This week has been such an interesting week, but it has led me to truly get what it means to rest in the shelter of God. As I share different parts of my story that matter to me, that are my no more statements, it has stirred up different emotions, but the biggest thing is it has left a sense of empowerment. And that is what the no more campaign is about. So today I want to share a little of my journey of finding a voice, finding the strength and ability to speak out, and the peace and comfort that I have I experienced.
If you would have told me even a year ago that I would gain confidence by sharing the raw side of my experiences, I wouldn’t have believed it. It has all been a journey to get to a point where I know that I can share and do so with confidence. Each time I told someone what happened I would cringe and be filled with a rush of panic and worry about what they thought of me and how this would change how they viewed me. Anytime I shared and there were questions or words that played into my doubt or insecurities that is what I clung to, even if there were words of encouragement and love the insecurities, doubt, judgement, and guilt spoke so much louder that it was all I could focus on. It was like truly being consumed and trapped in a storm. But as time went on and I started to share a little more with my therapist and with close friends. Each of them only cared for me and lifted me up. Until I had an opportunity to do something with my story, it may not have been much, but to me it was the biggest thing I could do. I shared my story because of the Spokane Daiquiri Factory and their drink named date grape kool-aid. See, I was able to join a protest, I was able to share what had happened with others who had gone through similar situations, and I was able to do something that could make a difference. That was the first time I felt completely empowered, that my story could make a difference. It was a moment of sheer victory to go and protest with other amazing individuals who were taking a stance, to have friends and family by my side because they supported me, and to know I could have a voice, that my story could be used for something.
After that I was able to write out what had happened in it’s entirety, but then I was able to find the courage to share it with a very close friend. This is probably a day I will never forget. I was sitting on her couch, I gave her what I wrote and I sat there with my heart racing watching her read the details of my deepest hurt. There were moments of sitting there that I thought I should just leave, or that I should take it back, but I stayed. And when she was done the first thing she said was “I love you. I am honored that you shared this with me. This doesn’t change anything.” Then I got one of the most reassuring, comforting hugs of my life. That hug made every single one of the words true. And I knew I was accepted despite all the lies in my head about guilt, shame, and my worth. That was the first time I shared my full story with someone. Afterwords, I felt so empowered. The fact that I could share, still be loved and accepted was a victory for me, it meant that what happened wasn’t just my burden to carry anymore, it meant that everything I experienced was validated, and it meant I had a voice.
From there the process just continued, of sharing when there was something moving in my heart. Each time I was blessed that it was so well received and that I have been surrounded with support and love. This week has been one of little sleep, and anxiety. This week I get what it means to have a peace that surpasses understanding. Because despite the struggles, it has been a week where I feel wrapped in a warm embrace. That despite the memories playing like a movie through my head, I have felt safe. This, I know is the only thing that can come from God. That it is in getting to where I know who I am. Because I have had people showing me God’s love when I couldn’t see it. And each time I have shared I have a new sense of freedom. And it is a freedom and confidence that my story doesn’t define me. It does however show the power of Christ, the power of his redemption. And that is what it means for God to use all things for His good. That is what it means to be more than a conqueror.
I stand confidently because of the support I have had, and say no more having to face it alone. No more isolation. No more to not believing someone’s story. No more silence. I hope that in this conversation it means someone else will get to experience what I have, an amazing support system that stands beside me in all of this, and I know they are all saying no more. That is what #NOMOREWeek is all about. And that is why it matters, because just listening and believing someone’s story does break the chains, it is a step towards being a victor. Without all the support, love and grace I have received I would not have any confidence. Each of you can listen and believe someone. That means you can make the difference. That means you can be someone’s voice and you can say #NOMORE for them.