Dear brave one.

[A letter to myself a few months ago, or anyone going through their own slow, painful work of healing.]

Dear brave one, 

I know you wouldn’t have chosen this. You wouldn’t have chosen any of this. It has been painful and hard, harder than anyone other than Jesus truly knows. It has been so lonely and your heart has been broken again and again, as you’ve tried to stay soft and follow Jesus. It feels like you will never be done and as though it will always been this way. It feels like will always be this hard and broken and difficult. You sometimes wonder if you’re going to make it.

I’m only a little ahead of you on this journey, so I can’t tell you how it turns out or what happens later. But even if I could share those things, I think we both know it is better that the Lord reveal them to you in his own time.

But if I can tell you one thing, I want to tell you this: nothing is wasted. It doesn’t always feel that way though. I know it can feel like no one sees you and you’re doing all this for nothing. But I promise you, nothing is wasted. Sometimes healing feels like Aslan’s claws digging into your back. Sometimes healing is so slow that you wonder if anything is even happening. Sometimes healing feels like anger and grief and overwhelms your heart. But none of these will be wasted.

Your courage won’t be wasted.

Your efforts might feel fruitless, but they won’t be wasted.

The hours of processing and journaling with the Lord won’t be wasted.

Your tears won’t be wasted.

Counseling sessions feel so expensive, but they won’t be wasted.

Your prayers and surrender to the Lord won’t be wasted.

Your brave truth-telling won’t be wasted.

Every day you chose to show up and listen to your soul won’t be wasted.

And this isn’t just a phrase to tell yourself in the hope that it gets to be real. It is real. Nothing is wasted.

I love these words of Henri Nouwen, from the collection of his works, You are the Beloved. They are just what you need to hear on the days where you truly feel crushed. This pain and sorrow and feeling that you won’t make it; none of it will be wasted. You don’t have to see it now for it to be true.

“When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become. The sorrow overwhelms us, makes us throw ourselves on the ground, facedown, and sweat drops of blood. Then we need to be reminded that our cup of sorrow is also our cup of joy and that one day we will be able to taste the joy as fully as we now taste the sorrow.”

{From his November 12 entry}

So much of healing is slow, done one day at a time. You crave the healing that is quick and instant, but the Lord has much to teach you in this slow work. I know the pain of the dark days, when the weight of how long and hard this has been threatens to crush you. There are days when you do feel crushed. It feels as though you won’t make it. But it simply isn’t true; you’re going to make it. Just do one day at a time. One moment at a time. Tomorrow and next month and next year all belong to Jesus. The brave work he has for you is all in today. He will help you to make it.

Be kind to yourself. This fight has been a long one. You’re in it for the long haul and that’s a different mindset than a sprint. No one wins by you trying to take the easy way. You are going to make it and being kind to yourself is part of that being possible. I know how  hard and awkward and uncomfortable it feels. It is hard to prioritize yourself and feels selfish. But it isn’t selfish. You know the truth in your head, and it just needs to keep working its way to your heart. Practice, practice, practice. The Lord can help you see yourself the way he sees you. He can help you offer yourself a nourishing meal or some alone time when it all feels too much. He can help you to listen to your own soul, even if it is an inconvenient time to deal with grief or a hard truth about how wounded you truly are.

Each time you chose to speak truth and kindness to yourself instead of shame or guilt, it is a step towards healing; each moment matters. They might feel too tiny to make a difference. They’re not. Each time you give yourself permission to make an easy dinner makes a difference. Each time you take a much-needed nap or do something to feed your soul matters. Not one is wasted. Each one is a step towards healing. And I’m convinced that this is some of the bravest work of all. It requires faithfulness in the unseen. It requires you to continue, day after day. It requires you to rely on the Lord for strength and courage.

Freedom is coming. You are heading towards it, one day at a time. Keep telling the truth. Keep preaching to yourself who the Lord is and who you are. Keep being brave enough to tell others your story. This is the way towards reclaiming your voice, your life.

You’re going to make it.

You’re brave.

You’re valiant.

You’re faithful.

You’re seen.

You’re loved.

You’re going to make it. You are.

None of this will be wasted.

Keep going, brave one.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Bambi Darland says:

    Needed to be reminded of this, thank you ❤


  2. Sherri Elsey says:

    Thank you so much. This spoke to my heart. ♥️


  3. This is so beautiful! It is the BEST pep talk. We all need it. I am so proud of you!!!
    Thank you. Love you forever.


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