“She left pieces of her life behind her everywhere she went…

It’s easier to feel the sunlight without them she said.”

Yesterday was the anniversary of the date I started therapy and a reader asked if I could describe part of the process. I had spoken with this doctor once on the phone before packing everything I owned into my Honda accord to move 18 hours to see him and to start a new life. To put it bluntly, I was terrified. Sure, I was excited for the change and the opportunity for healing but those thoughts paralleled with the uncertainty of the future.

The night before my first therapy session I could barely sleep. I woke up early and went for a run in the hot southern heat. On my drive to his office my mind churned furiously. What if he can’t help me? I mean seriously, what good is this even going to do? Why do I think that telling a complete stranger everything that has happened to me is going to make me better? How could that take away the nightmares? What if he doesn’t understand? And frankly, it’s really none of his business. 

Sassy and naive I know.

Okay, calm down Maura. Trust in God, you have trusted Him to bring you here and this is going to be no different. I knew in my heart this was what God wanted from me, but I was petrified, especially since the doctor was a man. I started praying the Rosary and arrived at his office.

He was late and my mind used that as an excuse to try to run away. But I fought those thoughts with God’s grace, as I sat down. Even though I was shaking, by the end of the 2 hour session I knew God had placed this doctor in my life as a tremendous gift to me. As soon as I closed his office door, I bowed my head in grateful thanksgiving.

Despite that realization, therapy was still exhausting and intense, and that day, I promised myself I would never give up. No matter what. My third session was exceedingly challenging and when I left that afternoon I couldn’t stop crying. This is so hard, I don’t know how I’m going to make it through. I’m just not that strong, how am I going to do this? Later that day I went to adoration and decided that I was going to offer up each session and homework activity for my future children. I desperately yearn for my future children to not have to suffer from the ramifications of abuse.

So, when therapy seemed unbearable, or I had to draw or describe events and bodies that I thought I would never be able to do, I would close my eyes and picture what my future children might look like. I imagined their tiny hands and toes and how I would desire to surround them with love and tenderness. I thought about all that I would want to teach them about God the Father, Jesus, Mary and the Saints. Then I thought about how strong I would need to be for them and how much I needed to grow and heal before I could get married and have children. Then I closed my eyes gently, as I opened my doctor’s office door and proceed to another therapy session.

You know what I think? I think you’re bravest when you’re terrified, but you trust in the Father’s loving guidance and keep moving forward, with your eyes fixed on seeing beauty in your suffering.

What pieces of your life do you think you need to work through and let go of in order to not just breath, but truly LIVE?

“I think we carry our wounds until the end; they do not fully go away but keep us humble, patient, and more open to trust. The healing lies in the fact that our wounds no longer defeat us or cause us to harm ourselves or others. Wounds become our daily offering to God, and they develop in us compassion toward the weakness of others.”- Richard Rohr

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