In June of 2008 I reconnected with my child’s father after many years of no contact with him. At the time, my daughter was eight-years-old. He and I began to talk about our past mistakes and he wanted to see if we could actually have a future together. I was open to it, because I deeply cared for him. He was overseas at that time of our reconnection and he explained that he was in a better position to take care of us as a family. During our talks, we rekindled a flame that had died. We loved each other and wanted to make it work, especially for our daughter. A few months had past by and our conversations began to lean towards marriage. When he returned from overseas, he asked me to marry him and I said yes. On August 29, 2008 we were married. We were so happy and loved the fact that we were a complete family unit in the eyes of God.
My husband returned overseas. This was a great way for us to be financially free with his increased income. We were very happy and in love. A few months had passed since the wedding and when he returned home for some R&R he was not himself. He began to have this jealous and angry spirit rise up in him. I was confident enough to believe he was delivered from those angry episodes because of how he talked about how he had changed. When we reconnected, he never displayed those patterns. He was a changed man in my eyes. So I thought. He began to become suspicious of everything six months in to our marriage. He started to question me on little things that seemed so meaningless. He was always in a state “wonder” and “why.” He started accusing me of things that were just not true. I became little worried and confused as to why he started to get angry so often. I brushed it all off and thought things were just a little off balance because he had been away and he would soon come to his senses and see that I married him because I loved and honored him.
I thought to myself, “why would I wait this long to get married and just cheat on the man that I loved.”
The accusations continued and I feared for myself and my daughter’s life. I could not understand where these accusations were coming from. To give you an example: I was trying to leave for a monthly Bible study one day and he hid the car keys from me so that I could not drive. So I began to walk. As I was walking, He drove up beside me and asked me to get in the car. I refused and he left. I kept walking and my neighbor stopped and asked me where I was going and she was so nice to go out of her way to take me to my Bible study. When I returned home I was locked out of our home. He would not allow me to enter. So, I just sat in the driveway on an extremely hot summer night until he cooled off and not be so angry.
Examples such as these continued and I knew that this was not a healthy environment for me or my daughter. I just could not take it any longer.
The last straw was when he wanted to take my cell phone from me. He thought that I was having conversations with other men outside our marriage. Not at any point had I talked with other men. He starting chasing me around our home and tried to force me into giving him my cell phone. I refused to give it to him. I wanted him to know that he does not have to try to control me and that he could trust me. When he got the phone out of my hand, he could not find any numbers to accuse me of as if I were cheating. But he slammed me to the ground and that’s when I contacted 911. The police came and I explained my side of the story and he explained his side of the story. At that point, I just wanted to leave and be free from the pain and the hostile environment. The police stayed there until I gathered my belongings. My sister came and picked both me and my daughter up and we went to my Mother’s house. I felt so relieved and free for at least a moment.
I was terrified at that time and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to go back. My mother explained that we could stay as long as we needed to. I was so relieved.
As a survivor of domestic violence, I learned in counseling that it is not always physical abuse that’s used as a manner of control. It can also be verbal abuse. No one wants to use it to describe their marriage or relationship. It’s far easier to admit that we have a, “BAD RELATIONSHIP” or “OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS PROBLEMS.” It had become so common, it was difficult for me to walk away from this abusive environment. I felt that this was just the way things would always be. I became complacent and numb to the verbal abuse. I wondered how I would support a child on my own if I fled for safety. But, I had to be the one to break the cycle. So, in May of 2011 I left my abusive husband never to return again.
A few weeks had passed since I transitioned to my mother’s and one of my dear friends asked if I wanted to get away from it all and take my mind off things to attend a gathering with friends. I needed to free my mind of the pain and be around positive people. At the end of the evening, the hosts of the party were explaining that they had a condo available for rent. They were preparing to have more children and the condo was too small to accommodate them. My friend, who I attended the party with, asked me if she could share my story. I told her yes. After we both explained to them what I had been through, the hosts thought it would be a great fit for me to rent from them. My daughter and I were sleeping on my mom’s floor. By the end of the night, this lovely couple whom I just recently come to know, blessed my daughter and I with the keys to our new place. We were so overjoyed and thankful that God blessed us not only to be free from abuse, but a new place to live. It was June of 2011 and my daughter and I moved in to our new place without any problems and we were so excited to start our new life free from abuse. We went about our daily lives but we were not completely whole. We began abuse counseling at The Family Place.
We began attending weekly one on one counseling sessions and group counseling sessions. As I attended these sessions, I began to notice a pattern in the conversations these women and I we were discussing. Most were saying the same thing. They stated that they could not take anything with them because they were fleeing for safety or that their abuser would not let them take their own belongings. Some of their belongings included furniture and home décor items. I was in a similar situation. My abuser would not allow me to get the home décor items that I had purchased. So I said to myself, my safety is more important and that God will supply even more home furnishings and décor in my future.
I did not have a car at the time, so we walked to church. If there was one thing I know that my daughter and I needed to do, it was to stay connected to our local church family.
I was also connected to our church volunteer email contact list. I received an email about the Decorating Ministry having a huge warehouse sale and volunteers were needed to assist with preparation. I thought that this was a great way for me to stay connected with my Covenant church family and help where there was a need. I met with the Director of the decorating ministry and we instantly connected. She was my angel. She took me under her wing and constantly prayed for me and my daughter. She fed me lunch on occasions when she probably didn’t even know that it would be the only meal that I would eat for the day.
My volunteer time was such a wonderful experience. It was just what I needed as I began my healing process.
As my volunteer time continued, there were items that were not going to be included in the warehouse sale. Some of these items that were not a part of the sale were generously donated to me. I was overwhelmed by their kindness. I was only there to help prepare for the warehouse sale, but instead I was blessed for showing up every day and being dedicated to the cause.
As I shifted gears towards peace and wholeness, I began to arrange these beautiful “given in love” decorations around our new place. When my daughter and I moved into our new place, it was just a white canvas. I eagerly wanted to get warm colors and life back into my new beginning. This love décor was an integral part of my healing process. I started to feel a sense of peace and comfort and beautiful colors of life began to dwell there.
I started to look around at what God had blessed me with. I truly believe that God audibly spoke to me and said, “This is what you will do for hurting women and families as they begin to start a new chapter in their lives.”
God gave me this vision to go and do for others what He freely gave to me. This is how LATTERHOUSE Décor was born. In this journey I found it so amazing that when you help others, somehow discovery happens. I discovered that I had a Kingdom mission. Had I not gone through this dark time of abuse, I would not have known the calling on my life.