It takes all of us a different amount of time to adjust, especially when we are shocked by drastic change, fast. I was forced to adjust quite a few times in my life. The first major adjustment I made was when I was 15 and found myself dating a Ministers son. I quickly realized that the relationship was inescapable and everything I had known about God was a lie. I had to adjust to beatings and punishment all in the name of God and I had to adjust to this Bible that said I deserved it for not being obedient.
Soon after I had to adjust to being a mom as well. A mom who was in a dire situation and now not only fearing for her own life but the life of her child, I was trapped and I had no clue how to adjust to my new surroundings. Deep down I knew that if I did adjust I would be trapped forever, so instead I fought at every turn. Grasping onto whatever it was that I could that kept me in real life. There wasn’t much, but praise God there was enough to keep me above water.
Five years after it started on a cold February night it became a life or death situation. I had to fight for my life and for the lives of my kiddos. I was raped. I was beaten, I was cut and it was in the black of night. I had been knocked unconscious several times, my hair grabbed and my head smashed into the floor until I was out.
I knew I had to get out of there and I called 911, before the call went through that phone was smashed. I found myself grasping another phone shortly after and hitting redial. I got my mom. She heard everything that was going on. The cat was out of the bag and there was no turning back. I was out as an abuse victim and being abused with my mom hearing every sound.
I managed to get the kids in the car and we escaped in the wee hours of the night. My mom on the line and listening to everything. The phone was my life line and I wasn’t letting go. He tried to pull us from the car, but we weren’t going anywhere, my mom said “just drive” and he blocked the car. I didn’t care. I hit the gas, knowing that it was either hit or be killed. I hit him and drove off in the night in our jammies to my parents place. Never returning.
It took a long time for me to adjust to being free.
I remember about a week after our narrow escape my mom saying to me while I sat on the floor in the living room “you know you are allowed to sit on the furniture”. Yes, I was that brainwashed, that abused. I needed permission to use furniture. After all, I had been taught that I was a bitch and bitches are dogs and dogs sleep on the floor.
My world was unravelling and this freedom thing was something I struggled with. Never feeling adequate and completely unsure about how to please anyone. I am sure that I was the definition of lost in any dictionary printed at that time.
Over the next few years I would adjust to different things, different ways of parenting, different places to live, living on my own, making decisions without fear etc.
It has been nearly 10 years now since that night I escaped and I remember every sensation that I experienced, every emotion, as if it just happened. 10 years and I still struggle to make decisions. I still live in fear that I will be kidnapped and taken back. I feel like I am unfinished business and that scares me. To be honest, a lot scares me.
I suppose adjusting from forcibly being the victim of a cult to the free world will be a life-long battle for me. I am the girl who escaped, got away. I survived and 10 years later I still find myself wondering what for.
By God’s grace I know that He has a plan for my life, for my past and how I relate to others. I know that all the pain and suffering wasn’t in vain. I know that if I allow myself to be used by the Lord that I will have turned all that bad into good.