This story was written by a Survivor of Domestic Violence. Her name was changed to protect her confidentiality. Tonya wrote this story after completing the Stand Up Placer 10k.
Grace hits us when we are in great pain and restless. When we have taken yet another insult, and another hit to the face. Grace comes when the person we see as our own personal hero, who is also the abuser, has yet again broke us to our knees. Grace hits when you just can’t take anymore! It strikes when we walk through the valley of a meaningless and empty life…..it strikes when year after year the longed for PERFECTION does not appear, when old hurts reign within us, as they have for so long, when despair destroys all joy and courage you have. You beg for that moment of peace. You cry out for only a moment to be loved and feel important. You hope for that moment when a wave of light breaks into your darkness and a voice says, “You are accepted. You are accepted by that which is greater than YOU! Maybe this time you’ll learn to NOT do anything now, perhaps later you’ll do much. Maybe you’ll learn to NOT seek for anything, NOT to perform anything, NOT to intend anything. You want to Simply accept that fact that YOU ARE ACCEPTED!!
Paul writes in the Bible, “The Lord said, My grace is enough for you, my power is at its best in weakness.
I have learned in order to live by grace means, to acknowledge my WHOLE life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learned who I am and what God’s grace means. When I got honest with SELF, I can admit I’m a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt. I hope and I get discouraged. I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. I wanted to be faithful and free. I wanted to be perfect but build off my mistakes. I wanted to be understood and loved. Many times I was defeated, soiled by life, and beat by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of lifes tribulations, and my own choices but through it all clung to my faith.
Grace has to be drunk STRAIGHT! NOTHING EXTRA. We all have accepted grace in theory but we deny it in practice.
Today I ran a 10K of grace!! Things started off fun and easy. My body felt great! Eventually I made it to the 5K mark. The half way point. I was half way there, but yet I wanted to turn around and say, “I’ve gone far enough, this should be good”!! By that time I had started to drag. It wasn’t as easy as when I first started. It didn’t seem as fun anymore. Especially when I saw others passing me by, but I kept going. I became tired. My body was hurting but I kept going. With every hill and every curve, I just kept going. As I began to circle back around heading for the finish line and reached the 5K point AGAIN, I realized how far I came. You see, I’ve already come to this point of the 5K before, but this time I didn’t think about turning around, because what I started with was behind me. I was on the other side of the half way mark! To turn around at that point ment I was going backwards and doing what I had already done. Some how at that moment I didn’t feel so tired. My body didn’t hurt so much. It didn’t seem so hard! The closer I knew I was to the finishing line, the more stronger I became, and the harder I pushed. When I finally made it up that last hill, came around the final curve and I saw the finishing line. The moment I crossed over……. It was at the moment I experienced GRACE! It called out to me and said, You made it! Would it have made sense even at that moment to turn around and do the 5K again? Of course not!! Crossing the finishing I was able to experience what it felt like to be a winner. Crossing the finishing line said, I didn’t stay where I started! When I was at my weakest moment, graced stepped in and pushed me to the finishing line. Today I completed a 10K with real super heroes, other women who understood my pain, who loved me, and made me feel important. Today I had my moment of victory when I completed a 10K………..WITH GRACE!!!
THANK YOU TO STAND UP PLACER FOR GIVING ME THE SUPPORT I NEEDED TO GET MY POWER BACK AND CROSS THAT FINISHING LINE!! YOU HELPED ME REALIZE THAT IT’S AT MY WEAKEST MOMENT IN LIFE THAT MY STRENGTH IS MUCH MORE POWERFUL THAN I REALIZED!! GRACE IN MY 10K!!
Marie, a 35 year-old mother with a four year-old son, entered the Emergency Safe House shelter with domestic violence and chemical dependency issues. During her stay, Marie successfully met all of the requirements of the shelter, including attending Domestic Violence, Life Skills, and Parenting counseling groups, and both she and her son participated in individual therapy. In addition, Marie attended an out-patient chemical dependency program.
After leaving the shelter, Marie qualified for Stand Up Placers’ Supportive Housing Program, receiving rental assistance while beginning her new life free of domestic violence and chemical abuse. One of the requirements of the housing program is that residents continue to attend weekly individual therapy sessions. Marie received counseling at our Roseville Service Office where she attended sessions each week. During these sessions Marie disclosed to her counselor a history of violent relationships.
Marie continued to explore and process her negative life experiences – an important aspect of the road to a healthier way of life. Understanding what lead to needing the shelter is an important step in learning how to keep from becoming a victim again. Through counseling Marie is now able to identify the characteristics of an equality-based relationship, versus one based on power and control.
Marie went on to have many successes. She secured employment, and was later promoted to supervisor, enrolled her son in daycare, attended Roseville Adult School, and received her high school diploma. Her relationship with her family continues to evolve as she learns to relate to them from a place of empowerment and not of dependence.
One of Marie’s biggest challenges has been dealing with her former abuser and issues involving custody of her son. With the help of her attorney, and the support of the Stand Up Pacer counseling program, Marie maintained firm boundaries with her former abuser. She continues to work on her parenting skills with her son through the counseling program at Stand Up Placer.
Christina, a 6-year-old female, was referred to Stand Up Placer by her elementary school. At the onset of therapy, Christina was exhibiting behavioral and emotional difficulties and poor relations with her peers and family members. Christina and her family had a long history of trauma that included both domestic violence and sexual assault.
Each week Christina engaged in sand tray and art therapy techniques. By using these non-threatening approaches, Christina was able to process her previous trauma and gain a sense of control over her world. Christina learned to identify and express emotions within her sessions and at home to her primary care giver. Additionally, therapy has assisted in providing guidance and support for Christina’s mother, and helped reestablish safety, security, and positive parenting in the home. Collaboration with the elementary school social worker and the development of a behavioral management plan has reduced Christina’s difficulty at school.
Christina and her mother attended therapy weekly for several months at a Stand Up Placer service office. During that time the family has received assistance with obtaining Victim Witness funding, advocacy for Christina in the community, and holiday aid through Stand Up Placers’ Adopt A Family Program.
Sally is a 35-year-old female who entered our emergency shelter in April. She spent three months at the safe house where she met with a therapist every week to address her drug abuse and issues related to domestic violence and child abuse. She was able to make the necessary connections to succeed in therapy. Sally actively participated in all the groups offered at the shelter. She was involved in the drug rehabilitation program, which provided her with the tools to address her addiction.
Sally successfully graduated from the Stand Up Placer shelter program in December. On the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire, she stated that she was very satisfied with the quality, amounts and kind of services she was offered during her stay. Sally then participated in our Supportive Housing Program. For one year she received assistance, continued to meet with her Case Manager, and attend weekly counseling and classes. During this year she continued her education and vocational training. At the end of the year she was in the position to secure a good job and support herself and her children.
Sally is currently working, has an apartment, and is able to take care of herself. After graduating from the Supportive Housing Program, Sally continued to participate in various programs through Stand Up Placer.
Sally summarized her experience at Stand Up Placer, by stating, “If it hadn’t been for this program and all my classes and therapy, I’d probably be dead by now.”