Ever been so bottled up with fear you feel like a complete failure of a human?
I have. I’ve been in a deep pit of lies screaming day & night,
“You've failed everyone around you miserably."
"You’re not worth it. You’ll never be enough."
“They'd be better off with me anyhow."
"This gut-wrenching ache of shame is never gonna go away.
Why even try anymore?”
Because even when it looks like you are suffocating, a moment of courage vulnerability and authenticity can breathe life into your weary soul.
And I can promise you that truth, sister because I’ve lived through it... and survived because a moment of courage gave me the strength to ask for help.
Seventeen years ago on the verge of suicide, my husband took me to the doctor where it was quite clear I needed intensive help. I was given the option of going home or checking into the mental health unit of the hospital for a few days.
I was terrified.
None of my options felt good, but somehow I found a moment of courage to say 'yes' to help. Deep down I knew the alternative of going home and continuing to push through wasn't going to end well.
My husband checked me into the hospital & had to leave me there for 5 days. He was at home with a 3 year old Drew & a 1 year old Jonny, probably afraid of a possible future as a single dad.
Even though I was admitted voluntarily, I hated the hospital. I begged to get out. I raged. I hated it all & was so afraid of the ‘crazy’ people, of which I obviously was one now. (Sorry, but that’s how I felt at the time.)
I hated that 'hospitalization on the psyche ward' was now part of my story & everyone would know.
I hated the doctor who said I needed medication because taking meds had such a stigma, especially in Christian circles*. Pretty sure I called him the devil. #oops
I hated the probing questions, psyche tests, loss of control, and mostly I hated the deep pain I couldn’t hide anymore.
I also hated the counseling for months afterwards, because I had to finally admit all the trauma & abuse I had lived through as a child. Counseling was some of the hardest, most exhausting work I've ever done, but so necessary.
If you've every had trauma-counseling, you know how true that statement is.
You see, up to that point, I had been living in survival mode. Always afraid, always waiting for my world to turn upside down, to be abandoned & rejected.
I continually was trying my best to be good & worthy of love to avoid the wrath of someone who should have been my protector. Someone who could be so loving one moment and take out all their rage on me in the next moment.
Often I was told I'm too sensitive and the things said & done to me really weren't that big of a deal. So that's the story I told everyone including myself. After all, I had parents who were present, took care of me when I was ill, put a roof over my head, and even went on fun, family vacations!
Besides, to be a good daughter, I needed to practice forgiveness, right? Right. So to cope, I pushed the pain away for as long as I could and I became exactly what they wanted: compliant, happy, and thankful.
That person's voice had been so ingrained in me I truly did not know how to separate it from my own; even after years of physical separation, even in the midst of a loving marriage, even after having my own children.
Time alone rarely heals such deep-seated pain.
After one exhausting counseling session where I had disclosed a specifically painful memory, a tiny whisper came saying, “I am your Defender, against the accuser who wants to lock you away. Let me handle this."
With the image of a courtroom flashing across my mind, I began to realize the prosecution's voice no longer mattered. I have an Advocate who defends and a Judge who protects and loves me for who I really am.
You see, that day a small part of me discovered healing was possible. It gave me courage to no longer believe the lies, to be myself, to set boundaries.
A seed of hope began in that moment & as I cultivated it, it grew. I got my faith back. I got my joy back. I got ME back & so did my family. A stronger, healthier me because I found the courage to face and fight the pain. Even today, I still use some of those learned techniques and tools to get through the hard times.
I’ll never be the same & pray other people’s lives were made better because I didn’t end mine.
Find your moment of courage to turn away from fear and towards health.
Hold on to genuine hope, sister. I know you're barely holding it together, but there is a beautiful, redemptive life story on the other side.
Tell someone you trust you’re at the end of your rope and need help.
And if they don’t know what to do, please go a courageous step further & talk to your doctor.
You are worth it.
Your future is worth it.
Trust my journey’s truth. Let the redemption story I just told you be your catalyst for courage & hope.
*Side Note: Can God heal you without hospitalization, counseling and medication? Of course, He can. But He can also heal you with it. Never for a minute think getting help from medical professionals is a lack of faith in God.
Imagine your teenager falling into a manhole and refusing help to get out.
You know she's hurt and scared. You also know the city has a mechanical chain machine which can at least get him closer to the top, but she won't let you call them because she's convinced God's got another, better way. How long will she sit in misery?
I ask you, which requires more trust?
Getting the help of a professional equipped with tools, or stubbornly staying stuck because it's not how she imagined help would come?