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freedom…getting rid of the shackles and chains of life.

Good day all! I hope this finds everyone doing well and staying warm on this cold, snowy, yet beautiful Monday. I know many are probably off for President’s Day so that just makes it easier for some and for other’s who have to be out, please be safe. I know for some of those though that need to work this weather is making you feel as if you are bound to the house not for just one day, but for life. For in today’s world there is no choice for several as we have to work because if you don’t work, the bills don’t get paid and you don’t eat. Plus you don’t feel you have that freedom just because maybe it is a holiday or because you might have some vacation time to do as you will. I know that with that you feel you are bound and fully shackled to having to stay in because of the road conditions. Let me ask you this though- what about your overall life? I mean if you feel this way just because you can’t go to work or the kids can’t go to school, have you ever had something in your life that has ever made you feel like you are shackled and chained to it ? You feel then at some point though that yeah I am through this and then something comes up that only opens those old wounds and “pours salt on it”? I am sure we all have (myself included) but sometimes you wonder how to get through them. Well today’s topic has to deal with freedom…getting rid of the shackles and chains of life. How is it when something happens you get rid of it? Especially if it is something very tragic or that you work very hard on and things tend to open it back up. Well the only way I have found is to turn it over to God and for the next few minutes I am going to open up about something that I never have except in my autobiography. If you haven’t read it then many don’t know this as I keep it deep within. I feel though that if I share this then some may come to understand me more and see why when it comes to me being affectionate I have a hard time.

      Freedom…..a word that when we hear it most of relate it to that of our freedom given to this great nation by our service men and women….which may I take a moment to say thank you to ALL of them. The fact of the matter is freedom is a word that means a lot too many people. To me though it means that: 1) I have my freedom in this great nation because of our military men and women and 2) It means that I have freedom from any sin and shame that I have endured throughout my lifetime; this includes a very scary time in my life that I still deal with today and do not talk a lot about. The incident that took place was something I never dreamed would happen to me (and let me say that if you say “oh that won’t happen to me”, that’s when it will happen). I am grateful though that I had the Holy Spirit standing by with me helping me pray through and to God for giving me the strength to fight out. Now, as many of you know I am single but this is by choice as I am picky and have to be since this incident. People have said I was gay (because of my friend/like a little sister) but I can fully tell you, no I am not; for I am just very cautious when it comes to my dating. If the incident had not occurred then I might be more open to the dating scene yet I feel when God sees fit it will happen. I just didn’t want to subject myself to possibly having that issue happen again. I always loved the Golden Girls but my favorite part of the show was when Sophia would go to tell a story and say picture it. So in honor of Estelle Getty’s character of Sophia, let me begin by saying it like this- Picture it……

                           I was in college at the time when this took place. I was in my twenties and had taken a Spanish class as it was required by the college in order to get my degree. The grad assistant for the class was this young man of Puerto Rico decent and was a very nice looking young man. We had hit it off pretty well and as normal (not knowing I had a learning disability at the time), I was really struggling to learn the language. In the meantime there was a young lady I had become friends who had been dating the guy’s best friend. The grad assistant had agreed to tutor me; agreeing to it we would meet over at the University Club to where it was quieter and I would be able to focus more. The first meeting I had got to the Club and settled when I looked up and here came my friend. I ask her what was up and she said she felt she needed some extra help and knew that he was going to be helping me. Well, giving her the benefit of the doubt I agreed that she could stay. When he showed up he acted a little surprised to see her. Calling her by name he asked if she too was having trouble and she said yes. For the next few weeks all three of us were meeting in the basement of the Student Center but the friend was beginning to see things she didn’t approve of; like him flirting with me, sitting next to me, and then the “icing” on the cake. There was a local coffee house in town that was going to be hosting a Spanish poetry night. He asked me if I liked poetry and I told him yes. Well, being the gentleman he was, he invited me to the reading and stated that he would have the professor give me extra credit. I agreed to it and we agreed that we would just meet there. He looked at my friend and asked her if she and called him by name would be there. She told him that she wouldn’t miss it for the world and then turned to me saying that if I wanted to stay with her, that I could go up early and get ready up there to go over. Thinking this was all said and good I agreed to it. I would return home, get my stuff, and return to what would begin the most trying time within my life. When I got to her house her boyfriend was there and he hated me – know this because he told my friend he did; reason being because he felt I was taking too much of his friends time away from him. We would get ready to go and as we left her house she informs me that we had to run by this bar supposedly she had to talk to someone. Well….when we got there she talked to someone all right….her neighbor. Now thought one that goes through my mind….why didn’t she catch him before he left and then it hit me as she introduced me to him.....I had been set up on a blind date because neither her or her boyfriend wanted me near the grad assistant. The neighbor was drunk and supposedly wanted to go to coffee house with us. My friend said they just didn’t have enough room and he would need to ride with me. Well, to make this part of the story short, we ended up at a different bar because they lost us purposely so I could not make it to the reading, he ended up drinking more, I ended up taking him home, giving him my phone number, and praying he would not remember anything the next morning. I was so upset that I got my stuff from her house and drove thirty minutes home at three in the morning.

                  After explaining things to my mom and getting some sleep the next morning I went with my mom and cousin to a craft show. While I was gone and praying that I would never hear from him again, he called. When my dad told me my heart truly sank but mom talked me in to giving him a second chance and so I did. We had agreed we go out that Friday but told him I didn’t go to the bars….not my cup of tea. He agreed so he came and picked me up to just hang out, go out for dinner, and get to know each other a little more. When we got back to the house we sat in his car and talked some then he went to kiss me, which mind you a kiss is fine, but he was moving things a little too fast. I made him stop and told him to take things slow. We would continue dating and things were ok but I still was comfortable with him. I would eventually succumb to that feeling and why I would feel that way.

                It was Thanksgiving weekend and my family decided that we would go out to where my sister was living. We all agreed to invite the gentleman I had been seeing to go with us as he had no family in the area and would end being alone for the holidays. I was a little excited but nervous as I had gone to his house to help get him ready for the trip on the day we left. My folks would meet us at his house and we went to my sister’s for the holidays. When we arrived he made a huge impression on my sister and brother-in-law as he literally played it up. After helping my sister with supper dishes we were told that we could go down to the basement and watch TV. Well, I had not really been feeling good but agreed to go down to watch. As we sat down on the couch I turned the TV on only to have him reach over, get the remote and turn the volume up so no one would hear. He did the normal arm around the shoulder thing which was fine but it was the next thing that happened that began to change my life. As we sat there he gently kissed me as normal, but he then went to taking it too far. With my Christian up bringing I knew better and I went to make him stop. The problem though was that he didn’t know what no meant and when I told him to stop, well let’s just say that is when the evil began to show. He held me by my arms and every denial I put out, I would be beaten for. I had gone upstairs because by this time I had started running a fever and so I went to bed. When everyone had gone to bed he snuck into the bedroom I was in (and mind you I was sick) and tried to have his way with me.  After the trip let me say that I was wearing long sleeves and fought each and every time. The final straw came at Christmas because I had been too scared to come out of the relationship. I had went to help him decorate the tree thinking we could talk about things. It all started out well but after the tree was put up and decorated, he said he wanted to show me something. He walked me into his bedroom and I knew then he was up to no good. He then tossed me on the bed and once again started in on having his way. After fighting, being beaten, having been stripped of clothing with nothing but my unmentionables on and finally kneeing him, I up and ran into the bathroom where I stayed until I calmed down. I then made him take me home where a week later I would end up in the hospital because he had beaten me to a pulp and I was wearing long sleeves not talking about it. When I did talk about it finally (to a very dear friend who told my family), I was bewildered. I didn't  know how to get out and I was scared. Finally, after I got out of the hospital I got (with the courage of family and friends behind me) I was able to get out of the relationship.

    I don’t discuss this time because it is one that has put some trauma in my life. Because of this, I had been having continual nightmares and I took the blame. I could not figure out how God could love me because I felt like I had betrayed him. Even though I kept true to myself I still felt like I had let God down. After talking with my mom she reminded a chapter in the book of Galatians chapter five that helped me with this. It reminded me that:

            1-It is freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not

                     let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

 I prayed that God would help me through this time as I knew I was free because of Christ. I however have continued to carry this bondage; these shackles and chains not allowing myself to rid them. I have used them to keep distance from people and from having a relationship with anyone…including my own family. I was allowing myself to be burdened again by this yoke of slavery. I should have gotten rid of these shackles and chains when it first happened but I blamed myself. Over the past year however I feel that I have come a long ways with it. Granted when things happen on TV or in a movie that happen that I see this same thing taking place, I go into a panic attack, begin freaking out, and then have nightmares to where I then don’t want to go back to sleep. The fact of the matter is that once we hand ANYTHING over to God from our past we are fully free….we have no more shackles, chains, and no more bondage; for it is fully in the Father’s hands. So, let me ask you this, are you still holding the shackles, chains, and bondage from past things in your life OR have you give them to God and let go? For me handing this all over to God allows me to move forward with my life; writing a letter to the one that hurt me got the anger out; and telling my story both in writing about it in the book and sharing with you all only allows me to be that much more free as I know now it is in God’s hands. For when this is done we experience the Freedom that God intends for us to have.

Lord Willing and Until tomorrow-

God Bless-

Love-

Marla

Psalms 121 <><

              

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