So yes, after nine interminably long years, I came out into the Light. It seems weird to condense such a long, difficult journey in only 15 blog posts, but I can't really think of much to say that wouldn't be repeating what I've already said about that dark time.
A few months ago, I began noticing that I felt lighter. I didn't really trust this feeling, because throughout the long process, I had seen momentary glimpses of easier times, but they never lasted. So when I began to notice this new, lighter feeling, I thought it was probably just another welcome break from the tunnel. Along the way, I felt like God gave me short times that were more manageable, just to help me know it would get better. I was always thankful for those days, and so sad when I couldn't fight the pull back into the dark.
Truly coming out of the tunnel of this part of my journey, I really began to notice the absence of darkness, self-loathing, and despair, so finally one day I wrote about it. As the weeks went by and I continued to process the change, I began to entertain the idea that I might have finally come to the other side of the long valley...I could barely fathom the idea! I had been in darkness for so, so long, I didn't know how to believe that there was actually a "better."
The timing seemed odd; I had a significant memory event, which logically, should have thrown me into despair. Instead, only days later, I was processing this new, light feeling. Fourteen years ago, I felt God speaking to me about "becoming." Somehow, now I could see that the terribly difficult valley I had been traveling, was a part of that "becoming" process. I saw that I was being made new, with the healing of my spirit and soul happening all the time. I began to understand that even the darkness of my journey was somehow a story of the grace and faithfulness of God in my life. There were things that I had always longed to be - someone who was characterized by gentleness, forgiveness, humility, compassion, and honesty - and I began to see these were being built into my life, even through the ugly and difficult journey I had been on.
I most certainly have not arrived. As a matter of fact, I think that this "light shining through the clouds" moment was meant to prepare me for more difficult processing. But this break in the darkness of my journey marked a definite departure from the terrible valley I was in. I have dark moments. I continue to wrestle through significant issues. But I am no longer consumed by darkness. I have a clearer view of God at work in me - his infinite patience, his matchless, wondrous grace - ah, friends, I wish I could let you inside my skin, so you could really see it! I have a better understanding of my worth, and I have begun to shed the layers of shame I have carried since I was a wee girl.
I am grateful beyond speech to my Jesus, for his gentle, constant hand in my life. I am so thankful to be able to offer hope to others who might be on their own hard roads. I would love to continue to walk the journey with you! The way is long, friends, and we are all in process. Let's share grace with each other, learn from each other, and hold each other up as we walk the long way together.