Being of Mexican descent, Catholicism held a mystical interest to me. My Grandmother, Jenny and several Aunts had told me about the Saints and Angels. My Grandma Gwen, gave me comfort about Jesus watching over me. Prayers to God, Jesus and especially, St. Jude were common for me anytime I needed to feel safe or when I was afraid.
Later, I would glean information from Baptists, Wicca, various world religions that gave me a broader concept about how I wanted to grow spiritually as the years passed.
During the planning of the wedding, we couldn't get married in the Catholic Church because I was never a regular attendant nor did I have did I go to Catechism. At the time, Rob’s parents did not regular attend church, so this didn't leave us with many choices to tie the knot at.
I found a Methodist church that didn't mind if we held our nuptials there. We began to go services, Rob eventually grew weary of attending, so we stopped, only to visit when we were pregnant. We usually went home directly after services, though, I wished we could have stayed for fellowship longer, I enjoyed the sermons deeply, even buying a Bible for myself to read when Rob wasn't around.
Once again, we stopped attending regularly, as Rob became bored. We moved early in 2002, I found a church that felt very special to me. Everything seemed to click for me, the people there were very welcoming, my spirit was soaring!
Despite the turmoil at home, I felt great comfort at attending church. Rob stopped going long ago, but I attended as often as I could with the kids. Rob made sure he timed how long we were gone or he would interrogate the kids to see if we did indeed go to church.
I joined a Woman’s group, choir, and morning Bible study. Singing was very much a part of my life as a child; I participated in school from as long as I could remember. I would sing all the time. I had stopped after singing to Rob when we were first dating, and he informed me I was too “Nasal”, I wasn't singing right or I didn't sound good. So I stopped singing.
I was excited about all these things in church, of course asking Rob for permission to participate, as always. He was hesitant but allowed me to attend.
I went to one Woman’s group meeting and one choir practice, leaving halfway through the practice and I was informed that I had to quit both. Rob believed and argued that I was having an affair with a church member or someone else. Maybe the Pastor and he saw these groups taking too much time away from the family. I had gotten all my chores done prior and even made sure dinner was served, kids were bathed and in jammies.
None of that mattered.
I grew restless but leaned on my faith and reading my Bible regularly. Making notes when a verse popped out at me, the Bible becoming worn from the use.
I had grew bolder and would leave Rob verses that spoke to me in his lunch box or wallet. He would sometime scoff or make fun of me. Other times we would discuss what the verse could have meant or why I picked that particular one to give to him.
One Sunday, I didn't ask Rob for permission to go to church. We had a pretty good week, I had been praying for Rob’s salvation, our marriage and difficulties to pass. I had asked God to work in Rob’s heart and to help me to become a good Helpmeet.
He was lying in bed as the kids and I had gotten ready for church. He didn't say a word, listening to his music so loud the windows were rattling, or he would don a pair of headphone and listen loudly, but on this day he was listening without the headphones, which made me yell and wave at him to get his attention.
I smiled and he turned down the music, asking me where I was going.
“Church, its Sunday!” I said.
He glared at me, not saying a word.
“Okay, we will see you after lunch.” I added, while waving and starting to walk away.
I grabbed my purse and Bible, heading for the door. The music went quiet. I thought maybe he turned on the headphones and I kept walking.
In a flash, Rob came up from behind, yanking me backward by my hair, yelling that I wasn’t going anywhere.
I was caught off guard, falling over my feet, surprised.
“You’re staying home! You’re not going to your fucking cult that you belong to!” He snatched my Bible from my hands, throwing it against the wall as he screamed that I was being brainwashed by “those people”.
I was crying telling him okay but I needed to let the kids know what was taking me so long and that we are staying home instead. Though the kids didn't have patience for church the Sunday ritual became a safe time for us to have peace.
He stormed up to my face, announcing that I was never going to church again! He picked up my Bible from the floor, pointing out I made him lose control and now there was a hole in the wall because I being disobedient. According to him, the teachings of the church were to disobey my husband!
He stormed into the bathroom and I could hear him flush the toilet.
“Go get the damn kids from the van, you Moron!” he barked as he slammed the door to our bedroom. The music went back on, the house was vibrating. I couldn't hear myself think.
I quickly wiped my face and went out to see the kids, who were quiet and had concerned looks on their faces. Jess had asked me what I had done to make Dad mad.
I cringed; telling them to get in the house, Dad says we are staying home from church. No one said anything as they walked in. We couldn't hear anything if we tried to talk to one another due to the intensity of the music.
The rest of the night was filled with silence and strained smiles. No one wanting to make a sound or cause any trouble while the kids played throughout the day and evening as to not have Rob be upset.
At bedtime, Rob announced to me that he was sorry; I could go to church but not for a while, he would let me know when I could attend again. I was hurt and sadden to hear the news. He told me that he had fished my Bible out of the toilet; he felt terrible and promised to get another one for me.
It would be several years later, another move later; the kids are I were allowed to attend church again. As promised, he attempted to buy me a new Bible during a shopping spree years after the incident, but I declined, saying no thank you. Not feeling that I wanted his false generosity.
This is my story! Please share with anyone you know or believe may be in an abusive situation. Listen, be a shoulder or contact police or National Domestic abuse Hotline- http://www.thehotline.org/