Two years ago today Chad and I had a difficult conversation that would forever change the landscape of our lives. We had just walked though a long season of struggle, loss and pain that pushed us to the brink. I remember gradually closing the blinds in my room and delicately pulling the sheets over my head as I retreated to a very dark place.
After several days I made my way to my counselor’s office. She had walked through the post-transplant days with the boys and me and had really been a support to us. The only thing I remember about this particular appointment was that we decided to take an intense, 24-month journey together. Slowly and gently, and with great care and compassion, she started investing in my mental well-being. We met regularly, often for back-to-back-to-back sessions where she patiently and loving led me to higher ground.
One of the things that she told me was that my journey should look like a roller coaster; that I could allow myself to really enjoy the good days, but also permit myself to visit the low places on the bad ones. For years I had been trying to live my life in a place of balance; my goal was to be even-keeled. I guess I had always thought that spiking high and diving low equaled instability and I had never allowed myself to live that way…until then.
And so I embraced and relished the good days. At first they were few and far between but thanks to my faith, family, and friends (so many of YOU), those days did present themselves. Ironically, it was the darkest of days that I grew to appreciate.
When depression and pain came knocking at my door, I let them in. I gave myself permission to go to the hellish places and stay there until things were settled. I wrestled with anger, disappointment and anxiety. I acknowledged my severely damaged self-esteem. It was excruciatingly painful but I started living more authentically than I ever had before.
I owned up to my shortcomings. And after working through them, I let them go. But never prematurely. I got really stuck at times, especially when it came to forgiveness. When I uttered the words, “I forgive,” I wanted them to be authentic and genuine. Eventually, the breakthroughs came and they were powerful. Life-changing.
I stand here today a different person. Broken, shattered, and miraculously restored. Far from perfect, but ever-so-willing to keep working and get help when needed. And to share my story of healing with others who are hurting. (Yes, I have been writing…more to come.)
I certainly have not arrived and I realize my journey is far from over but hey, I traveled the first 730 days and I’m still standing. So today, I pause and reflect with gratitude and appreciation. And I celebrate progress. When trials in life come we have a choice: we can be a victim or we can overcome. Overcoming takes energy and effort that I believe can only come from God, attesting that we truly do need Him. And I am proof: He is faithful.