When I stepped into the 2010s, I was still living with my abuser. My children and I were still trapped in the Cycle of Violence, and I believed I had to stay in it forever. That's where I was when the clock struck midnight turning the calendar to 2010.
Little did I know that only 6 months later the kids and I would begin our journey to freedom. On June 10, 2010, my abuser was arrested and removed from our home. I opened The Car Door and got out. I have not lived with him since.
In the summer of 2011, as I began to reclaim some of my value and confidence, I took an online Philosophy course and started to prove to myself that I was not as stupid as my abuser continuously told me I was. I passed that course with an A.
In the fall of 2011, I started an online program for a Social Service Worker diploma. Over the next two years, I proved repeatedly that I was a good student and that I could learn. I graduated from the program with Honours with Distinction.
In July 2013, I packed up the children, our home, and our dog, and moved us 1700 kms away from my parents to a city where I had two relatives I hardly knew, and one friend that I had not seen in 18 years. My plan was to work in the Social Services field, but that did not happen. Instead, I managed a Portrait Studio for a year. I quickly began to realize that was not my calling.
In the fall of 2014, I started a post-graduate Paralegal program at a local community college, and a year later I graduated with Honours with Distinction. A month after writing my licensing exam, I was hired by a local firm that specializes in Provincial Offences Act matters. During my time there, I did intakes, corresponded with our clients and the courts, attended court, ran trials, and met with the prosecutors. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed that job. I love the people I worked with at the office and I still consider them family. Again, I began to realize that it was not my calling.
In the summer of 2015, I began attending Celebrate Recovery. Through this program, God brought and continues to bring, so much healing to my life. I have worked on some of my hurts, hang-ups, and habits, and met an amazing group of people who have been with me through some tough times of healing. It is a blessing to have a place to go to every week where I am accepted and love purely for being me. When someone asks, "how are you" they genuinely want to know. The freedom to be my messy self is such a blessing to my journey.
In the fall of 2018, I started a Master's Theological program at a local College & Seminary. The first semester was really difficult as it was a different denomination than I grew up in and they have beliefs that I didn't even know existed. My foundation was shaken and I experienced a lot of growing pains. Thankfully, I had a supportive faculty advisor and a close friend there who helped me through.
In 2019, my daughter graduated from grade twelve and legally became an adult (I don't know how to be a parent to an adult!). And, I changed churches so I would have the opportunities to serve God and His church in the ways He's been preparing me for over the past ten years.
Now, as the clock is going to strike 2020, I look back and see just how much God has done in my life in the last ten years. He took me from being a victim to someone who helps victims. That's my calling - to help others the way I have been helped. Paul says it this way: (2 Corinthians 1:4)
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort
God has given us.
I like how the Message version puts it: He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
I am starting 2020 with infinitely more hope than I had when 2010 started because God has done infinitely more than I could have ever thought or imagined.