When in a trauma people tend to have 2 responses-to completely erase any memory from their mind of the entire event, or to freeze frame each second with almost photo-like memories of the time. As I've thought back over the past few years I realized that with almost eery accuracy I can remember down to the day where we've been. I can remember whose house we slept in, which country we were traveling to, how long it took us to travel there, and the emotion of just how big this whole thing is that God's brought us along on. I can picture the kids in various settings and feel the depth of emotion that was present in so many unknowns. I don't tend to think of the past 4 years as traumatic. However, as I was really looking at them and seeing the transition we've been in and some of the road we've walked, I think it may have been.
Trauma defined has some of the following definitions:
1. A serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.
2. An emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person, often leading to neurosis.
3. An event or situation that causes great distress and disruption.
When I see where God has brought us from, and how we've journeyed here, I think they all apply. Now, I'm not looking at them from the negative side (which I know trauma really deals with). However, we have had some majorly serious shock to the body in time changes, climate changes, physical moves, different beds, different foods, etc. As to emotional wounding, I actually think there is much to this one. See, a big part of what God has been doing over the last 4 years since we joined OM, is to carve out the old junk and make new emotional patterns. This is very traumatic but instead of leading to neurosis this is leading to sanctification! Number 3 above should speak for itself.
I have held tightly to many memories and emotions from the past 4 years. It is not that God has not done big things before we joined OM, he certainly has. However, since stepping out in faith, losing our job, traveling across the US and Canada for 7 months raising support while having no salary and essentially living out of our car with 2 young kids, we have seen God do things we never dreamed. We have seen reconciliations, deep forgiveness, supernatural provision, miraculous healing, and the Body of Jesus-his Church-mobilize to his kingdom's cause in ways I honestly had about given up on. As we have lived in that place of great disruption and deconstruction of all that we had held dear, it was very much like going through trauma. Add all the traveling and transitions in and well...let's just say that the fact that we have 2 amazing kids who are all in all really well adjusted speaks volumes of God's grace to our family! The emotion to it all is so overwhelming though that I have hardly been able to get it out of my head and out of my heart onto paper. From time to time a story or thought or fear would leak out, sometimes onto this blog, sometimes in an email to my mom or sisters, or sometimes into my journal. But mostly, I felt like how Mary is described with the first couple years of life from when the angel visited until Jesus was a couple years old. I've treasured these things and stored them up in my heart.
However, it's time to start letting these treasures out. I cannot live in a place of holding it all together in my brain any longer. I want to share the deeply intimate relationship I have grown to have with God with the world. It will not be shared remaining only treasured in my heart. I want to let go of the feeling of needing to keep logistics straight for travel schedules. I want to record what God has done and then live well today, here and now. I'm seeing how in little ways I'm letting go of a constant state of change as we unpack. Putting away suitcases up in the attic and our toiletry bags empty and put away felt like a huge milestone. Ty and I refinished a piece of furniture and have it in the living room. I bought fabric to make curtains for the kids to have in their bedrooms. These are all signs to me that I am settling in to a new part of our journey. I'm settling in from the major trauma of God massively shifting my worldview to the day-to-day walking side by side with my creator and Lord. He still has much to do in deconstructing the old and reconstructing in his image-just ask my family! However, I think it explains some of the deep exhaustion and I see with hope, that a new season is upon our family. I hope I am able to share some of what this journey has been like for all of you. God has done amazing things and I fully expect him to continue to do so. I just know that he also wants for us to rest now in him. I can let go of my traveling bags for now, take off my shoes and sit at his feet. I am very much looking forward to that! And while I can tell you almost day-by-day where exactly we were the whole last 4 years. I cannot tell you many details at all of the last 4 weeks. That is another sign that we're moving out of trauma into recovery! Praise God for his work in us, even when it's painful and oh so much work! He promises to complete the work he begins in us all so if you are weary or discouraged in your own trauma, hang on tight. He is there still working away!