Esther Lohrke: Hope at the End of The Line
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: January 5, 2011
"All the cars are driving; that’s perfect. It’s fast and just take your life..."
Jumping off of a bridge into speeding traffic was the only way Esther Lohrke thought she could escape her abusive marriage.
"He would always threaten me: 'if you tell your family, if you tell the cops, I’ll kill you.' I really believe that he would have done that."
She suffered for years from her husband’s abuse. In the beginning of their relationship, she was in love.
"He was the first guy that I ever was intimate with, and I got pregnant. I couldn’t believe it."
Esther’s parents took her to the abortion clinic to end her pregnancy.
"I just felt such guilt, such shame that I have done this. It was terrible."
Esther and her boyfriend kept dating, and two years later, they married. That’s when the abuse began.
"I remember him just beating me up. He would be angry already and throw me against the wall.
I asked him many times, ' What am I doing to you that’s causing you to hate me so much? Why did you change?' He never gave me an answer. I just felt at the time it was just the drugs."
Then her husband began to lock her in a closet and leave her there sometimes for days.
"I remember sitting there thinking, crying. I tried to be the best wife for him, tried to do everything that he told me to, and it was just never good enough."
Esther never told anyone about the abuse. One day after her husband locked her in a closet again, she cried out to God for the first time in her life.
"'God, You’ve got to help me. I don’t know what to do. I’m living under this condemnation like I deserve this or no one’s going to understand."
Esther reached her breaking point when she came home one day and found her husband in bed with another woman.
"He pretends he doesn’t even know who I am. He begins to yell at me. 'Who are you? Get out of my house.' They both grab me; they both beat me up. He opens the door and pushes me out the door. I felt like such a failure."
Bruised and battered, she began to walk to her parents home. As she crossed over a highway bridge, she thought about ending her life.
"I remember thinking, 'You know what? Just end it. It’s better for everyone if you just end your life. No one’s going to notice. No one’s going to care.' All the cars are driving and I’m like, 'That’s perfect. It’s fast; take your life.' That’s all that kept going through my mind."
Just as she was about to jump over the bridge, her brother drove by and convinced her to get in his car. For the first time, Esther revealed the secret shame of her abusive marriage.
"I just tell him everything that day. Everything that I was holding inside, all the pain, all the confused, all the tormenting thoughts I had, I tell him everything. He hears me out."
That’s when Esther’s brother shared with her the love of Christ and how God wanted to heal her.
"He asks me, 'Do you want Jesus?' I tell him, 'Yes, I want this Jesus. Of course I do.' I remember receiving the Lord Jesus Christ into my life in that car. The minute I said that prayer, I’m telling you, my life changed dramatically. My life was never ever the same."
Esther left her husband and started going to church.
"I was so happy inside. Walking in, I’m seeing people worship God, and I’m part of that now and a joy, a liberty like such weight lifted up from me. God started pulling all these fears, all these doubts [and did a] cleansing in my life."
As Esther began to read her Bible and spend time with her new friends. She began to see what healthy relationships were all about.
"I saw other couples treating each other, like, 'oh, that’s awesome.' So just little areas that He would put me in where I start not behaving or thinking out of my past, but now out of my present, the way the Lord wanted me to act."
Then she married a man named Kelly and they have a son. They pastor a church in Kansas City.
"I thank God every day that the Lord gave me what I wanted. It was His timing. He gave me this awesome husband that I love dearly and not just so we can love each other, but to do the work of the Lord, to do the will of God."
Esther is very thankful to God for healing her life and giving her a fresh start. She says, "I thank God for His grace that He knows us. No matter what we’ve gone through in life, He restores us. He gives us a new heart. He gives us a new mind and a fresh start and nothing can compare to that."
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