- If your wound came with an identity label like mine, spend time investing in your true identity—as a daughter of our God. They might have said you were lazy or unskilled or trouble or dense or a terrible person. Whatever they said, it’s more likely to be a reflection of what they’re struggling with than to have anything to do with you. In this process, you might need a spiritual director or a counselor to help you. (I’ve utilized both and both have incredible value.) Doing so is far from admitting weakness. It takes strength to recognize the limitations of how far we can walk alone and when we need the embrace of another’s arms.
- Extend grace to yourself. We women can be especially hard on ourselves with accepting grace. Sure, learn what you can, but be kind. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Take time to digest what is needed, and then move on. You aren’t required to live in the past or shoulder those burdens forever. Even if the entire thing was avoidable at the time, it happened. Now your job is to learn how to live out your calling, even in pain and confusion. The weight of these last years has convinced me that giving grace to myself was the hardest step to take.
The shards of life
We know bad things can happen—the joys of the present can easily become the broken pieces of the future. We pick up shards of ourselves—our hopes, our dreams, our plans—and are left with bloody hands and confusion. Cleansing our soul can feel insurmountable, but it can be done. And it’s done with God’s help, lots of time, help from loved ones, understanding, grace, and lovingkindness towards ourselves.
We’re all fighting hard battles to be heard and loved. Each of us, from the person farthest from God to the people who serve and lead in myriad ways in the church—we’re all broken Imago Dei. It’s not if life will break us, it’s what we do with the inevitable brokenness that matters. Who will we turn to? We turn to God and God’s people for truth, and in that truth—healing.
Stefanie Coleman has a Master’s of Divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary. She has worked in various roles from youth ministry leader to international church planter to Christian college adjunct instructor to her current role as the Adult Ministry Director at Community Christian Church Lincoln Square. Having lived on three continents, she can now be found in coffee shops in Chicago.