Oh September. I try to ignore you. I really, really do.
And I was doing a pretty good job of it.
I mean, it’s usually around mid August, when the heaviness starts setting in. When I remember the date looming ahead, September 10th. The day life as I knew it irrevocably changed forever.
But this year, August was nearly over and I realized that I really hadn’t thought about it. That’s when it suddenly struck me how well we are doing. How far we’ve come. How far I’VE come.
How quiet the hum just underneath the surface has gotten. That hum used to be such a roar, I could barely focus on anything else. The thoughts and the pain, they not only ran through a never ending loop in my mind, but they seemed to course through my veins, seeping into every part of my existence. I learned to push it back, to try and drown it out so that I could function in a halfway normal manner for all outward appearances. But it was still SO loud for what seemed like so long.
I’m not sure exactly when it got so much quieter. I can’t really pin point it. I think it was so slow, so gradual, I just didn’t notice it. I mean, I did notice. I knew there had been healing. I knew it got easier. But I hadn’t really noticed the stark distance between where we were and where we are. I hadn’t really noticed the gradual lessening of the hum.
Most of the time, it’s nothing more than a faint whisper now. Echoes of the past. I don’t suppose it ever completely leaves you.
But to know it won’t always be so loud, so painfully loud, well, it feels…kind of like freedom.
Maybe not freedom in the sense that it has no bearing on you anymore. It certainly still affects the present sometimes. But sometimes maybe freedom isn’t necessarily a release from something, as much as it is learning to live your best life in spite of something. Learning to make the most of the changes it brought. Learning to live through it, and launch from it.
Maybe freedom is actually acceptance. Maybe, freedom is merely growth.
Maybe, freedom is simply gained not by trying to forget, or pretend as though that bad thing never happened, but maybe it’s in the ability….no, the insistence of moving forward in search of the good.
It definitely shaped the person I am today. In good ways and bad. It tore me down. Stripped me of almost everything I believed to be real. Shattered my heart.
It broke me.
EVERY SINGLE part of me.
But I survived it.
WE survived it.
I put myself back together. Although the pieces didn’t fit quite the same anymore. There were cracks. So many cracks. But if you allow it, God can fill those cracks with goodness. The cracks are still there, and you can still see the seams of every single one.
I’ll never be the same.
But eventually you won’t see the emptiness through the cracks anymore. Just the goodness shining through.
And sometimes, there’s goodness that was already hidden underneath the cracks. Gifts and talents and wisdom that’s always been there, but has been locked away, waiting for the outer layers to be torn away so it can rise to the surface.
I had to choose that. I had to choose to either dwell in those empty broken places, or let Him both draw out what was hidden away beneath them or fill them in with something I was missing. And if today, you are the one that is broken, at some point you will have to choose too.
Not all at once. But little by little, after you’ve spent some time exploring those broken pieces of yourself, and taking the time to grieve the parts you lost, you will have to decide if you want to dwell there, in that dark broken place, or if you want to look for the goodness to come. You have to choose to allow God to fill that space in, even when you’re not sure how it could possibly be filled. No, it won’t happen quickly, or all of a sudden. But your time will come. Your deafening hum will get quieter. You’ll suddenly realize that it isn’t so hard anymore.
That life can be good again.
Broken is hard. Shattered is painful. Being torn down is nothing less than completely devastating.
But being torn down is sometimes the only way to be built into your full potential. Being shattered is sometimes the only way to release the things hidden away inside of you.
And sometimes, broken is beautiful.
Because sometimes, broken is the only true way to wholeness.
Sometimes the broken you is the only way to the best you.
I woke up a few days ago, finally feeling the heavy pull of September. Feeling the pull of darker days; echoes of that awful September day three years ago, and the excruciating days that followed it, calling out to me. Drawing me back like some giant magnet into a dark hole. That hum that I had just recently realized was so quiet, threatening to get loud again. The images, the memories, trying to force their way in.
There’s no peace for you, they say.
You don’t get to be a normal couple, they say.
You’ll always be broken, they say.
And the worst one….
I can ruin you again, they say.
But I fight not to listen. Not to let the lies settle in to my spirit. I fight back with the truths that I’ve hidden away there.
It’s not easy. Because those whispers feel like loud, unavoidable truth sometimes.
Sometimes it feels like those dreams you have where you try to scream but you can’t get the sound out, or you try to fight but you’re frozen and can’t move.
So you have to dig deep, and let God’s truths you’ve hidden away in your heart speak for you until you find your strength and your voice again.
Because God says that He heals the broken-hearted, and He binds up our wounds.
Because God says no weapon formed against us shall prosper.
Because God says He gives us a new heart.
Because God says He makes a way for us in the wilderness.
Because God says He will make all our paths straight.
Because God says He is for us.
Because God says He knows the plans He has for us, and they are always, always good.
Because God says what He has joined together, let no one tear apart.
Because God says we are more than conquerors.
Because He says He makes all things new.
Because He says He will give us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Because God says let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
And I SAY so.
I am redeemed.
WE ARE REDEEMED.
So take that, September. Take your darkness. Take your sadness. Take your bad memories. Take your anxiety. Take your deafening hum.
You had your day. And that day has passed.
You tore us down, but He built us up.
You took away everything we had and everything we were, but He replaced it with something far better.
You won the battle on that dark September day, but Jesus, grace, and love,
Love won the war.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Amy Thurston Gordy