We all have experienced times when our faith was tested, where we’ve walked through deep valleys that rocked our core. Enduring devastation and tragedies that shake not just our foundation, but also our belief system, our faith.
So, what does it mean to have unwavering faith?
Does that mean we silently stand by as catastrophe wrecks our lives and the waves crash around us, causing us to drown? If we cry out to God does that mean,we lack faith and thus our faith has wavered?
From my own personal experience, I have come to realize that unwavering faith is more about how you overcome things and what carries you through. I will be honest, I’ve called out to God many times during the lows I’ve walked through, and I’ve walked through more low valleys than I have experienced highs.
There is one specific low that stands out the most to me, because to this day it still impacts every aspect of my life.
In April 2013 I was introduced to a guy; it was the first time I had dated in quite some time. Up to this point my life had been full of my share of tragedy and heartache. I was even speaking on behalf of a major organization against domestic violence because I had been a victim several years beforehand.
For survivors of violence, dating after trauma is hard. One, because it’s difficult to trust anyone. Two, once guys find out you’ve been victimized, they seem to run.
But this guy seemed different. Anything I told him didn’t seem to scare him, it was a change from the others. Co-workers and friends were even jealous of our seemingly perfect relationship, asking if he had a brother. It did seem too good to be true, yet my usually cautious nature was optimistic, and I wondered if maybe, this was finally my happily ever after.
In the beginning everything was magical. He would surprise me with hand-written cards and notes of affection. Fun and romantic dates, including a candlelight picnic on the floor of his home he was renovating. A home he’d asked me to help him design – from paint colors to appliances.
It seemed this relationship was growing and progressing as we talked, planned, and dreamed about the future.
Yet as smoothly as things seemed to move along, there were also some subtle red flags. I asked my girlfriends about them, but they just kept reassuring me that this was part of typical relationship hiccups and to not be concerned.
I wish I could say that they were right and that those red flags were nothing to worry about, but that would be a lie.
As time went on, his responses became more irritated and his calm demeanor became one that was easily angered. It was scary how quickly he could turn the explosions on and off, as if he possessed some type of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type persona.
The last month of our relationship things quickly spiraled out of control and my safety was being jeopardized more and more. After seeking solace in my faith, I knew I needed to end it.
The night I did, was the moment everything going forward changed.
My life was threatened with both his guns and other weapons. That night he also physically assaulted me and put me in a forceful hold to prevent me from being able to leave his house. After, there was a hospital visit and subsequent trip to the court house to get an order of protection against him for my safety. The judge not only enacted the Brady Law to remove his guns and weapons as a protective measure, but also gave me a warning. She told me that my life would become even more in danger and that I needed to get out of dodge as soon as possible for my protection.
So, in the middle of the night I fled to a safe haven.
This year will mark five years since that harrowing escape. That is over 1,600 days living in hiding for my safety. The fear and magnitude of the situation is overwhelming to process. Even though I am a survivor of domestic violence, it still impacts my life in every way.
Each day I have to decide whether or not choices I make can jeopardize my safety.
So, how are we supposed to overcome the evilness that surrounds us and that we’re at times helpless in stopping, changing, and controlling?
Yes, I’ve called out to God. I’ve asked, “why did this happen?,” “why does every guy I date want to do me harm?,” will this ever end?,” “what are you doing to rescue me?”
Yet, even though I’ve called out to Him with cries, I still trust Him. I still choose to lean on Him even when I don’t understand, even when asking Him, “Why God?”
I know life is hard. We all have our crosses to bear and our own struggles. Some days I just want to throw in the towel and give up. Can you relate?
Yet, it’s on those days that I remind myself of God’s promises and how He will redeem any and every situation for His good. I hold to the truths found in His Word and read scripture over and over again.
I always go back to is, Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know my present circumstances are not my future and His purpose and plan for my life will prevail. Crying out and allowing Christ to comfort me is not a weakness or my faith wavering. It’s a sign of devotion and unwavering faith by continuously turning to the only One who can help me during these low valleys.
God’s Word doesn’t change my circumstances, but it does help me to rely on His Word to carry me through each and every day until I am finally free from the oppression that is currently holding me captive.
Genesis 50:20 says:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Putting my faith and hope in Him as the hours turn to days, that turn into weeks, that turn to months, and into years. Not letting a single day go to waste by sharing my story and through it inspiring others to do the same in choosing to, “Live each day with purpose. Making a difference one day, one life at a time.”
Witlee Ethan is a speaker, advocate, survivor, and warrior in standing up in the fight against violence and injustice. Today she speaks on sexual and domestic violence, sanctity of life, suicide prevention, a variety of women’s issues, Faith and the Gospel, to educate, spread awareness, and share hope, faith, healing, and forgiveness with others. To learn more about her ministry, go to the link here.