There are seasons when we are intimately acquainted with suffering. Times when trials immobilize and sear. Moments when we find ourselves prostrate or reeling, saturated with grief and questions.
My story involves sifting through layers of events and areas of wounding. Though our family's journey through PTSD is somewhat known, there are few who know what I clutched beneath the cloak of sadness.
I had only just begun to work through the trauma of having a son with a life threatening medical disorder when Roger returned from Iraq changed. After years of living in fear that 'today could be the day my little boy would die', God provided release from daily terror as I placed my precious son on the altar, surrendering the illusion of control, asking instead for sustenance. I assumed the arc through the recovery process would continue, and I hoped my husband and I would bond as we moved towards healing from that life altering diagnosis.
Yet what followed the joyful reunion was only isolation and more grief. It became clearer that our re-adjustment phase was not resolving as my husband became volatile and emotionally unsafe. I went from healing to survival mode in a matter of weeks- and as the months drew on, barriers were erected in order to protect myself from chaos.
When Roger self admitted to a VA facility I felt I could breathe again. While he was gone I had space, safety. Still, I was far away from family and friends and only a precious few perceived what was happening in our marriage. Fewer still knew what was happening within my own heart.
Roger began to bring home pottery he'd made as a part of his therapy, confronting me with the severity of Post Traumatic Stress disorder. That harsh reality plunged me into despair. My hopes and dreams for a stable family life shattered. The fragments of my life seemed not merely broken, but ground into dust... it seemed there was nothing left to piece back together.
The moment I came to the end of myself is still so vivid. After months of simply trying survive, I found myself crumpled on the floor, overwhelmed by sorrow. The prayer that escaped in the midst of utter brokenness was one name: "Jesus". I cried out in sheer agony, "Help me!" and found myself engulfed; covered in light, in soothing warmth and complete and total acceptance. It was as if God was encouraging me to nestle in, to be cradled by his love. There were no words, yet somehow I knew my healer was urging me to let loose the flood I'd dammed before. I released what I'd held onto for so long, and wept into his covering as Love held me. I was granted liberty from self-reproach and judgement, set free to pour out every hidden fear and embrace the grief I'd resisted before.
In the midst of life's tempests- and even because of them, know this- God does not condemn your grief. Rather, the Healer urges you to embrace the grieving process, understanding that he offers complete and total acceptance in the midst of every moment as you release the churning within. God does not despise you for weeping, or anger, or questions. He welcomes you as you are- no matter what emotions spring forth.
The One who accepts you completely- all you are, and all you are not- our Refuge invites you to pour out everything, even what you fear to dish out. The one who created every emotion is mighty enough to withstand all of them. You cannot shock him, and you cannot shake the hound of heaven- not even with your own unworthiness. Whether you are running, or crumpled in the corner reeling from violence, or simply struggling through each and every moment of the day, know that there is One who is safe. No matter what man (or woman) has done to you. There is no secret too shameful, no shadow too dark, no place too broken for our Healer.
I know this truth. When I was face down in my bedroom carpet weeping until I was spent... and then somehow weeping again, Adonai allowed me to empty the pain. And in those moments I knew all encompassing love, unconditional acceptance and all consuming comfort.
Adonai- the very name is soothing to my soul. Speaking of relationship, of holding close as I cease resisting and let go of all that separates me from intimate comfort. Adonai is complete, so I don't have to be. In fact, when I enter his welcoming embrace, Adonai completes me.
There is One who is light and love and peace, One who will hold you through every distress, every trauma, and every place of grieving; Adonai, who is the gift in your suffering.