In my last Open Heart Surgery (OHS) post I shared with you that B. explained to me the importance of calling out the wounds that we've endured and then to recognize the bandaids we place on them... in other words... recognizing the trauma and then recognizing the numbing we do- to keep from feeling the pain that comes with the bleeding.
B. shared with me that the only way to heal is to go into the operating room... to rip the bandaids from the wounds...and repair the damage. What I've found interesting as I've worked through some of this is that for me.... some of the bandaids I used to stop the bleeding.. caused more wounds in the end...
Let me dive a little deeper...
I shared a little about spiritual trauma in my last post. I could probably write an entire blog focused on that one subject. I barely scratched the surface and the facts are.... I have story after story... I won't share them all... there are just too many to count.
As I said before...There were many times during my life as a "pastor's wife" I was forced into a box... told what to wear, how to wear it, and reprimanded for stepping out of that box. My husband was called into many board meetings during his days on staff... all tying back to this opinion- the way I looked was a distraction to the church. This caused an anxiety level I cannot begin to describe to you.
I remember the first time I chopped my hair off... short- A "boy" cut. I called it my new mom cut...and told everyone I did it because I had no time to take care of myself... but the facts were... I thought losing my long blonde hair would cause less of a distraction. I grieved losing that hair... I don't even think to this day... Jason knows the real reason I cut it off.... I guess he does now. I was just so sick of the drama. So tired of it.
I did everything I could to meet the expectations placed on me... but it was never enough... and piece by piece I began losing parts of me...
You see I TRULY felt called to help people... to love on people... to serve humanity in some way... but man... the church was ripping my heart out...it was ruining me. Breaking me into millions of pieces.
Years later.....for reasons I will get into later as we keep unraveling all this... I traveled across the world... to West Africa. When I traveled to Sierra Leone... I finally met the real Jesus... like... FOR REAL.
I met him in the eyes and hearts of everyone I encountered there... So much love....and so much HOPE. I found a place I could belong... a place I could serve and actually accomplish something. I found people that needed me. I discovered I needed them too.
And that was the beginning.
That was my first bandaid.
In an effort to bandage the wound the church placed on me...I created another wound... I ran to a part of the world I could serve whole-heartedly... but in the end... there was pain there too. The scrapes and bruises and struggles I would encounter in that country made what the church put me through look like child's play. But we will get to all that later.
I was running from the darkness in the church... and finding LIGHT in a country across the world... and I decided to stay there for good.
YES... I am calling my work in Sierra Leone... a bandaid. Okay, now for all of you who have worked with me in SL... don't freak out... take a breath. You may misread that and assume that's a bad thing. That is not what I am saying. In fact I am saying the opposite...but I am being honest in WHY and HOW my work there started. Bandaids only become unhealthy when you don't recognize they exist. Some bandaids are good... the numbing works... but only for a time.
Eventually you have to tend to the original wound. Otherwise... it will follow you.
Your wounds determine your actions... and your reactions.
Every decision you make... whether you realize it or not... comes from your wounds... if they've turned to scars... then likely you are making a healthy choice... but if you are STILL bleeding out... it may be a different story.
For me... not dealing with the trauma from the church has caused me to be very sensitive and defensive whenever I am questioned... on anything. How is that for transparency? I also tend to over apologize. Every situation is ALWAYS my fault. I carry the responsibility every single time. I sit in a state of constantly thinking I've made a mistake and then worry over how my mistakes affect other people... I worry more about perceptions and less about just being myself. I have serious social anxiety every single time I walk into a room... I fear crowds where I have to engage... This anxiety has only gotten worse as my platform has gotten bigger. I also build high walls as I've mentioned in other posts and I'm slow to let anyone inside the fortress I have built around myself. So Africa has been my escape. Africa is my bandaid... the only space in the world where I was able to find comfort and also comfort others... where I was given the freedom to be and do what I care about... well that is until it all became public... and now... That part of my life is trolled and judged on a daily basis. We can get to that later too.
So there ya have it... my bandaid... became another wound.... that makes two.
I'm gonna keep sharing wounds... and the bandaids I used to stop the bleeding.. in hopes one may resonate with you... and give you clarity and a way forward as you start your own journey into the operating room.
I do know this... just saying it all out loud... is healing... and in HEALING we find a way to resurrect... I will come out of this operating room stronger... and so will you.