I remember sitting quietly in my college dorm prayer room…just an empty room at the end of the hall, filled by a bare mattress and a single, empty dresser. I sat there feeling certain that God had a purpose for me, my insides quivering with anticipation as I allowed myself to feel all of the pain that felt threateningly close to spilling out all over the floor. Everything that I had gone through…all of the shame, the guilt, the heart-numbing depression…all of it was for a reason right? God wasn’t the “why” behind my pain but he was the “how”. He was the “how” I was able to heal, “how” I could change the world, “how” I could learn to love myself and then love others. But I was missing the “when” at that point. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know when it would happen and honestly, in those moments, I didn’t know that God would be the “how” either.
As I began to heal, I started speaking my truth. I spoke at youth groups and camps and for a television show and I spoke to my friends and on my blog. I tried to coach other adolescents through their own self injury addictions, but I was so tired. My healing had just begun and in reality, I wasn’t equipped with the right tools to help someone else find the recovery that I had found. So, I stopped pushing and speaking and began to discredit the ache that I felt…the part of me that knew there had to be something that I could do; some way that God was going to use me.
A few nights ago, I opened up to Gabe about the excitement that I am feeling as I continue to push forward with my new career of coaching others through various life situations. It’s hard for me to express that kind of joy and also hard to admit when I know God is the one leading me in a certain direction, because the feeling of being not taken seriously is hurtful and kind of embarrassing. I am in no way saying that Gabe expressed those feelings or even thought them, but I think my own self doubt sometimes causes me to cast the same doubt on the way others might perceive me.
But, the excitement is real guys. I have been wandering aimlessly for years, feeling so frustrated and helpless, knowing that being just a wife and just a mom (not that there is anything wrong with that!) wasn’t my life purpose. I LOVE the years that I have been able to focus solely on my family, but…I have always known and believed that there was something more for me; something far bigger than what I could ever do on my own. And guys, I found it.
All of the waiting, the searching, the believing that there MUST be some way that God would take all of the trauma and addiction and brokenness up into his cupped hands, transforming it into beauty has finally begun to fall into place. For the first time I feel like I’m no longer waiting to understand the “how” behind being able to use my experiences for the good of others. I read something on facebook today that really spoke right into the heart of what I am trying to say. It said, “We always hear that hurt people hurt people, but rarely do we say that healed people heal people”. And that’s this.
In one simple quote, all of this makes so much sense. I couldn’t help others heal while I was still healing myself and I truly believe that God knew this long before I did. There’s been a lot that has happened since I stopped cutting; a lot of transformation that didn’t happen over night but happened with every little step…every time I said no to the razor, every time that I recognized my anger for what it was, every time that I practiced saying “I love you” when the words use to burn my mouth like acid. All of it has come to this point, this place of healing where, because of the Jesus that says that someone like me belongs at his table…I can now help others to know that they too belong here.
I get to help others find healing through Jesus and life changes, because I AM healed. Because, “healed people heal people.”
In her book, Inspired, Rachel Held Evans says (pg 186) “The apostles remembered what many modern Christians tend to forget—that what makes the gospel offensive isn’t who it keeps out but who it lets in.” (based on Acts 10:28)
I want to speak truth and healing and hope and courage and all things recovery, because that’s who I am: I am recovered, I am healed, and I am in no way broken.