When I was four years old I witnessed a brutal beating. My parents were having trouble. Dad was an alcoholic and frequently flew into a rage and beat us, (me, my brothers and my mom). On this particular day, we met Dad at his mother’s trailer. The night before, we had stayed at another man’s house. I betrayed my mom by revealing this fact to Dad. He became furious, pinning Mom to the corner of the couch. He repeatedly hit her in the face and began to slam her head against the wall. I was afraid and I wanted to help. I knew it was my fault. Mom had told us that we could call the operator if we were ever in danger (this was before 911). I immediately went into Grandma’s bedroom, picked up the phone, and dialed 0. Before I could explain what was happening, Grandma hung up the phone and I was left to witness the rest of the beating.
God brings good from every situation. This beating was the last straw for Mom. She packed us up and moved to California, and divorced Dad. Even though Mom did not know God at that time, He knew her and gave her the wisdom and courage to take this step. In so doing she protected us and taught us that we do not need to be abused. In addition, God placed a burning passion in my heart.
From that day, I have a deep hatred for oppression and abuse. My brothers and I swore to each other that if one of us ever hit his wife, the other two would beat the stuffing out of the abuser. To my knowledge, none of us has ever hit our wives. Since God has given me life and faith, he has given me opportunities to care for victims of abuse. I have physically stood between an abusive husband and his family to protect them. I have helped victims understand their situation and stand up to the bully. I have opposed bullies in the church, demanding that they stop enslaving those around them. All of this can be traced to that awful day in the late 1960s.
When I was four, I stood alone knowing that no one in authority would help. I gained a great resolve to be strong. Today, I stand with a strong hand holding mine. I bury my head into His chest and sob as I watch people I love suffer abuse. He gently strokes my head and reminds me that He is involved. I must fight the four year old, and chose moment by moment to trust the only real authority in the world, the One who is my Savior.