A couple of years ago, I went as a leader with our youth group on a short-term missions trip. The last day of that trip was set aside for some touristy-things.
And a chance to go zip-lining.
I followed our group as we climbed stories (and stories) high to the top of the platform. I felt sick. I was scared. I didn't want to do this.
Except that I did.
I knew if I did not try this zip-lining thing while I had the opportunity, that I would regret it.
So there I was, the last one in the group. At the top of the platform. All hooked up.
Tears streamed down my face.
The zip-lining tour guide said I didn't have to do this. I said I did have to do this. I wanted her to just push me off the platform. She said "no." That I had to take the step off myself.
I argued that it would be easier if she would just push me. She wouldn't.
So I jumped.
But it wasn't as much of a "jump" as it was just lifting up my feet and letting go.
I wasn't expecting the feeling I had as soon as I lifted up my feet and let myself give in to the fall.
I didn't feel like I was falling to my death. I felt like I was flying. Really fast. It was exciting and I even felt safe. I got right back in line to do it again. I even went with our group on a zip-tour.
I can't say that I didn't feel nervous, anxious and scared each time we climbed to the top and in those moments right before jumping off the platform. But I can say it was an adventure that I will never forget. I'm so glad I jumped.
God has been reminding me of this zip-lining experience lately.
In the last couple of months, I have had opportunities to participate in things that were scary, but once I did, I could immediately see the blessing. For example, a couple weeks ago, Brian and I had a chance to share some of our personal testimony. This is new for us. Scary. But once we "jumped," we both said "yeah, I'd do that again."
Yesterday was another leg of our "zip-tour."
We went to the first "team" meeting at church for a mission trip to Guatemala. Not that we were officially on the team, but it was time to decide.
Last spring, the group that went on the trip to Guatemala shared their stories in our Sunday School class. Before we left church that day, I went to the bathroom. When I came back, my husband said "Honey, I signed us up to go on the next mission trip."
I'm like...No. No you didn't sign us up for that. You signed us up for information.
He was still pretty sure he signed us up.
So this trip has been on the back of my mind for several months. But that is where I have kept it. Way in the back of my mind. Where it is safe.
There are a hundred excuses I have and reasons that I don't want to go. Admittedly, most of them involve my comfort in the areas of sleep, showers, bathrooms with toilets that flush, things that involve girl stuff, bedbugs, and all kinds manners along these lines.
But truthfully, there is ONE, really big, very real, very practical issue that makes it really impossible (in my mind) to say yes to being on this next team to Guatemala.
That was our true hang-up as we sat in on this meeting.
At the end of the meeting it was time to fill out a form asking us if we were YES-going, No-not going, or a Maybe Next Year-we'll go.
Brian and I both saved that question for last.
He looked at me with the question written all over his face. Well. What are we going to do?
Every excuse I had for not wanting to go actually doubled after listening to the group talk about previous mission trips. And that ONE, REAL, PRACTICAL IMPOSSIBILITY still remained. That was the look written all over my face.
By this time, I was crying. Panicked to make a decision.
And then my husband said the kindest thing to me as he wiped away a tear from my face.
"If we do this, it is 100% on faith. Faith that God has called us to, and faith that he will take care of the things we face if we say yes. But if you don't want to right now, if you want to wait and see how things are next year, then that is what we will do."
And then, with tears rolling down my face, we jumped off the platform together.
Two days after we celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary, we will leave on a mission trip to Guatemala.
I don't know much more than that. Based on yesterday's first team meeting I know that most people who go on this trip experience diarrhea or being sick to their stomach, showers are not a given, we won't be sleeping on beds, I will see cases of lice, I better stay close to the group because one time, one of the women on the trip was left behind, and as of right now, we don't have the money to fund this trip.
So basically many of my fears and anxiety issues will be realized.
And I also know that just like that day I sat up on the zip-lining platform with tears streaming down my face, that no-one is going to push me into this. I have to jump on my own.
If I don't, I'll regret it.
This could turn out to be a great story.
There's this thing all over social media this week. You've probably seen it, even if you don't know what it means. It's hashtag: MeToo.
When you post this as a hashtag, it is a way of saying that you have been affected by the trauma of harassment, abuse, and/or assault.
It is a way of standing in solidarity with other women who have dealt with the same thing, but perhaps have never been able to acknowledge it in any other way than to say #MeToo.
My newsfeed is completely peppered with this hashtag. It makes me sad for a number of reasons.
One of them being that abuse happens so often. Statistically, 1 in 3 women have suffered from abuse. 1 in 4 women in churches today have been touched by abuse. And 1 in 3 teen girls have been physically or sexually abused.
The numbers are real. These are people I work with and attend church with.
And as the mom of three teen girls, statistically, these are people in my own home.
This is the person I look at in the mirror.
Do you fall into any of these statistics?
#MeToo, sister. You are not alone.
Have you found healing?
I thought I had. My mistake was in thinking that just because time had moved on and I could function in life without feeling defined by abuse, that it no longer affected me.
I was wrong. And I was just kind of stuck.
But not anymore. One of ways I am getting "unstuck" is through counseling and attending a Christ-centered support group called Celebrate Recovery. It is a safe place to talk, to listen to others on similar healing journeys, and be reminded that my identity isn't in what has happened to me or all the negative ways I've dealt with it.
It sounds like something people want to talk about.
I've found that there is freedom in sharing our stories. Social media doesn't feel like the safest place for me to have this particular conversation, but that doesn't mean I am not willing to share my story in the right setting.
So for now, let me just say, #MeToo.
I'm on a journey of healing and I want healing for you, too.
Let's change the narrative.
Feel free to ask me more about #CelebrateRecovery
Welcome to a page of my journal....a place where I will randomly post stories that document my life, and some tips for helping you to document yours.