It's been a year. They say the first year is always the hardest, whether that be healing from trauma, heartbreak, or the death of a loved one. The word “healing” actually bothers me, because in our world we think that to heal would mean we have recovered fully and are back to our brightest selves, when in reality, healing is in the process and there's no timeline to it. I've deleted this writing and started over about six times because the words weren't coming out how I wanted them to. How do I explain how to overcome something so fragile?
People always ask, "Why are you so open?" or "You know, you don't have to tell anyone anything. It's none of their business anyhow”. Some have even warned me that being an open book about my "flawed life" will rub people the wrong way. (LOL. I'm still waiting to meet people with the perfect life.) So, I think differently, and have seen a different outcome all of my life. I started being an “open book” at fourteen years old and I have to say, what an amazing opportunity God has blessed me with. For me, I've never seen it any other way. People go through things so they can share their trials and testimonies to help others. What exactly are we giving to the world if we go through hard trials and in return never share our story? If we are silent, we miss out on helping people all over the world that could really use someone telling them, "You're okay. You're not alone. I've been there.” If I'm being honest, a huge part of my healing is talking about things and sharing my story. I think that's why I find light in every moment, even in the darkest ones.
Throughout this year, I've realized that so many people are hurting from different things and I wanted this post to be something everyone could relate to, not just the ones that share the same story as me. So here is another little piece of me that I hope you find yourself in.
I've been through the hardest year of my life. Cliché right? Yeah, I thought so too, until I realized that this kind of hurt, cut a little deeper than most, so saying that isn't really cliché at all. One year ago, in July, I went through the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I broke and shattered. Over this long year, I hit bottom, drowned, and came back up. At moments I became something I was not. Some days getting out of bed was my biggest accomplishment. I lost myself, found myself, and lost myself again. Through this experience one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned, is that we have to allow ourselves to grieve. Grieve the change. Grieve the loss of what we thought life was going to be like and feel all the emotions even though it hurts like hell. The process of healing is brutal. There’s no secret. It’s a roller coaster we can’t get off of, but if we allow ourselves to ride it, we’ll find so much beauty in the outcome of what God has painted. So let’s dive in.
Step 1: acknowledge what happened. It's hard. Trust me, I know. It's so much easier to just pretend it never happened and put a cover over our hearts to protect our hurt. But if we never acknowledge what happened, how can we process healing from something we don't believe is true? This one was hard for me. I didn't want to believe that what happened, happened because that would mean I would have to confront the fact that my life wasn't a fairytale. That this image people were seeing of me wasn't real; it was a fake image people saw on social media. Without realizing it, I was actually hurting people instead of helping them because I showed them that a "perfect life" could be a reality and that’s not true. Newsflash. No one is perfect. People edit their photos, they put filters on and they only tell you the things that are happy and glorious in their lives. IT'S FAKE. We are allowed to make mistakes, to not be put together every second of the day, and to have a life that has bad days.
Step 2: forgive the person that caused the trauma, or if there is no person, come to terms with yourself of how you are going to move on to your next stage of healing. For me, it was forgiving people, and that was hard to do. Forgiving someone who's hurt you seems wrong in a way, until you realize that God has forgiven you over and over again, and He's told us more than once that He wants us to live in his image. I often wonder how people can heal without God. I tried to run away from Him because how could the God of love allow me to go through so much pain? But I ended up in more darkness, and in return I lost even more of myself and became someone I was not. Honestly, I’d never been so angry at God. I've always had a positive outlook on every situation I've gone through, but this time the hurt was too big to envision something good coming out of it.. God has always shown me why things had happened a certain way, but at that moment, I couldn't think of any reason at all why this would happen. A friend reminded me that most of the time we don't understand why things happen here on Earth. Sometimes things are unknown to us, and are known only to God.
I was blessed enough to find out the reason of my hurt. Most days, I find myself with tears knowing that I went through something so hard, because now I get the best job ever and that job is to share my story with people of all ages. Most importantly, I get to lead them to God, and teach them what unconditional love really is. This pain that I've had to endure has made me stronger than I ever thought possible, and shown me that God indeed has a plan for all the pain, the hurt, and the sadness.
Step 3: forgive yourself. This was another hard one for me. The thoughts raced through my head of how I could have changed things, or done things differently, but I found out quickly that no matter how badly I wanted to change things, or turn back time, God already knew everything that happened, and His plans were far beyond what I could ever imagine. I needed to accept that this situation was not in my control.
Step 4: embrace the pain of the loss. That loss may be the death of an actual person, or it may be the loss of what use to be. I had to embrace this new life that was all mine and what I do with it now, is up to me. I had to be willing to find ways to cope with what happened. So I started writing my thoughts down; letting out my pain on paper. I had to change my mindset because I had the option to decide to wake up and have a good day. I had to opportunity to decide if I wanted to grow from this, or lose myself in it.
Step 5: talk about it. The most important lesson I learned with this step, was who I talked to meant everything. Find someone that has your best interest at heart. Find someone that gives you Godly advice and surround yourself with a support system that is there for you every single step of the way. Someone you can call at 2 am, or randomly text them and tell them you're not doing well that day and you need extra love. Someone who never gets tired of talking to you about it, no matter if they've told you the same advice every day; because sometimes, when you're hurting this bad, you need to hear the same things every single day. I am so blessed to have found people this year that have given me all the tools I need to move forward. People that never judge how I'm feeling, and understand that healing looks different for everyone.
Lastly, Step 6: find your purpose. Without knowing who you are and why you're here, it's hard to feel like being alive is even an option. Run to God faster than you've ever ran, because healing fully only comes from Him. Realize that you are loved, worthy, and that you are strong. Remember that the stages of grieving take time, and if you're going to overcome this, you have to allow yourself to feel every single thing. I remember looking at the steps of grief and it's true that you go through all of them. Seeing that helped me, because it reminded me that I'm not crazy. The ups and downs of this process was what I needed to get through all of it. Search deep to find out who you are and why you are here because when you do, and you will, you’ll realize that what you’re going through has a purpose.
For me, dealing with flashbacks is probably the hardest part of healing. Certain dates set me off, certain smells or events make me relive the whole thing over again. In these moments, because I have friends that love me, and a husband who understands this healing process, I message someone every time and let them know to pray for me. After I message them, I close my eyes and take a deep breath and ask God to remind me that His plans are far greater than my own. At times when I feel like the pain is too much I write, I pray, I sing, I spend time with people who give me all the love and support I need. Finding your own coping method is crucial in healing.
If you get anything out of this blog, I hope you realize that 1) it's okay not to be okay. 2) healing takes time and has no time limit. 3) everyone’s healing is different so never compare your journey to others. 4) your pain and hurt could help someone, and your story could be the answer to saving someone's life, marriage, relationship, or faith. And 5) God has the power to heal any wound, even the ones that cut the deepest.
With love, Saphire
"My faith has the power to turn trauma into healing, conflict into growth, and fear into love." -Unknown
Photo by: Jolee Peterson