Abuse Victim Prays for The Impossible

“He came into the kitchen and he said, ‘We need to talk,’ Susan Call remembers the conversation she had one day with her husband. “He went on to say that he had been having an affair with a woman who had previously been a nanny. And he said, ‘If you try to leave, or if you try to take the kids, I’ll kill you.’ I remember standing in the kitchen and feeling like I was looking at pure evil.”
Susan no longer recognized the man she met in college she thought was her prince charming. “I met my first husband I’ll call Joe. He was quick with compliments,” Susan says. “When I met him, I was just sort of swept away by his charisma.”
But shortly after the two married, he became jealous and started watching her every move. “He really kept close reins on where I was, who I was with,” she says. “If the phone rang, he wanted to answer it so that he knew who was on the other end.”
Susan and Joe had two children. Joe eventually began drinking heavily and became verbally abusive. “He would regularly tell me that I was useless, that I was an awful mother, to regularly break me down or to make me doubt myself or to feel as though no one else would care about me.”              
Susan and Joe fought constantly. “We had one argument one day where he punched his fist right through the wall past my head,” she says. “As long as there was substance abuse in our house, as long as there were temperamental outbursts, I didn't think my children and I were safe. “
Joe then revealed his affair with the nanny, and threatened Susan’s life. “That was the point at which I knew I could not put the marriage back together myself,” she says. “Divorce was something that I didn’t go into marriage wanting.”
She later met with a lawyer who specialized in abuse cases. “He had said that 90% of the cases, it’s hot air--you’re really not in any danger. And then he said ‘I’m so sorry. You’re in the 10%.’”
Susan often used her drive to work to ponder her situation. One day, one of her favorite stations changed formats. “It had been purchased by Christian broadcasting,” she says. “And I remember thinking ‘Who are these people? They took my radio station. How could they do that?’ I began listening out of curiosity.”
Susan had been raised going to church, and the music and teaching on the station took her back to her childhood. “The stories that the people shared were nothing like mine. They had been through illnesses or maybe they too had been through infidelity, all kinds of trauma in their families. But what I was taken back by was there was a common thread through all of them. And it was hope. I decided I really wanted that hope.”
Meanwhile, the strife at home continued. “I remember saying, ‘God, if You are real, You need to show up.’ And it wasn’t long after praying that that I was on the way home from a doctor’s appointment with my son, and we were in a head on car accident,” she says. “Remarkably I was uninjured. My son had not a single scratch, and he said ‘Mommy, I saw an angel. It was on the inside window of the van, and it told me everything was going to be okay,’” Susan adds. “And that propelled me to go to church the next Sunday.”
Susan went by herself that week, and was moved by the message and music. “They began singing ‘Amazing Grace.’ And as they sang the words, I wept, and it changed me. It was at that point that I understood my faith in a way that I had never understood before, and I understood that it was a relationship--that I could talk to God,” she remembers. “I could cry out to God and He heard me, and He answered. It’s the peace that passes all understanding.”
With her newfound faith to help guide her, Susan prayed for wisdom about her next step. “It took me 6 months of planning, 6 months of tucking money away, tucking some clothes away, an emergency bag in case we needed to run quickly,” she says. She also met with a team of volunteers who help domestic abuse victims. One morning when Joe went out of town, they arrived and loaded her and her children in a moving van and she drove to a location 14 hours away. “The morning we fled, I kept thinking ‘we’re going to get caught,’” Susan says.  “This isn’t going to work. I’m not going to be safe,’ and as much as fear tried to fill me, I kept trying to just take one step after the next.”
That morning, a neighbor saw her packing the van to leave.  “The entire time she watched she was calling Joe on her phone, and she wanted to tell him that we were leaving because she assumed that he was the victim,” Susan says.  “d I have no doubt that was one of the many ways God provided for us.”
As she watched her children that morning, Susan says God spoke to her. “As I’m watching their anticipation and their hunger for what lies ahead, I felt God say to me, ‘What are you looking at? Are you looking at your brokenness? Are you looking at the infidelity? Are you looking at all the things that could have been, but won’t be? Are you looking at the possibility that your future isn’t safe or isn’t possible? Because I’m the God of the impossible.’ And in that moment I realized that it’s so easy to look in the rearview of life at all the things we’ve been through rather than look ahead to the possibilities when we trust God.”
Susan waited several months, but eventually returned for custody hearings. Joe was allowed supervised visits with his children. She also found it in her heart to forgive him. “I realized that if I didn’t forgive him, that I was saying that what Jesus did on the cross wasn't enough for Joe’s sins,” she says. “And the remarkable thing is that as I forgave, it was me who received the benefit.”
Susan later remarried, and today she speaks to women on faith and domestic abuse. “My purpose really is to share my story and encourage others, she says. “The number of times that I reflect back on the answered prayers that I’ve had, has really helped me learn to trust God,” Susan adds. “I realize that I can’t limit Him by what I think is possible.  And I’ve learned to not be afraid to pray the really big prayers, the prayers that I have no idea how they could happen. God gave me a lifetime supply of hope.”

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