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.