This Woman Saw Her Own Funeral
“The first time he hit me we were arguing over a text message I found in his phone. But because I was actually defending myself and defending how I felt, I guess he wasn’t going to have that. “
For three years Deborah Monroe endured abuse from a man who claimed to love her. The more he hit and demeaned her, the more excuses she made to stay with him.
A lot of times I believed that he was right; maybe I shouldn’t have said that. I knew he had a bad day.
Deborah grew up in a small North Carolina town. Her parents were very strict and church on Sundays was non-negotiable. She started believing that to earn favor with God, and her parents; she had to follow the rules.
“For me growing up, like I knew I loved God, knew He loved me, but it was like, I better not do anything to make Him mad or I am forever separated from Him.”
Throughout high school she kept on the straight and narrow, and was an outstanding student. When she went to college she found a church and went on a missions trip. But now that she was away from her parents and their rules, she started making her own.
“I started going to a few on campus parties and then after that, getting a little taste of what the club life was like. Even though I partied, I was that girl they say, ‘Oh, you party and go to church,’ yeah, that was me.”
Then she started seeing someone, and fell in love.
“He was very attractive to me. On the outside it seemed like this would be the person I would want to take home to mom and say, ‘Hey, this is my new guy.’
But she soon she realized he wanted more than just her affection. He wanted control.
“(He was) always wanting to know where I was going, who I was with, you know, that type thing, and tell me who I could be friends with, what I could wear.”
And she complied, just as she did growing up. She hoped it would make him happy. Then one time she decided to take up for herself, and the abuse turned physical.
“I took a blow to the face; closed fist. And I think it was like an initial shock at first, but then it was like, ‘well, what do we do? Where do we go from here?’”
She stayed with him but the line had been crossed and the abuse got worse.
“And then it was also me wanting to believe that I could change him. If I just show him more love, then maybe, you know, this won't happen.”
But it didn’t work. She isolated herself from family, friends and church.
“I didn't want to go to church and have someone ask, you know, ‘How is everything going?’ then I'd burst out crying. I was hiding.”
Then to everyone’s disbelief, she bought him a gun.
“And people are like, ‘Why did you buy him a gun?’ He said that he needed it to look the part cause he was going to school for criminal justice, so he wanted to be a cop and I wanted to make him happy.”
Instead he threatened her with it.
“And I remember like it was yesterday, being at my apartment, and he pulled his gun out at me, and he was like, ‘You know what? I'm not even going to waste my bullet on you now. I'll wait till I become a cop.’”
He pulled his gun on her more than once but the last time, she was certain he would pull the trigger.
“I could see my funeral. And I didn't have anyone and I was so far away from God it just seemed like He was unreachable because I'm praying and asking Him to change my boyfriend and he's still beating on me. I just wanted to be loved, I wanted to have a, you know, a simple life. I just felt like I was by myself. I felt like I was –trying to please my mom, trying to please my boyfriend, trying to please my friends. It’s like I lost myself in everything.”
The incident passed. But that revelation gave Deborah the courage she needed to finally walk away from that relationship and into one with God.
“I repented for straying and being in a relationship that I shouldn’t have been in. And I can remember one night when it really hit me. I was just laying in the bed. I could seriously feel Him, just like, wrap His arms around me. I could just remember crying cause all that emptiness that I had ever felt before, it was like – it didn't magically go away – but I could feel it just leaving.”
With counseling, prayer and time in the Bible, Deborah says she’s recovered from the abuse and she’s an advocate for victims of domestic violence.
Now married with a young son, she understands God’s free gift of love.
“I’m actually going to use a simple word, but it's crazy. And the reason why I say it-it's a ‘crazy love’ because it was like He really will love someone as messed up as me. Even when I was going through all that and I was running away from Him, He was still right there.”