Love Leads To Healing

I arrived at work on a melancholy Monday morning on a cloudy, chilly fall day. Only a few days at my new job in a nursing home and I was eager to make friends and begin to build that relational foundation I think we all seek in our work environment.

I remember meeting many new people, all very friendly and very excited to see new blood, ready to help them give to those who could never give anything in return other than a smile or sincere “thank you” from their hearts. Many that were approaching their last beat. The brevity of life often perplexes me and causes my mind to wander and my eyes to tear.

Oh, I should mention, that melancholy Monday only lasted half of the day and I’m so very thankful it did and more thankful for the reason that Monday became a little brighter.

As we rushed the nursing home residents into the dining room for lunch, I caught a glimpse and a tiny smile from a co-worker that I had yet to chat with only because she was so enthralled and involved in how she intentionally focused her time to care for those that needed it most.

I would like to say that I enjoyed and remained in the comfort of her smile, as beautiful of a smile as it was, but another feature demanded my stare. As hard as I tried, I could not help but cringe at the bruises on her face and neck.

I jumped to conclusions and I judged immediately. In my mind and from my experience, those bruises were all too familiar. I knew in my heart this young woman, my new co-worker, was in an abusive relationship and my heart broke as I choked back tears.

I’m sharing that I judged her for these reasons that I have since learned after growing through our short yet tumultuous friendship.

I judged her…

When I cringed at the sight of her bruised face and neck, I didn’t communicate the love, grace and mercy that she deserved, rather the assumption of an arrogant person safe from living in an abusive relationship.

When I cringed at the sight of her bruised face and neck, I unconsciously disregarded her story and the explanation she gave for her bruises. Her explanation in her shame sought the explanation many seek in truth — to be accepted as we are, where we are, in love and in absence of ANY judgment.

Shame and Judgement are Barriers to Healing

As we sat, helping the residents of the nursing home enjoy their lunch, we embarked on a friendship that I’m certain neither of us were prepared for.

On this day I met her — A beautiful young lady who was also a newlywed. A vibrant life so eager to love others. It wouldn’t be long before I found out why she was overflowing with love and care. I would very soon, at the fault of my own caring nature, be thrust into the whirlwind of a life of a young lady spiraling out of control in an abusive marriage that sadly would never see healing or restoration and only more trauma and abuse before it came to a tragic end.

We became instant friends. She was hurting and seeking the joy and peace or even just a glimpse of a little happiness she had remembered in her days that she attended church with her family and the love they shared. She had faith, and I never fully understood the analogy of “faith the size of a mustard seed” until I would hear her proclaim small promises she recalled from scripture while enduring the severe abuse of her husband who promised to love her, cherish her, protect her and care for her until death.

She would share stories of how her husband used to be so caring and show her levels of love that she often couldn’t describe. When she tried to describe how much he loved her, she could only look at me, tilt her head, and begin to cry. She cried because a man she loved, who ONCE loved her unconditionally had changed. He experienced unspeakable family tragedy that he never dealt with and out of respect for him, I won’t attempt to guess what his path through that was. I can only share what I witnessed in her story, or at least the chapters that I was blessed to walk through with her.

She loved deeper because she sought for so long, the love of a father who was struggling with a life of alcoholism for 19 years plus.

She loved at levels I cannot comprehend because a daughter wants so desperately to be loved by her father. I can’t help but recognize the correlation of a daughter’s relationship with her earthly father and her relationship with her Heavenly Father. It’s so very hard to know, lean into, and begin to believe in Heavenly love in the absence of a healthy Earthly love that begins in a father and lands upon the promises of a Savior.

Out of respect for her and her late husband I have left out many of the ugly details that I witnessed. I will share that those facial bruises I first saw when we met were not the last that I witnessed. I will share that the one time I met her husband, although it almost resulted in a violent confrontation, I could see the hurt in his eyes from the trauma he had yet to deal with in his life. Lastly, I will share that because he lived trapped in his hurt, he continued to hurt her and others. Those actions ultimately led to a deadly confrontation. In the heat of a confrontation to pursue her, one of her friends who had responded to one of her many calls of rescue, shot and killed her husband in self defense.

His intrinsic nature to love her was darkened by his worldly interpretation of a traumatic event in his life that the enemy used to ensnare him into a mindset of anger, hate, and loss of truth in the promises of our Creator. He lost sight of who God designed him to be in the presence of who the enemy convinced him he was. This manifested into a man of hate, anger, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and much more toxic behavior that sadly led to his death.

Why do I share this story?

I share this experience with a hopeful heart. The desire to help a new, dear friend share with her sister, the truth and hope that I discovered while not just going through it, but while growing through it.

The roots of toxic behavior run deep. Those roots are often found in unresolved or hidden traumatic events within the life of the one who resorts to verbal abuse that escalates to physical abuse that may escalate to deadly abuse of themselves or others. When we face this type of trauma and we don’t have the tools to deal with it in a healthy manner, we will find ways to deal with it in order to survive, often with unhealthy results.

Some Domestic Violence Facts:

  • Domestic violence can take several different forms, some of those include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, coercion and digital abuse (perpetrated online or via text message).
  • Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • Nationally, 50% of batterers who abuse their intimate partners also abuse their children.
  • 4% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the last 12 months.

Warning signs of an abusive partner:

  • Extremely jealous of your friends or time spent away
  • Controlling of your day-to-day activities
  • Extremely controlling of finances
  • Insults you and demeans or shames you with put-downs
  • Has threatened to kill or harm you
  • Has threatened to harm or take away your children
  • Destroys your property
  • Used or threatens to use a weapon against you
  • Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1–800–799-SAFE (7233)

Text “START” to 88788

You ARE Known.

You ARE Needed.

You ARE Loved.

Don Mann




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Don Mann

Don Mann

Bringing you stories that weave joy, pain, growth, and fulfillment into the tapestry of our lives.

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