MY STORY: ELVA WEST
Updated: Apr 8
My name is Elva West I am 49 yrs. old and I am from the south suburbs of Chicago and I was raised by my mother who is a single mother and I am the youngest of her 3 children. God has moved on me over 20 years ago to share my testimony but I didn’t think anyone would ever listen to me.
I had a pretty regular childhood, I lived in a pretty quiet neighborhood and loved to play
double dutch, riding my bike and climbing trees. My brother and sister were both 10 yrs
older than myself so they married and started their families and then there was just my
mom and me. My mother was a hard-working woman. She worked in a steel mill and due
to her going through abusive relationships to her, success meant not depending on a man
so throughout life my view was, make sure you can depend on yourself because that way
you wont get hurt thinking that people would be there for you or have your back. So, as I
got older my mom worked a lot of hours and that of course gave me free reign to do
pretty much what I wanted to do. So that led me into finding myself in relationships early
in life. I lost my virginity at 15 because when you don’t have a foundation or anyone to
teach you the right things and your friends start to tell you what they are doing it make
you not want to feel left out. I met my 1st boyfriend at 15 and he was so handsome to me
(he reminded me of LL Cool J) and this fine boy was giving me all this attention I
quickly fell in love (or what I thought was love smh). Our relationship started very fast
and sex came just as fast. I felt this was love because of the attention that he gave me and
making me feel like I was the only girl in his life that he would love this way. But what I
would find out after our 1 st year of our relationship what I thought was love was jealousy,
control, and abuse.
Back during the mid-80s we didn’t have any language for domestic violence like we do today.
I remember arguing with him and then the argument got so intense that he hit me for the 1 st time! I couldn’t believe it he put his hands on me and this
led to 4 yrs. of abuse. During this time, we had 2 children and he also was abusive to
them as well. His abuse led to him breaking my 6 month old baby’s arm then DCFS got
involved and we started going to counseling and because he was so controlling he would
not allow me to continue to go to the counseling and that would make it look like I was
not cooperating with them and then they stepped in and took my children and they went
to live with my mother and soon after he went to jail for due to a robbery he committed.
That was how I got out of that relationship, but the next phases of my life were just a
repeat of the same cycle.
This then led me to a life of drinking and being promiscuous because that is what got me
attention. So, then I had countless one-night stands with guys while being under the
influence of alcohol and marijuana. As I looked back on my life, I am so humbled
because God was keeping me because he had purpose for me. There were so many days I
would be intoxicated and driving home and not know how I got there that I know there
had to be a God. A lot of nights my girlfriends and I would go out to the clubs and drink
all type of liquor and indulge in what I know now was such a dangerous life style but we
would always end our night somehow in tears talking about how one day we would be
living for the Lord and not living this life.
Shortly after is when I met my 1 st husband. He wasn’t the most attractive guy, but he had
a very good sense of humor. As I moved forward in that relationship, he had a very big
family that was a very toxic bunch smh. They loved to drink and anytime alcohol was
present you best believe they would all be fighting over so many petty things. During this
relationship I had 2 more children. My husband was physically and mentally abusive. I
would be so afraid because most times he would come home he would be so drunk that
he would always start fight with me. He also was unfaithful with different women. I
would find numerous phone numbers in his pocket. Once we lived in Minnesota and I
was coming home from work and being 7 months pregnant I was welcomed to him being
in our apartment and he had another woman in my home. I lived in that relationship for
over 8 yrs.
You may ask why I stayed in those situations and I would ask myself the same thing then
the turning point in my life came when one of my daughters saw him assaulting me and I
would never forget seeing her under the bed closing her eyes. That is when I made the
decision to leave that situation.
I renewed my faith in Jesus Christ and became a born again Christian. I still lived many years unhealed until now. I never realized that even though I was out of those situations physically I had not mentally left those abusive memories.
I lived years thinking I was a failure and not good for anything. But that is why I love my God because he truly pursued me even when I didn’t want Him to. I am happy to say now that I am healing my past and God is showing me my future and what he has called me to do so this is why this opportunities means so very much because it reminds me of the scripture that says “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men (Proverbs 18:16).My gift is to encourage women that are abused to help you to see that you can get out of that situation by trusting God. God has always tried to show me that he had purpose for me, but I had to start to believe it and now I am seeing more clearly what he is wanting me to do. This is just a brief part of my life story, but I hope it encourages and inspires you.
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/elvia.mcdonald