Safety is something that it is easy to take for granted or forget about. I mean you lock your door at night, and do quick scans at the park or grocery store for shady characters too close for comfort, but for most people forgetting to do these things doesn’t register as unsafe until you see a stranger talking to your kids or your home/car is broken into or an abuser of your past is standing on your front porch shouting at you and demanding you open your door. Then fight or flight kicks in and you remember what and unsafe world this can be.
Earlier this week someone came to our home, who was not welcome. This person has been verbally and emotional abusive to Ian and I and after years of trying to resolve differences, we decided last fall they are not welcome in our life. It doesn’t matter how much we love this person or forgive their faults, we are better people without the frequent berating we underwent from this person and we knew it was unhealthy to expose John to such behaviors and we certainly didn’t want him to be in a position where he might even become the subject of abuse by this person.
Even though we had somewhat of a cryptic warning through social media, we didn’t know exactly when to expect this invasion, so when I saw this person I was terrified. In the moment it is okay to be afraid, protect yourself and your family. Ian and I had agreed on what to do particularly if he wasn’t home and I followed it, not engaging and taking John to a safe and private part of the house. Even though I knew we were safe I was still upset when I could hear our squeaky door knob turning… thank God for the dead bolt. What we didn’t plan on was this person didn’t leave. They sat down on our front porch and opened a book, like it was the most natural thing in the world. At one point in their two and a half hour stay I thought they had left, and made my way to the kitchen to get John and I a snack, but when I got to our safe spot there was pounding on the door again and this person started yelling that we’d been seen and needed to come open the door, even claiming to be a safe person, who we don’t need to be afraid of…. last I checked safe people don’t stalk your house.
Even though I was upset and felt like a prisoner in our home, I wasn’t going to give this person the power of my happiness. While our safety as a family was violated, that doesn’t mean that we should live in fear. Instead, John and I had fun playing and reading doing our normal stuff as best we could. While I will definitely be more observant as to cars parked in our frequently visited areas, I am still going to have fun with John and Ian and I are going to keep living our best life.
There is never any reason to stay in a situation where you or those around you are being hurt physically, verbally or emotionally. It doesn’t matter if it is a parent, child, spouse, stranger or friend. No deserves to be hurt and when you are a parent, your child doesn’t need to be exposed to people who beat other’s down whether the damage can be seen or not. After an event, whether there are fresh wounds or just reliving old ones it can be difficult to remember the safety that was felt before. Changes might need to be made, whether small like double checking locks or big like moving or legal action, it’s important to remember not to let those unsafe moments rule your life. Pray for those who have hurt you that they may get the help they need and not hurt anyone else. Also take the opportunity to examine yourself, make sure that you are dealing with your wounds in a healthy way and that you are not passing on abusive behaviors to others. Don’t give your abuser the power or let them steal the happy moments of mornings in the park with your kiddos. Be safe and aware, but live and love.
In writing this post, I am not trying to point the finger at the person who invaded our space nor am I looking for pitty or for anyone to try and fix the situation. I intentionally left details on this person ( including things like gender or how we know them, etc) because the details are between them, us and God.. We all know what we have done and that we will have to face God’s judgement, there is no point in encouraging people to pass judgement on other’s on Earth. For us and this person it has been discernment that they are unsafe and unhealthy for us to be in a relationship with, not judgement or condemnation. May we all be lead by God’s discernment to live safe, happy and healthy lives.
Have you ever been in an unsafe situation like this? How did you handle it? Have you found a balance between staying safe and living a full life?