For 2 years I sat in that new therapist’s office trying to unravel the details of a past, I never thought I had.
It was like I was experiencing, a real-life bird’s eye view. Through EMDR, my therapist had me go through the images and feelings from that first memory I had in the car, as my child self. I had no new memories. She then had me go back into that room as my adult self and with that I ended up with additional memories coming through, including the explanation of my dislike of beanbag chairs for many years. I was able to process these memories with her in great detail, and week after week, her calming voice and compassionate listening broke through the many walls I had built sky high and emotion I’d never felt, before safely came through and set me free.
My therapist told me in many ways that none of this had to stop my healing journey and bring me backwards. She walked with me, even when I wanted to walk away. She encouraged me and always assured me by her words and actions that her patients were not numbers. She gave me many helpful tools. She reaffirmed to me that I had already survived something. This just made me a survivor with more to her story; nothing less, nothing more. She taught me that it was TIME TO HEAL ME from the inside out, and empowered me to see that I was the only one that really had the power to do so with a little help along the way.
I struggled to fully grasp this idea, but I can proudly say that today, this is where I stand. “Being able to survive it, doesn’t mean that it was ever okay”. The truth is - what happened wasn’t okay, but I AM OKAY.
God finds a way to protect us even before we know Him or see Him working in our lives. I believe God protected me from those repressed memories, until I could fully deal with them in a time where my life had somewhat settled from my difficult adolescent years. I know I am redeemed by a God that is so much greater than what we’ve done or what’s been done to us. There is way more in store in this life for me than what my past pain reminds me of, or what my future fears instill in me.
See, God was working through me before I even had a definitive answer for who God was to me. How do I know this? It was proven it to me many times over the 2013-2015 years and some clear moments stemming to back when I was 12/13 years old. He pursued me through people, places, and things.
A powerful moment in this transformation happened for me through the most painful time to date. A dream came true for me first in 2011, and again in 2014 where both survivor mentors (authors mentioned earlier on my dream team) were able to fly in and speak at my college at events planned and run by me and clubs/organizations I was involved in. One of them, an inspiration on my journey from the very beginning at 12 years old, was able to speak, through my planning of an event at the college I attended a year after I graduated (Learn more about how this happened here: http://writtenonyourheart.org/when-whats-written-on-your-heart-becomes-your-voice-onevoice/
I was prayed for through my pain of dealing with the repressed memories by many people who were at this event and beyond. I still did not know God at this point in my life…I was actually turning away from any kind of faith because I felt so frustrated about this new, very painful journey I was on. But now I know why. God was healing me from the inside out, on His time, not mine.
Fast Forward: I attended church for the first time willingly in late October 2014. The amount of the healing and forgiveness I was shown through Him was happening so clearly before my eyes, I couldn’t help but just believe with my whole heart.
God was transforming me.
He was renewing my mind. - Romans 12:2
He was making all things new. - Revelation 21:5
On February 1, 2015, I was baptized.
I find it too perfect that in the process of what felt like one of the most painful times in my life, where I was sure I would lose everything and go right back to square one on my healing journey, GOD actually pursued me. I saw him, I heard him, and he gave me so much more than what I thought I was going to lose.
He promises that he plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to indeed give us a Hope and a Future. – Jeremiah 29:11
I am anchored in my faith. Firm and Secure. – Hebrews 6:19
My life journey thus far has aligned with these two truths that the lord has graciously given us. This opportunity to write for Rebecca Bender Ministries was literally placed on my lap a month ago (In God’s fashion of pursuing me through other people he places strategically on my path). I am forever blessed for opportunities such as this. I’m thankful to be connected to such incredible women, who continue to help me grow, believe in me, challenge me, and change me for the better.
So, thank you, in particular to Jasmine Marino, Rebecca Bender, and Lexie Smith for this opportunity. I’ve always found healing through writing and speaking. This is what I believe my calling truly is.
What am I doing in my life right now? God brought me TO the pain to ultimately bring me THROUGH IT, to help others and to be a VOICE for and alongside those who need me to be.
As I sit here writing this, never in a million years would I think I would also be called to share this part of my story in some way. I’ve struggled for a while now through prayer and petition with God about what purpose the “Repressed Memories” had in my already detailed “survivor story”. It didn’t take too long for me to get an answer. This is it.
God pursues us all our lives and calls us out in some of our darkest hours. He undoubtedly uses our pain for a purpose and brings light (through people, places, things and callings) into the darkness of unimaginable circumstances.
I am living proof.
I can absolutely say that grace and forgiveness, sets us so incredibly free. My journey to faith is a story within itself that I hope to write a book about someday. For now, I’ll just leave you with this:
We are SO much more than what we’ve done, or what has been done to us. Our VOICE (collective or alone) is the most powerful thing we can use to take back what was stolen, in any and all ways.
There is power in speaking the truth, and we are all capable of planting seeds like a lotus, that will grow into beautiful things from the ashes and dirt for years to come.
The world we collectively live in as a whole isn’t always beautiful or hopeful, but something beautiful and hopeful is what we can create in our individual worlds, and in turn, beautiful and hopeful is what others will see and feel when their world collides with ours.
Until next time,
Mel is employed as a Family Advocate working with child victims and their families. She joined this particular movement through an organization called Written on Your Heart (founded by a friend in Texas in 2012) and recently brought to her home state of New Hampshire in 2014.
"As a woman with strong faith, a passionate voice and an open heart, It’s an honor to share my journey will all of you."