Reaching Out Now President & Founder, Samantha Barber, has chosen to share a deeply personal story in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We hope that her story will help others find the courage to change their circumstances and live freely.
“In honor of those who have been deeply wounded by Domestic Violence today, and during this month I share a piece of my story over the next 4 Mondays, I speak out to bring awareness to the Silent Killer- known as Domestic Violence.”
Samantha Barber- Wife, Mom, Daughter, Friend & President
Reaching Out Now, Inc.
Today I share my heart with you
October 19, 2020
Part 3 of 4
“Like me you will have to fight, you will have to work through the disappointment and setbacks that lie ahead… I know where you are, I know the emotional roller coaster you’re on. I know your struggle; I see the fight you are in, and my message to you is “the battle is already won”, but you have to choose to say the affirmed statement, ‘I Am Enough’.” #MyLifeisMyLife.” – Samantha
The Battle of the Mind
“am I enough? I AM ENOUGH!”
Can you relate to these statements? In life, we sometimes compare ourselves to those around us who appear to have it all together. We measure where we are in life compared to where others seem to be. When we feel as though we don’t measure up due to life’s challenges and circumstances, we begin to change our statement of affirmation from “I Am Enough!” to a question… “am I enough?”
For years, I asked the question?????? am (i) enough? I felt like I never measured up. I felt like I was never good enough. I felt empty and lost, as I looked through the lens of those around me who seemed more accomplished. Constantly replaying my relationships filled with abuse and heartbreaks. I felt incapable of desiring any good for my life; after living through my suicide attempt, I began to look at life with zero emotions. This was the most challenging time and the most painful period in my life.
Living with the raw emotions of no self-worth can plummet your life to the point where you believe the lie that you’re not good enough, you will never be enough, and that you deserve nothing good. I felt like I was digging myself deeper and deeper in a pit with no way out; that was when I began to realize I had to decide what I wanted for my life and my daughter’s future. In the darkest of times, God was with me just as He’s with you. I had to accept and receive His love. I came face to face with my reality. I forced myself to verbalize the question, “Samantha, do you want to be enough? Do you believe who God says that you are?” It was a battle in my mind because I thought, “How I can be enough after all the mistakes that I’ve made? How can I be enough when people that I loved abused and rejected me?” But deep within I was determined to climb out of that pit.
I wanted to be free, I wanted to live in the freedom of being me. I wanted to say and know, “I Am Enough.” But it first starts with forgiveness. I had to forgive – forgive myself and those who caused me pain. Forgiving yourself and forgiving those who’ve hurt you is key to your freedom. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you forget, or excuse the wrong that has been done to you. Forgiveness means freedom, it means freeing yourself from the grips of those who’ve hurt you. I haven’t forgotten, I bear the scars, I see them every day but I’ve chosen to use my scars for you. Was it painful? Yes! Would I want to live through that pain again? No! But God has made what I went through worth it because today I can speak to you about pain and I can speak to you about redemption and your freedom.
Today as you read this LOVE note from me to you, you may have dug yourself into a pit by your choices or by the decisions of others, but I want you to know that “You are Enough”. Like me you will have to fight, you will have to work through the disappointment and setbacks that lie ahead; I had a therapist and those close to me who understood the depth of my pain, and they spoke life into me. I know where you are, I know the emotional roller coaster you’re on. I know your struggle; I see the fight you are in, and my message to you is “ the battle is already won”, but you have to choose to say the affirmed statement, “I Am Enough”.
I’ve been chosen for such a time by God who brought me through to speak to your heart, to speak to your circumstances, to speak to your pain. It’s not easy for me to be this vulnerable to you, but I choose willingly; believing my journey, my words of hope will yield fruit in the right season for you, a sister, a brother, a family member, a friend, a coworker or even a stranger.
There is HOPE. Seek a safe haven! Seek Godly counsel! Reach out to a friend that you can trust. Be willing to be vulnerable and let someone know how you’re feeling. Be ready and willing to get support through therapy, begin to search the Bible for scriptures, and meditate on the words that will build you up spiritually and emotionally. The first battle will be in your mind, changing the thoughts of defeat to feelings of hope, you must believe in yourself, and know you have been created for a purpose. Surround yourself with positive individuals, such as a life group at a Church or Community Center advocates who will challenge you and guide you into your journey of freedom and redemption. I can’t promise you that this will be a quick fix to walking away from your painful past, but I do know that as you take one step in front of the other, as you seek support, you will change the question from: “am I enough?” to “I Am Enough!”
Living life on purpose
– Samantha N. Barber
October 12, 2020
Part 2 of 4
“For the past 7 plus years, I’ve intentionally suppressed this reality that was my life, only sharing with friends and in environments where I felt safe and comfortable. I can’t be silent anymore. I have an amazing support system- my family and the very few who are in my inner circle. I am so very grateful for that but I’m most grateful for my husband. He’s never left my side, he remained close when I was broken, he remained close when I needed space to heal.
He remained close when I trusted no one, He remained close and showed me and our children what true unselfish love looked like. He created a safe space for me to say MyLife’s MyLife.” – Samantha
MY LIFE IS MY LIFE
“Embrace your experience to empower and engage”
Have you ever had a conversation with a child, where you say something that they find overwhelmingly profound? This was how the name of this tribute was created: out of a conversation with my beautiful daughter, who has a powerful and remarkable story of rising about adverse situations of her own.
I must admit the love of my life and our children bring out the best and the crazy, silly Caribbean in me. I often give a life lesson, quote, or make a statement that gets their tummies hurting in resounding laughter. I was having my daily conversation with our daughter as she walked across her college campus to class. During our conversation, my life came up as a topic of conversation; my style of clothing, our new home in the valley, and how much she appreciates how her dad takes care of me. As always, in my native dialect, I had a response, and without a beat, my response was, “my life is my life” This started a hilarious round of laughter between both of us. She then said, “Mom, you are golden, that one’s for the books, can I have it tattooed on my arm?” I said, “Girl bye!”
That morning’s conversation led me into a time of meditating on the fact that my life is truly my life: the good, the bad, the hurt, the pain, and everything in between. For some, me included, conversations are most often easier to verbalize than having to write out your thoughts and feelings. It is common to be asked to tell someone about yourself. More often than not, that person only desires to hear about the good things, and we in return only care to mention and tell about the good things that have and are happening in our lives. So, let’s examine the meaning of the statement, “My life is my life!”.
For the past eight years or so, I had grown silent and made a conscious effort to not openly share the whole reality that was my life, only sharing with friends who knew of my past and in environments where I felt safe and comfortable. I can’t be silent anymore, last week’s writing was not easy to document, especially knowing that you’re about to share your scars with people you are not familiar with. But, I am so blessed to have an amazing support system- my family and the few who are in my inner circle. I am so very grateful for them but I’m most grateful for my husband. God gave me the gift of my husband when I saw everything in the world dark and useless. He’s never left my side, he remained close when I was broken, he remained close when I needed space to heal and he didn’t try to “fix me.” He remained close when I trusted no one. He remained close and showed me and our children what true unselfish love looked like. He created a safe space for me to say my life is my life.
If we are honest with ourselves, we want to keep the dark things of our lives hidden, pushed deep down in our memory bank. We never find it good or necessary to embrace the messy part of our lives which is ultimately and can become a message of hope to some who are broken and need to know that they are not alone. As I look at my life, I see that God would not have allowed the mess I’ve been through if he didn’t plan to use it as part of my purposed-message. A message purpose to help, a message purpose that can be impactful in the lives of others.
I see “my life is my life” as a movement to embrace, empower, and engage every aspect of your life for “GOOD”. The good which is your life’s story which will become HIStory that He, the Almighty God uses to touch those lives that you come in contact with at any given moment; may it be one, tens, hundreds, or thousands. EMBRACE the life that you have been dealt with/blessed with. Use your life’s experiences to EMPOWER and use the wisdom you have learned through these life’s circumstances to ENGAGE the next time someone asks you, “tell me about yourself”.
This month is domestic violence awareness month and so many are broken and hurt and are desperate for support. I count myself as a survivor, an advocate to lift up and support. I’ve been beaten – I’ve been raped – I’ve been bruised – I’ve been broken! But with great adversity and a fight to be better for myself and my children I’ve taken back my life and have Embraced, Empowered, and Engaged. Many times, although at times reluctantly, when I’m asked “tell me about yourself” I tell my story. Today, I count my life as that of a Phoenix, I was buried in the ashes of pain, hurt and rejection, yet I rise. Today you can rise, and you can rise stronger!
A tribute to those who are victims of domestic violence, there is a better life for you!
A tribute to those who were victims of domestic violence, keep pressing forward!
A tribute to those who we’ve lost at the hands of a domestic violence abuser. May you forever be remembered!
– Samantha N. Barber
“I often wondered if someday I would have the courage to step out into the unfamiliar and raise my voice for HOPE. To not cowardly keep silent, to not allow shame to grip my soul. To speak out loudly- to be a voice for the voiceless. I wonder no more, so I share with you the mess that has become my message. Yes, I’m Living proof; proof that you can rise from the dark place of Domestic Violence. -Samantha
“A Victim… Raised up to be a Victor”
Who am I? was the question my face mustered the courage to finally look at myself in the mirror, and ask, “Why am I enduring this abuse? Why am I being victimized by someone who is supposed to cherish me?”
The response from within suggested my identity was my age. I heard, “you are thirteen, you are sixteen, you are twenty-one, you are twenty-five, you are thirty.”
The deeper, knowing, inner voice responded “No, who am I?”
From a source beyond myself came the declaration, “You are a girl, you are a woman, you are a student, you are successful, you are beautiful, you are loved!”
“Don’t you see?” I responded to the God-voice inside of me, and I answered, “No, I don’t see anything; I don’t see what you see!”
When I looked at my face, when I had the courage to glance at my mirror, I saw nothing that my “God voice” had declared me to be. Instead, I saw fear, hurt, regret, and no hope for an improved future outlook on life.
The quagmire of my downward spiral began when I was thirteen—when I left the only world I knew in the Caribbean, to be with my mom and my brother in the Mainland United States. I was happy, yet at the same time, afraid, of all I would encounter: meeting new friends, adjusting to the new place, and different culture, I now called home.
By the grace of God and His unseen hand upon me, I persevered. I graduated from high school at 15, and anticipated a bright future, but disappointment lurked around the corner.
At 16, my self-worth and sense of reality was shaken and undermined, when I was raped by someone I trusted. The experience left me bruised physically, mentally and emotionally—but camouflaged the scars because I was well known in our community, and I had an image to protect with my cool friends. At 16, I began to learn the art of “faking it.”
I lost the truth of real living. Being beaten by the one who betrayed me also became part of the destructive ritual that had become my “norm” — my reality.
At 21, the torrential downpour of abuse continued. I feared for my life–more than once, death was a breath away. Though I lived through rape, a loveless marriage and eventually found the courage to divorce the abuser I had married, I really didn’t want to live anymore. Thoughts of suicide plagued my mind. But God sustained me through the support of my brother and family. Because I saw His love through them, I stood firm and held tightly to hope.
At 25, I wasn’t alone anymore I had a baby daughter in my arms, I introduced her as my miracle, she was the reason I was alive. Without my daughter I had no reason to hold to life. I had other purpose to live, but she was my reason to be on this earth. I purposed in my heart she was not going to become like me. She was not going to become a prey to the wickedness of the world. She would be shielded behind the fortress of my love.
She was my miracle. She was not just the miracle that had given purpose to my life, she was a literal miracle. I had been told that I could not have children. And although she was conceived in the worst times, although her life began in a home where verbal and mental abuse were a daily routine, the miracle of her life turned my eyes to the Author of life. From her conception I had to fight for both our lives and was willing to give up mine for hers, but I praise the Christ I did not know then that His hand of protection was upon me – and upon my precious baby girl.
Depression lurked deep within me and it resurfaced with a vengeance soon after her birth. Because I felt unworthy to be the mother of this beautiful angel, I attempted suicide; but again, I lived and dedicated my life to fighting for her—though I believed in the depth of my despair that my dreams were over, I persevered to give her the life I never had, a home with both parents— I persevered and stayed.
At thirty, my mirror followed me to a new place, a newly built home. I again found myself pregnant, with my son, and though I rejoiced in his impending birth I was still totally broken within. Again, I had to fight; I had to fight for his life, fight through three surgeries, bed rest for 8 months. I prayed, asking God, please save his life, give me “my Samuel,” give me my “ask of God.” God gave me a second chance at motherhood. It was a chance to correct my past failure and to be strong for my daughter and strong for my son.
Given I was still the victim of domestic verbal and mental abuse, I was faced with the question, “do I stay or do I go?” I found the question hard to answer as I considered that the children were being provided everything, they needed and I considered, moreover, “should I continue to abandon my self-worth in order to give my children the life they deserved; after all, he is abusing me not them” … so, I thought. Yet, I had begun to admit to myself that I had allowed him to break my spirit; I was unable to get beyond his painful words; and I was lost from the emotional pain. Finally, I concluded, “I have no money, I have given up my job to be at home with my children, I have nowhere to turn, and no way out;” so I stayed! Three more years, I stayed…
But then FREEDOM, I had to stop lying to myself, I had to stop hurting my children, they were beginning to see how broken our home was, they saw my tears, they asked why didn’t daddy come home. I saw fear and confusion in their eyes. I had to choose freedom… freedom for US, body and soul, but not without a price. On that that day when I closed the door to the past, I had to come face-to-face with the accurate reflection of myself the mirror. I had to face the truth of my brokenness, I had to heal. I knew that I could not overcome this onslaught of pain that had befallen me on my own—I had to seek help, I had to find myself and my purpose. I had to forgive myself, and I had to become transparent and bare my soul before I could honestly live free for me and my children.
Healing from abuse starts from within. While outer scars heal by nature, inner healing only takes place when we allow God to come into our turmoil and healing us from the inside out. Then by His mercy and grace, minute by minute, hour by hour, I began to stand, not as a victim of abuse but as a victor who has overcome abuse by the grace and the love of an unconditional loving God.
So here I am, standing as living proof that by God’s amazing love, freedom is possible and we can be free. Though the storms of life continued, though the Road to Freedom was not easy, though the journey was arduous, I cannot deny the wonder of God’s loving hand upon my life that has brought me from a pit of pain and misery to a pinnacle of His grace and goodness. I’m amazed that I’m still here, but I know that I stand because the God who fashioned heaven and earth, the God who causes light to prevail over darkness, the God who bids us choose life over death, had a plan for my life that went far beyond what that little girl from the Caribbean could have ever imagined.
In an abusive relationship, your heart, your mind, your life are stripped from you. Every day is a battle to survive, fighting for your life, to breathe, to live, to see another day. You adapt to your abuser’s needs, all at the expense of losing yourself, your mind, your will to live free—losing your will to live free from fear.
My desire is for you to be free, free from the pain of your past, from the pain of your present. From my heart, I know where you’ve been; I know where you are. For over 19 years of my life, I was abused, came close to death by one’s hands. I’ve been beaten, raped, pushed aside, suffered through pain, agony, and through it all, I live to say I survived. I want you to live!!! Be silent no more!
You can rebuild, repair, and restore your life. Every place in your life that feels broken can be fixed. There is no miracle drug to fix your pain, but there is a MIRACLE WORKING GOD who can free you, who can heal your pain. I cried out to God in despair and desperation. I went to His word and found scriptures that spoke to my situation.
Today is not your end; it is your beginning! This is your time to heal, to forgive, and to allow God to repair your brokenness.
Today is the end of your confusion, your anxiety, your fear, and it is the beginning of your newness in Christ! It is your beginning of transition from despair into HOPE.
You may have questions, why me? Why is this happening to me? Why do I have to go through this storm? Why do I stay? Very real questions and questions I asked myself many times. And when you are free, you will discover that these questions no longer require answers because the “new you” has traveled the Road to Freedom far beyond your former residence in the Pit of Despair.
What did I do to overcome? Honestly, I felt like I didn’t have the strength to go on and many times I wanted to give up, I said: “What’s the use in trying?” It took coming to a place of realization that my pain could be dissolved by the hand of God who gave me clarity of mind and love within my heart, Jesus, in His power and in His love will enable you to overcome just as He empowered me to overcome. He is no respecter of persons! He will deliver you as He delivered me!
Restoration didn’t happen overnight, I messed up, I regressed, I doubted, I made mistakes–repeatedly. But day by day, grace by grace, I regained my strength, I regained my mind, I regained my self-worth, God restored me, and I recovered my will to live.
YOU too can look in the MIRROR at your true reflection and recover your purpose, find hope and your will to LIVE. Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you. Jesus died to set you free from sin and destruction. Don’t turn your back on His amazing gift.
– Samantha N. Barber
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are many organizations who can provide help in the DMV area: