This week I’m delighted to feature guest poster Anne Peterson. Anne is a poet, speaker, and the author of Real Love: Guaranteed to Last, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, and most recently, her first children’s book, Emma’s Wish. Her poetry is sold throughout the U.S. and in 23 countries. I’ve been privileged to share her words in the capacity of proofreader and reviewer, and to witness her extraordinary commitment to encouraging our fellow Tribe Writers. No stranger to suffering, her story is one of perseverance and hope, and it has both astonished and inspired me. Please welcome her to Postcards From My Head.
* * *
Everyone is going through something. We don’t know the trials other people face, unless they divulge them to us. You never know what another person is dealing with.
Even when God heals our hurts, mends our broken places, we have scars. Some of them go pretty deep.
For me, one of the tools God uses in my life is loss. I have lost a lot of loved ones. Consequently it’s difficult for me to trust. When I was five years old, my friend Billy ran out into the street after a ball. He never came back.
When I was twelve, my cousin Julie was killed, and when my parents went to tell Grandma, her heart couldn’t take it and she died the next day.
Years ago, there were no counselors to help children process their grief. We never learned how to deal with the losses that kept coming. We just became well acquainted with death.
Not knowing the need to work through our pain, we tried numbing it. Food was one way.
Death Kept Visiting
At sixteen I lost my mother. At twenty-four we buried Dad. Six years later we would deal with losing Peggy, but this one was complicated.
It was 1982 when my sister Peggy disappeared. She never showed up at work, nor did she show up for a dentist appointment.
Her husband told us she walked out. There was even a segment done on television, but we never believed she left.
Not surprisingly, I struggled with abandonment issues. In my mind, it was only a matter of time before everyone would leave.
Emotional Pain Hurts Deeply
My emotional pain was overwhelming. And when I hurt the worst, poems would come to me.
God provided counseling for me and with it many tools from the counselors.
I learned the value of acknowledging my pain rather than stuffing it down or denying it existed. Then I learned how to embrace my pain. I believe that was a turning point.
In his book, Making Peace with Your Past, Tim Sledge deals with those painful parts of our lives we wish were gone.
For years I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, sharing my sister’s story. I know it by heart, my broken heart.
But adding my story was life-changing. I felt a purpose for the pain I experienced. I felt gratitude for those who tried to reach out to me.
As I wrote the book, I felt strong resistance. And yet, I pushed through—I had to.
Why? Because my intent in writing Broken was to offer something to those who were hurting. This book was not only for those who were or are being abused, but it was also for those who perhaps wanted to better understand it, so they could help someone they may know.
An interesting thing happened as I finished my book. As expected, I was totally spent. There were days I felt exhaustion. But after I rested, an interesting thing happened.
I became more aware of others and their hurts.
I still felt I needed to write, but instead of an urgency, it was more of a deliberate decision.
And another thing changed. All of a sudden, children’s books were bubbling out of me.
Day after day, I wrote children’s stories. Stories like the ones I had made up for my grandchildren.
Working Through Issues
Working through issues is so beneficial, not only for you, but for those you care about as well. I just never expected the joy I’m experiencing.
Yes, yes, and yes!
You won’t go through them alone. God will be with you as you process your pain.
God uses the losses in our lives. He can bring good out of our most difficult times.
God knows what you’re going through. He’s seen and even felt your pain.
Isn’t it time to see what He really has in store for you?
Trust me, it will be worth it.
* * *
“God, I’m so discouraged,
the plans I had fell through,
I sit with disappointment
and don’t know what to do.
I had my life all figured out,
most everything was planned,
But nothing went the way I thought
and I don’t understand.”
He answers with compassion,
“I know you are in pain,
Just trust in me completely.
Your loss will turn to gain.”
* * *