Sitting around a campfire awhile back at a leadership conference with three people I had never met before and a kind, father like figure to me, I told my story. This was not the bits and pieces I had offered up on rare occasions with a couple close friends over the course of my lifetime. I spoke the truth of the physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect that I endured over the course of several years and survived as a young girl, the overwhelming sense of shame that I felt and how this ultimately determined my purpose while here on God’s great earth.
From the words of a dear friend, this was the Mission- Decision- Line. It meant there was no turning back- I was now on a forward trajectory in continuing to share my story.
I feared judgment and waited nervously for feedback as I was ‘sure’ they were anxious to change the serious tone of our campfire outing.
That didn’t happen.
A slight sense of relief quickly came as they embraced the personal battles I had “overcome with tremendous inner strength.”
Shame has no power when given a voice.
While this was an obvious ‘tap on the shoulder’ moment, the true M-D-L came to me a number of years prior- standing along a beautiful scenic overlook along the George Washington Parkway on a cold, early April evening.
For the first time in my life, I took a leap of faith and decided to trust someone.
That spot is sacred ground to me- and will always be one that remains so vividly in my heart and mind. Standing there with a cool drizzle coming down upon our heads overlooking Memorial Bridge, the calm waters – I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, tranquility and a need to free myself of the pain buried inside all those years. Earlier that evening, TS had trusted me enough to share some painful experiences of his own. Oblivious to what he had just done; he opened the door of healing- I believe for both of us.
That night, I chose to give up my dependency on pills. I chose to cross the bridge of trust.
I chose to open my heart. I chose to live and serve others.
I am forever grateful.
Personal and professional growth often comes with a price-discomfort. Lingering thoughts and questions are often thrown about in our minds when facing obstacles and the ever looming uncomfortable thought of “I am not enough”-
Will I be judged? Most likely.
Will I make mistakes? Probably.
Can I trust others? Only one way to find out-by giving it a shot.
Our scars and the miles we run on this journey are what makes us unique, strong, beautiful, imperfect, courageous and hopefully provides us with enough fuel to cross the finish line of what is sure to be a worth while life…