Hello, World Pulse!
I joined World Pulse nearly four years ago and have read the newsletters all this time, rejoicing quietly as this community has grown and become more powerful every day. At that time my family was struggling desperately, and my business as a freelance web designer was just getting off the ground. I'm an artist by nature, and originally taught myself how to makes websites for family endeavors. It became a business when the community of artists (mostly women) in my area let me know they had no one they could trust to help them with their websites. I've worked hard to establish a good reputation and increase my skills and confidence. As a result, I have more friends than ever, women who love and trust me, and whose work I love and value very deeply. Slowly but surely, despite some terrifying setbacks and thanks to the help of my husband and son, two beautifully creative but unemployed men who have stepped into traditionally "female" roles like cooking and doing laundry so I can get in more work time, our situation has gradually been improving.
I'm still pressed for time outside work so I can revisit my true loves - painting and writing - and I need to keep my path straight to accomplish more important family goals, but I can see that things are changing. I'm so grateful for all of my family, which also includes two grown daughters with their own children. This in itself makes my life so different than I ever thought it would be. I never had any children of my own, all my kids are my husband's children. I am blessed that they are happy to accept me as a mom, and the love and encouragement that we girls, all three very busy ladies who all support our families, share with each other is so deep and so meaningful that sometimes tears come to my eyes when I think about how they have fulfilled an empty part of myself I didn't know was there.
About two years ago we got a call from one of our daughters. I answered the phone, so I was the one who was first to hear that she, a married woman with two young boys, had spent Mother's Day in a shelter for abused women because her husband had threatened to kill her. She was trying so hard to be strong, but I could hear the fear in her voice. It was the same fear I had heard in my mother's voice when her second marriage turned violent. It wasn't so much that she was afraid to die. She was afraid she would lose the God she loved so dearly if she attempted to escape. I told her what I told my mother, which was that no one could ever convince me that God would rather see her die at the hands of her husband than break her marriage vows. That incident began a two year odyssey during which she struggled all the way to freedom. Not just freedom from an abusive marriage, from the deceitful religiosity preached by self-serving men that had been a large part of what had trapped her in her marriage, and from fear itself.
Since we didn't live near her and didn't have the funds to travel and stay close, there was a lot I couldn't do to help, but I listened whenever she called, encouraged her in every way I could, rejoiced with her in the little victories along the way and groaned with her at the setbacks, and never stopped praying for her safety and eventual release from the hell in which she was living. Still, nothing I did was as powerful as what she did for herself. She utterly depended on God, going to him for everything she needed from personal encouragement to legal fees, and God never failed her. Her relationship with the One who strengthened her, who did miracles and more for her, became so strong and beautiful that before she could see the light at the end of the tunnel herself, she was already helping other women in the same situation. She did eventually make it all the way through to freedom, and along the way she found God to be someone different, and so much more loving, concerned and always there for her, than she had ever been led to believe before.
I'm writing today because my daughter just joined the World Pulse community. With one journal entry much more brief, better worded and powerful than my own, she earned her first badge in days and caught the attention of the community. She has written a book about her journey from abuse to freedom and is searching for a publisher, and is also writing a blog which brings tears of relief and hope to everyone I know who's read it. I just wanted to let everyone know how very proud of her I am, and how much I believe her writings will help other women ensnared by religious, cultural and patriarchal beliefs in abusive, even life-threatening marriages as she was. I hope you will visit her blog at http://www.jenniferfaith.org and see for yourself how "no one speaks for her, she speaks for herself," and how you or someone you love can be set free as she was from a life of fear and abuse. You can search for Jennifer Faith or go to http://worldpulse.com/user/22187 to connect with her, read what she writes on her page and share your own experiences. She is devoted to helping other women to make her own experiences count. She will listen, she might have practical advice to help you, and she will pray that you will make it to safety as she did.