When I took my first steps into this journey of 1,000 miles, I had no idea how much it would begin to change my life. I could not know then that I would carry so many stories and learn so much more about my own healing as I walked each mile. Up hills, around corners, through snow and slush, from winter to spring, sometimes walking, often running…I had no idea that not only would my body grow stronger, but so would my drive, discipline, and ideas.
In less than 400 miles, I have already filled my heart a million times over with stories of pain and loss, bruises and blood, but also with survival and strong will, thriving and beautiful love. The lessons keep coming.
- Healing, like going the distance, is one step at a time.
- Sometimes the journey is long and you look up and realize you haven’t gone far. Take time to look back to see how far you’ve traveled.
- Shame is heavy. Take it off and leave it.
- Some days are harder than others. They just are. Give yourself grace.
- Every story matters. All of them. There is no worse or better. There is only YOUR story, YOUR healing, YOUR journey.
- It is not a competition to heal faster than the next person. Grace to you who think you must hurry up.
- It’s OK to grieve for your childhood, your teen years, your virginity, your innocence. Whatever was taken from you, you are allowed to feel sad about it, to deal with it on your terms.
- “Pray about it” isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure. It’s damaging to tell someone if only they will pray about it, they will be healed. I believe in the power of prayer and in God, but I also believe God gave us others to help us, and that includes counselors, doctors, family, and friends. The same goes for “have faith.” Essentially, those words are telling victims they aren’t healed because they don’t have enough faith. Not true. It’s a process, not a quick fix.
- Fear is a liar. Shame is its twin. You are worthy of so much more than the lies tell you.
- No one asked to be hurt, deserved it, had it coming, brought it on, or should have, could have. The blame belongs with the abuser, not the victim.
- Not all lives will be saved or have happy endings, but we can learn from each story. And maybe, just maybe we can do better next time.
I’m not going to tell you this journey has been easy and fun. It hasn’t. There are days I don’t want to go, days I don’t want to know. I will stop reading halfway through someone’s story, or want to run when I realize they are about to tell me something painful. Pain is heavy and I carry it with me because that’s who I am. But it isn’t easy. And so, as I close in on 400 miles, with a long journey still ahead, I ask that you walk with me — in spirit, in person, in prayer, in good thoughts, and in love. In truth, we never really walk alone when we are loved, and so it is my hope that we can keep loving each other.