Darla’s Personal Story

Christian Speaker and Author – Darla Colinet - God's Transforming Grace

When I was fifteen, I was date raped and left in an abandoned lot. I walked home in the dark, believing I would find comfort and protection from my dad. But when my dad saw me, he took me to the back bedroom and looked at me in disgust. He asked me what I did to make my boyfriend hurt me. He said. “You are used goods now. I’m not sure you will ever find good love.” My heart shattered into a billion pieces. In my despair, I subconsciously decided to believe my dad’s judgments. After all, he was my dad.


At eighteen, my high school sweetheart asked me to marry him. I accepted his proposal because I didn’t believe I would get another chance to be loved. I knew he could get upset at times, but I believed our love would fix everything. Three days into our marriage, he began degrading me. The abuse and his alcoholism escalated and continued for thirteen years. After our thirteenth anniversary, I decided to stand up for myself and our children.


I woke up remembering him lunging at me, gripping my throat, and slipping into unconsciousness. I laid perfectly still and listened to make sure he wasn’t there. When I realized I was alone, I jumped up enraged with him, at myself, and God. I prayed for years for God to stop the abuse, but nothing changed. In despair, I screamed, “God, either you end the abuse tonight, or I will.”


I went to the gun cabinet and took out a shotgun. I loaded it and sat in the chair across from the back door, waiting for my husband to come home. Pictures of him hurting me over the last thirteen years flashed in my mind while his degrading comments played like a record in the background. There were no more tears left, only rage and darkness with a vow that he would never touch me again.


I remember opening my eyes as the sun rays beamed through the back door window. I felt the weight of the shotgun in my hands, and I was terrified. Immediately, I heard a voice whisper to my spirit, “I’ve made a way to escape, take it. This isn’t love.”


I realized God had made a way to stop the abuse, and I ran to the counsel of a Pastor whose daughter had just divorced her abusive husband. He asked me to read the marriage passages in Ephesian from a study Bible. As I read God’s truth, I realized the devil had deceived me through my unawareness of God’s Word and the misquoting of Scripture about God’s respectful, equal partnership model for marriage.


I knew all the physical abuse my children and I had endured was not God’s will. God’s Word confirmed He didn’t hate me for divorcing my abusive husband. All through the separation and divorce, I thanked Jesus for helping me. But I still couldn’t stop the pain of feeling love-starved and unworthy.


God’s Truth Changes Everything


I went to church, but I wasn’t studying the Bible. I didn’t know what to do, and no one offered to help me. Instead, I received more judgment, abandonment, and spiritual abuse. At thirty-two, I rushed into another marriage with a Christian man because I didn’t know how to function on my own. Within three months, I realized his faith was a facade for his verbal, mental, and financial abuse. When I set boundaries to ensure I was respected and had access to our finances, he filed for divorce.


After my second divorce, you would think I would have stopped believing in love. But I knew I loved Jesus, and he loved me, which gave me hope. Once again, I met and married another Christian man who loved to have fun. Within five years, I realized he “never wanted to grow up” from smoking pot and being financially irresponsible. Seven years into our marriage, I became determined to overcome what was causing me to choose toxic-abusive relationships.


At my church, I joined a women’s Bible study and learned about my righteousness, Christ-identity, and defenses against the enemy. God revealed areas of my mind, heart, and soul that needed to be renewed by God’s transforming grace. As I saw myself as a new creation in Christ, I realized I had been living in other people’s judgments. I saw how the enemy had used my brokenness, unawareness of God’s truth, Christ’s love, and domestic abuse to lure me into the bondage of domestic abuse.


Over the next six years, I began to understand my Christ-identity and His love. My faith journey and healing were not immediate or easy, but I kept holding Christ’s hand and stepping forward. As I grew healthier with the help of my Christian counselor, I created and held healthy boundaries that were safe to protect myself. After thirteen years, my third husband said he wouldn’t change the way he “loved” me or live with my “rules,” and he walked out.


The end of my third marriage was very different. I didn’t feel love-starved or unworthy anymore because I realized Christ’s love had healed and filled my heart. As I used Christ’s love design as my compass and lived by His standards, I knew I was loved and priceless in Christ’s eyes!


I was content to be single. However, God chose to bless me with the most amazing man who lives in the character of Christ, and he loves me as if I were Christ himself. Our love story is a divine story for later. When you use Christ’s love design as your compass, you never know what he will do for you. I’m living proof that when you partner with Jesus, he can make your messes into his masterpiece, full of his exceptional love!


Christ’s revelations through my life’s challenges and lessons of abandonment, date rape, and thirty years of abuse in three separate marriages ending in divorces have created my life’s mission for God. As a Christian speaker and author, I help believers explore their definition and understanding of love to see how it affects the health of their relationships and marriage.


To have healthy, happy, loving relationships and marriages and avoid being deceived into the cycle of domestic abuse, believers must know how to live in Christ’s love design. Ready to begin your journey to live in Christ’s love, order your copy of Quest for Exceptional Love: Transform Your Love and Relationships through Christ’s Love Design on Amazon now!


Next Steps...

Contact Darla now for your next speaking event, workshop, summit, retreat, panel expert, convention, or as a consultant for your church to equip faith leaders to handle the pandemic of unhealthy and toxic-abusive marriages in the church.
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