Let's toast to the madness that made me this way...

In a couple of months, I will have worked for the crisis center for 2 years. It has been an incredible experience. Don't get me wrong, it has its ups and downs ... but mostly, it is the most rewarding thing next to bringing people to Jesus. I like to think though, in a way, that is exactly what I am doing. I'm blogging today because in the last couple of weeks I have had awesome experiences. I have gotten to watch people's lives transform before my very eyes.

I have gotten to see 2 clients that had their children taken away by CPS (only because they couldn't leave an offender at the time) get their children back. I have seen 5 different ladies get out of a bad situation and get into an apartment of their own, get a new job, and start all over again with a fresh life. I have seen people who have not had any opportunities for a good life, do a complete 180 and get off of alcohol and drugs and begin going to church services and seeing the love of God in their lives. I have seen children that have been sexually and physically abused and who have been closed off and separated from any kind of love ... open up and smile and laugh and paint and sing. It is beautiful. It has been amazing.

Yesterday morning, I went to court with someone who was not originally my client. She was the client of our bilingual legal advocate, but because Etsela couldn't make it to court with her, I went. She has applied for a protective order against her ex-boyfriend who had been verbally, mentally, physically, and psychologically abusive to the point of her breaking. What really hit a nerve with me, was when she told me that he had spit on her. For those of you who don't know me well enough, I was in a violent dating relationship some years ago, and he would physically hold me down on the ground and spit in my face. That is one of the most degrading, disgusting things you can do to a human being. I knew immediately that people would judge her and wonder that same old question " why didn't she just leave?" Well, if you don't know the dynamics of domestic violence, then you don't know all of the reasons why someone would stay with someone who treats you so horribly. There are many. Just a few are these: because you cared about him in the beginning and hope he will change. After all, he wasn't always like this. Because you know that nobody has ever shown him love in his life, and you want to be that hero, you want to watch him change for the better. Or because he threatens you and tells you if you leave he will kill you or himself. Or because he has made you feel so worthless, you actually believe that you deserve the treatment you are getting. I know it might sound ridiculous to some of you, but until you have walked a mile in their shoes ... you never know what they are going through. So.. having the judicial system that we do, I knew that this was going to be a tough one because in their eyes, "she could have just left." Plus, the case did not look promising because she had little evidence and no witnesses. After 2 hours of hearing, and back and forth "he said she said" between the client and the offender, the judge decided that he was going to DENY the protective order because there was no hard evidence. As I sat there in the court room watching that poor lady cry and try to talk to the judge, I remembered a tape recorder that she had brought with her -with angry and vulgar phone messages on it. He had left her several. The county attorney that was representing our client was obviously not fighting hard for her and the longer I sat there, the more my heart started to pound out of my chest. I knew I had to do something. So I stood up and interrupted -

"Your honor, may I say something?"

He looked down at me and said - "Do you have any hard evidence young lady?"

So I went on ... "well, I am with the East Texas Crisis Center, and she has a tape recorder of messages that you have to listen to."

He asked the attorney why he was not given this evidence and she began rattling off some excuse that she didn't think it would be relevant. She passed the recorder to the judge and for 10 minutes we all sat there listening to these horrible and threatening messages.

Finally, the judge spoke. - "Upon hearing these messages, I am changing my ruling. I am granting the two year protective order."

The client turned around over her shoulder, looked at me with huge crocodile tears in her eyes, and mouthed -Thank you. At that moment I could almost hear the music from the Natural playing in my head. You know, the one where he hits the baseball in to the stadium lights. It felt so good to have helped her. And for justice to be served.

I don't know how much longer I will be working here at the Crisis Center. I am trying to find a position somewhere that deals primarily with children. But while I am here, I am enjoying every moment that I can see someones life change and that I can watch them start to realize the love of God working in their lives. These women and children mean a lot to me. And today I wanted to write this blog, to say how proud I am of their courage and of their quiet strength.
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1 comment :

  1. Wow, Theresa, really? I can't imagine the courage and faith it took to ask to say something. What an amazing thing you did for this woman, thank you for loving others the way you do and for faithfully doing His will!


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