The week is closing soon.
I welcome a short time away from the same old boring routine.
Soon we are heading to the beach where my heart is always longing.
Oregon beaches are often cold.
The winds can snap right past your face and chill you deep within.
They can also be sunny and beautiful and warm.
You don’t know what your weather will be so you prepare.
Walks in the sand are therapeutic to the body and the soul.
I used to think we could live at the coast, but after going there weekly for a few years,
we have changed our minds.
It is way better to visit and then go home.
When we went to Hawaii, that was different because it was warm and tropical and the water
is not cold.
Oregon water is very chilly and you really can’t stay in it very long.
Those who do dare to go wake boarding usually use water suits for protection.
There are a few spots around the coastline where they ride the surf.
The most relaxing thing is to sit and listen to the waves as they move back and forth.
If you are lucky you will hear seagulls and other birds sometimes.
We have seen pelicans fly over the surf looking for fish.
It really is relaxing.
The fall storms are coming and the force of nature will show itself in a mighty way.
So nice to watch unless you have to be in it.
I personally like a window between me and the rush of wind.
If one is lucky a fire in a fireplace would be a nice addition to this ‘visit’.
The ocean and it’s sand is always a call to my heart.
It is peace and even though it can be very dangerous, it can also be very healing.
The week is closing soon and it will allow time for reflection and thought.
The week is closing soon.
The hard stuff continues and these last few weeks, our area has been surrounded by fires.
You cannot imagine the anxiety it felt like when looking out the window and seeing the sky a deep red.
Fires moving across hundred of acres.
The sky is full of smoke and particles of small hazardous air to breathe.
It has been scary, overwhelming and horrendous to watch our state burn.
When it felt like this year couldn’t get much worse, then this happened.
Soon they are predicting rain and Lord we do need it.
I pray it comes soon to clear the air, clear the skies, stop the fires.
Firefighters have worked long hard shifts.
It’s not easy to fight a forest fire and we have had cities burned to the ground.
At this count I think there have been 10 people killed and a few not found.
Wild life has been deeply effected and you can imagine their fear when the familiar is burning.
People have come together and created safe zones for farm animals.
People have come together to feed the workers or those who are displaced with no homes.
It is a time to come together and help each other.
The protests we have had downtown is becoming old news, this is more important right now.
I pray often for our firefighters, our police officers and any one who is serving in that role.
This has been rough for them.
Our house is safe although we were in a level 2 evacuation zone.
That means at a moment’s notice you can move to a level 3 which means “leave now”.
This has been the strangest year, I am so ready for something fresh and new.
It will feel better when the rains come and the sky returns to normal.
The hard stuff continues and these last few weeks have been really hard.
Life is hard sometimes and it seems lately it’s become harder.
Having Covid show up didn’t make it easy or nice for sure.
Isolation and staying in can be good for a season, but we have been doing this for many months now.
Many people are tired of wearing masks and following the rules that change daily.
We have purchased our share of hand sanitizers and masks.
I have not yet ventured into the hair salon and going to the doctor’s office scares me because of the germ factor.
Since I am still recovering as a cancer patient and even though I finished radiation in March, they still consider me immune compromised.
As a introvert by nature staying home is not hard for me; although I really miss seeing my family and friends.
Have not seen my best friend in almost a year and I really miss her.
She is immune compromised too with leukemia issues and has to be very careful with germs.
The doctors don’t know what to say to her other than to keep doing whatever she is doing. Her system is holding steady and they don’t know why. We do, there are a lot of prayers for her and she’s staying strong.
Then another ‘friend’ who worked with me for over eight years was just diagnosed with lung cancer in March and is already on hospice.
We hear these stories and we wonder why.
He IS a God of miracles, but sometimes this stuff is so hard and sometimes it is not fair.
Life hands us these things and what are we to do? How do we pray?
For healing or comfort or wisdom for the doctors?
It has been a very difficult year for sure.
I know others who are struggling with life and death issues and it is hard to understand and hard to figure out.
We just have to walk this journey and do our best and pray.
Life is hard sometimes and it seems lately it has become harder.
A review of the basket of words, brings me to remember the reason why I wrote them at this time.
I was given the basket and it sat in my den for many years.
One day I started thinking about how it could be shared and how it could be a blessing for others.
The goal in writing this series was to not only be a blessing; but give the reader something to think about.
I chose the words carefully and prayed about how to share them.
The series was done in 2014 but not many have ever read it, and this time I revised some of the writings.
I began with the word courage, then willingness, then trust, then tenderness, then power, then balance, then change, then compassion, then rest, then healing, then play, then beauty and delight, then peace and light and finally, power and forgiveness.
I didn’t realize the word power was used two times, but when speaking about surviving abuse and trauma, there is a lot of power to overcome.
It was perfectly ok to use it two times.
As I have healed from my own journey, God has shown me that the experiences and the story can be shared.
It doesn’t have a hold on me anymore.
The story is important. The journey defines me.
The coming out of hard and dark places can bring hope to others.
To know that someone else has walked this path of brokenness; can give life to others just beginning their recovery.
I have sat with those who were hurt. I have listened to the tears.
I have heard stories that were hard to hear; but it’s a survivors truth of what happened and how it affected them.
I pray this sharing has been meaningful, for it is a gift to be there with others as they share matters of the heart.
A review of the basket of words make me realize how very important they are to me and my healing.
The final two words in the basket of words.
I have chosen these to be power and forgiveness.
When trauma takes place in any situation there is a ‘power’ that rises from the offender to the victim.
It is dark and controlling and very damaging.
When I think of that kind of power it’s feels heavy and hopeless.
When survivors begin to heal they begin to take back the power.
Boundaries begin to replace obligation.
The silent one becomes vocal and the rules change.
The word power is mentioned in the bible 256 times.
When I think of biblical power I’m remembering creation.
God through HIS power created all.
Then I remember when Jesus told the winds and the water to calm down.
Power can be negative or positive depending on the circumstance.
When a survivor begins to heal, they begin to realize that holding onto the pain and hurt only hurts them, it does not affect the offender.
What is taught in recovery, is “the only way out is through.”
When a survivor begins to heal they realize they ‘have’ the power within themselves to say, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20
A healed survivor can help heal others.
They begin to realize the pain is not permanent. Yes it leaves scars.
But scars tell our story.
Only when the trauma survivor begins to realize; giving up the right to hurt those who hurt you, is the most powerful thing you can do.
Forgiveness then becomes the next step.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. proverbs 3:27
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (or a sound mind). 2 Timothy 1:7
Forgiveness is not saying it was all ok and it didn’t hurt me.
What was said, was hurtful. What took place should never have happened.
It is a very important part of healing and the forgiveness does not have to be in person; it can be as simple as a prayer.
When a survivor can say, it was ugly. It was horrible.
But I choose to forgive because God has forgiven me. I cannot carry this anger any longer, I need to let it go.
It is not saying you understand their choice to offend.
*It is just freeing your heart to move on.* It is a gift to yourself.
In my process I had to forgive those who hurt me; so it didn’t have power over me anymore.
Dictionary.com says it is to cease to feel resentment.
Forgiveness is not for the offender, it is for the one who wants to heal and move on to a better way of living.
I pray this series has given hope and healing and maybe new insight.
The final two words in the basket of words are power and forgiveness.
The basket of words continue and the next two we are learning about are light and peace.
As the survivor from trauma begins to heal; the light begins to show them many areas that were once not clear.
Light illuminates, Light exposes.
When you turn a light on in a room that is dark, the contents are no longer a mystery, it is seen as it is.
Healing does that, it brings to light and shows the survivor all that was hidden and dark.
The bible talks about the word light 309 times.
YOUR word is a lamp unto my feet and light to my path.
Light arises in the darkness; He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.
The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. (the understanding is so important when healing is happening)
As the survivor begins to heal they begin to see the reality of the trauma as it was meant to destroy. All trauma is damaging.
Only when healing begins does the light and the calm begin to show up.
The next word is peace.
Such a powerful word because when someone is in a trauma situation there is nothing that looks like peace.
The bible talks about the word 353 times.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
As healing begins it is hard to understand how the story shifts and there is no longer a need to tell all.
I have seen survivors heal on such a deep level, when the light removes the darkness from them and the peace enters where anger once lived.
I have experience with this and it is powerful to see and watch.
The survivor can face each day with hope, and healing and that is such an amazing transformation for them.
I have heard a saying that says something about those who heal after intense hurt. They become the healers.
They become the ones walking alongside saying, “I know it’s hard YOU can make it.” They become the encouragers.
The basket of words continue as we learn about two more, we are almost done and I pray it has been a blessing.
Continuing with the basket of words, the next two words are together.
There is beauty and there is delight.
Very similar and very expressive.
When a trauma survivor begins to heal; the blinders fall off and they begin to see things in a new light.
There is a commercial on TV about a guy who gets a new pair of glasses that show color and because he is color blinded, it is an ‘experience’ of a life time.
To see what was once grey and colorless, and realize grass is green, roses are pink, the sky is blue.
That is what these words suggest.
Where there was once a lot of sadness and despair; the change within begins to reveal beauty.
beauty is a quality present pleasing, remarkable or amazing.
Then it says:
delight is a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.
To see the world in a different view is the beginning of healing.
The survivor begins to see and feel safety.
They no longer wait for ‘something bad’ to take place, they see life as a gift to appreciate perhaps for the first time.
The bible talks about delight 106 times; it talks about beauty 37 times.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
When a survivor begins to trust, it changes so many things on so many levels. The new desire is wholeness and healing.
God also promises He will help in that process.
In Isaiah 61:3 It says: to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (or despair)
What a wonderful promise of hope.
Continuing with the basket of words the twelfth and thirteenth words; we learn about beauty and delight.
As we continue the last few words in the basket of words; we learn that each one has purpose.
We have learned about courage, willingness, trust, tenderness, power, balance, change, rest, healing, and compassion.
The eleventh word in this series is play.
It seems like a strange word to talk about when discussing recovery from childhood trauma.
For many children play was not a part of the growing up season. Life was serious and hard.
During the summer my husband used to volunteer at a camp for children in foster homes.
For one week these kids get to do childhood things such as play, swim, art, archery, run, and relax.
They also go back home with a homemade quilt just for them.
In the middle of the week they have what they call a Birthday party.
For many of the kids there was never a party, a celebration of who they are as a child.
They have cake and each child participates in the festive evening.
Children who live in difficult environments often have a difficult time relaxing and letting go of responsibility.
They often have siblings, taking care of each other as they did in the trauma filled home.
Sometimes they are in separate foster settings, so it’s a gathering together that is very emotional.
For the adult in recovery finding time for fun is against much of what was taught.
Laughter is not always easy, or relaxing and letting go.
In recovery groups I have seen adults breathe a sigh of relief, perhaps for the first time;
when they let go of the heaviness that once surrounded them.
Sometimes when healing begins the one in the process feels guilty for feeling playful.
It is retraining the mind and spirit of a child. Even as an adult…letting go is important.
After the recovery process takes place feelings such as play, laughter and delight begin to
settle into the heart of the one healing.
I know for me humor was always a hidden gift, and when healed on levels that were safe,
my humor came up and often was an addition to the room.
Many times I had people telling me that I was funny.
Only when I allowed healing to replace memory, did I feel free enough to finally enjoy the peace that was given to me.
As we continue the last few words in this basket, the eleventh one is play.
The tenth word in the basket of words
As we have moved through this series called basket of words.
I hope we have discovered and learned many new things.
We began with the word courage, then we moved to willingness, trust, tenderness, power, balance, change, rest and healing.
A big step for me in my recovery process was to see ‘the child’; and learn to comfort that child in a way I never learned or experienced growing up.
At the time when I was deep in recovery I was also watching my grand daughter who was a premature baby.
It was a blessing on many levels as I could see her as a little one with feelings and needs; and if I didn’t listen or pay attention she wouldn’t be heard and her needs would not be met.
I learned what her cries meant.
I learned what she was like when she was uncomfortable.
I learned to pay attention to her.
Growing up in a home that was broken it wasn’t safe to say what you really felt or what you thought you needed.
So as I grew in recovery I had to re-learn the idea of ‘my voice’ and my thoughts as important.
Children are just ‘little people’ who are at the mercy of big people.
Their choices are few. Their voices are not loud.
Often times when we go to a mall or a restaurant I am amazed and saddened at the inconsiderate adults who continue to shop; even when it is obvious ‘the little one’ is ready to go home.
It is not the fault of the child if they are over tired, over hungry, uncomfortable or just bored.
It is the responsibility of the parent or the adult to pay attention.
So simple yet so difficult for so many.
It is not the fault of the child if they are only being children.
In the recovery process from abuse issues one has to step back and learn to see the child as they were.
A little one made to carry burdens that they were never meant to carry.
A little one who was told to be quiet and not act out.
A little one forced to grow up and be adult way before they were emotionally ready.
It is critical to see the child and all the vulnerability that comes with childhood and realize; the reality for them and what was taken away.
At a very early age I learned and internalized that nothing really mattered, which for me meant… I didn’t matter.
In recovery I learned to say ‘I am sorry’ to that little girl who learned that her voice, her worries, her feelings were not important or heard.
I learned compassion and sadness for her.
Growing up in our childhood home we were never asked the question,
“how do you feel about this?”
We didn’t get a choice. Feelings were never a choice.
That is why my compassion and heart is for the children.
Adults must choose that the needs of the children are more important than their own needs.
Even when it is not convenient or fun.
Compassion for the children is critical.
Even Jesus said “let the children come” for he knew they had value and voice.
My prayer is for us to be so full of compassion that we will want to listen to the heart of a child.
The tenth word in the basket of words is compassion.
As we continue to learn about the basket of words I hope we begin to understand that there is an importance to the order.
We began with courage for it takes great courage to admit something is wrong and needs to be changed.
Then we moved to willingness, then to trust, then to tenderness, then to power and balance, then to change and rest.
Each one of these have great significance within the process of recovery.
The ninth word in this series will be healing.
Dictionary.com says: Healing is the act or process of regaining health, getting well, mending.
Restoring health to bring an end or conclusion.
Compose or soothe: to heal the soul.
After a time of resting; the body begins to have a ‘new’ place inside for healing and restoring some sort of calm that will be needed to go further in the process.
For me it was slow but as I learned to listen to the internal feelings
I learned it was more healing to listen than to discount or dismiss.
Maya Angelou says it beautifully:
“It’s scary every time I go back into the past.
Each morning, my heart catches.
When I go there, I remember how the light was, where the draft was coming from, what odors were in the air.
When I write, I get all the weeping out.”
Yes… writing helps to form feelings into words.
That is what I struggled with the most.
I could write what I could not say ‘out loud’.
I could draw what I could not express.
I had the feelings but I couldn’t verbalize the words surrounding them for it didn’t feel safe or real to talk them out.
Until I healed and followed the process of healing I couldn’t go any further.
Each step is crucial and it took time. It took patience. It was hard work.
It took strength to go back into those ‘places’ as Maya so beautifully expressed.
It was scary.
I had to remember in order to move forward; my fear could not stop me or hold me back.
There were days I did not want to do the hard work it took for me to become more healthy.
It felt like I was mountain climbing and just as in exercise or diet it takes a process of doing in order to get the result.
I also had to fight my doubt.
What my heart told me had to be processed with my counselor and then believed.
He was a huge ‘help’ in this journey toward healing.
Just like any coach he cheered me on and he encouraged and directed me towards the goal.
The goal of healing.
To heal the soul is one of the most difficult journeys as it is a delicate process.
The one in recovery must learn to grieve.
To learn what was broken and lost, then acknowledge the pain.
Each time I stepped into that therapy room I knew I was closer to the healing process.
It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:8
As we continue to learn about the basket of words, our ninth word is healing