August has been an especially challenging month for me and my family. Multiple losses, loved ones suffering, the death of my beloved aunt — it has been very hard. My PTSD, which was largely healed thanks to a lot of good talk therapy and neurofeedback treatments, has suffered some setbacks as a result.
In addition to everything else, I am still working on the first draft of my memoir. Writing every single day, at least a few dozen words per day. At the beginning of this month, I reached the part in my memoir story where I had to write about the most painful thing that has ever happened in my life. As I wrote about it, I relived the horror of that experience all over again.
I have learned that when I am hurting, the first thing I need to do is pray. I have been praying a lot since I started writing my memoir.
One morning, while I was in the middle of writing about my life’s most traumatizing experience, I took a break and went out into the back yard with our two dogs. After doing some clean-up work in the yard, I walked down to the alley to throw trash into a dumpster. As I walked back up the alley along the edge of our yard, I saw something lying on the ground. Thinking it was a piece of trash, I bent down and picked it up, intending to toss it into the dumpster.
But it wasn’t trash. It was a very thin piece of tree bark that someone had cut into the shape of a heart. It has been painted red on one side, and these words are painted in white script, on top of the red paint:
Jesus Loves You.
This sweet work of art is smaller than the palm of my hand and probably doesn’t weigh much more than a single sheet of paper. We had several big thunderstorms in the days before I found it lying in our yard, storms with high winds, heavy rains, and hail. How did this delicate little Valentine survive all those storms? And how did it end up in our yard, on a day when I REALLY needed to focus on God’s love?
No, I don’t need a red heart with those words painted on it, to tell me that the God I believe in and serve, really does love me. But oh, what a wonderful feeling it gave me to find this precious message, on the day when I was writing about my worst trauma ever.
Yes — Jesus loves me! And He loves you, just as much! We are all going through hard times right now. But this isn’t the end of our story. 😀 ❤❤❤