Redemptive Grace

Loving Jesus, Loving People….(including even me).


September 2017

Dear Diary,

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 1.10.43 PMTrauma visited my doorstep with a force just four days ago. Actually, it’s been living in the midst of my home for too long, it’s just now there is no way to contain the secrets.

Really, these thoughts are probably too raw to start processing so publicly.  I am acutely aware of those of you who will receive this message directly, as well as those who may come across it elsewhere. It definitely gives me pause as a part of my subconscious is trying to get me to stop writing, berating me with what-ifs.

How often do we wait until the suffering is contained before we share it? When really, growth begins in safe transparency; in leaning in, not away.

That said, there is something about undigested pain that seems to be both striking and sad in a way that stirs up the soul. So, yeah, I’m pushing in and writing through some discomfort. My hope is that it captures this process in this moment, lending to the comfort of those who will inevitably walk a similar path, maybe myself later on, or even my own children.

This is personal, yes, but it is also so very universal as pain often is. Like a drop in quiet waters, or the echo of a shout, pain reverberates to the outer edges and back in affecting all in its path.

Suffering through trauma and grief creates a vacuum in the mind meant to preserve itself from imploding. So, just FYI, I can’t be wholly held responsible for anything that my brain might insist on reacting to in the coming days and weeks or even over the course of the following year (#Sorry).  It’s kind of a part of grief that isn’t really talked about: normal executive functioning (the ability to think, plan, decision make, organize, etc.) comes and goes at will [insert eye-roll]. So I’ll be taking a lot of deep breaths and slowing down. I’m focusing on this moment, this hour. The rest will work itself out in time.

I can’t seem to focus for long on any given task or subject. When I do try, I get tired quickly, so I am giving myself permission to fall asleep when I need to. Sleeping shuts off a part of our brains in order to start healing, I’ve decided to accept the limitations that have arrived.

I seem to be the okay-est during the daylight hours. It’s when night creeps in that the darkness reminds me that I must also feel lonely in this season.

To the community that has been with me (even as I’ve pushed you away), you have showed up for me and my kids in a big way. Thank you for praying for peace and relief over my family. It stormed in this weekend through circumstances none of us would have chosen, even still God has been orchestrating this release for a long time.

I recognize gratitude in this: my mind has been trained and prepared to understand the complexity of trauma. I am being protected by the grief I’ve already bore, and the intrapersonal work I’ve been committed to.

I am so thankful that counseling through personal grief has been modeled for me by my own therapist over the past year. I just counseled others in the midst of my own trauma and at the end of the day as my last client left the office, my body has responded with overwhelming anxiety. I remember that I am physically fine, though. I understand that as a counselor I often bear the weight of stories, today my body just doesn’t have the space necessary to contain it like normal. Instead, it’s coming at me as angst, built up in my chest, butterflies in my stomach. Just breathe. 

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It is as if all of the theology I have struggled to understand and fought against is finally making sense. Integrity is something I highly value, but minimizing my pain, making excuses for the behavior of others, and living in complete chaos really messed up my ability to grasp my significance as a counselor, friend, and mother. That cloud is being lifted even now.

On a day like today, I can speak confidently. Tomorrow may be a day I can’t leave my bed. This is normal, I’m not crazy. It is after all, grief.

The circumstances of this weekend have been horrific. And quite possibly the best thing to have ever happened.

We are all going to be okay.

Petticoat Confidence

Yes, I know ‘petticoat’ is a derogatory term used to undermine strong females taking on roles traditionally reserved for men. That’s the point.

Woman, noun. wom·an

Female human. Embodiment of God’s femininity; keeper and giver of love, nurture, gentleness, strength, and tenderness. FIERCE and loyal; comforter.

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 4.37.55 PMEvery day I sit with (cautiously) courageous women who speak the hidden secrets of their hearts, trusting that I will tread gently with them into their rawest places.

Inevitably each will come to ask, “Who am I?”

This, above all else, is at the core of the work that is engaged in my counseling office. Sometimes it is a skewed perspective that has harmed her sense of who she is. Other times it is a lack of nurturing within herself. Most all come with gaping wounds inflicted by the carelessness of those meant to adore them. Regardless, each brings with her a pain and confusion that is etched deeply into her features; and it has taught her that who she is, is not enough; that the make-up of the person she is, is maladapted for the space she contains.

So begins the work of unraveling what has been experienced and creating within her an understanding of truest self.

As I look into her eyes and listen with all intuition, my heartfelt desire is that she might catch a glimpse of who she is uniquely created to be simply by sharing this space with me.

Borrow your strength from me until you feel it come alive within you. 

The thing about confidence is this: it is within YOU, but it’s ok to need someone else to help point it out at first. It has been the history of our narrative, (the stories we tell ourselves), that we as women can’t be confident in our individual and collective significance. This is being altered, and it starts with you.

What do you do well? No, really, what are you good at? Without apology, without feeling the need to sensor yourself, what are you passionate about? What ignites that fire inside of you? Take a step toward that and say it out loud.

Go confidently, go boldly in who you were created to be. And if you haven’t figured out who that might be, come see me. We’ll figure it out together.

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