Making Lemonade Making Lemonade

Fear . . . anger . . . pain . . . emptiness. Those were the words that described my childhood. I witnessed domestic violence from both my father and step-father, was kidnapped by my father during custody battles, endured sexual abuse at age 8 from a cousin and physical and verbal abuse by peers. All I wanted was to be loved, have the fairy tale marriage and a normal life.

I met my ex-husband when I was 19 years and we married three and a half years later. It was anything but the fairy tale I imagined. I loved him with all of my heart; He wanted his first wife with all of his heart. And because I wasn't her, I was never good enough. My jobs didn't pay enough. This left me feeling broken and bitter.

Holding my face in his hands, he would look deep into my eyes with lips folded into a sincere smile and say, "I love you, but I can't stand you. You're so beautiful on the outside. Too bad the inside doesn't match. You need medication. I think you're bipolar." Like poison, the words paralyzed my soul making me believe I was defective and unlovable, that God made me wrong.

There were times I prepared myself to leave him, but reality held me prisoner--I couldn't afford to live on my own and I loved him. And then, it ended. After sixteen years of being together, he divorced me and left me for his first wife.

Believing I didn't have a future and that life wasn't worth living, I tried to take my own life through starvation. Dropping to a dangerous 90 pounds, I nearly succeeded. With no one to see me and save me, God intervened and saved my life.

In January 2006, I moved to Phoenix, a city I had seen, to start my life over from finding a place to live to finding a job to support myself. My only two companions were my dogs. I had no friends or family here.

I found the strength and courage to face my past and embrace my future. Eventually I established my new life. It was not easy to do emotionally and financially. With God, who made it all possible, I healed and found a great life and the love of my life.

Currently, I am an author, Making Lemonade - A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce, a divorce care facilitator at Calvary Community Church and a volunteer at Hands of Hope, a women's domestic violence shelter. I am making something of all those lemons.

Through a miracle of God, my mother and father have made peace in their relationship, and I have brought him to the Lord, although he struggles with his faith.

Making Lemonade
9 cups of tears
5 cubes of iced sorrow
5-6 of life's lemons
2 cups of God's sweetness
1 cup of God's love
Stir well

Artist's Note: A common focus on the cycle of abuse is the child witnessing violence and then becoming an abuser, which does not always happen. Children want to be loved and as adults they still want to be loved, but growing up in pain without self-esteem and good examples of healthy relationships, it's easy to attract unhealthy people. In the case of this survivor, learning to deal with the past through writing is a wonderful way to heal. Through her spiritual awakening, she helped heal her parents, which is not surprising with her warm and giving heart. Now she takes her experience to help others going through divorce and abusive relationships with her book at http://lemonadeforthedivorcedsoul.com.