I’ve tried writing this blog more often than I’d like to admit, and most of those attempts ended with me in tears. I guess I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to have to use this blog anymore because I think I should be healed by now. Or I think I should be at a point of not having to talk about all this anymore. Or I generally just assume at this point no one really cares what I’m dealing with so I’ll just keep the struggles to myself. Then I’m reminded that living life by the “shoulds” only reinforces those thoughts, and that my whole motive for being as open as I am with my story is sharing every part of the journey no matter what society has embedded in me. So here I am.

Let me start with my list of shoulds that go through my head on a daily basis:
I should be healed by now.
The past shouldn’t be so present in my daily life.
I shouldn’t have anxiety anymore.
I should be in a relationship by now.
I should be better than I am. 

Well, none of that matters. I’m not healed yet, the past does still haunt me, I still have anxiety, I’m still single, but I am better than I was. There’s this powerful thing that happens when you trust God with your life……

You realize that anywhere you are, as long as you are surrendered to Him, is exactly where you need to be. In this season of setbacks (or so it feels) I realize that I am being forced to find the joy in my life. Light is being shed on my habit of focusing on my inadequacies and failures even though they were nailed to the cross, further proving just how much I need His constant grace. Giving power to my pain takes the power away from Him, and who am I to ever think the blood He shed wouldn't extinguish my pain.

Yet it seems lately my frustration has outweighed my gratitude. It seems like I keep calling and getting a dial tone on the other line. But it's in the silence that you can hear Him most clearly, you just have to be willing to listen. And I admit I haven't been willing to listen. If prayers didn't get answered the way I wanted them to, I didn't want to listen to His answer. I discredit all that He's done for me in the silence. The peace that has washed over me in moments of despair, the cries of my heart that I'm too weary to speak, He's heard it all and His grace continues to cover me. His faithfulness is true, even in the moments of silence.

But let’s pause for a moment so I can explain, more fully, what this season has felt like. Healing hurts. Let me say that again… Healing hurts. I’ve had numerous surgeries in my life, and looking back I always remember the victories of healing but often forget the pain of healing. Emotional healing is no different. I’m in the season of painful healing, and while I will probably look back and remember the victory of this season, right now I have a tendency to only see the pain. It hurts to wake up from a nightmare where I was being choked, or grabbed, or chased by him and still feel like his hands are on me. It hurts to try to date someone and avoid the looming questions about past relationships, why I left Butler, why I don’t dance anymore, or what I speak about for fear of rejection. It hurts to have flashbacks, and suffer through my chest tightening as I relive the day I escaped with my life. It hurts to give my dog her anti-anxiety medication every morning knowing the abuse she endured. It all hurts. But you know what? That’s okay. It’s supposed to hurt. If it didn’t hurt, I wouldn’t be human. And in my case the pain is a symbol of healing, because I’m feeling, so I shouldn’t try to escape it.

In this painful process of healing, feeling equals progress. So instead of cursing the feelings and cursing my story, I’ve found the beautiful release that happens in seeing the Light in my story. Seeing the beauty in what I went through, because of where it’s brought me, allows me to stop holding on to it. To experience the pain I FEEL now, is something I’m learning to rejoice in because 3 years ago I forgot what it was to feel. I didn’t know what emotions felt like anymore because I was completely numb. I didn’t feel like it was really me who had lived those traumatic years. Now it does. Now I’m reminded that it was me, and I’m reminded of the extreme numbness I felt, and I’m reminded that I’ve been given a beautiful story to share… and I can’t hold on to it anymore. I've been given a second chance at life, and I don't want to waste it.

So consider this another onion layer peeling off in my healing process. This must be the layer that always makes you cry, but there’s a sweet release in the tears of surrender.