Struck Down, but Not Destroyed
That moment. The truth is staring you in your face. You struggle to believe the reality but you can not deny what is right in front of your face. You have a list. You know that list! I have it too. We all have a list. These items are not penned in ink. No! Absolutely not! For most this list is not physical. The contents will rarely if ever be spoken out loud. These are the scenarios that play in our mind in the late night hours. Slow and quiet, strong and persistent playing like a movie reel. What if? What will I do when? How could I possibly live if? It is not the happy possibilities that make the cut for this list. This list is filled with the horrors of one's worst nightmare. At times the scenes play with such poignancy a tear may roll down your eye. A cold chill shudders down your spine.
The year was 2003. I had horrible seats. I couldn't even see her from the stage. I had my Miss Sixty Jeans on, a cute guess jacket, and some dangling earrings. I finished it all off with some type of a halter top. I had to squint at the stage and could only make sense of it all from the big screen but it was BEYONCE! I was ready to "uh oh uh oh oh no no" all night long! You know when that song came on you did the booty shake to go with it and flipped your hair like you were queen B. The night took an unexpected twist. She sang this song about being a survivor. I took my seat. Stuffed my face in the palms of my hands. The tears rolled down my checks flowed down my arms and ruined my mascara. I expected to dance my perm out... I had not anticipated a therapy session. What was this? She started off the song with this powerful speech. She talked about being knocked down, going through the worst case scenario and making it on the other side. It hit me. I made it. I made it! Dear God... I made it. I was still standing. I was laughing. I was dancing. I was stronger!
I came to college a gitty bright eyed freshman. I was hopeful and optimistic. My world was a blank canvas and I was going to paint it. I envisioned rainbows and unicorns. I got darkness and rain clouds. Just a few short months into my journey I joined a group of women. Statistics say 1 in 3 women will be raped during their time in college. I was one. A rape victim. Initially. Something occurred to me in those concert seats. Months of therapy, prayer and nothing short of divine intervention later I was in the midst of a healing heart and hopeful soul. I went from wanting to die to daring to live... fully. Rape was on my list. One of the worst things I feared. How could... How would... Could... Should... I made it on the other side. Not with a limp. With a song. With a hope. With joy and love. What was meant to destroy me help ushered me into greater destiney. I stood no longer a victim. I starred in the mirror at a survivor.
2003 was years ago. I since have unfortunately crossed off many things on this list of "Oh God not this." Here is what I have learned. Bad days are coming. There is no escape from hurt and pain. We will all suffer something. Our stories may differ. Pain, however, does not discriminate. There is a scripture that says "they have conquered... by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony..."(Revelation 12:11) There is great power in sharing our stories. Living through my worst nightmares taught me there is a rainbow after every storm. It comes with fighting and working through the yuck but stick and out, hold on tight. You will find the rainbow. I also am convinced in this there is an anchor that keeps me grounded in all I endure. This for me is my faith it is what Jesus did for me that I could never do for myself. This empowers me, strengthens me and give a hope beyond what words could adequately express.
I am presently walking through an item on my list. The more things I cross off I am sure of this. Beauty comes from the rubble of ashes. It is dark now but I am living not just alive. I am thriving not just surviving. Pain brings purpose when we lean in, learn and embrace love through the tough places.
Romper: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Franco Sarto