Yeah, it happened. Now what?

Picture it, downtown Atlanta, 2015.  One day, while leaving work and crossing the street, I went to step on the sidewalk and fell flat on my face.  I don’t mean stumble and fell, I mean flat out fell!  A stumble would have prepared me for the fall, but this my friends, was a whole smack directly to the ground.  So, there I lay prostrate on my belly in the middle of downtown.  I carry a backpack, so the visual is actually pretty hilarious if you think about it!  Just a few seconds prior, I was a vision of grace walking tall and suddenly, BAM!  At that moment I had a decision to make.  The first instinct was to jump up and move on like the fall didn’t knock the literal breath out of me.  But the second thought was to lay there for a little bit and gather my thoughts.

My decision was to lay there for a few seconds and give myself the opportunity to actually process what just happened and how I  was feeling.  A man came and asked if I  was okay and helped me up.  Free of embarrassment I continued to move toward my destination.  It hurt, I felt it, and made a decision to get up and move on.  What became apparent to me at that moment is that the older I get, the less things embarrass me.  Yeah I fell, so what?  I couldn’t stop the fall, but what I did after the fall determined how the fall affected me.  Naturally, when we fall we know that we can’t stay there, so we get up.  But what do we do when we are hurt by people and circumstances?  Why is it so hard for us to get up and move on after the hurt?

Life happens just like that fall for me happened.  One minute we are innocently moving along and then BAM, we are smacked in the face with whole lot of mess!  The relationship or marriage is going along seemingly so well and then, WHAP, the breakup text or divorce happens.  You get up to go to work only to be laid off at the end of the day.  You’re a child and without knowing it, you are abused, abandoned, belittled, beaten, and expected to care for yourself.  All of these things happen to a lot of people everyday and these are just a few things that occur.  But what do we do with the pain?  How do we heal?  One thing I learned from that fall and from getting up after the fall, is that my healing could not take place where I fell!  More importantly, I had to give myself the opportunity to process what happened and how it made me feel.

All too often, we try to wear this super hero persona that gives the impression that nothing hurts us and that we are okay.  I am here to tell you that it is okay to acknowledge that something hurt you and still maintain your strength!  The first step in healing is assessing the symptoms and pinpointing the source of the pain.  Pain has a way of crippling and paralyzing our ability to function properly.  Pain will have us not doing something because it reminds us of the thing that caused us the pain!  But how will we ever know what being restored feels like if we never get up after the fall?

About 5 years ago, my husband and I found out that I was pregnant.  As you can imagine, we were elated.  However, we were cautious because we had experienced a miscarriage before.  Mind you that after the first miscarriage, we had birthed 2 sons.  But this pregnancy came about 4 to 5 years after our second son, so we were just cautious.  At the 12 week appointment, they couldn’t find a heartbeat and subsequently found that the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks.  We were extremely hurt and a little unsure of what to feel.  This process could have broken everything in me, but I couldn’t question the plan of God, I just couldn’t.  About a week later, I went back to work and moved on knowing that it would all make sense soon.

Fast forward to June 2014, the month that the baby was to be born.  Since we were no longer expecting, we decided to go home and visit our families.  I was able to spend time with my grandparents who raised me.  An opportunity that would not have happened if I was in labor.  We went to my husband’s side after that.  The day after we left my in-laws, a week after leaving my home, we got a call that my grandmother had passed away.  So many emotions occurred at that time and I literally cried out to my husband and said “I don’t know what to do!” I have never not known what to do, but at that moment I felt lost.  I felt alone and I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.  Has anything ever hit you so hard that you felt lost?

We were in the car driving back to Washington state in the middle of nowhere.  In some part of the country that was filled with corn fields.  As that scream and shout of despair escaped my lips, there was also a sudden calm that entered the car.  The spirit of God rested on me and directed my eyes upward.  In the middle of nowhere, there was a billboard.  On that billboard was a scripture John 14:27 was displayed in bold letters.  I stopped everything and pulled out the Bible app on my phone and read it.  27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  My God!  Literally the word of God was with me.  It didn’t matter where I was or what was happening His word became a light unto my feet guiding me to what I needed to do next.  Acknowledge the pain, but you must continue to live!

It’s important for us to realize that as humans, our brains process pain in many different ways and if we don’t acknowledge that things hurt or that it has impacted us, we will never be able to truly experience the power and grace of restoration!  After my grandmother passed, sometime later we found out we were pregnant with our now 3 year old son!  He was born 9 months after my grandmother passed.  God is a restorer!  The pain of losing our other baby hurt but if I would have been unable to touch and spend time with my mama before her passing, that would have devastated me.  There is life after loss!

So listen, yeah it happened, now what?  What’s next?  The truth is, we don’t know what’s next, but what we can say without a doubt is that we cannot stay in the pit of hurt and despair!  We can’t heal in the place where we fell.  We have to get up, dust off those knees, put one foot in front of the other and PRESS!  Is it hard? Yes!  Does it hurt? Yes!  Were you embarrassed? Yes!  Did you deserve it? No!  But you would not be who you are had it not happened.  You would not have the power you have without it!  You would not know what you know without the lesson.  Never allow a fall to be the end of your progression.  Never let a trip up stop you from reaching your destination or accomplishing your mission and purpose in life!

At the end of the day, God is with you through it all.  And to expand on the old saying “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, I submit that “What doesn’t kill you, should have done a better job, because it made you stronger, faster, wiser, better, powerful, & determined”!  With God all things are possible!  You got this!

Scripture James 1:2-6

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Be blessed y’all!

Alicia Owen

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