Being A Survivor

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”   Joseph  Campbell

On October 4, 2009, while our nine and twelve year old children played in the basement of our home, my husband of twenty one years walked into the bedroom, declared his love for me and shot me in the chest. Running past him I was shot again. As I ran from the house, trying to scream to our children to get out and call 911, he shot me in the back, then turned the gun on himself.  By the grace of God I survived, and my children survived.

I was preparing to leave a marriage of increasing abuse and control. The closer that day came, the more abusive he became. I never imagined his emotional battery could escalate into lethal physical violence. I never imagined he was capable of it, nor did I understand leaving is the most dangerous time as I did not ‘self-identify’ as a domestic violence victim.

Sadly virtually everyone knows someone who is or has been in an abusive relationship; a relative, acquaintance, friend, neighbor or co-worker. If you don’t, you will one day. It is my hope that readers will be inspired to understand the complexity of abuse and support these individuals, mostly women. For those who are currently in it, I hope to encourage you to leave fear, be a survivor too, and reclaim your life that is waiting to be lived.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” Proverbs 31:25


15 Responses to Being A Survivor

  1. I am so totally inspired by you m’dear. Totally.

  2. Joel Watson says:

    DO NOT STOP WRITING! Folks NEED this. It is a gift you have been given to share that only you can and you are doing it so very very well. I am dumbfounded.

  3. God bless you Lisette, for your strength, courage, and willingness to share your story with others…you are an inspiration!

  4. Barbara R. says:

    Dear Lisette: I am so sorry that Charlie and I had no idea what happened to you in 2009. I saw this site on your Linkedin page and now I know the rest of the story. Your writing is exquisitely painful and beautiful. I am forwarding this immediately to someone I love more than life itself. I hope she will see the signs and know she is not alone. Thank you for your courage and honesty.

    • Lisette Johnson says:

      We can only hold out the hand so that it is there when she is ready to grab on.
      My prayer is that my story can help her see she is worth SO much more. Sadly the statistics are that only 2-5% of abusers actually change their abusive behavior. May her hope not be in him, but in her future, happy and free.

  5. Kate Hall says:

    Lisette, Diane Conley shared your site with me and I am so touched by your story and the beauty of your words–I know they will help others, and pray they will help you. I’d like to share your story with my readers.–Kate Hall

  6. Mimi Page says:

    Dear Lisette,

    I am in completely torn between horror and inspiration after reading your shocking story. I’m shaken to the bones, but the fact that you are alive, and are writing about your experience and have this incredible website where other women can relate is just SO moving. You are amazing!! Your story will definitely inspire more songs from me….thank you for your honesty and your strength. Much love ❤

  7. Anonymous says:

    Im getting a tiny issue. I cant get my reader to pick up your rss feed, Im using bing reader by the way.

    • admin says:

      You should be able to access the RSS feed by clicking on the “Entries RSS” link on the right side menu. Thanks!

  8. Gillian says:

    I was drawn to your website as I too see myself as a survivor following serious injury as abuse from my ex-partner. In January this year in an argument where I confronted him about his cheating he pushed me through a glass door causing serious injury. He then left me after calling the ambulance. My 12 year old son opened the door to the paramedics. Case goes to court in August. i am sick and tired of being called a victim- I will recover and heal and although I have many scars I am glad to be alive and embrace live as a survivor!

  9. Dear Lizette,

    I had to comment because I admire you so much. You are unique in your voice is one I find hopeful, truthful and helpful. I feel God has brought light out of your darkness and you are called to put the sin in the son-light.

    As a mother and Aunt of domestic violence victims both a survivor and a homicide. I know how difficult it can be for a victim to speak up. I love the title of your page “Shameless Survivors” and have often felt respect is so needed by victims of abuse and crime.

    I am honored to have met you on Linkedin and Facebook and I hope we will one day meet in person. You are in my prayers.

    May God Bless you really good!

  10. Samantha Ridley says:

    I am so proud of you and that I know you and I can truly say we are friends and that I have been there too. But every time I see you I am so glad we can give each other a hug even if we don’t have words. Hugs are so great!! Keep staying strong you have tons of supporters and I AM one of them. Love you always Samantha

    • dvvictor says:

      You said we are lionesses. We bring forth life. We ARE amazing. Your open sharing helped me heal. Yes, big big hugs Samantha. Keep sharing the music in your heart.

  11. Anonymous Survivor says:

    I left someone years ago who was abusive. He was a deadbeat too once I finally got away. Now I have adult children and grandchildren and the abuser is reentering our lives. My children were very young when I left. There is very little written about this phenomena and how to survive it. I am back in pain and back having to interact with him. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. My therapist says I need to tell my adult children but I don’t know how and I am conflicted about revisiting a painful time.

  12. Afterburne says:


    Several years ago I read about your story in “Surviving Survival” by Laurence Gonzales

    I found your blog and, over the years, have read through probably all of it.

    The journey that you and your children were cast into comes across my mind on occasion and when it does I always pray for you all.

    No one should have to go through what you and your children have had to, and are still having to on a daily basis, endure.

    Your blog is both heart wrenching and inspiring and has helped me to see how devastating DV is.

    I could be wrong, but I think it has been over a year and a half since your last post. I hope the silence on your blog is an indication that things for you and your children are generally “better” – however that might be defined.

    It has been 10 years now since this new reality was thrust upon you. As I pray for you, I often wonder how you and your children are managing to move through each day.

    I wonder if small victories carry over from one day to the next week to the next month and across the years.

    I certainly hope so and that is my prayer for you and your children.

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