I recently sat down with someone who shared with me how she felt after living in an abusive marriage for many, many years. She’s never been physically bruised, but emotionally she is a battered woman – and has the emotional scars to prove it. She began telling me about Joel 2:25-26 and how this verse gave her hope about a future full of promise and hope. I hadn’t read this verse before but it spoke to me as well. This verse is about loss – and then the blessings poured out by God to redeem those losses.
Joel 2:25-26 (New International Version)
25 "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm —
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Living in an abusive relationship or even living through a time of great loss is like an attack of locusts. Your heart is decimated until there is nothing left and you feel as barren and lifeless as land pillaged by locusts. But, God being a compassionate Father, longs to comfort us and redeem our loss. I’ve seen this in my own life as he has poured our blessing upon blessing after what was a time marked by loss in many areas. I particularly love the last line in verse 26 which says, “never again will my people be shamed.” I felt shame for a long time, but as God kept pouring gifts into my life, I felt less and less shame and began feeling protected and cared for.
As I spoke with my friend she began describing life after leaving that abusive relationship. She described it as being in black and white and stepping into a gradual technicolor display of beauty or being set free from prison – and appreciating the world and everything in it so much more. Because of God’s grace shown to her through the support of her friends and family, she is blossoming into the person God has always intended for her to be. I’m glad I get to witness this transformation and am so grateful to be able to serve a God who desires to see us fulfilled and take away our shame.
The day after my conversation with her, I thought a lot about all that she had said –the heartache of the abuse and the freedom that she is now experiencing, and I wrote this poem for her. She asked me to share it on my blog in the hopes that someone may read it who is in an abusive relationship and they will be freed from bondage too.
The devastation complete
My soul stripped bare and naked
Coming to my senses
At this late stage
I am but a shell of who I should be
My heart has been
Invaded and pillaged,
Leaving desolation and grief
But all that has been stolen from me
is not my undoing
Your offering of freedom
Stirs my soul
And I grasp at the gift
With my whole heart
Desperate for the liberation
Which you freely offer
My heart, once held captive
By the heavy chains of emotional bondage
Chose to escape
And hope embraces me
Today I stand in the midst of beauty
With tear filled eyes
Astonished by your gracious display of
The sounds, sights and feelings
Of sweet redemption
Are overwhelming to my sated heart
I raise my hands and eyes
To praise you
As I stand transformed