A little while ago, I spoke at an event and after the show, a young woman stayed behind to talk with me. That afternoon she shared with me that during a recent therapy session, some painful memories had been resurfacing for her. One day, thoughts and images of tragic encounters began to flood her mind.
The things that she now remembered happening began to deeply pain her spiritually and physically. She experienced unexplained physical pains and she admitted to feeling ashamed most days. Having just heard the story of how I overcame such painful and difficult life circumstances to pursue my dreams, she wanted to know how she could get through this and live with herself knowing the things that had happened. After reassuring her of her divine worth, and God’s power, I prayed this prayer for her:
Thank you for my friend. Thank you for the opportunity to connect like this. May you use this moment to speak life and light to every aspect of her life. Show your glory, love and power abundantly so that she will know her true value and worth despite the circumstances that happened to and around her.
We are not the things that happen to us; help us to always remember that our divinity comes from you. You created us in your divine image so that we may be co-creators of this life, together. Give my friend the strength to endure these painful memories, and surround her with moments of comfort and grace as she learns and leans in this time of healing. Amen.
Everyone has a history. There are parts of every story that someone wishes they could rewrite. History cannot be undone but it can be useful. It is helpful to know where we’ve come from and what conditions inform our lives so that as we discover where we want to go and what we want to do, we have a greater awareness and the ability to intend toward a different narrative.
We write more and more of the story each day. We might not have had control over the things that happened in our past, and we might not be able to write someone else’s contributions (or edits) to our story, but we can write into the story of our life the things that we hope for and dream about. Things that give life and generate goodness. After we process, heal and adapt through painful circumstances, God offers us deliverance and we can shift toward the place of generosity, intention, and unity.
Isaiah 61 :1-4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
61 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.