And then it happened. Fear set in and I did not feel safe. Joel was there, it was around 5pm and still somewhat light out, and we were in the middle of our small city where people walk all the time. But somewhere deep inside of me post traumatic stress began to rise up.
It actually stopped me in my tracks. I blurted out to Joel , "I don't feel safe" and asked him to pray. We prayed together and kept going, but the uneasy feeling did not leave. We talked, Joel made me laugh, and we shivered in the cold during our arm-in-arm walk. I did not let it stop me and I won't, but sadly the feelings continued and my desire was to just get back to the car.
Something is trying to surface again . I have come to learn that when these kinds of feelings began to make themselves known, something is trying to surface. That night before I fell asleep I pondered where this was coming from, knowing God would reveal to me the origin.
Two familiar memories came back to the surface. I was age 11 again and walking home close to midnight from a nearby friend's house. I knew the house would be empty and oh how I hated going into a dark empty house, so I always waited until the last minute to go home. Two men came by in a car just as I came to an intersection and asked me if I wanted a ride home. I knew enough to stay far from the car, and as I looked up saw a corner house with its lights on. I quickly lied to them and pointed to that house and told them it was my home. They glanced over and then took off deciding the risks for them being caught were too great. I ran the rest of the way home.
Another more traumatic event came to mind. Again I was around 11 and my friend and I were walking to my home late at night, which was an apartment in a house close to downtown. All of a sudden a car load of teenage boys jumped out of their vehicle and started chasing us. We ran quickly to my house and got inside, locking the porch door. The inside door needed a key and my mom carried that, so the door could never be locked unless she was home. The boys pounded on the doors and windows, showing us knives they were holding and yelling to be let in. Shaking, I went out on the porch and asked them what they wanted.......and they asked if we were alone. No doubt they had seen the lights come on after we went inside. Even though my dad had died several years before, I lied and told them "No, my dad is inside but he is sleeping. You better leave or he will be mad." They managed a few more yells, threats and pounding before they lost interest and took off.
There was no phone, so we waited awhile to make sure they were gone before running over to the cafe behind the house to call my friend's mom to come get us. She took us back to their place for the night.
Getting back to not feeling safe in the park 53 years later? Isn't it amazing what our body holds on to! I think the reason these memories are now affecting me so strongly is because some earlier memories of abuse have been dealt with and released with Sozo and prayer and now others are surfacing for healing. Almost like the body wants to rid itself of all the negative feelings stored in it. Over at Bonnie Gray's Blog, Faith Barista, she is sharing her own journey through PTSD that began suddenly this past summer. She is on her own healing journey and what she writes as a woman of deep faith is absolutely amazing. I am so thankful that God guided me to her cyber home.
Writing also helps me heal. It gives me a voice. Even though I write here with transparency, I do not find it easy to write about this. I struggle with being "disloyal" to my family, or appearing weak and unable to cope with life. None are true. These are lies I have believed, just like the ones that say I am unsafe walking with my husband in a city park on a cold winter's late afternoon.
Every one of us journeys through life with a few backpacks full of "stuff" and I am in the process of emptying out those backpacks so I can have a life of freedom the way God intended. I have chosen to do that in some degree here on my blog in the hope that others will benefit too. Galatians 5:1 says,
"It is for freedom that Christ set us free.
Therefore, do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Which brings me right back to Matthew 11:28-30~
"Come all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you for I am humble and gentle of heart.
My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Which in turn brings me right back to my words for this year.........Trust and Rest. Don't you just love how God brings it all together for us?!