Almost three weeks ago I wrote “This Is What Male Violence Does”. The response was so encouraging, with people sharing the post and telling me how much it had impacted them.
When I wrote that post I was in the midst of feeling hopeless. I was filled with despair. I couldn’t function. I rarely produce anything in those moments of absolute darkness, yet it seemed that writing would make the pain less meaningless.
One of the terrifying things about the darkest days is that there is no guarantee the light will dawn again. The desolation is such because it feels like the end of all goodness and life. Practically I wonder whether I will be able to work again; if I can’t work, then we won’t be able to afford to pay the mortgage or eat. Emotionally I wonder whether I will feel that dead and devoid of life forever; will I have to fake happiness from that day forth so my kids won’t worry about me. The fear then overcomes; perhaps I will be lost forever.
Yet that day was not the end. By late evening something had changed within me. By the next morning I was filled with gratitude; thankfulness for my life, my family and God.
In the midst of the pain I was unable to work, but once the blackness dissipated I had so much work to do that it has taken me almost three weeks to have the time to sit down and write what the other side of the darkness is like.
For me, it is in God that I find light. It is in the redemptive power of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that I can be raised to new life. Counselling, anti-depressants and practices of journalling, resting and processing pain have been integral to my healing, yet above all those things is the knowledge that I am beloved of God. It is that which has pulled me through the darkest of days.
The reality of what was done to me, of the terrible experiences I went through are not the end.
Many ask, “Why does God allow suffering?” But as someone who has suffered I have found that to be the wrong question. Bad things happen. People choose to do terrible things. Yet, the question is, “Do we want to go through suffering alone or with the knowledge of a greater purpose, the truth of a God who suffered and died to show us love, the comfort of Holy Spirit?” Some people try to explain what my ex-husband did to me by reducing his culpability, “Broken people break people” is what they offer me, yet understanding the WHY of suffering will never lessen the pain or the consequences. It is those who have shared their suffering with me, those who have walked with me without the simple answers that have most helped me; not those who can reel off a list of verses (Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind…) that offer a quick fix to my deeply broken spirit.
I cannot guarantee I will never have another day like the one I had a few weeks ago. But in this place, on the other side of the darkness, the knowledge of God’s love and a deep thankfulness for all I am and have is stronger than that which has gone before.