I feel quite compelled to write this tonight. I found out on the very first day of April that it was child abuse awareness month. I could only think of one person when I did – Wesley. All month long that man has been on my mind. Although, it seems like more often than not I do not think of him as a man. I think of him as a child who never properly grew up. He is a wounded child who has tried to fit the mold of his understanding of what a man is. He is still wounded.
Let me tell you why Wes was the first to pop up in my mind as I contemplated writing a post in contribution to this month’s spotlight. It seems as though every time I feel a little more satisfied with my life the Lord grants me with more information about what is really going on in it. I mean, I am the one who pleaded for understanding, right? So, everything seems to be heading in a bright direction, and then unsolicited information is laid on my lap, and in that same moment I am ready to push. I ask for more. I want the details, and I want them from several sources. When people sense you coming from a good place, they are quite willing to share. I am in awe of the things that happened in the household my husband grew up in – and not in a good way either. It is evil, horrifying, and disgusting. It sickens me, and I empathize for all of those children. Most of them are not children anymore, at least physically, but they are all still children to their Father in Heaven, and I know He has much empathy for them as well.
Perhaps the reason it was so difficult for me to write this post is because I feel like it is not my place. It is not my story, and I only have so much information, and I am really not willing to share any of it. All I will say is that the things that occurred within the walls of those children’s “home” is worse than I have ever personally heard of elsewhere. It really makes me more deeply contemplate the lifelong relationship my family had with theirs. I have no doubt it was meant to be. Many of the older children feel that way too.
All in all, my husband, Wesley, would not have committed a cold-blood murder if he was not a victim of such cruelty himself. After so much prayer on his behalf over this last almost year and a half, I now think of him as a mentally handicapped individual. I truly believe his brain does not comprehend right from wrong the way most people’s do. Some may say that is just an excuse, and they are entitled to that, but I know what I know. What also breaks my heart is that he would nonchalantly mention little bits of what he had gone through, here and there, during our short time together, and I would brush it off. Part of me knew how much he enjoyed attention, and thought he was stretching some truth to get what he lived for, and the other part of me still had my own deep wounds from my past abusive situations that my heart was not in an accepting, empathetic place it should have been for him. Sometimes I wish I could go back and be the person I am now for him, but that is a very imperfect human desire. All we can do is move forward.
I still hurt for all those who experienced (and still do on a very regular basis) the loss of a brother, uncle, cousin, and friend, and never mean to sound insensitive in my writings, but so much understanding has occurred in my life due to prayer. Yes, I hurt for those who lost Danny Yarbrough, but I also hurt for my Wesley Swank. No child deserves to grow up in hell, and he sure didn’t either. I am grateful he is where he needs to be, and hope and pray he can have a truly repentant heart as he stays incarcerated for life (hopefully). Maybe not all child abuse stories end this way, but here we see the ugly potential that can come from it.
And from all this, I am grateful that he is not in my daughter’s life. Oh, how I wish I had a complete family sometimes. But, quite honestly, I do not allow such envy to last long. I know I chose this life exactly the way it is, and I know the higher purpose that will come from it all. That knowledge blesses me on a daily basis. There is no way my daughter would not get messed up if he were raising her with me. As I strive to raise her properly, and in a non-abusive household, she has great potential to break the cycle, and relieve him of some of the sin that has been placed upon his own head – better yet, the heads of his parents.
I really do not wish to get off topic here at all, but I know there are many single mothers out there, and sometimes we are angry when we should not be. To my fellow single moms, I ask:
Have you done your research? Was your baby’s father abused as a child?
Would you prefer that things would have “worked out” so he could abuse your children, and allow the cycle to continue?
If only we could all see the entire picture, we would be so grateful to be in the struggles we are now, versus the uglier ones we would be in if we had what we originally wanted.
Child abuse is serious. It is common. And it is horrendous. The cycle breaks more and more with every news article, every video, every post, every event, every story told that has to do with the nasty outcomes from abuse of a child. Keep sharing, and keep hoping. Together, we can do wonders!