There was a promise, that I so desired to obtain. One that was only possible through Him.
But I had to want it and desired it so immensely that I would fight for it and go to the ends of the earth in the hopes that I would.
For the last 40 years it has sat under the surface, stealing my peace, my health and the ability to truly see myself as the daughter of the Almighty King. To recognize that my identity is in Him and not the victim that I was.
So in early 2022, when I cried out in desperation “Tell me what to do and I will do it.” God heard and literally took my word for it. Because suffering had become more than just a heavy cross to carry, that I believed I had to willingly accept. This cross was crushing me.
I didn’t have the strength to carry it any more. It wasn’t mine to carry and Jesus certainly didn’t desire for me to carry it either. It was never His plan for me. His plan for me was interrupted by the abuse I received from other people. But through His mercy and love for me even the deepest wounds can be healed and turned into something holy and good that glorifies the Lord.
The trauma that I had experienced had left me numb, feeling like an empty shell of the person I had never had the chance to be. I struggled to know who I was and I would often go from feeling completely numb and needing to feel pain to feeling so incredibly overwhelmed with pain (that I had no idea where it was coming from) that I would often dissociate or find other ways to numb it.
Abuse and trauma had shattered the very core of who I am. The damage it had caused was not something that I could just “snap out of” or think “positive thoughts” with a side of antianxiety and antidepressants.
My soul was suffering. I was bleeding all over the place. I was trapped in my body that constantly betrayed me. My memories were buried so deep they were blurry or were not there at all. And while I myself couldn’t remember for a very long time one thing was certain: my body sure did.
My heart and soul remembered.
And God knew. He is my witness.
Every time I received abuse, Jesus Christ was right next to me. I was never alone. In fact, He was in me, receiving the abuse against me and He has been patiently waiting for me to turn to Him, in complete truth, seeking to be healed.
People have prayed for my healing for years. But I had to be the one who truly wanted it and ask for it. I had to be willing to do the hard work and to persevere, to stay in the fight on the battle field. I had suffered for so long and the enemy wasn’t going to easily allow me to work on the process of healing.
My wounds had become convenient for a lot of people and the enemy liked that. He wanted me to stay exactly where I was. Because where I was, wasn’t going to get me to where I so desired to be (with our Lord).
These wounds that I had been carrying around for decades, had built up a wall around my heart and between God and myself. It was preventing me from having an authentic and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. And if I think that I desire intimacy with Him, He desires it for me even more so.
To heal, to really begin my journey of healing, I was going to have to surrender and give God my biggest “fiat.” This was it. All or nothing. I had to be all in and ready to go where ever He was sending me. I had to trust. And I did.
Just days before Christmas of 2022, God presented me with an opportunity that He and I both knew I couldn’t refuse. I was where He needed me to be. As new memories were beginning to surface, I was struggling with knowing what the next steps forward should be.
I received my answer almost immediately.
Grief to Grace is a five-day programme of spiritual and psychological healing for abuse survivors. Participants are taken on a journey of healing through the Living Scriptures where they encounter first-hand the deep love that our Lord, Jesus Christ has for them and the desire that He has for all of us to be set free from our wounds, that have held us in chains for far too long.
The participants are supported and guided with care by a team of trained professionals and volunteers. Each member’s dignity is up held and respected, their trauma acknowledged and their stories heard. They are given a voice, which is often taken away and silenced, continuing the cycle of abuse.
But through Grief to Grace we are given our voice’s back and as well the permission to express our justified anger. For years we have been forced to bury the anger for various reasons. For myself it was fear of rejection and of not being heard. It was the fear of being manipulated and to be made vulnerable again to abuse.
Leading up to Grief to Grace I had spent the previous 12 months working with my spiritual director in preparation. I knew that I was entering into a battle. The battle of all battles. My biggest hurdle was going to be consistency and remaining in the fight. To allow myself to surrender and to trust the process. I didn’t come this far in my journey to allow the enemy to defeat me and have his day.
No. I was determined and God had sent help my way, through people He had placed around me to support, pray and love me through my most testing times. Not only had He placed these people in my life, but God was slowly building my strength by loving me and showing me, my worthiness through these people.
As the date for my retreat was approaching, the spiritual battles and warfare increased significantly. Somebody was not happy about God’s plans. I was holding on tightly to God, trusting that he would get me through this.
And He did.
I arrived to Grief to Grace on the Divine Mercy Sunday, hopeful in God’s promise of healing.
My time at Grief to Grace will never adequately be put in words that would do its justice.
My wounds were ripped open and I was nailed to the cross with Jesus, with a promise of a resurrection that has been fulfilled.
It was earth shattering. It broke and shattered all these perceptions about myself and the world. The walls crumbled and I was eventually able to receive that love. For the first time in my life I experienced what it was like to truly receive a father’s love. I didn’t know I could be loved like that. I didn’t know love like that existed in this world.
As Jesus beckons me and draws me in through His love and desire to dwell within my soul. His love for me, became incredibly bright and brilliant like the rays of the sun, so did my love and desire for Him. I often found myself, multiple times a day, in the Chapel at the foot of the cross. There I placed everything I was carrying, at His feet.
Jesus received my tears, my burdens, my fears, my weakness, my sufferings and my pain. But He also received my surrender, joy, love and adoration. This is where my relationship with Jesus Christ deepened into new depths. The wall between us was crumbling.
At the foot of the cross I received His immense love, clarity, healing and rest. The cross is my new compass instead of my shame.
Jesus Christ has crowned me in great strength and dignity.
I know now to whom I belong to. He is my beloved. And I am His. A daughter of the Almighty King.
Now I can breathe.
I am free.
Learn more about Grief to Grace at the program’s website.