One seven letter word. Survive. A sharp intake of breath. The word is potent. Tears silently fill my eyes. Breathe out slowly. Count to three. Remember what you have learned. What have I learned? I try to remind myself and my cheeks grow warm. My lip trembles.
Aren’t we all survivors, in one way or another? Don’t the jagged rocks of life cut and bruise us all? Perhaps some are more agile climbers, while others have gentler meadows to traverse, and sometimes our challenges come and go with the changing terrain of different seasons.
I close my eyes. Blink back the tears. And I remember how strong I am. One small potent seven letter word cannot shake me. Can it?
I am a survivor. More than a survivor. You want me to label my pain, my mountainous challenges, my conquered fears? I can but try, but they speak so little of the lived experience and the experienced Grace.
Daily, I survive. I survive the ongoing scars of childhood bullying, of verbal abuse, hitting, spitting, racial hate against my fragile little person. I survive nightmares, and flashbacks and traumatic memories. I survive anxiety and panic attacks and depression and fear. I survive loneliness and complex trauma, post traumatic stress – yes, like soldiers have. I survive exploding pain and breaking down and starting again. And again.
But I do not survive alone. Yes, I am a survivor, a blossoming thriver, one among many, in a world full of woe. Yet, I do not mean this.
What I mean is there is One Who holds me. Whose love carries and heals me. Who restores and gives life and makes all things new. I find His unfathomable love at the Cross, where His sufferings met with mine, and He took them all, and He took and embraced and saved me. His Name is Jesus.
I do not need to survive. I am loved, and I am held, and I am renewed, and one day by His love, I will be free.