Blurting something out like that while your father is driving down the highway is not a good idea. My poor dad! He was furious. My mother was usually all in my business and always wanted to hear all the details of my dating life. When I was with Mr. Godfather, I shut her out. I didn’t tell her one thing about the abuse. My parents had been a little distracted with the church, the business, family members going through stuff, my brothers were both having marital problems and on the brink of divorce. BOTH of them. All Hell had broke loose in my family. There had been so much drama, it made it that much easier to escape whenever Mr. Godfather picked me up. My boyfriend and I NEVER spent time with my family other than when he would hang out at the business while I was working. He would snatch me out of there for as long as he could every chance he got while it was slow. As long as he had me back in time for me to do my job, we kinda slid under the radar, until we didn’t. Now, my parents were fully focused on my relationship and they weren’t happy. Once we got to work, I remember sitting at my father’s desk and talking with Mr. Godfather on the phone. Since I wasn’t an adult yet, his parents and my parents needed to have a meeting to discuss the situation and exactly why I was telling people we were married.
When we arrived at his parents house, my mother finally met his mother and our dads were talking. Mr. Godfather was nowhere to be seen. This was odd. His sister was there and she needed me to go with her while everyone was talking. We somehow managed to leave the house and walked over to the church. It was so mysterious. She led me to the sanctuary where Mr. Godfather was waiting for me. I don’t recall ever setting foot in the sanctuary before this or hearing his father preach. We never went to church together. I was always with my parents at our church on Sundays. I have no idea what he did on Sunday mornings. I doubt he sat in on his father’s sermons. We never read our Bibles together or even prayed together. Our spiritual lives were pretty non-existent at this point. Maybe that is why what he did next meant so much to me.
*Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash
It was dim in the church that night with a light shining in one spot down front. As I made my way down the aisle, the stain glass windows were so pretty and there he was standing in the light. Just like a groom on his wedding day, he watched me walk down the aisle. He was so confident, strong and handsome. The moment was carefully orchestrated just like everything he did. He was always in control and no one was going to take this moment from him. No one. Walking towards him was bittersweet. This was probably the only time we were ever in a church sanctuary together. Right there in his father’s church, he pulled out the engagement ring. Standing there in front of him in the light with the beauty of the sanctuary all around us… it was the only beautiful moment in our entire relationship. It would have been perfect if not for the monster I knew he was and the fact that I had no choice but to accept the ring and plan an actual wedding.
*Photo by Esther Tuttle on Unsplash
It was beautiful. The way he had everything set up just perfect… the way he didn’t meet us at the house but instead had his sister convince our parents to let us go for a short walk while they were talking, and the fact that he chose the most sacred place to put that ring on my finger… those are some of the things he did so well. Those are some of the reasons I loved him and those are the moments that have stayed in my heart. When I remember the bad, I remember the good. I hope that he knows I loved him and I would’ve been loyal and loved him forever despite what he did.
*Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash
We should have thrown ourselves onto the altar and begged God to forgive us for living in sin. Then, I should have run to my father, told him EVERYTHING, and pleaded with him to please cast the devil out of my lying, abusive demon of a fiance. That would have been the right thing to do. Instead, I clung to that man and kept everything he had done to me a secret. I was willing to do whatever it took to live and I was desperate to make some kind of right out of all the wrong.
As soon as we got back to the house, he was his usual cocky, disrespectful self. His sister beat it to her room and our parents were ready to sit our tails down and ask some questions. He wasn’t afraid, no one seemed to scare him. No one was going to get in his way. He laughed and held his head up like he always did. He had won. The truth was out about the paper he had me sign and the lie he made me believe. His father seemed appalled that his son had done something so horrible as tricking a sweet little preacher’s daughter into thinking she was married. I sat there quietly as Mr. Godfather put his arm around me, claiming his prize and smiling. He was so smug, I don’t know how my father kept from punching his lights out. Mr. Godfather’s attitude was sickening. The poor look on his father’s face as he shook his head. It was gut wrenching to watch Mr. Godfather smile and laugh while our parents tried to understand. I had to just sit there, keeping all his sick secrets. The only one they knew was how he tricked me. This was so not like me. I was smarter than this. No matter what came out of his mouth, I sat there and went along with it. I knew better than to disrespect him or tell anyone what all he had done. It was made very clear that we were NOT married and no matter what he had tried to make me believe, a preacher cannot perform his own wedding. Then he had the audacity to say, “She could be pregnant!”. I was mortified as I looked over at my parents. He was so evil. He would have said anything to get what he wanted. There was nothing they could do because I kept my mouth shut. I let them all think what they wanted.
*Photo by Zach Guinta on Unsplash
I remember his father telling us something to the effect of how God might punish us later in life. He said one of our children might have something wrong with it. That could be our punishment from God for not doing things the right way. His words shocked me and I never got that out of my head. I didn’t want to do anything wrong. I honestly had a sincere heart. This all made me feel so much worse. I would never want another human being to suffer because I got talked into signing some stupid paper, had unspeakable things happen and I eventually surrendered. I was trying to stay alive. Now, on top of the nightmare I was in, I had to worry about what punishment God was gonna unleash on both of us.
I protected him with everything in me and I kept myself alive by keeping his abuse a secret. It was worked out that we weren’t to be spending time alone until the wedding. At the end of the night, I was walking around in almost a dream state. His sister came out of her room and I could hear everyone talking. His mother was so sweet and excited, planning for me to wear something of hers I think for the wedding. I just looked around and everything was surreal. I think I was under too much stress and my parents were so upset. The look of disappointment was just too much. I just wanted to fix it, but I couldn’t. If I tried to leave him, I knew he would kill me. I really thought I had no other choice but to make our marriage legal and our relationship right before almighty God. My abuser was walking around like the lion he was while I was dying inside knowing I HAD to marry this man and endure whatever he did. He could snap at any moment and end my life, especially once we were living in our own house. I was at the threshold of Hell and no one could help me now…
Amazed By His Grace,