2018 was the year I stepped into the light. I dealt with something deeply buried and allowed God’s grace to wash over my dark places. I reached out for help, letting those closest to me in on my pain. I cried a lot of tears, held a lot of hands and walked through a season of fresh grief with those I love. There were moments I thought I wouldn’t make it to the other side, moments I wished to go back to what was. There were days on end that left me foggy headed and sad. But still, I was free.
I’d like to say I survived the process, but really, it is STILL very much a process. I asked my husband recently to tell me when the pain will stop. Pulling me in close he whispered, ‘it will get better, but may never stop.’ He has been right so far (I hate it when that happens). The pain most days is less sharp than before. Instead of being excruciatingly aware of it, it’s more of a dull ache throughout the background of my day. But friend, I survived. I am surviving. I am a survivor.
There will be a day where I share more of my story - our story, really - but today I wanted to share enough to encourage those of you sitting on the wrong side of healing. I see you.
To the woman who is hiding pieces of your past. I see your pain - the hurt you think you can hold onto by yourself all the way to your grave. You are terrified of upsetting those closest to you, you are scared they will look at you differently, be disappointed - leave you even.
Friend, I cannot promise you your loved ones won’t be disappointed or angry. I can’t even promise they won’t leave you, although it has been my experience they might support you more than you could even imagine. But I CAN tell you that secret you carry is much too big for you to carry alone. You can let it go free, assured that no thing, no decision, no circumstance is too big for the blood of Jesus to cover. Let today be that day.
To the woman who carries shame or guilt for someone else’s choices, you too are covered by the grace of Jesus. Whatever parts of your story you are blaming yourself for, lay it down today, be victorious today. I know all to well what it looks like to carry shame for someone else’s sin, remaining in the dark place of blame. But friend, it is not your fault.
There is no great explanation of why bad things happen to good people, but I do know this : God did not leave His throne when this happened to you. This is one of the hardest things we have to swallow as believers, but could it be that there is purpose in your pain? Could God have allowed something into your life so that you can use it for His glory? To be the catalyst to healing for someone else? Leave the shame behind today.
To the woman who is struggles with depression and anxiety, it is not a sign of weakness to reach for help. Despite what ‘old school thought’ has taught us, fighting off these mental health dilemmas is not as simple as memorizing bible verses and slapping scriptures over our hurt. These feelings run much deeper, sometimes as a physical manifestation of something greater we are dealing with.
Reach out to a friend, a counselor, a mentor and let them in on what you are feeling. Believe me, I understand it feels weak, but it is, in fact, the opposite. It is actually incredibly brave and strong to admit that there is a problem. There’s no shame in counseling, in medication, in seeking help. Do you hear me friend? No shame. Reach for someone today.
To the woman who is wrestling addiction, who is recovering from infidelity, who is walking through divorce - there is freedom found in letting others in. There are people waiting in the wings to help you, to identify and hold your hand as you journey toward healing. People honor honesty and long to be compassionate, loving and understanding when we share our hard things. Stop being scared, friend, and instead bravely choose the light.
Light peeks in when we acknowledge the darkness. What if today is your day to see the darkness for what it is? What if this moment is the moment you phone a friend, finally admitting you have a problem, you have a secret or that you are carrying unwarranted shame? What in your world would change?
Friend, there is a hope that is only found when we step into the light. There is victory on this side and it's not a freedom from pain, but freedom from the weight of whatever sin it is that binds us. And, for what it’s worth, God already has it - He is already carrying it so that we don’t have to. Let today be your day to let it go. I promise, you can survive it.