"Courage is not the absense of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." Ambrose Redmoon
The other day I took my kids walking along the water. A snake slithered in front of us - I screamed. My youngest jumped in my arms. My oldest cracked up laughing.
To her it was 'just' a harmless garter snake. To me and my youngest - it was huge, disgusting - terrifying. For the rest of the walk my youngest and I moved cautiously - terrified of meeting another slimy snake. My oldest kept laughing and trying to convince us we were just being goofy.
I got home and thought about my fears. I've been so afraid to tell anyone about the stuff that happened to me. I've been afraid to speak. Afraid to be seen. Afraid of the memories. Some days I want to scream at myself - 'who cares. It's over. I survived.' Other times, I'm convinced people will look at me differently and think something's wrong with me to have been where I've been.
I kept silent for a long time. Afraid. Worrying what others would think. Living in shame. Not wanting anyone to know. Not wanting to admit it was bad - lying even to myself.
This year I felt God shaking me....... shaking me into reality. Things happened. I connected with people. People who knew. Some said they were shocked I had survived the drugs, the streets - living life on the edge. God forced me to face the truth. The truth of what happened. The truth of how bad it had gotten - the truth of where I had been .....how far down He had reached to pull me out.
I started writing. Mostly to get rid of the images in my head. I had minimized it - kept telling myself it was no big deal. But the shame....the shame consumed me. I couldn't be with people long. I couldn't let anyone look in my eyes.
I went to talk to a physician friend. I told her everything....in the dark...my words faltering...hesitating....broken. I couldn't look at her. Worse - I couldn't have her look at me. You should be dead she told me. You need to tell your story. Her words shocked me. For so long I didn't believe it even happened....I thought I made it up.
Listening to her ....and writing - I started feeling selfish, selfish that I never told.....
God had touched me. He had broken chains that I couldn't get free of. Nothing had worked, not jail, not hospitals, not rehab.......Then He touched me.....in a hospital...under oxygen.... He freed me from the drugs. Just like that.
I promised Him I would tell whoever He wants - so others can have hope - to know there's a way - But.....
I'm still afraid to be seen, to speak in front of people. I keep thinking about that snake....my daughter's persepective versus mine.
I don't know how I'm going to tell.....but I will. He gave me life. I owe Him.