As we almost reach the end of 2018 I would like to thank God our Lord and savior for giving my sis Devin and I the strength to keep going. The moments when we felt like “Lord, not today...” or the times we felt completely depleted. I continue to praise God for allowing us to see through His eyes; looking at circumstances in the spirit and not the natural, and for keeping us humble through the process. I can speak for both Devin and I when I say THANK YOU to all of YOU. Thank you to our supporters to he survivors who have come forward and the allies we have gained through sharing our truths! The support and feedback you extend to us further empowers us to continue the race.
This journey while healing is not easy but it's worth every step and every tear ever shed towards fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives. While we still have steps ahead to reach our full destiny we pray and reflect over Colossians 4:2 which simply says,
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Our devotion towards our inward work has given us the capacity to help others, and we couldn’t be more humbled by this walk. No matter how long the journey, we encourage you to take this one step at a time. We are all navigating new territory, and we couldn’t do it without each and everyone one of you. So to progress, and forever blooming into the fullness of life God intended for each and everyone one of us, let us never stop sharing, growing, and healing forward.
Two very grateful sisters,
Cristal and Devin
I couldn't bring myself to utter the words; and they were escaping my parting lips, warm tears streamed down my face as I fell to the alter. "Thank you God."
"Thank you for saving me, and keeping me from my end."
Rape was suppose to end me, it nearly was. It shuttered my ideals of a beautiful world. My romanticism around love, relationships, and people shattered abruptly as someone I trusted took advantage of the only body my spirit has known to occupy.
I was broken. I was moving forward in life in pieces. And if I am honest, the only this that could seal those gaps merging my pain into purpose was gratitude. Giving thanks gave back the years, the tears, the anger and confusion that all too often comes post-sexual trauma.
How can one live in gratitude when dealing with so much pain? Some might even call it insensitive when speaking of tragedy and trauma. My response is that there is no perfect time or moment, and there is certainly no short cuts towards healing.Rather, it is a path you walk motivated by choices. I can recall those subtle but impactful moments early on in my journey towards healing. Those earlier years when the choice to forgive or hold onto hostility was a constant daily struggle. There was nothing much I had to hold onto, except the notion that I was alive, and survived. "So...now what?"
Now...I have a choice. I can live with the perpetuation of this painful experience and memory or I change the narrative. The chapter you just lived may not change, but we have the opportunity to turn the page. Turning the page doesn't mean you ignore what has happened. Turning the page is a choice. What gave me the strength to turn the page of a painful past, was gratitude.
At the alter of my church, on the cold floor of my bathroom tile, in the bed buried my head in pillows , in the car approaching my campus, in the conference room of my job, I was thanking God for keeping me. I was thanking God for keeping me in my right mind, for surrounding me with people (that knew of my experience) who were patient, loving and supportive. I began to thank God more frequently for strength I knew I could only receive through Him. I was weaker than I ever felt emotionally, and mentally, but as 2 Corinthians 12 8-10 states, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I look towards exercising gratitude daily as the key component to activating God's strength in my life. There are times I will admit, I was faking it until I made it... There were moments I would say thanks with a hardened heart. But bit by bit, God started chipping away at the pain and mending what was broken. Little by little, the act of giving thanks became more and more genuine. Gratitude filtered the ugly truth I had experienced so that the next chapters I walked into would invite more healing, and purpose beyond the painful stories of my past.
I implore you to begin to thank God for where you are INSPITE of what chapters you've already lived through. The pages will write themselves, and every day you will see gratitude give back to your life what the once tried to take. This is your story, and I'm confident in telling you seven years after my personal trauma, gratitude will help shape that
Welcome back Queens and Kings,
We are continuing the narrative around gratitude post-trauma. Is it possible? And how do we get to a place of sincere thanks amidst struggle and pain? To speak more on her personal experience post-trauma and the journey towards healing through gratitude is cofounder, Cristal Lowe.
People would tell me, “Come to church and He will heal you from the pain, and the diabetes,” but all I could think was "No He won't. " I gave my life to Christ and got baptized after I became diabetic. I often wondered, “How can the God you speak of ‘being a healer’ allow this to happen to me; near death experiences, sexual assault, and now becoming diagnosed as a diabetic?
Months after being raped, I wanted to take my life. I wondered “is living even worth it, continuing to trust a God that in my mind had failed me. It took me about a year after being raped to actually go to church even though in private I never stopped reading my bible. For whatever reason, it just felt like it was right. However, I could not bring myself to be surrounded by people worshiping when I was mad and confused whether or not God really loved me.
Symptoms of my diabetes got so severe, I began to lose my vision. I could only see 20% from one eye and 30% from the other eye. At this point I was convinced God didn't love me, I couldn’t help but feel He hated me at his point.
I wondered, “where is this BIG and mighty God that people say heals the sick, where is this God that people say protects you and covers you? Does this God hate me?
Not long after my vision slowly deteriorating, I went to see a doctor after our consultation, he responded saying, "something is telling me I need to help you, I will get your lenses donated and perform free surgery as long as you allow me to record your surgery for my class demos.” My face must of light up and said "of course you know I don't have money for this kind of procedure or worry my parents with the financial burden especially with my mom being on dialysis. He simply replied, "God is good.”
I remember waiting in the room to get my eyes measured, becoming overwhelmed with gratitude. The moment I got home, I locked myself in the room and prayed to God for forgiveness for ever questioning him and his plans.
The grace shown through that doctor was he catalyst for my praise to a God I was still confused by. I felt the urgency to ask for forgiveness and also forgive others that have done wrong towards me. Matthew 6:14-15 says’s “your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.”
I soon learned that God couldn’t bless me while I cursed and wish wrong on those who hurt me..including my rapist. Yes, what he did WAS wrong, yes you were broken, but as you hold anger and bad towards those that do wrong by you, you are hardening your heart towards loving, healing and ultimately BEING all I have called you to be.
My worship was no longer focused on wishing bad on him or wondering does God love me,. I had began praying by faith, a different kind of “spiritual blindness” that forced me to say “thank you, God for keeping me, though I can’t see what my life will look like or who I will be because of what I’ve gone through.
For me, praise looked like forgiveness before I could muster-up the strength to see God as good again. I would pray God forgive me for all the bad things I wished on rye man who raped me, to cover him with the blood of Jesus, and allow me to truly forgive him so that I may be able to love and be truly happy. Praising God through the pain taught me to honor Him even when I don’t understand what He was doing.
Sometimes God is ready to bless you, but we must forgive those who done wrong by us. I know it's not easy, but it's worth every blessing God has for you and while God never wants you to be hurt He will use your hurt to help others, He has proven In my life that He will turn the bad to good and bless you! Trust God and never for a second think he does not love you.
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