I just finished another memoir. I realized, once again, that I am not being as open in my stories as the authors I read are. Instead, I want to write out the facts of what happened to me and how God was there. But how are my readers going to relate when I just write about the surface and not what really caused the pain and made me who I am today?
The question is, do I have to go back and feel it in order to write about it? Because I don’t want too. I don’t want to remember what it was like to sit in that dunce chair in first grade, in a corner, with a cobweb and spider as my only company. I don’t want to remember what it felt like to be the outcast, ashamed of who I was and being teased for my poverty and looks.
I’m not sure I’m brave enough. I’m afraid it’s too much. It’s too much because when I remember I start to cry and grieve something I stuffed deep inside over 30 years ago – in order to survive.
But I can’t shake off the knowledge that this is what I need to do. I guess it’s just as much a journey for my readers as it is for me. My counselor once said, “That little girl is still inside you, the one that was hurt, rejected, abandoned, and abused”. I don’t want to feel her pain inside me. It’s sad and heartbreaking to feel what she feels as I remember the stories that shaped, affected and impacted her.
But maybe it’s time she is heard, so others can hear their voice and see their stories in mine, so they can dig up what they’ve buried to protect their hearts. I want them to see how healing it is to grieve in order to move on. I want them to learn as I’ve been learning that going back in time and revisiting the pain, then processing it as an adult (who is better able to handle it), is what makes us who we are meant to be and brings purpose to our pain.
Looking back, I trusted God as a child, but at that time I didn’t know how to give Him my pain. I buried it and cried myself to sleep. He was there, He knew I wasn’t able to process it or be ready. He held me in those moments and spoke to my heart. That is what I needed then.
Now I must recognize what still hurts. Not to bring up pain, but to overcome the lies and beliefs that were attached to those moments, and to show others that their pain is real and valid because those memories are always a part of us - even if we tried to bury them to move on.
We don’t have to keep trying to “get over it”. Every painful memory needs to go to the foot of the cross. It needs to be dealt with and no longer pushed down and ignored. That only binds us to unhappiness because we are not fully set free.
So, I will tell my story to give courage to those who need to be set free, to bring hope to those who can’t overcome their past, and to find myself and the story God has been telling through my life – for others and for His glory.
Years ago I believed God told me I would write my life story. I was not ready then and I knew it. So I prayed and waited - waited to see what He would do in my life to prepare me for such a thing, and now I can say that it’s time.
I have reached a place in life where I have overcome, healed, been restored and am rising above the ashes of my old life - a very dark and lonely place. If it wasn’t for running to the feet of Jesus and fighting for my mental, emotional and spiritual health, I would not be where I am today. Everything I owe, I owe to Him… and to those who stood as His hands and feet on this earth, making a difference in my life. They taught me that I was worthy of God’s love and respect from others.
Now I want to teach others the same thing. Because I believe that EVERY story and person matters.
I believed the lies for too many years that I was stupid, ugly, and worthless. This meant I was not worth other people’s attention or time. I was not worth giving myself what my body needed in order to be cared for, or to look my best, and often didn’t contribute to conversations because I believed I didn’t have anything of value or intelligence to give.
When I close my eyes, I see millions of people out there who are just like I once was. Wanting to be set free and live life without the blanket of shame, despair, hopelessness, doubt, etc. God has called me to stand on their behalf, to give voice to their fears, their hopes, their hurts and their hunger for healing.
I write my stories to be the voice for those who have lost theirs. For those who feel they haven’t one, and for those who feel they can’t. I want to give life, courage and hope through my words because I know what they are feeling.
Please join me on my journey by praying for me. And if you find encouragement, feel free to comment.
TRUST. That’s the big word for this time in our lives. It's the word God gives me every day as I pray and ask Him for His peace and guidance. I can trust Him that He knows our future and will direct us with jobs, housing, hip surgery issues, and ministry.
We made it back home after spending the last week of our trip at the YWAM base in Montana, then driving through Idaho and Eastern WA on our way back to Western WA, stopping by to see friends and family on the way.
Here is my favorite picture from Montana. This part of the lake was just down the road from where we stayed. I couldn’t think of a better way to end an 8 month journey.
Re-entry feels a little like being out of body. Everything looks the same but feels different. We expected it to feel different for a while, but to be living it out is weird – couple that with so much unknown with no idea of when or where we will find housing or jobs makes it that much more surreal. We are in a huge transition while trying to find our new normal. For now it's transition, and could be for a while.
We spent our first weekend back enjoying a family BBQ with all the cousins and the following day had a Welcome Home party at our friends' house with families from our old church.
The house we are staying in for the next few weeks has an amazing view of the bay and plenty of room to stretch out and have some much needed space. We are so thankful the owners are gracious in allowing us the use of their space while they are away. We are treating it with respect and enjoying having a home!