She wore the pain of her life and her brokenness with every brand permanently etched on her body. Her God-given identity was stolen at a tender age. When playing with dolls, building towers with blocks, and swinging on swings with complete giddiness should have been what flooded her young mind, the process of breaking her sweet spirit and grooming her for the pleasure of others began.
From the moment she walked through our door, her feet remained readied to run, as the result of the years of conditioning she endured at the hands of those who had used her repeatedly. Each abuser had successfully broken her mind and soul, leading her to believe that he was somehow her grand protector, redefining “love” and family as an addiction to the chaos that kept her heart divided. She did not recognize the manipulation that had pushed her into this fear-based loyalty. She didn’t process phrases such as trauma bonding because that would imply a lack of choice, and from her perspective, she had lived her life completely in control. Although we could clearly distinguish the impact and grasp that our road with her would be met with extraordinary challenges, we knew we were up for the task… We always are. However, this time, sadly, she was not.
Just a few weeks after she first walked through our door, she chose to walk out.
We joyfully share the victories, the struggles that are overcome, the hurdles successfully jumped, and the mountains that get climbed one step at a time. Rarely do we desire to share the losses. They don’t tend to be encouraging, but they are always a lingering possibility along the journey for every victim and survivor that walks through the door at Refuge for Women.
At Refuge for Women North Texas, we love fiercely with every bit of love God has given us, but we know we must hold each resident loosely to allow God to do what only He can do, mend the brokenhearted. We fight for each one of these women until she is able to stand and fight on her own. So, this week, we lost one. We grieve, yes, but we know we have to keep walking forward for the residents in our care and those yet to arrive. We serve a big God in whom we trust each and every life. Still, in our humanity, we mourn the losses when they come, and we continue to press into the One who truly sets the captives free.