It is easy to assume because you survived through the initial brutal battlefield of childhood abuse that once you become of age, the road to healing suddenly becomes plain sailing, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In my experience I have found the challenge of overcoming my past a continuous journey of deliberate decisions and actions to get to where I need to go. There are days where I feel frustrated, disappointed and weary- Do you have days like that? Days where it feels like you have taken a huge step forward and ten steps back? Times where certain expectations and challenges feel overwhelming and the battle relentless, times where giving up feels like the only option?
Maybe like me you envisioned a life post abuse free from further heartache and hardship, a life of blessing for the unfair treatment, betrayal and humiliation you endured, only to find life on the other side of disclosure one of painful revelation and hard work. It can seem like a bitter exchange but I have learned to turn circumstances around to my advantage. Life by its very nature requires both you and I to engage in it in order to forge a better outcome for the future. Whether to seize opportunities, take risks, overcome challenges or seek help to come to terms with the past, each decision made must be followed action. Life demands our participation whether we feel like engaging in it or not, but it is even more of a challenge when hope and strength is running low- it can be hard to take the steps needed to continue on.
I am sharing this with you because I believe it is important that you see the battle in the journey. It is one of deep valleys and mountain highs, times of brilliant hope and despondency. It is a long road; it is a marathon not a sprint. In spite of feeling weary because of challenges and emotional ups and downs I still have hope, even though my past abuse tries to remind me of my history, I can still maintain my focus however small through times of frustration to keep striving towards the goal. It is the most important prize to me- to be able to live the life I want to live in Gods will, not defined by my past nor scared of the future; I want to live a life of true freedom. The brutal marathon journey in the quest to finding true self can be lonely at times but no one can complete it except you.
Imagine the picture of a marathon runner. They prepare many months and years in advance to run those long miles by exercise, diet, mental preparation and dedication. But as survivors who are seeking to thrive we never got the chance to prepare for life the way we were meant to because we forced to run before our time. We had to mentally deal with emotions and situations best suited to adults. Instead we had to start the race at a disadvantage, relapsing and stopping many times along the way to mentally adjust as we face memories and circumstances that come up at the most unexpected of times.
In times of impatience I want to sprint towards the finish line (past dealing with issues, past difficult situations to wholeness) it is natural reaction to want that. I have been on this course for 33 years and have come to slowly accept it will not happen this way. Each part of the course must be undertaken, there are no short cuts to healing or to personal success. The dreams and visions that wait in my heart are for a due season and in order to be prepared I must run the whole race.
Think about the marathon runner. What spurs them on when they want to give up? It is the crowds, the people who root for them to carry on, the determination to see their mission through to the end. They have overcome many obstacles to get this far and have reached many milestones. It is the same for me. In spite of how I feel at times, I think about the issues I have overcome and my personal achievements. I think about all the women who have told me that I inspire them, my family and friends who believe in me and most importantly God who tells me through his word to (fear not because he is with me -Isaiah 41:10) Prayer continues to provide me with a way out of focusing on circumstances or challenges; God is my foundation and strength.
These are the things that encourage me to continue. Even if you fall seven or seventy seven times get up and continue. You may in pain, bruised by life’s knocks but do not give up. Tune into the avenues that have spurred you on this far and do not lose sight of your goal. It does not matter if you take rest breaks, crawl or walk- what is important is that in the face of whatever comes your way, you remember it is only part of your journey; keep on.
The race is a long haul. It will take time to tune your mind to a marathon mind set but this is the mode it needs to be in to experience true freedom; it can and will be done. Renew your strength, don’t lost hope and keep focused.