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Each email was like a host of daggers in the heart, as was each text. I felt I was on a table, and a dagger was being struck into my heart over and over and over. I once saw a crystal heart lying open. A man approached with a hammer, and though I screamed for him not to, he struck the heart and the crystal shattered. And he abandoned me, uncaring. He wanted me back, but I was nothing more than something to use. And I knew that.

I feared next to nothing, from the time I was little. But you made me learn fear, and I learned it well.

When I tried to explain how and why I was hurting, you hurt me back. When I asked you to stop saying certain things, you ignored me. Each email was worse than the last. Each one scared me.

Then, came your letter. It came a week before my first set of finals for WWU. I hated the love poetry in it that you sent me “to read.” I’ve never lost my temper so badly in all my life. I hated you then. I hated you. I hated that you didn’t care about me or my heart. I hated that it was all about you.

I had insomnia that night. It would be one of the first of many nights of insomnia. That was the last straw for me–you affecting my grades off at university. It woke me up, and I threw you out. I gave you one last chance, and when you rejected me, I stayed far away from you. When I got back on Facebook two weeks later, you saw that and texted “I miss you.” And I hated you even worse, and called you on my phone. That was a mistake. You used your words to hurt me even worse.

Every guy since then has abused my heart. I flinch so often. It’s so hard trying to break free from that. It’s been four years, and though the pain has faded, your abuse haunts me. Even worse: haunts me that you will call me a liar for using such a strong of word as “abuse.” I fear you even today, as badly as I fear my first boyfriend, and how he still pursues me in his lust and abuse.

I will never speak to my ex boyfriends again. The first abused me physically. The second, emotionally. The first I titled The Creep, and the second I titled The Coward. The Coward I despised in my heart. The Creep, I called a Child of the Devil, and kept away. Believe me, I’ve learned to drive guys away with my words. I had to learn. I was my own defender.

I am not the sort of person who is abused and then returns to their abuser. I learned to flee abusers after that first guy friend. I knew what he was capable of doing to me. My heart is black and blue, with many, many scars. But my heart is so very strong–stronger than it has ever been before. I learned not to trust a guy, just because he calls himself a Christian.

I am a Lioness of God. I defend the weak with ferocity. I stick to my friends with loyalty. I know when to set boundaries, and make others keep them, and to cast others out when they don’t. I am gifted and talented in everything I set my hands to, as Joseph of the Bible was. My depression is my weakness, but God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.

My depression does not rule me. I know how to fight it, and I know how to take care of myself, and how to keep myself healthy. The rest, I have to entrust to God. I know He will not give me more than I can handle. My God is faithful. I will not deny that I struggle, often feeling so very hopeless. But I fight upwards, always–clawing for the air, refusing to be swept under the waters of the roiling river. My God is my strength.

I say again: My God is my strength.