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A Child Of The King

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  • Size: 3.5 inches x 8.5 inches
  • Pages: 8
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Ashlyn was shocked when she realized she no longer felt safe and needed to escape this dangerous relationship. She started to tremble as she visualized leaving everything behind, but if she continued to cower in fear, Ashlyn knew she could lose her life. She’d ignored the red flags and warnings from friends, blinded by her love for him, and made excuses for his behavior, rationalizing he was tired and stressed. At times he’d apologize for his anger and insults that cut like a knife, but he rarely seemed to be sincere, blaming everyone except himself.

Ashlyn began dating Dean almost six months ago, and at first, he was charming and attentive. However, a seed of doubt started to form in her mind as he demanded more and more of her attention. Dean told her that he loved her so much he couldn’t share her with family and friends. Ashlyn became isolated, and one day, she realized her boyfriend was now her whole world. There were moments when Dean was fun and playful, and she felt drawn to him, but in a flash, he’d become angry and mean, saying words that should never be spoken.

She’d witnessed Dean’s rage for the first time when he slammed his fist on the table, calling her derogatory names and spewing out obscenities. Ashlyn became distraught, stunned by this fiery eruption. Her trust in Dean began to erode, and she no longer felt cherished, as he claimed he’d love and protect her forever but was beating her down with his violent utterings. Ashlyn’s confidence and self-esteem steadily diminished, and depression began to root deep in her soul, making life even more difficult to bear.

Ashlyn never learned to love herself, and the idea seemed foreign and narcissistic to her. She was close to her mother until she remarried when Ashlyn was nine years of age. She grew up with a stern stepfather who was never interested in developing a relationship with her or showing her fatherly affection. He never accepted Ashlyn, and when he voiced this to his wife, she chose her husband instead of her daughter, so her child felt betrayed and alone.

When Ashlyn started dating Dean, she was glad to have a companion interested in spending time with her. However, his attention soon became oppressive, and she grew uncomfortable and questioned his behavior. After seeing each other for just a few weeks, Dean told her he loved her and wanted to marry. Ashlyn was astonished and struggled with her response, not wanting to hurt his feelings, and although he was displeased, Dean agreed to wait to wed for now.

When Ashlyn could steal a few moments alone, she called her friend Talia in tears, relaying the sarcastic and degrading things Dean would say to belittle and humiliate her. Talia told her she deserved to be treated with dignity and respect and pleaded with Ashlyn to leave her verbally abusive and controlling boyfriend. Ashlyn was grateful to Talia for her friendship and support but said she was in love and couldn’t imagine living without Dean.

He was pressuring Ashlyn to marry him, and it was becoming difficult to dissuade Dean, but if she agreed, the limited freedom she still enjoyed might dissipate once they wed. She felt emotionally imprisoned and longed to break free of the chains. Ashlyn began to have secret thoughts of ending the relationship but feared what might happen if she left.

Earlier that day, she’d met Dean for lunch at a nearby restaurant, and they were enjoying their food when a guy who’d been in one of her college classes a few years ago stopped by their table to greet Ashlyn. She introduced him to Dean, and after a brief conversation, Nick said goodbye and left the restaurant.

Ashlyn picked up her fork to resume her meal and glanced at Dean to continue their conversation, but suddenly, her heart filled with dread when she saw a smoldering look of hate in his eyes. Her fork fell from her fingers, clattering noisily on her plate as Dean began to shout, “How can you say you love me, Ashlyn, when you’re cheating on me with Nick?”

She was horrified Dean’s jealousy prompted this false accusation, especially in such a public place. Ashlyn started to stand up when Dean grabbed her arm tightly so she couldn’t walk out on him. “Let go of me,” she screamed, “leave me alone. I never want to see you again!” The restaurant was silent until the manager stormed over, demanding they leave before he called the police. Dean released her arm, and she bolted towards the exit, desperately searching for a safe place to hide.

Ashlyn knew she couldn’t outrun Dean, so she raced to the back of the restaurant and peered around the side of the building to see if he was following her. She saw Dean hurry past the restaurant, frantically hunting for her. Then he loudly cursed as he retraced his steps and finally sped off in his car. Ashlyn let out a sigh of relief and collapsed on the ground sobbing, “How could I have been so blind? I thought Dean cared about me. I’m confused and so afraid,” she agonized, “what am I going to do?”

Just then, a waitress named Kyra stepped out the restaurant’s back door to walk to her car. When she noticed Ashlyn sitting on the ground, Kyra rushed over to console her and offered her a ride home. 

Ashlyn felt her knees buckle as she opened her front door and stumbled into a chair, still reeling from the ordeal with Dean. Tears flowed as it became clear she was in a toxic relationship, and her life could be in danger, so if she didn’t flee from this abusive man, she might never have another chance.

Ashlyn called a cab to make her escape as her car was in the shop, then quickly packed a suitcase and sat down to wait for her ride, drained from the stress of the past few months. She was startled when a text alerted her that her taxi had arrived. Ashlyn quickly glanced out her living room window, and seeing the cab driver parked in front of her building, put on her shoes, grabbed her belongings, and headed for the door.

Suddenly, the doorknob rattled, and she began to panic as Dean forcefully entered her apartment, breaking the chain lock on the door. Ashlyn was terrified and watched in disbelief as Dean stormed into the room and slammed the door, trapping her inside her apartment. She reached for her cell phone to call the police, but Dean held out his hand, demanding she relinquish it. Her phone started to ring, and she listened in horror as Dean told the taxi driver his services were no longer needed. Ashlyn hurried to her front window to signal the cab driver but was devastated to see the car driving away.

Then Dean’s eyes fell on her suitcase, and his voice took on a sinister tone saying, “You think I’m going to let you leave? You belong to me!” Ashlyn was shaken, envisioning the terror of living her life with Dean. She silently screamed in desperation, questioning how she’d survive this wicked nightmare. Then the peace of God washed over her soul as He reassured her she was His own, telling her He’d never forsake her, and Ashlyn knew she wasn’t alone. A plan began to form in her mind, prompted by her Heavenly Father, and she was overwhelmed with gratitude to discover that the God she’d long ignored was willing to provide clear direction for the child He dearly loved.

Ashlyn had a renewed sense of courage with Jesus by her side, and she knew she’d have to put on a good show if Dean was to believe her charade. “I love you, Dean,” Ashlyn said passionately, “I want to spend my life with you!” He had a bewildered look on his face expecting a different response. “You were packed and ready to leave me,” Dean growled, “why the change of heart?” “I thought you were mad at me,” she answered demurely, “now I know you love me, and I want to get married!” Dean was taken aback, and before he could formulate a response, Ashlyn ran into her bedroom, explaining she wanted to wear something nice for this special occasion. She grabbed a dress from her closet, and throwing it over her landline phone, rushed to the bathroom, locked the door, and turned the water on to muffle the sound of her voice. Ashlyn frantically dialed 911, gave her name and address, and was explaining her situation when the line went dead. She was petrified to hear Dean banging loudly on the bathroom door, threatening to hurt her family if she didn’t come out immediately! Ashlyn was shaking as she unlocked the door and looked up to see Dean holding the phone cord he had just pulled out from the wall. 

He was livid and began to yell in a hostile tone, “if you don’t come with me willingly, I will take you by force!” As Dean pulled Ashlyn through the apartment and down the steep steps, she cried and pleaded for him to release her. They exited the building, and he pushed Ashlyn towards his car as two policemen, responding to her 911 call, commanded Dean to get on the ground. He hesitated for a moment, frantically weighing his options, then freed his captive and dropped to his knees. Dean gave Ashlyn a hateful stare as the officers were taking him away, and she trembled as she realized how close she came to losing everything. She was exhausted from her ordeal but praised the Lord her life had been spared.

Ashlyn stayed with her friend Talia while she searched for a new place to live, still in shock and grieving the loss of her relationship with Dean even though it had been toxic. She struggled with feelings of anger, regret, and memories that repeatedly played in her mind, so Ashlyn agreed to go with Talia to a support group who met at her church. The group leader, Jordan, was employed at a local shelter as a resource for abused women who needed a safe place to stay. The support group was attended by a dozen women from many walks of life who had all suffered from domestic violence and sought guidance and support.

Then Jordan shared her story of abuse that she’d suffered as a child at the hands of her father. “When I was a teenager,” she began, “I became subconsciously attracted to men who acted much like my father. At first, they seemed charming and easy-going, but later it became evident the men were angry and controlling. Throughout my childhood, my father, who was supposed to love and protect me, conveyed in words and actions I was unlovable and worthless. It wasn’t until I heard about Jesus’ unconditional love, that I was able to see myself the way God sees me.”

“Several years ago,” Jordan continued, “a friend invited me to attend a Bible study at her church. We read from the Bible in Ephesians 3:17-19, I pray you may ‘...grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’” 

“The pastor told us the greatest demonstration of God’s love was when He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to bear the punishment for our sin. He said we’ve all sinned and are separated from God, our Creator. However, if we believe Jesus is the Son of God, who died on the cross, and rose again, confess our sins and surrender to Him, we become a child of God and will live forever in Heaven.”

“When I heard God’s love was so great, He was willing to be crucified for me,” Jordan shared, “I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and gave my life to Him. Then, through the power of the Holy Spirit who now lives in me, I chose to forgive my abusive father, and my heart was finally free!” 

“I began to study the Bible to grow in the Lord and later was invited to start this support group at the church. At our meeting tonight, I’d like to read several verses that have been meaningful to me. It says in Psalm 51:10, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,’ and in Phil 4:8 it states, ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.’”

“As a believer in Christ, I became aware that if I wanted to become more like Jesus,” Jordan said, “I needed to change my outlook on life and the way I see myself and others. I thought about all the time I spend reading, watching, and talking about negative things when I should be encouraging myself and others in the Lord. I vowed to memorize and meditate on these verses to help renew my spirit.”

“Then, in John 15:9, it says, ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.’ I was amazed to hear Jesus loves me as much as His Father loves Him,” Jordan explained, “and I knew God would not want me to have such low self-esteem. I don’t want to be egotistical, or act selfishly or waste my life obsessing about regrets from the past. I want to learn to accept the way God made me and take the time to love myself in a healthy way.”

Jordan concluded the support group meeting with a heartfelt prayer that they would experience God’s love in such a powerful way, their wounds from the past would begin to heal, and Jesus’ love would overflow to the people in their lives.

As Ashlyn walked out of the church after the meeting that night, she recalled her own salvation experience a few years ago. Her friend Talia had invited her to a Christian concert when they were seventeen, and after enjoying several hours of inspirational music, the lead singer began to speak. He talked about Jesus and His saving grace if you put your faith in Him, and Ashlyn joined the speaker in prayer and became a child of God, accepting Him as her Lord and Savior. She started to read the Bible and spend time with God in prayer, but the cares of the world and pressure from friends distracted her from following Jesus. However, last week when God spoke to her in the midst of the chaos with Dean, He reminded Ashlyn He desired a close relationship with her, as her loving and Heavenly Father.

Ashlyn drove to her new apartment, grateful for her new friends and praising God for His unconditional love, even though she’d turned her back on Him. She asked for forgiveness for rejecting her Savior, who had rescued her from sin, and renewed her decision to follow Jesus and put Him first in her life. Ashlyn prayed for courage to work through the trauma she had experienced with Dean and for wisdom to choose a godly believer if she decided to date in the future. 

Ashlyn rejoiced that she’d be in the presence of King Jesus in Heaven someday, but till then, He’d supply all her needs according to His riches in glory because she was a child of the King! 

By: Bev Yellowley

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