I turned the key in the door and walked into my home. We had just returned from the airport, and it was very late. I turned on the light and immediately noticed a chair was out of place next to a cupboard. Strange. I looked to the right. All the bikes were gone. One of my kids began to cry. We had been robbed.
I was up until 3 am cleaning up the mess. The robbers had emptied every drawer in the house, looking for valuables. I slept uneasily for a few hours. The next morning I got up, reported the robbery, and went to my biopsy appointment. Over the past several months, a large tumor had been growing on my thyroid. I’d waited many weeks for the biopsy and was anxious to get it done and eventually get the results. After my appointment, I went straight to work and saw five clients. The sessions went well, but I was tired by the end of the day.
Perhaps you have had seasons like this. Seasons where it seems the world is against you. Tragedy befalls tragedy, or sickness follows loss. You get through the hard days by sheer willpower but are exhausted.
Do not diminish your pain. It is easy to look around and think others suffer more than you. I know because I often feel the same. However, if we ignore our pain, we will grow weary and be less able to care for others. We can’t heal from what we don’t acknowledge. When we recognize our needs and our pain, then healing begins.
Arielle Schwartz, a trauma-informed psychologist, states, “Resilience is an ability to flexibly adapt to challenging, adverse, or traumatic life events.” Cultivating resilience requires caring for oneself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. What are your needs in each of these areas? In what areas are you in need of healing?
After a month of waiting and further tests, the results ultimately showed that the tumor was thyroid cancer, but likely treatable. There were a lot of unknowns. I rode a 100-mile bike race a few days later and truly wasn’t sure if it would be my last. The day before the surgery, scans suggested the cancer hadn’t spread far, although the surgeons would need to test several more lymph nodes during the surgery to be sure. The next day I underwent surgery. When I woke up, they told me I was cancer free.
I could not have endured this stressful season if I did not believe I had worth. Regardless of however many tragedies befall me, I am a child of God. Every person has value and dignity. We are all created equal, in God’s image, and worthy of love. The Christian Scripture tells us in 1 John 4:19, “We love because God first loved us.”
During my own difficult season these past several months, I received every kind word, check-in, and “I’m praying for you” offered to me as signs I am loved. I continued to care for myself and release stress by exercising daily. If I hadn’t cared for myself, I could not have continued to show up well for my clients and family.
I do not know what the future holds. But by God’s grace, and with that deep indescribable peace, I embrace each day with gratitude. Life is a gift, and I want to make the most of each day I am given. May that same peace be with you as you enter into this season with awareness of your own needs and self-worth, knowing you are loved by God.
Wendy Jacobsen is licensed as an LMFT in Alabama and California. She has also worked extensively with couples and in community mental health with people of all ages. She is a Level 1 trained PACT therapist. Wendy’s therapeutic approach is trauma-informed, humanistic, and multicultural. Therapeutic modalities she utilizes are trauma-informed, evidence-based and incorporated as determined by the client’s needs. These include Trauma-Focused CBT, psychobiological approach to couples therapy (PACT), somatic mindfulness, and attachment-based therapy.