Mamas, Stronger Together – Guest Series: Christian mothers have such a strength when we let down our guard and get real with each other, stop comparing ourselves to other mothers, when we stop making motherhood a competition, and instead build each other up as fellow mothers! Over the next weeks, we will hear from various Christian mamas who are each brave, beautiful, and strong in sharing the messages God has placed on their hearts. Enjoy the below message of encouragement from Kathy Castaldo.
June 3, 2021. A day that will forever be etched in the tear-soaked memories of my mind. Early that morning, before the sun had risen and all were still asleep, I crept silently around my family’s apartment gathering my purse and a few essentials. My heart was pounding as I woke my two little boys up and carried them silently to the car. Jammies on and a stuffed animal clutched in their arms, I quickly silenced their questions and cries. We snuck out of our home and never looked back. We were escaping a life of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse. For ten years I had been married to a man who had nearly killed the three of us, in numerous ways.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.Isaiah 43: 18-19
Now, when I look back over the past year and a half after our escape, I am immediately struck by the beauty and blessing of what it means to be in community with others. Perhaps the reason my relationships with other mamas is so meaningful to me now is because I did not have them for so long. My kids and I had been isolated with no friends, no relationships, and no support. My relationships with my parents and sister had dissolved, we were not allowed to go to church, and we had moved eleven times in the ten years we were together, so that our life could remain toxic without anyone else ever finding out.
I remember crying out to God in the midst of it—for someone to know, to see, to understand. I craved another mama I could cry with and gain encouragement and wisdom from. Instead, I was steeped in shame and heartbreak, convinced that I was the problem and if only I were a better wife, then none of the awful things that my husband did to me would happen anymore. I remember one night in particular, he had given me two black eyes, my nose was bleeding from the punches and he was holding my head to the floor with his foot, screaming at me to apologize for being such a horrible person. I looked in the corner of the room, so defeated and broken. And I saw Jesus there standing, watching, and weeping with me and for me. Immediately, I was comforted and knew I was not alone—He saw, He knew.
In the years since then I have wrestled with anger, confusion, and hurt over that memory. Why didn’t He intervene? Why didn’t He stop my husband from beating me and hurting my children and me? But I choose to trust, believe, and know that although it was far from easy, there was a reason I went through what I did. I remember Jesus being whipped and mocked and spat on, just like I had been. I remember the stripes on His back, much like the welts across my body and the bruises from being beaten repeatedly with wrapping paper rolls. I remembered Jesus crying out on the cross and Father God, watching, weeping, and heart breaking. But He didn’t intervene then either, because He knew Sunday was coming and there was purpose in the pain—purpose in the sacrifice.
The biggest blessing to my boys and me since we left has been the community of people and support that have surrounded us with open arms and open hearts. My boys have been able to go to school for the first time, make friends, attend birthday parties, and learn how to ride bikes. I remember the first playdate with some friends from school that they were invited to attend. I dropped them off and the other mama noticed me crying in the car. She crawled in the passenger seat and wrapped her arms around me, although it was the first time that we had met. She said, “It’s going to be okay. Your boys are strong, resilient, and kind, and you are no longer alone.” I sank into her embrace and praised God for the presence of another who extended grace and love.
The boys and I still struggle. We are currently in the middle of a very difficult divorce and custody battle, but I know that I am no longer alone. We don’t often know what those around us may be going through, behind closed doors—behind closed hearts. But the truth remains, we need one another.
As mamas, God has given us the unique and special opportunity to be a voice of love, support, and encouragement to one another. Life isn’t easy for any of us, so let’s look around us and ask God who we can be a blessing to today. Which mama can we love on, without any reservation or expectation?
I have learned that sometimes being the hands and feet of Jesus look a lot like being a mama in community with other mamas. I know that this is what God is calling me to, and I look forward with anticipation to leaning more into Jesus and whispering into other mama’s hearts… “You are not alone.”
Kathy Castaldo is a mama of two amazing boys and a Montana registered nurse. She loves Jesus, caring for people, dill pickles, clouds, and has a compassionate heart for those who are hurting. You can follow her on Instagram: @kathycastaldo
4 thoughts on “Mamas, Stronger Together – Guest Series: You Are Not Alone”
Wow, my heart. What a great example of a remarkably brave mama finding her strength through the Lord. Praying over the divorce and custody battle. Those boys and a relationship with Jesus are the beauty from ashes and I’m sure many lives have been touched by the testimony of faith in real-time.
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Thank you for sharing your powerful and moving story Kathy. May the next steps be Jesus soaked and may the connections in the community you have found deepen.
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