“Encourage women with your story.”
For years- and I mean years- I knew that there was something God wanted me to do.
But He wouldn’t tell me what.
And then one Sunday morning about 4 years ago, out of the blue, I was sitting in church and God spoke to my heart. He said, I want you to encourage women with your story.” The words were so loud I actually looked around the room to see if anyone else heard them.
Nope. Just me.
At first I was excited to finally know my task. But 5 seconds later I was in mortal dread. What?!?? My story? My deepest, darkest secret?!?! Nooooooooooo!!!!!
Anything but that God.
Bam. Anxiety attack.
Needless to say, I didn’t hear much of the sermon that day. My mind was racing. My heart was beating out of my chest. And I was at church by myself. Nobody to whisper to, “Hey! God just spoke to me.”
I felt alone. Like I had for the previous 15 years.
See, I held my secret – the I had an abortion secret- in for 10 years without telling a single soul. I internalized the trauma and became very sick- mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was having anxiety and panic attacks. I developed ulcers and food allergies. I was in immense pain. I was severely depressed. I thought about cutting myself everyday to release some of the pain. And I wanted to die.
And I didn’t realize all these symptoms were from the stress of trying to be perfect enough so nobody would find out about my secret.
Through counseling (with an amazing woman – Thank you, Sybil!) I was able to learn to manage and eventually control my anxiety. This took years! I’m talking like 6 or 7 of them. But, what I didn’t realize at the time was that God was molding me and shaping me into a new calling. He was getting me ready for what He wanted me to do – encourage women with my story.
Being that I have an absolutely terrible memory, I am digging out all my old journals. I will be using them to remind me of the hard times (and I’m feeling the anxiety rising as I do this) so I can share, encourage, and love on you with my story.
The raw, real truth of it.
Hang on friends. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. But, one thing I know for sure – the bumps are what smooth us out in the end. Kinda like rocks on a shore line. Smooth, shiny, and beautiful. But they didn’t get like that in a day. It takes years of tumbling.
Here’s a prayer I found in a journal that I had written for myself in November of 2015:
I commit this calling to you. I don’t have any idea how, what, where, when this will come to fruition. I feel uncertain and wonky. I feel my anxiety growing inside me. I lay down my burdens, anxieties, and fears at your feet. I will let you take care of the details. I will honor you as my Father by allowing you to be in control.