I have always made poor decisions when choosing guys to date. There are many reasons for this which I won’t get into here, but let’s suffice to say that by the time I entered college, I was a prime candidate for an abusive relationship.
I first met John (name changed) my freshman year and didn’t like him at all. But by the time I returned for sophomore year, we were dating. It was a polar relationship. When things were good, they were amazing. He referred to me as his wife even though we weren’t engaged. When things were bad, there was plenty of shouting, doors slammed, and things broken. He never actually hit me, but we fought so much that almost everyone we knew was convinced that he did. John was a borderline alcoholic with pretty serious anger issues, and that greatly impacted the ups and downs of our relationship.
We broke up and got back together more times than I can count. I began to think that no one would ever be able to love me like he did, and so I put up with the constant verbal abuse from him. There was even a time when he broke up with me to sleep with his ex-girlfriend. I still wanted him back. This only fed into my feelings of insignificance and insecurity. He also knew that no matter what, I would come back. Whether this was intentional or not, I’ll never really know.
I finally put my foot down senior year. I moved out and got an apartment of my own, then moved 8 hours away after graduation. I stopped talking to him. I needed the physical distance or I’d always go back to him. This only worked for a couple of years.
Some mutual friends convinced me that he had changed. He wasn’t drinking and had matured greatly. I was still in my pattern of choosing men that were no good for me and wasn’t in a serious relationship, so I decided that maybe they were right. Maybe I could give it another try and finally find happiness. We started dating long distance and things were going really well.
We got engaged and I began making plans to move back home to be with John. The only people who really spoke up against it were my best friend and her now husband. She told me if we really got married, she wouldn’t come. I didn’t listen.
The wedding got closer and about 2 weeks before the big day, we started fighting again. I had moved in with John only a month before. Panicking, I called a mutual friend and my Maid of Honor. She assured me that John loved me and that it was just cold feet, wedding jitters, or whatever. I accepted this and went forward with the wedding.
Things only got worse. John slept through the majority of the honeymoon and got hammered on the flight home, talking trash about my mom loudly enough for other passengers to hear. After we got home, he would disappear for hours to go drinking and would often leave without telling me where he was going or when he would be home. The verbal abuse started again and I knew I was in trouble.
It all came to a head 4 months into the marriage. It was Thanksgiving weekend and we were out of town at the house of the minister who married us. He and his wife knew of our problems and wanted to help. Instead, John turned on them, his good friends. It was so bad that our friend went into an anxiety attack.
I had had enough. It was one thing for John to treat me like that. I could take it. But how dare he treat the people he loves like that! Looking back, this is an interesting mentality to have; it’s proof to me that I was still somewhat willing to put up with the abuse. What makes it okay for him to have treated me that way and not others? We left early the next day, I made a call to a friend, and moved in with her that weekend.
While I regret actually marrying John, there is so much good that came from the situation. While I grew up believing in God and that Jesus died for my sins, I never had a relationship with Him. God used this situation to bring me back home; not just home to Southwestern PA, but to my TRUE home – Jesus.
By moving back, I took a job at a Christian school and began going back to church. I became active in weekly bible studies and was eventually asked to lead the Youth Group. My church family became my support system and they continue to be.
What I’ve come to realize is that John, while he loved me as much as he could, he couldn’t love me the way I deserved. Not because he didn’t want to, but because he doesn’t know what real love is. He has never felt the love of God; he is an atheist. I don’t blame him for this and forgive him for all the hurt he has caused.
I have spent the last three years working on finding my identity in Christ. There is a big difference between KNOWING the truth and BELIEVING it. God is showing me in many different ways just how much He loves me. I am special, beautiful, talented, strong, smart, funny, caring, giving, worth loving, and, most importantly, HIS.
Just like the song says, “Hello, my name is Child of the One True King!” As one of His beloved, I have the assurance that though I may stumble now and again, go through moments of weakness, and slip back into thoughts of low self-worth, Jesus is always waiting with open arms to accept me back. He will care for my wounds and begin in me again the process of molding me to His beautiful and perfect will.
Lindsay Klimcheck grew up in Peters Township (PA) and is the youngest of 4. Her parents are divorced, which played a role in her self-image. She attended Wheeling Jesuit University where she received a degree in Elementary Education. She currently teaches at a Christian High School where she is in charge of missions and assists with the international program. She is currently working on a devotional for teens focusing on finding their identity in Christ. Lindsay has a passion for Christ and sharing His love with others any way that she can. Lindsay is very active in her church, West Alexander Presbyterian, where she continues to lead Youth Group, attend weekly bible study, and enjoys singing worship music.
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