Today is one of my abuser’s birthdays. It’s the one day of the year I genuinely dread. October 26th comes around and I fill it with as much goodness as possible to dull the pain. Today consisted of maximum energy spent on time with the kids, writing for seminary, running five miles, and doing chores.

However, unlike most October 26ths, I maintained a joyful attitude. My run consisted of prayers of praise. So many moments made me laugh and smile today. Yes, my medication provides me with focus and assists me in gaining perspective. But what really keeps me going is God’s relentless love for me.

When you’ve been abused, used, and neglected it is hard to see yourself as valuable. I remember hopeless moments as a child and experiencing God while unthinkable things occurred. It’s hard to describe, but I would see this ethereal light and feel an indescribable warmth. Even when I didn’t believe in Him, He saw me and comforted me. He gave and continues to give me purpose.

It helps me to know Jesus gets me because he also knew what it was like to be despised simply for being him. I am so grateful to worship a God who understands my greatest grief and turns it into the most breathtaking joy.

We live in such tense times and yet it’s nothing new. Studying Ancient Rome reminds me that human beings have been notoriously awful towards one another since jump street. Knowing this, however, does not minimize the troubling times we are in today. We need prophetic voices to tell their stories. We need the courage of survivors to remind folks of the need to address the weight we carry. We need people on the margins represented in all aspects of our daily life if we want things to get better. I share parts of my story from time to time because I believe we cannot be silent about things that matter, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

I write today as a show of solidarity to my friends and family who are going through or perhaps dealing with their past trauma. You are not alone. You are loved. You are here for a reason. I pray you might find joy in whatever grief might ail you today.

Two of my favorite people—they quite literally saved this little girl’s life 💜

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