It's 2021, and we've just started a new chapter with a new President, a new woman VP, and a new way of life while deep inside of a pandemic that has changed many of our lives. Healing from trauma takes many shapes and forms, and I believe many of us are in this sacred space for a multitude of reasons. I knew that I needed to go deeper, have more courage, and reach into the sacred space of healing like never before. I've started this teaching series called "heartbeat: Unknown Territory" to talk about the personal journey I am on this year and through it bring to life vehicles of resources that can be of help to you on your journey. As a woman healing from a long held silence of rape and the extreme difficulties of a rape case opening up the depths of my life on every level along with the unwelcome PTSD that came with it, I was left wondering who I was inside, the woman I was becoming, and deeply if I would ever be a wife or mother at 43 years old. As I faced years of discrimination, insensitivity, and harm, I wondered if I could break through my own fears, anger, frustrations, and setbacks to become the woman I was meant to be. As I faced the attitudes of those who knew me well looking at me like I'd failed in someway by not following the traditional path of marrying early, producing kids, and also conquering the world as Wonder Woman, I deeply wondered if I had, indeed, failed. The truth was, no one had walked in my shoes, had faced what I had, had lived through the same oppression, had lived through and survived the same culture I had. My story was my own and in many ways was truly a secret. We live in such a world of assumptions that it was so easy for people to look on the surface and compare and say, "Well, that person has failed or succeeded" based society standards. We are fighting society standards every day, so the fact that so many people were hiding their pain behind the push to live up to these standards were so very odd to me. I could see pain in ways that many wouldn't acknowledge, and yet at some point, my empathy had to be turned onto myself so that I could hunt out what was holding me back while I tried to save everyone else. The journey of the rescuer didn't always pay back dividends. At some point, I had to tune into my own sacred story and heal it. I stand now as a 43 year old woman who has spent the last two years in debilitating PTSD while in the throws of a rape case and its aftermath. Nevermind a pandemic. Nevermind that the rape happened in 2006. For two years, it was as if the rape had happened yesterday. For 14 years, it was as if I was living a life that was no longer my own. It was riddled with poverty, fear, darkness, anger, failure, and yet courage, breakthrough, and hope. It was never the life I had planned, and as I've emerged out of these 14 years and watched my friends talk to me about raising their children and sending them off to college, and how life had moved on, I realized that in my turmoil, I had missed out on this normal progress that women take in their lives while I seemingly and painfully kept missing the boat. I had spent years fighting passionately against a culture that was harming poor women, rape victims, and women in general. My battles were silent, filled with fear, threats, harm, and dark times, My work had played some very real part in the new equality and steps that women could take today and the step that a woman could take in being a VP. I had simply lived a different life spending years paving better pathways for women to get more equality, but I had done it from the vehicle of being oppressed. Day by day, I was spending time trying to figure out how to raise up and throw off the loads of oppression thrown on top of my life that was creating obstacles to my security and progress. I had spent years navigating wondering what it was that other people did better than I to get to a place where marriage and kids and success was the outcome. My mom thought I had just focused on my career, and the truth was that I was focusing on my future. I had been raised in low income, poverty, and food stamps with the tainted brokenness of abuse, a single mother, an absentee father, and against two types of cultural expectations: (1) that I get a job and start my life, and (2) that people saw greatness in me and wanted to give me a path to achieve my dreams. People forget that 25 years ago in Indiana that, as women, we were not told that we could not achieve our dreams. We either were told we could or we couldn't depending on who was surrounding us. As I grew older and suffered some setbacks, there were more people telling me that I could not achieve my dreams, and in fact, they were screaming it at me by slamming the very doors shut that I was trying to open. Some were resentful that others believed in me and created a pathway so I could continue onto achieving my dreams. It didn't come without considerable pain. All of it was hard won. No matter what pathway or what I did, there would be people who would tell me I could achieve my dreams and others who would scream at me that I had failed. A woman's entire psyche could be build upon who you choose to listen to.
So, I sit here as a 43 year old woman finally on the pathway to finishing my schooling to becoming a doctor (a 25+ year old dream), but I am not married, I don't have kids, and I am a rape survivor. It's tainted, but as I've learned, everyone has a tainted story. The problem is, it's not being shared, and we live an existence that continues harm if we don't choose to do the healing. No matter what, I will have people who will tell me that I simply can't be both a thriving doctor and a thriving wife and mother, but that is my dream. I am in the land of Unknown Territory, because how God will make the seemingly impossible happen for my body at 43 years old with a man who loves me with maturity and tenderness while I hopefully can share the same has the making of a miracle. It's 2021 though, and it's God's time. If miracles will happen, God will certainly be involved. It's a time when I get to reach in and talk about fertility, womanhood, trauma, healing, and how God shifts things to make miracles so against society's standards. I think we have to be sure and true to what God is doing, not what society's standards are. It's a time where I might not rescue the world so much as I take the humble time to save myself and create a body and life that is a miracle. If I never speak the inside dream, then I'm missing something awesome about what God can do. I can either spend more time angry about what the world does to each other and the culture that created my circumstance, or I can continue my devotion to making it and my life a product of the step by step commitment to change it. What will God do in my life this year to help me on my journey? How will God make this work spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially? What will come of the dream to create a heartbeat, a new life? There are many layers here, and I invite God into this journey to teach me, love and support me, and help me find new courage to make my life inspiring, honest, true, and successful. Is having a loving and compatible husband and a healthy baby too much to ask? God has blessed my journey with hard-won breakthroughs, and I'm committed to the healing it takes to build the family that I have missed out on up to this point.
I recently came back across Kirby Kaple's music, and then I read about her story and was inspired by it. While it does differ from my own, the spirit of the pain and grace in her story of infertility somewhat matches mine as a woman who hasn't been given the commitment of the right husband to conceive with. My story is a different kind of pain, but it results in the same experience of pain and hopefully the grace of miracle, as it did in Kirby's case. So, I'd like to share her song here because it's inspiring not only for women but in the pain and grace of these times.
If there is a way, God will find it. God's power is in the heartbeat, in all the ways that matter.
I look forward to connecting with you on the journey,