I think for most of us, there are specific days or events that we could look back on and mark as pivotal to our life stories. Sometimes those pivotal moments are really beautiful ones, and others are blanketed in hurt.
June 6th is that date for me.
A day where family wounds were exposed + promises + hopes + relationships unraveled. Someone who was supposed to be the protector + leader left behind a lot of hurt and betrayal in the wake of his abuse.
Bringing all of the broken out into the open set me on a path to finding freedom, while also revealing just how fractured my heart truly was. I liken it to a hurricane sweeping through an unsuspecting city...often we don't fully understand the extent of the devastation, the depths and layers to the debris, until we start doing the cleanup. The relief work.
Until we start clearing out the broken to make room for the rebuild.
Rebuilding doesn't mean it will look exactly the same, nor will it erase the reality that a massive storm took place. The storm is part of the story. Yet every year, when "anniversary dates" roll around it can be easy to find yourself sucked in and taken under by memories that sting, and grief over what was lost.
Early on, I met a woman who shared with me part of her story and how she wrestled with the same emotions every year. And then one day decided she was going to shift her focus and celebrate well. A day that brought so much pain was no longer going to steal her joy. She surrounded herself with people who loved her, and chose to celebrate the life she was gifted back. And that's when it clicked.
What if celebrating well looked like self care, and patience, and intentionally serving others through our pain? Like dinner with friends, or being spontaneous?
What if it looked like acknowledging the bittersweet and hard parts of our stories, and then being diligent to celebrate all of the beauty + growth + freedom that has followed?
Finding our way back to whole can take work. But when matched with a Father who recklessly loves us, and relentlessly pursues us - how can we do anything other than win?
So every year on June 6th, I make a deliberate choice to celebrate well. Not an easy task, but one that is necessary. Because I refuse to let that chapter be the defining moment. It's a pivotal one, but only because that's where lost met redemption. It's where meek and subdued learned to find her voice. It's where fearful met brave.
I don't believe our stories are meant to be hidden or kept secret. I don’t believe they’re meant to hold us back or diminish us with shame or guilt. I believe they're meant to be told and retold, because the defining moment of your story is what you choose to write for the next chapter. The chapter just after the storm.
The blank page that’s set before you.
So go ahead, write the next chapter...be a legacy starter and celebrate well the bittersweet and beautiful parts of your story.
I promise you, it is so very worth it.