Pallbearers from the funeral home rolled her casket into the church as family and close friends proceeded behind them. Hundreds of mourners within the congregation were at a loss for words as emotions exploded. This was a day that no one saw coming.

Her smile was her signature but the tears that hid behind that smile were invisible to those who loved her the most. A devoted wife and mother of three, she spent her life doing so much for others. She served as a deaconess at her church, president of the Parent Teacher Association, a part-time nurse at the local hospital, and volunteered at the Big Brothers & Sisters weekly. 

At 19, she met the man of her dreams. And together, they raised their three children together, but after 20 years of marriage, something changed.

He became more distant and angry from stress at work. In return, he turned his frustration on his wife, the one who always had his back. Each time, he apologized or said he would never hit her again but those were just words on his tongue.

Finally, one night, a fed up wife packed her bags to leave. Before she could make an exit, her husband beat her to death while their kids cried and hid inside their bedrooms.

The morning after, the father was arrested and the kids were sent to live with relatives. Still, the murder shocked family and friends.

They were such a perfect family, people said. 

In fact, those who were close to the family found the abuse allegations to be unbelievable. 

As the kids began to share their accounts of the abuse, the wife became someone that many didn’t know.  She had been crying out but no one could hear her voice.

As women, we have been told for years that if he hits you then leave or don’t give him a second chance to abuse you no matter how many times he apologizes and professes his love but the numbers of battered women continue to climb.

Obviously, we are missing something. Understanding the importance of self-worth is critical to not becoming a victim of abuse.

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

You are loved. You matter and deserve to be loved.

The Bible says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 ).

Many times battered and abused women are afraid to leave the relationship because of their children or financial security. They might even refuse the help and advice of friends for fear that the abuser will find out and become even more violent. I don’t know if the woman reached out to anyone about the abuse. 

And, by their reaction to her passing, it looks like many were out of the loop about her relationship. 

There are mountains of pain that have no words but they are visible. 

Check on the strong people in your life because what you see as a smile may just be a mask for silent tears.

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