There are parts of my story that I may never post to the interwebs for all of the world to read. There are moments in my history that have caused the scars I sometimes notice on my heart. Most of the time, I forget they're there, but there are those days when I remember. When I remember how I got them, and how far Father has brought me.
I've always been the "pick yourself up by your bootstraps kind of girl," mostly because I was forced to be. I would experience trauma and move forward without truly feeling the weight of the blow. Then before I knew it, a new trauma would occur. It was like an unending cycle. I just had to keep moving forward, it's how I survived all those years.
Right after I married my husband, I came to the realization that everyone didn't live that way. I was constantly waiting for the bottom to drop out and dazed from shock. I was safe and I started to grieve. It was hard, very hard. And painful, so painful. But I slowly started to heal and those open wounds began healing and eventually became scars.
Then a few years later, I started grieving again, but in a different way, at the end of every month. The months turned into years, and I still wasn't pregnant. There was pressure from even Believers to make less of my pain, or push it under the rug as if it didn't exist, or even worse, condemning me. Because being sad in their minds meant I didn't trust God.
Even typing all of those words is hard for me. But what is even harder, is knowing that some of you reading these words have felt the same way. Papa has brought me so far. He has healed and redeemed so much of my story. But even now, after all of these years, He has me slow down during hard. It's easy for me to get back in that old habit of plowing through.
But the truth is, when I do that, when I push through trauma and don't allow my heart to grieve, I'm denying myself of healing. Melissa Helser says, "When we loose our heart, we loose the very place God dwells." I don't want to loose my feelings. I don't want to be scared of them. Or hurry through them. I can't afford to loose my heart, because I can't afford to loose connection to Papa.
My sweet friend, Natalie, asked me to write an endorsement for her book, so I got an advance copy. I would sit down at my desk during "quiet time," the only somewhat peaceful two hours of our day, and read her words with tears rolling down my face, whispering "me too." Her book came at a time in our story right after a new face unexpectedly joined our family. And I knew Papa was showing me through her words, once again to slow down, to breathe, to feel, to grieve. We were in triage. And not all, but most days, it still feels that way.
I think vulnerability is powerful. It's not easy, it's never easy. But when you can whisper, "me too," during the raw and broken places of other's stories, you can also declare your victory when you hear of their redemption. If you can identify with brokenness, that means you can identify with hope and healing and restoration. It's not far off, it can be yours too.
I love Natalie's vulnerability in her words. Her heart bled onto those pages. Her raw and honest words extend an invitation for us to give our grief, found in each of our stories, the space and time to heal. Her words will speak to deep places in you, I know they have in me.
What I really love about This Underserved Life, is Natalie includes a workbook at the end of the book that begin the process of grief. She has scripted questions that help you process your particular loss. There are also so many awesome resources at the end of the book as well!
Natalie is not only giving away one of her books to one of you, but is including two prints with the book! Go ahead and order your copy here, and then leave a comment below to be entered into the give away!