Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Only God

Ever just KNOW God is working? Have you ever just had something happen (big or small), and at the end of it all you could only account it to God?

This has been me a number of times. Thanks to certain conversations with my daughter, I've been ("forced" just doesn't seem like the right word)... I've had the opportunity to reflect on certain situations when I've been in the pit of myself and the only thing left to do was trust God. Then when it all seemed to work out, knowing it just couldn't have worked itself out, I was left saying "only God".
I am trying to teach my daughter early that most situations in life are just God's opportunity to teach us to trust Him. It is my hope that she will learn it much sooner in life than I did. I can't just tell her to do it, I have to show her. I have to be the example of a woman trusting God, having peace and being delivered. And at the same time, I need to tell her every single time it's worked out in my favor... just so she really KNOWS

For those who don't know (I refuse to feel shame), I was in a long term, abusive relationship. When it wasn't mental abuse, it was verbal and when it wasn't verbal abuse, it was physical. When it wasn't either of those, it was me living as a shell of myself, trying my hardest to appear happy. It was a horrible way to live, I would not prescribe it to my worst enemy. Every thought, word and step was like walking on egg shells. There is no words to describe just how awful it was. I was so afraid to live, the slightest glimpse of my happiness somehow made him angry. I am not going to place the blame of my choices on anyone, but it takes a really lost, hurting and insecure woman to accept the treatment that I did. Despite how angry, controlling and abusive he was, I stayed because he filled a void. He served a place in my life that someone else wasn't, and that I needed. And because he did certain things... ran to my rescue, taught me how to cook, drive, speak up for myself, take responsibility for my choices, respect myself, have fun... I accepted that as "love" and overlooked all the foolishness. Although he took so much from me, he filled the spaces of the things I was missing so much so that I felt like I needed him.
I feel like this story has so many lessons it in, idk which to focus on... be a good father, so your daughters don't run to foolishness, find the good in and learn from every situation (seeing as how I am now the bomb.com driver, cook and ruler of all things fun... clearly he taught me alot), but mainly... trust God, he is a deliverer. One day, I felt at the lowest point of low and I prayed to God to deliver me from it. I told Him that from now on, I was going to trust Him to take care of me, and that I wanted peace. I didn't know how to get out of that relationship, any attempt at putting him out would turn into violence, any sign of me not looking happy would just anger him... I didn't know how to free myself without jeopardizing my life and my children in the process. So for awhile, I just prayed for peace and deliverance and refused to be afraid. I stopped walking on eggshells, I stopped being afraid, I decided to live as though God had me covered. I chose to fully trust God. "no weapon formed against me shall prosper, I am more than conquerer through Christ Jesus." On one of my worst days, I decided to tell my mom what was going on. This led to the kids staying with her more so as not to be around his crazy. Oneday when they weren't home so I knew they'd be safe, I fought back. After he had enough of breaking me down, he said "I am going to leave right now, because if I stay here I will kill you." He did leave. "Only God"... but of course it didn't end there. He went to stay with his mom as punishment to me, thinking I still needed him (pppssshhhhhh!) The peace I felt, if he only knew.... I'm sure he would've come back, just to steal the joy I was feeling. I had to pretend like I was hurt that he was gone, just so he would still feel like he was hurting me by being away. (Lord am I glad that didn't backfire). All the while, I am plotting my next move forreals. Come back here if you wanna! Won't find me! But he did call, almost daily and almost daily, I played the miserable act just to hold him off. He'd been "my friend" for 10 years and our children were friends, so he'd use that to see me every once in awhile. And for a minute, he looked like the decent person I'd first met (the one before life and liquor happened...) Oh, don't be fooled Tamika! It didn't take long for the bad guy to come back and boy did he come back with a vengeance! I'm talking about a black eye, bruised body vengeance... there could be no going back EVER, not as friends, not as acquaintances. NOTHING! Our children would have to learn to live without each other. "I hate you, I can't live like this anymore, I can't take another moment of this life! I AM DONE!" And that is just what I said, no more "I love yous, I forgive yous, I know you didn't mean its..." For once he heard me, there wasn't anything left to be said. I moved, I'm free... only God!
Who else can I account this to? Knowing the person he is, seeing him operate for 10 years, watching him stalk and torment people that hurt him, seeing him physically and mentally hurt other people long after incidence, watching him never forgive or let anything go the whole 10 years I knew him... it just doesn't make sense. He remembers everything, he couldn't sleep at night after feeling like someone wronged him, he was a revenge seeker to everyone... it just doesn't fit. Only God! For maybe a year, I looked over my shoulder everywhere I went, especially familiar territory. I never changed my number, I work the same place, most of my family still live in the same homes, my daughter went to the same school that first year. And for a year, I admit, I was worried and anxious. I moved fast and watched everyone. He called only once that I know of since I told him I was done. "Hey baby it's me, I'm not mad anymore. I was just calling to check on you. If you see me, you don't have to be afraid.... call me back." Yea right! Then a year later, I was in a store and he was walking right towards me. At first he didn't see me, acknowledged my friend whom he noticed, then spotted me... Idk what the expression on my face was, alarm? fear? discomfort? But he just simply raised both hands in surrender, "I don't want no trouble" and moved to the side so I could pass. Only God! And only God kept me together as I marched to the fitting room to let out the cry of anxiety. That was hard, still feeling something, realizing I still wasn't ok. But I was definitely on the road to healing. Thank you Jesus for deliverance. Since then I haven't heard not one peep from him. My brother ran into him recently... "how's your sister doing? Tell her I said what's up and I still love her." Interesting, yet unfazed. Only God. Only God would send Jerry after I said Lord, I am trusting you. No more dating for awhile I need to focus on our relationship. Only God would send patient, loving Jerry to show me just how love should really look. "But Tamika, I have something good for you. Keep trusting me." and trust Him, I did. Always and forever. I'd written this in my journal on April 26, 2010

"Because the man God has for me knows it. That man... nothing would keep him from me. The man God has for me isn’t going to compare me to some other woman. That man is gonna accept me as I am, flaws and all. That man will come when I am ready and capable of loving someone correctly and won’t leave me just because I mess up. That man is out there and I am going to wait until God sends him. I deserve that, I think. I just gotta stop trying to make it happen on my own and rely on God. That is going to be a challenge for me, don’t think I’ve ever been “alone” but I have to do this in order to get what God has for me...."

I met Jerry in May of 2010 and fought it with everything in me because I was focused on trusting God. And I just knew Jerry was another distraction set up to steer me from my plans, God's plan. Only God had something else in mind this time... and oh that man is a patient and persistent one! He had to be straight from God, cause he knew exactly what to say and do to break down my Jericho walls. :)

Today, I am happy, free, loved, peace and joy overflowing even in the hard times because I've finally figured out how to trust God. I pray that my Kai learns this lesson early. I am trying to prevent her from facing some of the heartache I've faced. Experience is the best teacher, but it's also the dumbest if someone already told you what was gonna happen.
Only God would know just the crazy light skin mother to provide a lesser crazy dark skin girl. Only God knew to provide a sister who "understands my soul" and only God knew just the friend I needed to support me through it all.

Much shorter story: that same God knew to provide unexplained traffic on the beltway one Sunday afternoon, to stop me in my tracks. Because of the mystery traffic, instead of going to Laurel, I turned around and went to visit a friend that I didn't know needed me in that moment, but did. ONLY GOD!

And that is just how he works (big and small)... I am TRUSTING!!! Are you?

That's my peace!
~ love, Tam Brawner

feel free to reference A Piece of My Peace, my post on this past relationship, that references a number of helpful scriptures on PEACE