I’ve started and stopped this post so many times this week.
What did I want to share? Why did I want to share it? What is the goal or message of the post? Who should read it? I’ve been trying to sort out those questions, as well as formulate words that made sense. I don’t always do either of those things very well. 😉
I want to share about trauma and its aftermath. Unfortunately, my life isn’t short of trauma that I’ve needed to heal and process, but most of that was from my earlier years. For some of it, I was at fault(ish) because of the decisions I was making and the lifestyle I was living. My most recent trauma, though… not my fault.
Last year, on July 3rd, after an incredibly busy day at work – like my busiest one yet – I was finally home, the day before a holiday I already struggle to enjoy, taking a few minutes to relax with my cats on the sofa.
I heard someone come up the steps outside, but didn’t get up… see above sentence. Anyone that might be showing up had a key. No need for me to open the door, though, usually I would.
Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.
I drop to the floor, footsteps running away, cars speeding off, my phone ringing.
My neighbor. Frantic. What was that? Are you okay? What happened?
I don’t know.
I call my kiddo. Where are you? Someone just shot up my apartment.
He’s safe. I call 911.
I won’t revisit the whole event; I’ve already shared about it. But I will say that a year later, I still freak out when I hear someone/something outside my door. That’s probably going to happen for a long while.
On July 5th, we were homeless. Unable to stay there. Unable to stay anywhere. Believe it or not, apartments are hesitant to have renters who’ve had their apartment shot up. I found respite from a friend and slept on her futon for several months, while my kiddo was at a slimy, sleazy, disgusting motel with hookers and drug dealers and addicts. Exactly where he didn’t need to be.
In my previous post about all of this, I talked about being mad at God. And I was. And I got over it. And then I got mad again. And then I got over it. And the cycle just kept going.
The truth is that mad might not be the right emotion. The truth is that a year later when I try to name the emotion, I still can’t. The truth is that I’m still struggling to understand everything. A year later I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s too complex to find a good word to explain it… trying to unwrap all of these emotions is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I’m committed to doing it.
The tension I feel between God and me sometimes is palpable. Then I fall into His theoretical lap, mostly ashamed of myself, and allow His love to wash over me. Again. And Again.
Aftermath of trauma, whatever that is for each of us, is going to look different. In so many ways, I’m grateful to the point of spontaneous tears when I think about how I normally would’ve stood at the door and how He protected me. I’m also frustrated to the point of spontaneous tears that my life will never be normal again. It will regain the appearance of normal, mostly, as it has with other traumas, but it’ll never be quite the same. No matter what. And I think I’m a little bitter about it. Maybe a lot.
I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to find safety or comfort, even though I’m in a whole new physical place. When I left the other apartment, my only home in TX, I left most of my big things because I needed to go quickly. So I’m sitting on furniture that isn’t mine, and it isn’t comfortable. I have boxes still unpacked, unheard of for me, because I have this weird aversion to feeling settled now. I’ve thought of every reason to leave TX all together. I’ve kept most people at arm’s length for fear of getting too close and then having to leave suddenly.
This aftermath is not okay. I’m struggling to find my way through it. But I am committed to the process. Dear friends, I have no idea what your struggle is today or what you’re processing through, but I’m here to encourage you to keep working it. Keep facing it, day after day. Trying to numb it or run from it isn’t going to do anything but prolong the healing that needs to happen.
When you’re frustrated, call someone you trust. Seek care for your mental health. Find a workout plan that works for you. Most of all cling to God through the process. I know how it feels to be angry with Him. I know what it feels like to feel as if He’s let us go. I know what it feels like to lose all hope. Living for Him, we were never promised struggle free or pain free lives. We have sin and evil in this world of epic proportions. We can’t escape it. We’re not untouchable simply because we serve the Almighty. God doesn’t have to keep me physically safe to prove He loves me – He proved His love for me when His Son was beaten, hanged, and murdered on a cross for me.
John 16:33 (AMP) I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
Let’s make strides toward His perfect peace. Let’s be courageous and remember that He is always in control. Let’s walk with confidence and joy – each day claiming victory in and through Him. Let’s remind each other that sometimes it sucks and it’s really hard and also that He is always for us and He is always there. He never leaves our sides, and when we’re ready to climb back into His lap for His extravagant love to be poured out over us, He’s there – in the waiting space.