Whit Devereaux is a Domestic Violence Survivor, Author, and Blogger. As the mother of two, she enjoys taking family vacations and spending quality time with her daughters. She is an advocate for families of children with special needs and works with underserved individuals to get access to quality health care. Her desire is to inspire, educate and empower those who are in abusive relationships to be free and enter into a personal relationship with our Father in Heaven.
Victorious: Overcoming the Stronghold of Abuse
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11 (NLT)
If you would have told me that I would be sharing my testimony years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. The enemy had shut my mouth and threatened me with fear and shame. I was held hostage with the horror stories of what those who said they loved me had done to harm me.
Yes, I was a victim of abuse on more than one occasion and by more than one person claiming to love me.
Now, I am a survivor who has committed her life to sharing about the redeeming power of God’s mercy and grace. Sounds good right, but HOW did I get here? I can honestly say that I didn’t get here on my own. God put people, resources, and a way of escape in my journey towards freedom and healing. It was up to me to accept them and for a while, I refused to.
Let’s take a moment to define abuse for the purposes of this blog and my testimony (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
1 : language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily verbal abuse a term of abuse
2 : physical maltreatment child abuse sexual abuse
These are just some of the forms of abuse that I endured: verbal, physical, and sexual but there are other kinds also referred to as Domestic Violence or Domestic Abuse.
Now let’s walk out the process of how I moved from Victim to Victor & now Advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness. You may recall me mentioning in the beginning that God provided people, resources, and a way of escape that I had once refused.
Why did I refuse help?
I didn’t believe that I was in a abusive relationship. I didn't believe that I was in a abusive relationship. Click To Tweet I believed that my abusers truly loved me and in retrospect they may have, but it was beyond the realm of a healthy type of love. I couldn’t see that initially. I blamed myself often, thinking that I had provoked the abusive encounter and tried my best to avoid doing things that may cause an argument or disagreement.
Needless to say, my best wasn’t good enough and in my first relationship with intimate partner abuse, there were many horrific fights ending in tears, black eyes, and even a kidnapping. But God! He provided a literal route of escape where I had to make a life or death decision to leave.
I chose the route leading to life, relocated and had a chance to start a new path. One that was more grounded in God and decided to take a break from dating to allow myself time to heal. I had no idea that in less than two years later, I’d find myself in a similar situation, abused by the one I loved.
This time was different.
I knew the warning signs. I knew what abuse looked like and how to avoid it, or so I thought. Yes this time was different, in that, I wasn’t sexually or physically abused, but the verbal and mental abuse was much worse. I was often told that no one would want me because I had children, I was too difficult to be with, and I felt stuck.
I suffered in isolation and silence because I had lost many friendships and had a strenuous relationship with my family as a result of me trying to protect my relationship with my partner. Isolation often leads to depression and anxiety and that led me to a therapist who I’ll never forget.
This therapist was one of the people used by God to open my eyes and show me exactly what the cycle of abuse looked like and the various forms. She also encouraged me to use a resource available through my church that I had been hesitant to attend.
One therapy session that I had, I brought a flier with me from my church’s domestic violence ministry.
I had gotten it the previous Sunday as I was exiting the service and kept it. I usually throw fliers away, but this one I kept. After showing her the flier, she encouraged me to go to their next monthly meeting. I was nervous and afraid.
What would people say?
What would they think?
What would I tell my partner about my whereabouts?
With so many questions swarming in my mind, I struggled with going but with her urging and education of the Power and Control Wheel, I went. It was through those resources where I would eventually leave the relationship and find my true healing and freedom in God.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
God gave me a gift (of writing) and a testimony and I wanted Him to know that he could trust me with both. I had promised God that if He would deliver me, then I’d tell everyone that I possibly could about what He had done.
From those seasons in my life, I birthed my first Christian Fiction Novel, Not By My Own, which is inspired by the Bible verse John 5:30. “I can do nothing on my own…” It’s true. I am victorious over the stronghold of abuse and I could only do it by my Father (God) who sent me.
I don’t know about you, but I am so encouraged and empowered by Whit’s story.
Whit, thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us!
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P.S. Did you miss Carmen’s or Chioma’s stories of victory? Click below to read!
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