Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CHALLENGE (08/17/17)
TITLE: The Journal
By Marilyn Klunder
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Her tale spoke of domestic violence that sent her and her children running nearly naked along a country road. It spoke of the bruises and broken bones she suffered at the hand of a husband who not only used drugs, but transported drugs from Mexico to Chicago. It spoke of how her dining room table was constantly filled with drugs, large amounts of cash and a gun. It screamed of the helplessness and horror she felt as she watched her husband introduce marijuana to her eight year old son. She detailed in one part of her journal how she was held as a ransom for payment of drugs her husband had stolen from his dealers. She was actually grateful to her captors for allowing her to leave her children behind while they held her and her husband worked to pay them back. Even after all the pain she suffered and the incredulous events she survived, she described how her very lowest point was the two abortions she had to prevent any more of her children from suffering through this life.
The challenges my sister faced seemed overwhelming and impossible, but at some point she decided that death trying to be free would be better than the imprisoned life she and her four children were living. As I continued to read, her entries began to tell how little by little she began to face her challenge. She would take her children to my parent’s house and spend the weekend away at a safe place. Then she took a waitress job that kept her away from her home late into the night. She began to desperately try to put space between her and the one who caused so much pain and brought so much destruction to their home. After her first failure at filing for divorce, she ended up in the hospital not from physical injuries, but emotional ones. That is when she began to get counseling. It was through counseling that this journal was born.
I received this journal after her death. She didn’t die by the hands of her abusive husband, but in a senseless car accident on her way to work. Before her death she was able to break away from the abuse and begin a new life, but the scars that remained for her and her children created new challenges; challenges of trust, self-esteem, self-respect and love.
The first time I read this story I was in shock. Although their family never appeared to be perfect, so much of what my sister wrote was a total surprise to me. How could I not know what she was going through? Later, I found out that she purposely kept her distance to protect us from her husband’s rage and vengence.
Now, as a Christian, reading the journal presents new challenges. I would like to think that her story was rare, a one out of a million story. But my heart keeps asking the question, how does something like this happen in a sleepy town with eight churches? Then I remember, I too, am the church.
I wish I would have known then what I know now. I wish I would have known more about the truth of my sister’s struggles, but I also wish I could have known sooner about the hope we have in Jesus so that I could have shared that with her before she left this life.
My challenge now is to remember my sister’s story and be aware of other’s struggles and share what I now know. Hebrews 6:19 (NIV) says, “Hope is an anchor to the soul.” It is this hope that gives us courage to face heartbreaking challenges. With this hope we find peace in the midst of war and light in a darkened world. It is also this hope that makes me believe I will see her again.
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