Have you ever accidentally stepped into a memory from your past that sent you reeling? Yep—me too. A few months ago, I stumbled onto a painful landmine of unhealed pain in my heart.
Trauma triggers are like that—so unexpected. You’re just walking along and then…BOOM! PAIN!
It happened not long after I started attending a new community of believers. My spirit was so refreshed in this particular community that I was FILLED with massive hope and expectation for the future. This place felt like home. I loved it.
I couldn’t wait to see what God would do. I knew I could thrive in this place. I knew my spiritual DNA would fit. So I purposefully gave it my all and dove right in. I’ve never done anything half-heartedly. I began to attend every event and activity that I could—trying to meet people and make new friends.
And then that one fateful conversation began with a person who looked strangely familiar…
“I remember YOU…”
And suddenly there it was: INSTANT pain.
In that one moment, I was flung back into the past without my consent. I realized now why that individual had looked so familiar to me. Ten years ago. It was almost ten years ago that I had spent a couple of days with this person among a group of other believers.
It wasn’t a good experience for me.
I actually remember liking this person. But the situation? Not so much. And any of the small amenities from that short time were vastly overshadowed by the painful shutdown that followed. My pursuit of a spiritual community had been majorly hijacked. I basically crawled into a six-year hole afterward.
It felt like a lifetime ago. In a way it really was. I had travailed and triumphed, contended and grown, and healed and thrived so much since those days.
I was a different person now.
But in that split-second, all the pain came back. Scene after scene replayed before my eyes: the rejection and isolation. The purposeful exclusion. The public exposure and humiliation. The shame.
I did NOT want to be back in that place again—nor did I want to be reminded of it every time I saw this person.
It was a horrible memory to revisit—a significant pain point in my Christian journey. I was obviously not quite as healed as I thought I was. It was one thing to forgive the wounding parties from afar. It was quite another to see someone on a regular basis that had witnessed the whole thing. I had been so thankful for the physical distance between myself and everyone involved in that experience. Besides social media, our paths rarely crossed over the years.
And yet here I was—in close physical proximity to one of the people who had seen my heart get publicly crucified. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the frequent reminder. I actually thought about changing course. Despite all of this community’s innate goodness and tangible Jesus saturation, I debated just leaving.
Because that’s what pain does. It wants to hide. It wants to forget. It does NOT want to revisit.
Yet even as that warm wash of fear and insecurity poured over me, the strength in my spirit rose up with a fierce tenacity that I could NOT deny. I felt empowered with a spirit-knowing in the midst of my soul’s internal chaos:
God’s redemptive fingerprints are ALL over this. My Father is up to something good.
This VERY situation felt reminiscent of so many other times when the Father purposefully brought me into awkward situations in order to facilitate my healing. What is laid down in pain can often only be accessed again through pain. I knew that I was no longer a victim that needed to run and hide. I was victorious through my identity in Him.
I knew that EVERYTHING was in the process of being redeemed.
So I settled into the reality that I could trust Him with this—even though I didn’t have the healing closure that I wanted in the moment. It was in a spiritual community that I was shut down and it was in a spiritual community that I was being restored. The redemptive ways of God take my breath away. Yah, there are still some spiritual logistics to work out. Healing and forgiveness are like an onion—so many layers sometimes. But my end game will always be a breakthrough and new freedom in my life. And I’m ready. I want it.
Trusting in the Great Redeemer,