Hardships. Challenges. Trauma.
Most of us can say we have experienced these things in some shape or form. It can feel like you get lost in the midst of trying to just survive and get through. These things can stick with you long after you think you’ve moved past it, and sometimes they will sneak up on you when you least expect it.
It can feel like your life is just the things you’ve been through. Those hard, scary, bad things life has thrown at you.
But I want to tell you that you are so much more than your hardships and trauma. You have a future that is bright and hopeful.
“For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
These are the reminders I give myself on the hard days. As someone who has endured homelessness, sexual assault, rape, mental health struggles, children diagnosed with special needs, financial hardships, marriage struggles, and a whole host of things that I felt like I would never make it through, there are days when I just need that hope to cling to.
On the days when life feels heavy and impossible. On the days where the memories flood in and the enemy wants me to believe the lies that my worth is found in those parts of my life. On the days where my depression and anxiety clash with raising children on the autism spectrum and I don’t know how I will make it through the hour let alone the day. I remind myself that I am so much more.
I am not my traumas. I am not the hardships and struggles and bad days.
My worth is not found in these things.
It is found in God.
He is who defines me and my worth. He is who brought me through all of those awful things and He is who will continue to bring me through whatever hardships are to come. Because life is filled with ups and downs. It’s messy and chaotic. But it’s also so so beautiful. You will see the good if you choose to look for it.
So when you feel weighed down by the memories of your past and life feels heavy like a burden to bear, when you’re in the thick of it and you don’t know how you’ll get through the day—know you are not alone and give yourself some grace. Grace to grieve. Grace to feel whatever you need to feel.
And know that God is with you through it all. He has a plan and a purpose. Your life has value and meaning and is meant for so much more than whatever you are going through right now. It may feel impossible in the moment, but you will make it through. Because your hardships do not define you. God does.