Well, this summer is about to come to a close, and I really can’t believe how quickly the time has flown! I am almost completely moved into our apartment for the year (Cooper too, of course), and my roommate and I are so excited to be living together again and to start our senior year of college! I’ll get emotional if I get into that too much, so.. moving on. 🙂
I’m writing this post during a time when my mind is being flooded with overwhelming feelings of nostalgia. Milestones are coming and going that are serving as reminders of times in my life when I thought I knew what my future was going to look like, and it’s hard to think about how things have changed as time has passed. I’m moving past my hurt and I’m learning to let go of the plans that I had for myself, but my mind often wanders back to what it wanted and expected to have for so long. I still spend so many nights awake in bed wondering how long it will take for me to feel free from the weight of what happened in the past — and I know that’s okay.
I know that healing takes time, and I know that there is no right or wrong amount of time to take to heal from something. I write about things like this all the time, but the process of healing is much more difficult to walk through than it is to talk about. I can know that what I’m going through is normal and healthy and I can know that the pain will go away, but that never makes things any easier in the moment.
And in this moment, the healing process is pretty hard.
Lately, especially, remembering is really hard. And I remember a lot. Sometimes, I remember 6 months ago like it was just yesterday, and it sends painful feelings flooding back into my mind, making it hard for me to think straight for a minute. I don’t know how long I will be affected by certain memories, and that’s hard to think about, too.
Memories have the ability to really set us back if we allow them to do so. And there have been plenty of times in recent weeks that I’ve allowed that in my own life. It’s hard to find a balance between moving forward and taking time to reflect, but I think sometimes the only way to make it through those days or seasons when memories just keep coming to the surface is to let yourself feel what you need to — exactly what you need to. Let yourself reflect. Let yourself be sad. Let yourself cry. Don’t try to push those memories (or the feelings that come with them) away. I’ve learned that all it will do is delay the process of healing that you need to go through in order to move forward and experience life the way it’s supposed to be experienced — free of bottled up emotions and the burden of bitterness or resentment.
Embracing memories that bring back painful feelings is not easy. It’s not fun. Sometimes it can even feel like the wrong thing to do because of how hard it is. But — I have faith that the Lord sees us in our hurt and meets us where we are when healing seems too difficult. When we’re experiencing what seems like the worst thing we could ever go through, he understands it. And when it feels like the memories of our pasts are more painful than we can bear, he wants to be our comfort.
For the past week or so, I’ve been really struggling when memories come back to me. I think about the way things were this time last year and my heart hurts. It causes me to ask God a lot of questions.
Why am I still affected by this?
Will my heart ever stop longing for past things?
Are you actually going to bring better things into my life?
Luckily, God is not offended or even phased by our questions like this. He understands our hurt and confusion, and he wants to be in every step of our process of healing — which means he wants even our doubt-ridden questions. God loves when we come to him in any capacity, which is a blessing because I know that my approach with the Lord is not always sweet in hard times. The thing is, we just don’t have the ability to see what the Lord is going to do in our lives, and it’s completely normal to question his plan or be fearful of what that plan could be when we are still hurting over a past experience. When I remember the way things used to be I often wonder where God could possibly be leading me next, and the thought of it makes me anxious.
One of the most important things I’ve been realizing is that when I’m missing the way things used to be, I have to think about the things in my life that I can be thankful for. I know that “looking at the bright side” is probably the most cliche advice anyone could possibly give, but it really is powerful. Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift in focus for me and my feelings of overwhelming sadness are replaced with overwhelming feelings of gratitude. It’s not always that simple, but remembering everything that the Lord has done for me—even in these past 6 months—makes me realize that he really is working in my situation even when I can’t always see it.
I’ve built really incredible friendships during the season I’ve been walking through, and I know that this wouldn’t have been the case if I hadn’t gone through what I did at the beginning of this year. I’ve reconnected with old friends who I hadn’t talked to in awhile, and I’ve seen old friendships rekindled with people who I didn’t expect to hear from again. 6 months ago I felt like I wouldn’t have anyone I could turn to, and now I find myself driving in the car sometimes thanking God for the support system I have — because I really do feel so loved and so supported by the friends in my life. I’m definitely a better person because of the people who have been around to lift me up in the hard times.
Another thing that I am SO thankful for is my baby Cooper. Anyone who follows me on any social media platform probably knows how obsessed I am with him, haha. I got him because I really needed a source of comfort, and (even though he only loves me about 30% of the time) he has been exactly that for me. He was born right during the time that things started getting hard for me, so I always say that God put him here just for me, and I really think he did. I guess I wouldn’t have felt the need to get a pet if I hadn’t gone through what I was going through earlier in the year, but now that I have him I can’t imagine my life without that adorable, bratty bunny. Sometimes I look at him and get a little teary because of how much I love him. I literally PRAY for this rabbit because I want him to have such a good life and I am so thankful that he is in mine. 🙂 Writing this is making me emotional. I’m done now — you get it.
Basically, good things have come out of what I’m going through. And I know good things are still coming. I’ve said this so many times, but our pain really is never wasted and I’m seeing it more and more. It’s okay to feel sad at the thought of the way things used to be, but it’s important to remember that the past is only part of our story, and if we keep ourselves stuck there we won’t be able to see where the Lord is trying to lead us. Maybe what I thought were the best times of my life were really intended to put me on the path towards the actual best times of my life, and if that’s the case then I definitely don’t want to miss what God has in store for me next.