By Dani Sanchez on @Deenamadams
I’m proud to share Dani Sanchez’s story with you this week. Dani is a young, single mom of two and has been a member of my church for several years. Her strength and courage in the midst of a difficult and dangerous marriage is inspirational.
As young children, we often dream of what we expect life to be like when we’re grown. The funny thing about dreams is they don’t always work out how we planned. You may find that you ended up far from where you wanted or expected to be and wonder how you got there.
Well, my story took a huge left turn that I never saw coming.
I knew God had a plan for me that included love, marriage, and motherhood. I knew without a doubt I was meant to be a mother, and I also knew that God’s way is the best way.
So, I made a vow to save myself for marriage. Unfortunately, the devil had other plans.
One July summer night after my 18th birthday, just weeks before I would move off to college, I regrettably snuck out of my childhood home to spend an evening with a boy I’d been dating. He’d been drinking and, foolishly, I trusted him. But his intentions were set regardless of my consent.
That night, I lost a part of myself I’ll never get back. I later discovered I had become pregnant.
A few months afterward, in my college dorm room in the middle of the night, as blood ran down my legs, I felt the worst pain I had ever experienced.
I knew in that moment I was no longer going to be a mother.
Hurt and anger engulfed me for so many reasons. I questioned my worth as a woman, disgraced and damaged by the loss of my virginity and heart broken over the promise of a child I wanted regardless of the circumstances.
I walked away from God for many years.
Angry and bitter, I looked for comfort and affection in the arms of men who cared more about my body than my heart. I went from one toxic relationship to another, never feeling complete or whole because God was not present in my life.
I met a man who made me feel more beautiful and special than I ever had before. I hung on his every word and felt as if I could walk on water.
Since I wasn’t living for God, I was reckless with my body and it wasn’t long before I became pregnant, but there was no joy around this pregnancy; only fear and depression.
In a moment of clarity, God used this unborn child like an arrow to pull me back into Him, redirect my path, and remind me of the beautiful promises He has placed in my life.
The minute Adeline was born, more love than I’d ever known filled me, and God gave me a new purpose in life.
I married her father with the best of intentions; hoping he would love me and her as we deserved. Unfortunately, his dark and twisted heart led to more painful and dangerous abuse as time went on.
Amid all the pain, God saw fit to bless me with another child. At this point in my marriage, the abuse had turned to not only emotional and psychological, but sexual and physical. I regularly feared for my life and couldn’t eat or sleep.
The very presence of my husband’s body next to mine shook me to my core.
The fights were daily. Not a day went by I didn’t hide in the bathroom for a few minutes to cry and pray that God would give me strength and save me from my marriage.
I finally reached a breaking point and realized this was not the life God promised me; this was no place to raise my children. God intervened and provided safe passage to leave my husband.
Terrified as I was, on August 6, 2017, with $50 to my name, my papa, mother, and sister came and helped me pack up what we could carry, and I left my home and the man I once loved.
The battle in overcoming domestic violence doesn’t end when the victim leaves their abuser, it ends when they accept that they deserve more and let go of the hope their abuser will change.
I had to learn what real love looks like and learn to love myself.
The people God placed in my life encouraged me and gave me strength. I’ve prayed without ceasing, cried many nights, and worked harder than I ever thought possible, to be where I am today.
I am by no means perfect, but I’m covered in Gods grace and thankful for His redeeming love.
Kailyn, my beautiful rose, born of hardship and heartbreak, once again brought new purpose and love into my life.
I wake up every day and pray for renewed strength to take on life’s next challenges. Whether it is motherhood, my career, or whatever life may throw my way, I’m trusting God with all my heart to walk the path He has for me.
God has already blessed me with so much and my hope is that my life can be a testimony of Gods love and mercy.
Join the conversation. Have you seen God show up during a difficult time in your life? What’s the most encouraging comment or action from another person you’ve received during a struggle? Please share to help us all better minister to those in our lives who are hurting.
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