You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56.8
This Captivating study I am doing is powerful. Each week is building upon the week before. As we go we are also building trust within the group, the ability to open up and share from our hearts becoming less threatening. Last week we cracked the box wide open as we each took a turn sharing our stories. Now, granted, just one of us could take a few hours to tell our life story-- and being there are several of us, and our group time doesn't allow for that, a condensed version was told by each participant; the focus being where or how the wounds of our heart came to be.
I know, I know, this just doesn't sound like fun. Do we really need to re-visit those places of injustice, cruelty, abuse? What if there isn't a deep wound from something that extreme? What if it was just a lifetime of small things; being treated with indifference or being let down by someone significant in your life. The sad reality is, it's just not possible in this world we live in to make it into our adulthood without something or someone inflicting pain on our impressionable souls. We all have a wound. Still..... do we really need to do this?
I know this.
Working through my years of trauma -- from the sexual abuse in my younger years, the dysfunctions in my family, to the domestic abuse as a young woman, oh, yes, I have been there. I can say with all conviction that the journey through the pain was worth it. I have come out on the other side, with rejoicing. God did a mighty work in my heart and soul, binding up the broken places, making me whole, perhaps for the very first time. I am, now and forever, so grateful for what He has done.
Being healed, being whole, that is my deepest desire for other women who've been hurt. If sharing my story helps even one woman gain courage, encouragement, hope, then it is so worth revisiting the past.
The beautiful thing I am discovering is that I can tell my story without falling apart. I still feel emotional as I tell it; I'm not skimming over the top. I'm being authentic. But I'm not reliving it. Neither am I telling it as if it happened to someone else, feeling far removed from it. I'm telling it from the unique perspective of knowing how the story ends, and the ending is filled with joy!
I also know that for all the healing I have experienced, there is always room for more. Because we live in a fallen world, new hurts get inflicted every day. And some of us gals have mighty big backpacks in which we gather up those bad experiences and stow them away. I find my shoulders getting tired and my heart weary and I know it's time to empty my backpack again. I have discovered, happily, that over time my backpack has gotten smaller. It's more like a little fanny pack really. I can't carry as much before I recognize I don't like the feeling that the burden brings. I am quick to release it to God and move on. I like that feeling of freedom!
So, each week as I meet with these ladies and we bare our souls, I understand a little better my place in this group: I have a story to tell that someone else might identify with and not feel so alone. And I have a story of redemption to share that might give someone hope.
Some of us aren't there yet. Some of us are in the midst of our healing, some of us haven't even begun to scrape the surface. Some are still in denial and some are still trapped in it. But for those on the journey, or about to take the first terrifying step, know this: God is with you.
*"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free." Luke 4;18 NLT