Survivors often develop an exaggerated need for control in their adult relationships. It’s the only way they feel safe. They also struggle with commitment-saying yes in a relationship means being trapped in yet another family situation where abuse might take place. So the survivor panics as her relationship gets closer, certain that something terrible is going to happen. She pulls away, rejects, or tests her partner all the time.

Today I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn’t even taken a shower, and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn out black oversized jacket to cover myself with even though it is warm outside. I have made conscious decisions lately to look like less of what I felt a male would want to see. I want to disappear.

So many nights, I stared out at the inky black ocean, believing that if I could only learn how to eat again and keep my hands out of my throat, that would be enough. I prayed hard and desperately to God and the sun and the moon and the ocean and the universe and every shelter dog I’d ever met, as if they were all genies, that I wouldn’t ask for anything more.

But perhaps God isn’t a collection of genies, and perhaps it’s okay to hope for more than relief. To hope big. To hope for Sunny’s limitless capacity to love.

God whispered, “You endured a lot. For that I am truly sorry, but grateful. I needed you to struggle to help so many. Through that process you would grow into who you have now become. Didn’t you know that I gave all my struggles to my favorite children? One only needs to look at the struggles given to your older brother Jesus to know how important you have been to me.

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