Trauma comes in many forms. Many of us have been traumatized in some way. Everywhere we look, we hear “PTSD.” We almost always equate this with our military returning from combat.
What about the rest of us who have had something heartbreaking happen to us? Sometimes it is cloaked in shame and guilt, and we spend years hiding it in the depths of our soul. The truth is when we open our hearts to God in our darkest times, His light can shine the brightest.
This week we are spending time in Florida on a much-needed vacation. Have you ever snorkeled with the manatees in Crystal River? What an experience! What amazes me the most when snorkeling is how we view everything from above contrasted with what we see below in what we think is dark. You are putting on your mask so you can go deep into the waters of a different world. The colors become vibrant. You see the beauty of life within the sea of water. As I was watching the manatee from above, they were slowly moving big brown blobs. Oh, but from below, the experience becomes another world. Magnificent beauty! They were like gentle giants, seeking fellowship with you. They had no fear of harm. The guide shared they were blind and have no enemies in the water. They navigate by sensory. Think about that for a moment.
The epiphany came to me of how we view each other from the outside. We often see the shell of the pain the world has caused in others. Just like the big brown blobs in the water. How many of us take the time to see what indeed lies beneath the surface? Do we take the time to feel one another’s lives?
I had many conversations with new people I met this week. God placed people in my path, all traveling different journeys but having one thing in common. They were all recovering from their life trauma. When I took the time to slow down, step out of my world, I began to look deep within their hearts, and see the truth of who they are.
As I listened intently with empathy to each of their stories, I saw deep into their hearts. I witnessed their losses, their hurts, and their victories. I found the one common denominator amongst them. Love. God brought one special woman into the mix of all the brokenness. She carried the love and light into her community. I saw what we all long for in our lives. People were stepping out of their world to help others in need. It wasn’t this way before, they shared. Those living there barely left their homes and saw their lives through the eye of impossibility instead of possibilities. They each carried their burdens. Her grace refreshed and empowered them to flood their small community with abounding love. I saw the beauty of what it means to throw off your yoke of burden, trauma, pain, suffering, and rearrange how they view their circumstances. I understand what it means when God calls someone the apple of his eye. I believe God sent this one woman to enrich souls, help them find their joy, and love them into their victories!
I looked up the meaning of her name, and this is what I found. “Angel, anointed one, a follower of Christ and motherly.”
Stay tuned as I travel this beautiful state and share more moments of who God places in our paths. God is genuinely intensifying my experience of His love and giving me the realization, it is all about perspective!!!
How enriched are they who find their strength in the Lord; within their hearts are the highways of holiness! Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring. ~ Psalm 84:5-6