My Side of the Story…

If you read this blog, you’ve picked up on pieces of my story, and if you attend C3 Church or listen to Byron’s podcasts, you’ve heard other pieces…

Every person’s story has many pieces to it – like a giant and intricate puzzle – and the reality is that even each “piece” is multifaceted…

This Sunday, Byron spoke of part of our story as a couple…about our separation and near-divorce 5 years ago.  As always, he was incredibly gracious and kind and put all of the responsibility on himself for our marriage…our world seeming to burn right in front of us.

But that’s his side of the story…

Here’s mine:

What happened to our marriage 5 years ago really began many years earlier.  I grew up in a seemingly happy, Christian home – the preacher’s daughter.  While I would not compare my upbringing and childhood to others who suffered horrible abuse and awful conditions, there was still abuse – even if everything looked perfect on the outside.  I just learned to cover…smile and cover.  

By the time Byron and I were married, and I went from “Preacher’s Daughter” to “Preacher’s Wife”, I was an expert at covering my true feelings, but the cracks began to show…

By 25, I had two beautiful daughters and although we were “seminary-poor”, we looked like the perfect family…except for the fact that at 5’9″ I weighed 100 lbs., suffered with debilitating depression and never slept more than 3 hours at a time.  But, if you asked…I was great.

By 35, I had 4 beautiful children and it was a daily struggle to hide the storm that was building inside me.  I gained 40 lbs. in 18 months even though I hardly ate, I was having “night terrors” and I began to think that my beautiful family would certainly be better off without me…

Still, if you had asked me, I would have said that I was a little stressed, but I would have never acknowledged that I was toying with burning my life to the ground…

Over the next 6-7 years, Byron tried everything to pull me out of the deep end of the ocean, but I didn’t want to be rescued.  I would have rather drown than to admit that I had been so badly broken in my childhood and beyond, that I truly didn’t believe I was worth saving.

So, by 42 I was living separately from Byron, and I did the “every other week” thing with my kids, and I had to look at their faces and know they were suffering…

all because I decided to burn myself to the ground just to stop the pain.

But, I learned something:

I learned that if you light a match and burn your house down, you’re not the only one who gets burned.  

I learned that if you run away, you take your pain with you.

I learned that you are not defined by what’s been done to you, but you will always carry what you’ve done to others.

I learned that there’s a difference between pain and remorse.  Other’s can cause you deep pain, but remorse comes from your own choices…and it’s a much heavier burden to bear.

I learned that I can choose to end the cycle of pain and remorse.  I can choose to be the person I needed when I was growing up.  I can create the family that I never had.  

I can deal with my pain and stop it from dealing with me with every breath.

I can.

I have the power to choose a new path.

You do as well.

We can’t just light a match and walk away…

Pain only goes away when it heals properly.  

Grace is the only fire strong enough to burn down hell…and it can burn down the hell your living in, if you let it.

I still have the scars to prove that I’ve been through the fire, but thank God, I’m also living proof that you don’t have to be consumed by it.

Peace to you…



Okay, so,  if you have read any of my blogs – especially “The Whispers of God” (, then you may think there is absolutely nothing I won’t write about…that the words just roll from my fingers without thought or consequence.

Actually, there are things I have only spoken of under the cloak of a blog that has my name nowhere on it…it’s my safe and anonymous place…

…even though I have dealt with my share of criticism at my candor.


Today I found out that a dear friend of mine is risking going to jail rather than compromise her conviction to protect the rights of a victim of abuse.  This is profound to me for many reasons, but made even more significant by the timing.

Because, just yesterday, I stood in a doctor’s office and discussed the condition of my spine…specifically the lower 3 vertebrae in my neck.  The doctor expressed shock at the fact that I was just walking around with such significant trauma to my spine.  (And he knows about spinal trauma, not only because of his profession and education, but because he was paralyzed for a time due to a football injury.)

The bottom line:  Due to some of the abuse I suffered in childhood, I have an injured spine, and its a miracle that it hasn’t caused more repercussions than it has.  It’s the grace of God that I’m functioning at all.

I woke in the night – not unusual for me – thinking about how the years of abuse have affected my every day…every moment of my life, but also about those children who are less fortunate than I am…the ones who are paralyzed…or worse.

So, when I heard about my friend, so devoted to victim’s rights, I knew I just had to speak.

But, I do have a purpose in this…it’s not just to vent – there are therapists for that – it is, instead, to ask…more plead with those who may read my words:

Please don’t be blinded to the ways of the abuser, pay attention to the children around you, and if a child tells you that they’re afraid or have been victimized in any way…or worse still, if they make excuses for the abusive behavior of someone in their life, listen…and help.

I know all to well how difficult it can be to talk about abuse you’ve experienced… But, please, pay attention to those who may be placed in your path.

You may be the only “Jesus” they’ve ever known.

...and I think we all know what He would do.

I have been blessed to be delivered from being a victim, so I feel compelled to speak for those who don’t have the power to deliver themselves. Maybe God will use you to accomplish this.

Thank you in advance.