What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Where is safety — where you can be you and Jesus can meet you there?
I don’t know what to do.
“You don’t know what to do,” Dr. P. echoed.
My therapist just returned from vacation this week and he asked me how I’ve been doing. I sat across from him, on the oversized green sofa. It feels like a puffy marshmallow, so I have to sit on the edge a bit, so I don’t fall back and disappear under the cushions.
I told him about the confusion I’ve been experiencing. I’ve been trying to reconcile the reality of the past with who I am today. I never struggled with it really. It just was. You know? But because my body has been telling me, “No. It wasn’t just was.” — I’ve gone down this road of really discovering how much of myself was lost to being strong and surviving.
Dr. P says it’s completely standard for the healing process to feel confused.
In fact, he assures me that it is good for me to feel this way.
A Good Thing
Really? How can feeling confused be a good thing? That statement definitely ranks as one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard. I bookmarked it in my mind to figure out later, to find what God has to say about the goodness of confusion in the Scriptures.
“It means you’re finally facing the truth of what’s happened.” Dr. P continues. “…how you were forced to cope with the trauma you’ve lived. And how much life you’ve lost because you’ve had to survive.”
He tells me I will move through this place of confusion, as I grapple with the reality of how I really feel about how much I’ve lost. And as I converse with Jesus about all this, I’ll come to a place of acceptance. And that ongoing conversation with Jesus about my confusion will bring me to that place of acceptance.
It’s called grieving. Acceptance of what — and how much — I’ve lost. Acceptance is where I’m heading.
But, first there is confusion — because I’m no longer looking away or trying to escape the harsh reality of the messy. And the hurt.
It turns out confusion is a necessary place to enter into — and travel through — in healing.
It means I am coming to terms with the truth. It means I am facing the truth — truth that is setting me free.
What To Do
What do I do — with all these questions — about not knowing what to do? I ask. (Are you following the logic of my question? Are you still with me?)
Write. Dr. P. says.
That’s all I know to do right now. That’s all I’ve ever done — when I haven’t known what to do.
Writing. It’s the safest place Jesus has for me.
It’s where I meet with Him. Just Him and me.
From the very beginning. For as far as I can remember.
Writing. It’s where I go for safety.
“Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God” Jer. 15:16
If you’re also someone who finds writing — journaling — to be your safe place, I want to invite you to join me Thursday tomorrow 8/16/12.
If you have a blog — write a post with me on a given topic (a writing prompt I give below) and link up.
If you don’t have a blog — you can journal it with pen and paper. Then type it directly in the comments tomorrow.
You read the post before yours. Share a comment to let that person know you were there. We blog to say to each other, “I hear your voice.”
This blogging together — it’s called a Faith Jam.
There’s a community of bloggers who link up here at Faith Barista for the Faith Jam. Some of them opt to receive email reminders whenever there’s a Faith Jam coming up (you’ll get a chance to opt for it, once you link up).
I usually send out a quick reminder out to them whenever there’s a Faith Jam
But, this week, I wrote them a letter.
And I’d like to share it with you below — in case you inspires to write and join in tomorrow too.
The last Faith Jam we had was on March 15, 2012. That was five months ago. I thought I was going to just take a break for a month to go heads down to finish the manuscript for my book. But, as you may have already read in my blog post last month, that was when I had my first panic attack. You’d think that writing would be therapeutic to process old wounds. But, in fact, writing opened up childhood trauma that I never imagined existed as an adult.
I wrote for the first time on my blog last month. Now, I’m taking the next step to host our Faith Jam tomorrow.
I want you to know that I understand if blogging has led you in a different direction on Thursdays — and the faith jam may not be a part of your blogging rhythm any longer.
But, if you happen to want to continue joining me to blog. Then, I want you to know –– blogging together means more to me than you may know.
Blogging in community isn’t simply about getting everybody together to write. For me, writing has been my only safe place while growing up, surviving and living. It’s been the place that has given me strength, allowed me to fully exist. And until our Faith Jams, it has been a solitary place.
Writing. I love that solitary place. There will always be that solitary place for me. It is also where Jesus and I meet. And it’s a part of how my soul breathes.
But, because of you — because of our faith community — I have found others who also share this same, safe place. Writing is where we wrestle with the questions and also triumph in our discoveries: the answers we’ve lived, the ones we’re exploring, and the nuggets we’ve dug out of the soil of our daily lives.
Even if we’re not sitting at our desk, we are writing in our minds and hearts — during our time in God’s word and in random places — while we’re driving, digging the dirt in our gardens, doing the dishes at the sink, or sitting with our families at the table, watching TV or hanging out with our friends around a coffee table or at the bbq grill.
Writing is where things begin, where our hearts travel, and where thoughts find a place to rest.
And because of our Faith Jams, it gives me courage to speak out in the open in that voice. And I truly believe, that is where our writing enters an entirely new journey — they journey into hearts of others. And this is where I have found such amazing, amazing comfort and deep, deep joy.
Finding myself in the heart of your stories — and your faith journey — I discovered I was no longer alone.
Many of you know I always talk about serving up tips for writing. And although I’ve been interruppted in doing it consistently, it’s still a continuous desire for me to share our journey around the path to writing and words. I don’t have a short tip for you today. But, I’m trusting somewhere in my sharing, your heart has caught an inspiration to keep writing and to write in new ways.
Even though I haven’t been blogging these past months — know with confidence I’ve missed you every Thursday — even as I was laying on my bed with a pounding heart unable to even read — or sitting at the park on days I had the strength to journal. I’ve been remembering you in prayer — imagining with a smile how God is using your lives and your words — the ones that are written and the ones that are lived.
I hope this week’s faith prompt inspires you to write and blog — and if so, I can’t wait to read all about it. 😉
This Thursday’s 8/16/12 Writing Prompt:
“What I I Know Now”
Write a letter to yourself at an earlier time in your life. Sharewhat you know now about the faith journey with your younger self. Your younger self can be any age you feel prompted to address. e.g. “Dear Jane, ….”.
Use the Updated Faith Jam badge!
Please link & place the Fath Jam badge in your post to build the community. Thanks!
Insert the HTML for the badge:
<a href=”https://www.thebonniegray.com/join-faith-barista-jam-thursdays/” target=”blank”><img src=”https://www.thebonniegray.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/FaithBarista_FreshJamBadge_Stacked2.jpg”>
Giveaway For Faith Jam this Thursday:
This week’s faith jam — I’m doing a giveaway! It’s the perfect way to celebrate our first faith jam in months — it’s a “God Plans For You” Art Print — new from DaySpring, inspired by Jeremiah 29:11.
Okay, CJ and TJ are now storming my desk now.. and I must go. 😉
I can’t imagine all you’ve been been living and all the different paths you’ve been walkgin since I’ve been away. But, I know the God who has been faithful to watch over me — is also guiding you.
Tweeting & Facebooking
If you are on Twitter –– tweet out your post & use the hashtag #faithjam in your tweet. People can see the faith jam posts in our community in one stream.
If you are on Facebook — post your link & tag me “@Bonnie Gray – Faith Barista”. Your post will show up on my wall — so when people visit my wall, they will see your post.
Do you like to write?
How has writing played a role in your life?
Writing isn’t the only outlet for safety. What do you do — where do you go — to be in that safe place? Where you are just you. And it’s just you and Jesus?
Yes, stay for a while. Click to share a comment.
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Bonnie! We’re back to faith jamming! I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s good to see you healing, to watch you struggle through the hard stuff, and to know the road may be long and hear, but He is always there. Keep writing, Bonnie. You’re encouraging us in your courageous steps! *hugs*
Thanks for the note….I thought I had slipped away for awhile then to read that you had too…funny, some times how life works. This is the crazy time of year when I am excited for summer to end and a new school year of “routines” to come back but, also sad that summer is ending and the kids are getting another year older.
We have had a great summer and changes within our family has happened as they will (both personal and a new puppy….Oh, Lord help me survive! 😉
Looking forward to being inspired by the Faith Jam once more.
yay I look forward to this!
I’ve missed our faith jams Bonnie! I’m looking forward to this one. Should be very interesting.
Bonnie, I am so grateful that you are stepping back in the arena a bit! Missed you! I am ready with my post and so happy to see that post come through my feeds : Faith Barista! Take care!
This is my first time, and I hope I haven’t done too dreadfully. I believe I’m linked up now, or if I need to do anything else, I hope someone will leave me a comment over at my blog to let me know what I’ve missed. It was a draining post to write, but I’m glad I did it. Although I’m afraid it isn’t as well written as I’d like.
And, yes, I find that I can ‘talk’ to paper or a blank screen as I cannot any other way. Writing has always been my refuge, my confidante.
KEEP.WRITING. This is great work, Bonnie. Really terrific. And so very important. Thanks for the invitation and here’s my contribution to this discussion: http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2012/08/an-african-journey-post-two-letter-to.html Will you have a linky up tomorrow?
I opened your email and wondered about the directness of your communication. The modernity and structure you are developing seems entirely right for today’s generation. I imagine this will lead to a great ministry with huge business potential.
Confusion right now is surely a good thing. Take one day at a time, as you want to get this right.
Smiles for you,
Bonnie, praise God that He sent you to a person He gifted to help you in his way. God gives so many gifts and He lavished you with the gift of writing. May you feel safe & secure soon. My place of safety is in my craft room where I put on praise music & either read or make various crafts. I meet God in praising Him. God be with you dear one.
Bonnie, I cannot tell you how much I adorn your writing, how our lives seem similar in some ways ~ wishing I could sit down and have coffee with you and exchange stories and share our tablets of the heart 🙂 I want to thank you for writing from the depth of your heart, for being real and embracing life and encouraging your readers to do the same! I have been encouraged by this particular post also, and the one on PTS where we share similar stories and so I want to tell you that through your testimony, it has encouraged me to keep fighting when I want to give up. It has been a confirmation as I read your posts, that God is listening and hears the cry of my heart ~ how He is gently spurring me on to finish what He has called me to do. It’s a book I started to write many years ago and let it sit on the shelf and now even though it’s painful, I know He’s given me a story to tell and through my writing is where my passion lives. So, yes I hear your heart Bonnie when you write and I applaud you for sharing the tough and yet o so real emotions and messy but beautiful tapestries of your heart.
So thank you and blessings always & indeed ~ whatever you put your hands too, the favor of the Lord will lift you up in due season!!
In His Grace,
If I were writing to my younger self it would go something like this:
Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on love, don’t give up….
First love turned into a nightmare of abuse and heartbreak and suicide.
Was it because I expected too much? I wanted a life like I saw my parents
living. I wanted a quiet, stable enviornment in which I, the devoted wife and
mother made sure everyone was taken care of. I soon found out it was a
dream I couldn’t achieve. I couldn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t take
care of a husband who was unstable, and I couldn’t take care of my children
so they would never be hurt by the terrible mistake I had made. For awhile
I gave up.
Then, I had another chance. I discovered Jesus and I felt sure that when I took
the steps to love again that it was right. It was for awhile. When I discovered that
we had been living a lie it was almost too late to change it. Like some wild beast
of prey the news came to me that my husband had been abusing my children.
Right under my nose, how come I didn’t see it? I never even suspected. But it was
true, because as adults they said it was so. What do I do now? I felt such helpless
rage and thought I must be insane. We went to a counsellor, we went to our pastor.
We talked about and we set boundries and i didn’t leave him. That is what some of
my children wanted me to do. But, I saw a changed man, I saw a broken man and
I felt Jesus wanted me to stay with him. It wouldn’t happen again, it didn’t happen
again. Then he got sick and he died and I was alone again. I had loved two men,
I had given my heart, my soul, my body to two differen men with the same result,
betrayal, pain, sorrow.
But I became stronger, I learned I could do things for myself. I became a self-suffcient
woman who enjoyed being alone. I made my own financial decisions. I sold a house, I bought another one. Then I met another man. I felt like a teenager again. I felt special, that someone noticed me and that we shared so many interests. He had been hurt too,
previous relationships, he didn’t know why. We decided to marry, we could nurture one another, we could find happiness that love brings. It was work, it wasn’t easy. We both had to give up some things and except some things from each other. But we had Jesus in our lives, we could do this. My children were not happy with it, they didn’t trust that I knew my own heart or that he was all he appeared to be. They, too had been fooled before. But we stuck it out, we worked it out, we loved it out. Then he got sick. He died.
I’m back to just being me again. I’m older now and I also know I can find satisfaction and happiness within myself. I’m not going to sit the rest of my life on the sidelines. I am going to do some of the things I want to do. My mind is still alert even if my body has slowed down. I miss him. I sometimes think he is still with me especially when I wake up in
the night, and think I hear him calling me sometimes.
I haven’ done everything right, I hope I’ve learned from that. I sometimes grieve not just over the pain of loss of love, but the pain of seeing my children doing some of the same things I did. I pray for them.
Guess that’s all I can say for now, thank you for giving me the opportunity.
Wow Shirley, I am awestruck, breathless, moved beyond belief by your story.
It shows there is no depth from Which God cannot lift us.
I realized much of my emotional ‘dysfunction’ is driven by a gnawing ever present fear of being left alone.
I’ve gone through some experiences, no where near what you have, and I am just as imprisoned by memories as I am by the ‘what ifs,’ all the worst case scenario possibilities. So to hear how you’ve come back from such losses, again and again, inspires me, helps me to believe that God really does resurrect and gives us new life as promised in His Word.
Thank you for sharing your story.
ok, wow. I was walking around frustrated, went upstairs and just started writing in my journal and it all came pouring out. I’ve been unable to post some entries I am working on for my blog. It hangs over me, I got discouraged thinking I can’t write,etc. As I poured out to Jesus just now I found him giving me words. Helping me clarify for myself what I am thinking, what’s going on in my brain.
I keep doing this thing where I let things get all stored up and crammed and swimming around in my brain to the point where I am ready to bust! I feel I need to talk to someone, yet no one can handle the dam when it bursts if you know what I mean. Instead of writing often in a journal, I let it build until I can’t help but do so. That’s what happened today and then there is such a huge relief and peace. And then I realize again that this really does help! I really do like to write and just maybe I can do it more often and share with the world sometimes? Whew. So then I come downstairs and read this. God continues to amaze me with his timing.
I relate to the confusion, Bonnie. And it’s encouraging to think that it’s a good thing. 🙂 There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
I didn’t know you did this Faith Jam thing. I like it! Love your letter to your younger self. I might be joining in or at the very least be reading. I am drawn to this idea of sharing/journaling together through our blogs.
[…] i was reminded me that the when it all seems crazy and life is filled with confusion, like bonnie, i need to write. so here i am, putting words to the screen and sharing again. . […]
You are amazing! You are on the right track and so brave to press onward. A dear friend who suffered abuse as a child received this same assignment as part of her counseling. She said it was very hard but deeply helpful.
My safe places are my Bible and journal and at my piano with a hymnal.
May the Lord give you courage in His Spirit to keep following Him in the path of healing. He will not fail you or forsake You. He is the one who holds your right hand.
Hello dear, am thanking God for your recovery and for him to continue to use you to inspire us, especially me. You know, sometimes i think we share same life experience excluding the health aspect. My life has been don’t even no how to describe it.i feel am just here, i live each day as it comes submitting everything to God, for him to take charge, sometimes i feel he just wants me to stay here, as in where i am now, totally dependent on him. But each day i feel as if i don’t belong to this world, at same time i know the lord knew my existence, but each day is a night mare because most times i feel this energy flowing through me and whereby i don’t exact it it becomes frustrating and annoying, and just sitting down in my office reading your blog thus has helped me cus both of us share similar life experience, all my life i’ve look to him,waiting for him to say move it Loureta. Just yesterday i was telling him whats else do you want from me, i know this my set time, i can feel it and my daily reading seems to tell me that but yet am still here. But i know is timing is perfect, i only pray for the strength to wait. i really appreciate our writing cus it has helped me so much. i will keep praying for you,Thank you.
I know it seems hard as you go through it. But through these trials become tribulations. I was sexually assaulted at 9 — took years to supress it and numb it. When I was about 35 I was dealing with PTSD after a deployment and was also depressed about failed adoption. Started seeing counsler where I was able to deal with the assault, and abusive ex boyfriend,failed marriage, a failed adoption and the PTSD. I worked through it all with a lot of prayers and counseling. The steps are hard but when you get through them your strength is incredible. I will keep you in prayers for your journey… Also it takes tremendous courage to admit you need help and to surrender to God to be healed. I am so proud of you and your healing process. Also for being a beacon of light for others struggling….
Dear Shelly, thank you for sharing your encouragement and your amazing life. I can see Christ in your journey and I am all the more blessed by it.
Wow, I couldn’t believe I was reading my life ..from the panic attacks to the confusion, walking and living life….not sure what’s real or not.. really weird feeling ..I wound never what anyone to experience that…What I have found is God revealing this Love and complete devotion to every detail of my life and how everything is So important to him about us..I’m looking forward to this new journey of knowing how special we are to him..but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this ALL – surpassing Power is from God and not from us…He wants to be our strength.. our everything..