Two weeks ago I, Sue, introduced you to my dear friend, Bethany, a remarkable young wife and mom who has shared courageously with Listening on the Journey readers her story of childhood abuse and the lingering impact it has on her adult life. Her healing is a journey, which she must take one step at a time. Some days Bethany feels like she’s making progress, and other days, she feels like a failure.
I don’t know about you, but that’s my struggle as well. Most of my life journey has felt like I manage to take three steps forward, only to stumble and then fall two steps behind. Sometimes that makes me feel frustrated, but when I take a moment to glance into my life’s rearview mirror, I realize I have made progress! That realization gives me courage to keep moving forward, to keep placing one foot of faith in front of the other.
Today, Bethany discloses what helped her begin to move forward in her journey of healing. Again, thank you, Bethany, for your authenticity, bravery and vulnerability.
A short time after I’d exposed my story for the first time, the woman at church who’d been so helpful and encouraging, introduced me to Paul Young, our church’s weekend guest speaker. (Sue’s Note: Paul Young authored the immensely popular book, The Shack, which he describes as “the inside story of the soul.” Young too was the victim of childhood abuse. To learn more of Paul Young’s story, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-BB2ylI8EU).
I talked to Paul a little about my story. I was feeling overwhelmed with where to start, and he told me, “Just take it one day at a time.” That advice helped me not rush. I decided to just put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
I realized it’s okay to be angry. I have some very good reasons for being angry.
I began to believe it’s okay to cry. There is much pain and sadness in my ‘little-girl’ story.
I also began to understand that some life issues are overwhelming, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
I learned I needed to be kind to myself. I knew if I were helping another woman through this process, I would have lots of grace and love for her. I wanted to learn how to do the same for me. Sometimes, though, I’m not successful because I can be very hard on Bethany!
Finally, I realized I needed to start and JUST DO SOMETHING!
If your story resembles mine in any way, we need to remember that we’ll never look back and wish we had waited longer to get help.
This poem by Ijeoma Umebinyuo has become a favorite of mine.
Start where you are.
Start with pain.
Start with doubt.
Start with hands shaking.
Start with voice trembling but start.
Start and don’t stop.
Start where you are, with what you have.
As you just start and do something to rescue the ‘little girl’ in your story, we’re both cheering you on!
When Bethany determined to take steps necessary to heal from the trauma of her childhood story, she learned her journey of healing was going to take time. She also realized she had to get started. Bethany’s heart told her she would never look back and regret taking those first painful, but crucial, steps. The red light on the horizon facing this little girl in the pink raincoat serves to remind us that as we navigate the painful segments of our journey, sometimes we need to stop, rest and take care of ourselves. The next time we meet, we’ll take a look at practical ways to do that.