Set Free FaceSet Free - A little over a year ago, a pastor at Grace Chapel helped me realize that I didn’t have “marital problems” — I had an abusive husband.

I was not crazy as my husband had led me to believe! While I knew there were problems in my marriage, it had never entered my mind that what I was experiencing was abuse. After learning the definition and pattern of abuse, I could see that my husband fit the pattern. It took a while for me to be able to admit I was in an abusive marriage even though I had been physically abused. But once I was able to face the denial, I began to attend Hagar’s Sisters meetings and the healing began.

At the first meeting I couldn’t believe I was there — I never expected after 23 years of marriage that I’d be seeking help for an abusive marriage. But after listening to the other women in the group tell their story I knew I was in the right place. There was so much similarity in the stories I felt as though everyone must know my husband. I learned that power, control, isolation, manipulation, and intimidation, are all part of the pattern of abusive and violent behaviors — it was the same behavior I had witnessed from my Christian husband. I left the meeting wondering what would happen next.

The situation at home continued to worsen. The accusations, snide remarks, and mind games kept coming. The arguments grew more intense. I knew he would never leave the house and at the same time I knew I could not stay in the house much longer before his anger and frustration would cause something to happen. My safety was at risk. Finally I found the courage to move out of my home.

At Hagar’s Sisters meetings I learn about domestic violence within the context of my Christian faith. I also receive love and compassion as well as affirmation and validation of my feelings. The help and support I receive from Hagar’s Sisters has been a lifeline and a blessing to me. I no longer walk on eggshells, waiting for the next episode of abuse or worry that I am crazy. My life has been transformed. The oppression is gone. I feel as though I have been set free.

My life is a testimony to the healing power of Jesus Christ!

"F" is a 65 year-old divorced mother of two adult children - DOVER, MA