fear of the death I knew would come one day. Domestic violence is not new- it is as old as humanity. In the US it is thought that one in four women will suffer some form of domestic violence. But the one known fact regarding domestic violence is that most cases are never reported. My story of bravery comes out of this. Yours may be breast cancer, the death of a loved one, a truly horrible boss with unrealistic expectations or raising your children. No matter what you walk through we can all be brave.