I got married the first time at 17. I only did it to get away from a terrible home life, which is of course a story all its own. It was only minutes after moving into my new husband’s house that the abuse started. Before marriage the jealousy was cute and I perceived it as love, but he never hit me before we got married. Then it started: the beatings, the sexual assaults, being stripped down to my underpants and pushed outside in an ice storm, having my face pushed into glass, being pushed out of a moving car, being made to sleep with a shotgun barrel in my mouth, being locked in a closet overnight.
He told me my family didn’t want me and that’s why they agreed to let me get married, and that if I went back to them he would kill them. In my head, it all seemed to be true. I was living a nightmare.
One day I decided I couldn’t take it any more, and I handed him his gun and told him to kill me. I said I didn’t want to live any more and that if he didn’t kill me I was going to kill myself. He pushed the gun beneath my chin and held me there for a while. Time was irrelevant so I couldn’t tell you if it was seconds or minutes. Then something happened—I think he tried to pull the trigger but the gun jammed. He pushed me forward and out the door and told me to leave and never come back.
That was the first time I started to recognize I had a Protector.
Leaving him and his front door behind me and with just the clothing I was wearing, I ran and ran and ran. After two and a half years of abuse, I was finally free.
I stayed a couple of days with a friend, and found a car I could afford with secret money I had stashed. That car cost only $300 but it had 3 things I needed: a gas pedal, a steering wheel, and enough tread on the tires to get out of there. Someone told me he had had taken all of my belongings and put them in the front yard and set them on fire. Thank you, Protector, for not letting me burn in a fire with my stuff. Every memory, every picture, every other piece of clothing I owned was gone. Someone else told me she had a place for me to stay if I wanted to move to Dallas. Thank you, Protector, for finding me a safe place. On August 18th a tiny little redhead fromMississippi headed west on Interstate 20 and leftMississippi in her rearview mirror.
I immediately made a new life, but I was scared, wounded, and broken. The day-to-day was a struggle. Really, I was still just a child. The lady who gave me a place to stay was kind and did her best to make me feel welcome. She even gave me a “Welcome toTexasparty”. That is where I met Rick. He was funny and quiet, and very much infatuated with me. I was suspicious of his “niceness”, but we started spending time together.
The second time I got married was January 17th, 1981, soon after they told me I was pregnant. What else was I to do? Mississippi was not an option. Rick said he would be there only if I married him, so we packed our things and moved toNebraska where his family lived and could help us. I stood in that tiny little chapel with just his family around us and said “I do”. I cried that night, and then promptly threw up.
Pregnancy wasn’t at all glamorous. Two months later I woke up in a puddle of blood and knew I had lost the baby. We went to the emergency room and they scheduled me for surgery to make sure there weren’t any “remains” left of the pregnancy. Crushed, I felt like I was crying over an empty grave. When they came into my room the next morning I assumed it was to take me into surgery. Then came words I won’t ever forget.
“You are still pregnant.”
I had miscarried what must have been a fraternal twin. I was completely stunned.
Life as a mother began on August 27, 1981. One thing became clear to me that day: The Protector had His hand on that little boy.
(Watch for more from Gail as she gives us a transparent glimpse of the work God has done and is doing in her life.)
Gail Austin is the ownerof The Austin Agency. She is a writer, a life coach, a speaker a prayer warriorand a vegan.. She has been published as part of collaboration in the “InspiredWomen Succeed” bookreleased in 2011. She lives in Tupelo, MS. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/theaustinagency.
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