Yesterday afternoon I received an email from a dear friend of mine that said this:
"I wrote this on the plane ride home!! I started writing about the weekend at Togetherness and as I was writing I just felt like THIS IS IT!! This is the blog post that needs to be put on your page!"
As I read her words, the tears came and tears fell. Goosebumps covered my whole body. This is a perfect summary of what our weekend at Togetherness in Phoenix was, and what it is meant to be.
Please read.... and enjoy.... rejoice in the growth.... relish in the honesty and vulnerability and sense of belonging.
It is freeing and it is unlike anything else I have ever found, anywhere.
Together we really do rise above.
(written by Lovely Light)
Together we really do rise above.
Together we rise out of the yuck, the filth, and the degradation. Together we experience light, a brightening of our souls, a polishing, and a fortifying strength to press forward.
Together we receive unification in pain and desires, in strife and beauty, in sadness and worth, in anger and peace, in disgust and humor. Can there be a better friendship in this life?
I got so very much out of the Togetherness Project this weekend. But it was in the quiet corners of my soul where the greatest impressions came. It was in those still moments of mindfulness, when I would look around in awe with so much pride to be a “member of the club,” with these women, these amazing women. It was in the watching, and the soul searching, and the connecting that I found new perspective. The speakers and therapists were all wonderful, they had great things to say, great tools to utilize, and they set the tone so that we could be real and open and safe. But it wasn’t the speakers that allowed me to find the greatest healing. It was the women; women just like me that God used to speak to me. It was in their sharing. It was in their vulnerability. It was in the shy girl I approached and literally floored her when I asked,
“So, what’s your story?”
To which she responded, looking at the ground with anxiety, “Well, what story do you mean?” and, “do I have a story?” with twiddling fingers and fidgeting toes.
Then, listening to her as she came up with the first rough-draft of HER STORY; the reason she was here, now. Then less than 24 hours later seeing this same woman across the room laughing, sharing, crying, expressing herself, and blossoming because she had finally found a completely SAFE place to share. She was finally among friends who understand her. She was among beautiful women, and she felt normal for the first time since her world fell apart. Seeing her walk away at the close of the conference as the woman she is; with confidence, determination, steel in her eyes, and with the resolve that things are GOING to be different. She now knows that she is not ALONE.
She is not alone.
I know that girl so well. Last year, at the first Togetherness Project, that girl was me. Six months later, I got to be the one who watched. And it was so beautiful. And it did something for me, too. It showed me that I have made progress. It showed me that I have embraced my place, right here, right now. It showed me that I have dug within myself and found my worth as I endured the last 6 months. It showed me that I am learning and growing in the greatest pain of my life, which makes me echo the words that I have only found recently,
“THIS is worth it.”
The pain, the PAIN, the lies, the crap, the potential loss of spouse, the total loss of all I thought I had, the trauma, the distance from God, the poor parenting, the chaos and confusion, the anger, the waiting, the numbness. It is all worth it.
God has a plan for me, and I know it. When I am making progress in His plan, when I am blossoming as a beautiful daughter of God, when I am actually feeling myself become more of who I have always wanted to be, I feel gratitude for my life. My life just as it is, right now. And I don’t believe I would have reached this place if I hadn’t had sisters by my side, striving to find this place together.
I am able to “Rise Above” all that yuck, while still somehow being in the midst of it. I am capable of feeling, giving, and receiving love and empathy. I am capable of being vulnerable and feeling genuine trust. I am able to actually share the burdens with my sisters and I can feel my heart and my capacity for love growing. Most of all, I am capable of making a joyful, safe place for myself where I can and will thrive.
As I sat quietly, soaking in all I could, like a sponge thrown in water, I felt God. I received answers. I felt a deep conviction that I have a beautiful life.
Yes, even married to a sex addict (in recovery) I have a beautiful life. And it will only continue to get better because I choose. I choose when I will rise out of being victim and make choices for myself, for my safety, and for my children. I choose how I will work through the darkness as it comes.
I am not a victim.
I rise above.
I break chains.
I change faulty traditions and bad habits and my own addictions from weaknesses into strengths.
And I do it with God, and my WoPA sisters.
Together we rise above.
(you can follow Lovely’s story at www.chainsoflight.blogspot.com)