Several years ago, I took my first step on the rugged road towards healing. Sitting in the counselor’s office for the first time, everything in me wanted to run. Somehow, I knew deep down that the fragile structures forming my view of life were in danger of crashing down…and let’s face it, no one longingly looks forward to that experience.
It was actually my boss at the time that recommended it. Thankfully, she was pretty perceptive and caring. Despite assuming that I was perfectly fine, I eventually went in to see the counselor. While I would like to say it changed my life, it didn’t. At least not at first. I wasn’t ready to take the journey yet. So I got some helpful tips, and continued to move on with the life I was living – anxious, controlling, and constantly running from one thing to the next, hiding the deep, dark secrets of past trauma and pain.
It took more than one counselor speaking truth to move me toward change. It took courage on my part. It took realizing that I am not alone. It took people coming along side of me, encouraging me to keep going. It took a lot of prayer, while leaning on the grace of God.
Through a 10 year process, and God’s heart transformation, I am not the person I was before. Before I took this journey, I couldn’t actually tell you what real joy felt like. I have made huge strides in healing from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have worked through past abuse and trauma. There are no words for the freedom I have found and received, and it is my wish that every person could experience it.
The longing to help others experience this freedom has only grown in the years since. As I’ve shared my story with more and more people, this comes somewhat naturally. However, I was still left with this impression that there was something more I should be doing. There was a constant prick at my heart that more people need to know there is hope.
The logical next step would be to become a counselor, right??? That’s what I assumed. Many nights were spent researching programs, costs, availability and training. Nothing worked and nothing fit. As cliché as it might sound, for one reason or another, literally every door kept closing. There’s nothing more annoying than feeling like your supposed to be actively doing something but there is no obvious way to make that happen. Many a bad dream has that kind of content.
I wish I had time and space to share all the details that led me to one moment in the car, talking to God in sincere frustration and inquiring. My heart heard the words from God I will never forget:
“I don’t need another counselor. I need someone that will walk along side. Someone to be community for those fighting alone.”
So that’s what I did. Soon, I started mentoring young women. We started making friendships. We talked openly about our struggles and our victories. We studied the word, or explored faith for the first time. We talked through lies and replaced them with truth. Isn’t that something that we all need? Someone who has been where you are now, that is willing to give you insights and wisdom while pointing you to God?
In a world that is becoming increasingly isolated, community is becoming scarce. Trials will often only push us to further into this isolation. It allows us to hide from the shame and pressure from ourselves and others. Yet, community and connection is a soothing balm on our broken souls. Having people that understand and support you is the very thing that can revive hope within us.
That is what Living the Hope was created for. It is for connecting people to mentors – people who have been there, that are willing to walk alongside others. This web site and the blog are created to be a safe space for our community to share insights, wisdom and the hope gleaned from their journeys with our community at large.
Ironically, my greatest hope is to get people off this page – off screens entirely – and connect. Connect with God, connect with people who care, connect with the life and the world given to them. My prayer is that God would use this to create a group of people willing to share their healing stories, mentor others and spread hope!
Ultimately, living in hope comes from knowing The Hope. The truth in the Word of God was the key that pulled me out of the dark places I had been, and it continues to be what keeps me grounded. As we journey together, I hope we can explore healing and hope-filled truth from scripture and learn how to apply it to our lives.
Living the Hope means living out the hope found in the Word, together. As we do this, healing will come.