Part II. "Go to your room!" my husband stated in his cold, commanding voice. "You don't have to talk to me like a little child." I responded with indignation. He then grabbed my arm to show his power over me, and I said, "Let go of me." With that all-too-familiar air of final authority, he relayed this information: "I will let go when you stop resisting me." As I was trying to pry his strong fingers off my wrist and forearm, he tightened his grip. "Let go of me now!" I insisted. Annoyed by the inconvenience of my resistance, he picked me up and put me over his right shoulder, and began walking towards the stairs which led up to my bedroom. Fearing that I might fall, I begged him, "Put me down - put me down!" Seeking an opportunity for getting out of this awkward position, I grabbed hold of the doorframe we were passing through. At this moment, I was at an advantage (for a shouldered, 4-months-pregnant woman.) He could not proceed up the stairs with my grip on the doorframe. For a fleeting instant, I felt like freedom from his grip was only a couple seconds away. But in that couple of seconds, everything changed.
My firstborn child, now 12 months old, walked into view of our struggle holding her ears and screaming "No! Nooo!" at the top of her lungs. Her little face was blood red, her eyes full of terror and lack of understanding. In that couple of seconds, I lost sight of breaking free from my husband's hold, and I thought only of my child's point of view - of her nightmarish reality. This was the innocent child I had conceived in rape, and whom I have loved since the moment I learned of her presence in my womb! Remembering also my unborn baby, I reluctantly released my grip on the doorframe as my husband carried me up the stairs and to my room. He plopped me on my bed and commanded, "Now you stay there until you're ready to be submissive!" I went limp with the thought that I could never resist him again for the sake of the children. I lay there, sobbing. I should've gotten out of this marriage before another child was conceived. Now I'm really stuck! But where can I go with a toddler and while pregnant? I'm an exile from my family and hometown. It's just as well that I'm far away from everyone who knows me. Anyways, this must be what it means to lay down one's life - that's why I feel like I'm dying. Thoughts like these hung over me like a dark cloud.
John 15:13 - "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
That day, when I let go of the doorframe and gave in to my husband's abuse, something inside of me changed. Or died. I had to be Mommy. I couldn't be a warrior, battling with my unreasonable husband. I couldn't put up a fight again; these types of incidents were traumatizing my little girl, and none of these fights could be good for my unborn child. So I gave up resisting his assaults, I gave up demanding to be treated with dignity; I gave up my very self in exchange for what I thought was the best for my children. I made up my mind that if holiness was the difficult and narrow path, I was already on it and had better start marching. My drumbeat was that "greater love" referred to in John 15:13. I rationalized every sacrifice of self and every act of "submission" to my spouse by believing that I was practicing the love of dying to self. With every day that passed, and every step I took on this path to "holiness", I grew farther and farther away from a healthy understanding of what marriage was meant to be.
Isaiah 55:8 -"For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord."
Looking back now, I see how our ways are not God's ways; and how sometimes we cling to our ways so tightly that we cannot see the answer - for years, or for the better part of a lifetime. All things work out for the good for those who love God, and I was loving Him as best as I knew how. My answer would come, in time. In a long, long time.