It’s fourth of July weekend and as the sparklers, fireworks, and barbecue come to an end, I am reminded of where I was 14 years ago this weekend and am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Where I was 14 years ago and where I am today are completely different worlds – opposite ends of the spectrum. If you knew me back then you might not recognize me today and honestly, I hope you don’t. I would rather not be recognized as the same person. Not because I am ashamed of my past but because I am grateful for my future. I am grateful for restoration.

Fourteen years ago, I stood in my small apartment living room feeling unsure of any future at all, as my spouse, at the time, put a knife to my throat and threatened to take my life. There was drinking involved and the smell of whiskey on his breath. Followed by raised voices, things thrown and weapons chosen. He chose a knife and I chose the Word of God. I may not have attended church for the past couple years but in an instant, I was reminded of His promises. Promises that reminded me that I was not a prisoner of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Promises that I was valued and worthy of love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. A love that was pure, lovely and unconditional.

I cried out to God and begged for my life to be spared and with that cry, promised I would not stay in that abusive relationship. I knew that if I walked away from that relationship that I would share with others what God did for me in hopes that it would install hope for other women. A hope for a future. A hope for freedom. A hope for restoration.

My freedom didn’t come from taking a ring off my right hand. Freedom came from believing the Word of God. Being able to safely walk away from a verbally, mentally and physically abusive marriage didn’t mean that those memories, words, and lies didn’t still live with me. I heard the words almost every time I looked in the mirror. Words – lies – that said I wasn’t worthy of love and wasn’t valued. Words that said I was ugly and no one would want me. When you have been told time and time again that you are worthless, you begin to believe those lies. The only way to combat the lies is the Word of God. The Word is truth and will shine light into every area of your life. The truth will cancel years of lies. I could have focused on the labels my ex and the world put on me. I could have let those words decide my outcome and future. Instead, I reminded myself of the Truth and what God says about me. The truth that I had a hope and a future.

Many times, we can be free but continue to believe the lie that we are captives. John 8:36 (ESV) says that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Don’t walk around with chains that are unlocked. It is time to unclasp the chains and walk in freedom. Freedom in knowing who you are in Christ.

As I was walking through a dark season, someone told me this profound truth “Light doesn’t manage darkness – it destroys it!”. It was time to shine some light and truth on my situation and begin to believe that God’s promises are more powerful than the lies of Satan!

Maybe it’s time to shine some light on your situation. Shine some light and truth on your marriages. Stop calling your marriage failed and impossible and begin calling it whole and healthy. Stop believing the doctor’s report and start believing that you are healed and restored. When God restores, He doesn’t restore it to its original condition. He makes it better than it ever was. God restored my life and brought me an amazing husband. We have been married for over 8 years and it is better than I could have imaged and more than I asked for. What area of your life are you believing God to bring freedom and restoration?