When I  moved to Virginia I met a couple that I have remained friends with to this day. My neighbor, Monica, came over a few days after I had Makenzie. She sat with my mother and I for a long while getting acquainted. Her husband was deployed so she understood what it was like to feel a little lonely. We became fast friends. She brought me breakfast in the mornings after both our sons were on the bus to school. Malachi and Griffin ran between our yards while we sat on the patio chatting. She became a safe place for me. The days before my mother had to leave to return home for good, she made Monica promise to check in on me and make sure I was okay.

Monica took this job pretty seriously. If I didn’t answer she came over. She was determined to make sure I knew I had support even though I was far from home. Our nights on the patio, random phone calls, and dinners together became something I truly looked forward to.  I was one of the first people she called when she learned that TJ was coming home early.

I was beyond excited.

I knew how badly she missed having him home. She told me that she’d mentioned our budding friendship to him so he was really looking forward to meeting me too. One of the very first interactions we had centered on the amount of deer in our suburbia neighborhood. Whether prancing around the front yard, scattering across the street, or monuments in the backyard, the deer randomly appeared everywhere.

Evidently there’s a certain time of the year when there are several accidents because of the sporadic nature of deer. I asked him if he knew the areas we should avoid. I certainly didn’t want to have an accident with the kids. He said that the city’s animal control was pretty thorough about removing the bodies, but they post warning signs.

“They’re pretty committed to leaving the city clean.” He said.

What if we were as thorough with our hearts as we are with the other areas of our lives? The moment a casualty interrupts the beauty of our external existence we do whatever we can to fix it. When our hearts have been scarred we keep the pain in our minds. Insisting on engraining  trauma so deeply that we lose the ability to see who we were created  to be.

The pain overwhelms us and we bleed.

Underneath our beautiful smiles, impressive clothes, and perfect life we lose ourselves completely. If there was a reminder on the outside of all the pain we keep on the inside the world would see just how many accidents we’ve had. They’d see how many times we lied. He’d know exactly when you stopped being able to love. They could tell that you’re biting your lip begging the tears to stay in. She’d know all about the secrets you held as a little boy. In the depths of our heart we hold the secrets that stopped us.

We don’t care to clean up the remains of our tarnished hopes and dreams. We build a memorial in our heart to the things that threatened to kill us, then ask the world to tell us we’re beautiful. We choose to let the remnants of our pain block what used to be beauty rather than risk being scarred again.  It’s so easy to be afraid. Sure we may not gain anything by not trying, but it beats losing.

Again.

…and again…and again

Right? I guess the city knows something that we’re still trying to infuse into our souls. You never know when or where the trauma will occur, but refusing to clean it up doesn’t keep it from happening again. Although, we can learn to be more careful each time. Why do we insist on making our agony a shrine when it was just meant to be a warning sign? Our mistakes are servants to our destiny, yet we insist on making them our masters. That situation introduced you to a piece of you, you never knew existed. Yet you can’t stop focusing on the delivery long enough to get the lesson.

In the long run one thing takes precedent: the potential for beauty.

If we are to maintain our joy and hope of becoming new through Him we must choose to live purely again. We have to ignore the fears that dare to become our god and dare to believe. His picture for our lives is so much bigger than the memories of what we should have done differently.

Each day is an opportunity to decide how we can right our wrongs and become better. When the shock has settled and time has moved on we must decide. Will we move on or live trapped in the four walls of a dream we were denied?

You will never get back the time you’re wasting lamenting your sorrow.

God, help us to no longer be bound. We have too long tasted the bitterness of our loss. It’s so easy for others to say move on, but God if I could I would. Order my steps. I no longer want to be trapped in the painful recollections of my history. I may have been the victim, but  I survived. Now, please, show me how to live again. Show me how to remove the root of this depression. I want to find my joy again. Teach me how to process the heartaches of life and simply turn the memories into  warning signs..

About The Author

Sarah Jakes

Sarah Jakes oversees the women's ministry at The Potter's House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She regularly blogs at sarahjakes.com and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter's Touch.

47 Responses

  1. Cat Peoples

    Thank you for this Sarah! Sometimes we find ourselves in a place so low and we didn’t see it coming… You look up, and you’re wondering ” how did I get to this place of sorrow” …especially during a time that is meant to be beautiful…. Hhmmmm I’m on a journey of figuring out how to process the heartaches… Thank u xoxo

    Reply
  2. Michele

    Sarah …. OMG this has brought tears to my eyes at 4:33 this morning. So many times we go through what seems to be such a traumatic situation in our lives and we feel as though we will never make a comeback from it when that very thing that we went through was already destined to happen for the designing of our Awesome future.

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  3. Char

    On another sleepless night, I am thankful to have come across this post. God bless you as you continue to touch the lives of women to overcome depression and to seek the joy that only He can give.

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  4. Chanteea

    Oh Sarah!!! How wonderful it is to hear your heart speak! I was reading my WTAL bible this morning and after reading your post what I read came back to my mind…..THE PAIN AND THE PROMISE! God is definitely trying to birth something through you honey! Your father penned these words that I pray lifts your heart as it has lifted mine many a day… “Birthing- everything you bring forth- comes through sorrow. You will enter strength through sorrow. Sorrow is not the object; it is simply the canal through which the object comes. Any time you have sorrow, it is a sign that God is trying to birth something through you and to you. Dont become so occupied with the pain that you forget to push that baby out. God is about to birth a promise in you!” ~Bishop TD Jakes
    Be encoraged sis, your in transistion, just remember to PUSH!! God Bless you!!! ~ Chanteea~

    Reply
  5. Stephanie Taylor

    What a beautiful spirit you are Ms. Sarah this really help me I have been in recovery now for two years after my marriage ended recovery from the pain of the loss and where I went wrong although I have learned a great deal this blog has given remarkable insight and it’s time for me to live again!
    Thanks so much! Feeling really blessed by your wisdom!

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  6. MissTVJ

    Thanks for such inspiring words!….. They are hitting me like a ton of bricks this morning after not getting much rest. I have experienced trauma in my life within the last year that has shaken me to the core and I have been struggling to get back to “happy”. The day to day struggle of fighting depression and negative thoughts can be so overwhelming at times. Your ending prayer is resounding with me so much because I have been wallowing in my pain and not using it to propell me forward. OMG… I was just journaling the other day asking God “help me get my joy back because I am tired!”…I need to focus on the fact that I made it through the trauma and heartache, so I am a survivor and not a victim! God is so good and does not give us more than we can handle!

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  7. ashley

    This is a great message. I believe our healing can truly come when we can be open and transparent about the struggle/pain/issue/hurt/trial that we are dealing with. I am not necessarily saying put your business out to others but if that helps by all means do it but I mean be transparent with God He already knows. He is waiting with open arms to take what we see as something shameful and turn it into a master piece for His glory.

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  8. MARY

    Why do we insist on making our agony a shrine? Sarah this statement SCREAMED AT MET!

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  9. Dalya White

    Sarah, I can’t even articulate the awesome timing of this blog as it relates to my life right now. God is so good and so very mindful of what we need at the exact time we need it. My life here in Va. took a sudden shift after I returned from Megafest. A total collision with destiny, if I may steal the title of your book!!!
    “Why do we insist on making our agony a shrine when it was just meant to be a warning sign? Our mistakes are servants to our destiny, yet we make them our masters” <<<<<<< THAT just shook me to the core!!!! Thank you for allowing God to use you and for being obedient to speak to me through this blog. My God I feel like running

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  10. Rosiland

    Its always a blessing to hear the truth, and twice the blessing to use what you hear, thanking you Sarah for sharing.

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  11. Gisele

    This got me: What if we were as thorough with our hearts as we are with the other areas of our lives?
    I think of how thorough I am with my external self but not as much with my internal self. I spend more time exercising my external when I should be doing the same with my heart and soul. Thank you very much Sarah, for always being candid. You share your pain with such grace that can only come from God. Appreciate you big time. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
    what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9 Sis, keep pressing on… Be blessed

    Reply
  12. Name *tonya

    This was a blessing.I’m at a point where I know I’m stuck in this state of bitterness and stuck because my heart is scarred.I will never get back these days I’ve wasted being sorrowful and will never move forward where I know God has a great plan for me. I pray daily that God would order my steps and take away the pain but I keep swallowing in the hurt.in the words of tasha cobbs I will break every chain that has me bound and becomen the free servant of God! Thank you

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  13. Tameka

    Awesome! I had to hold back the tears at work, but I am strengthened. Thank you Sarah.

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  14. April

    Sarah!! I admire your courage to move from pain to purpose!! We can go thru something’s in life that literally knock the wind out of us. I experience a series catastrophic events I lost my mother and aunt 3 months apart. In the mist of that while serving in ministry was wounded by leadership. I did not realize I was bleeding because pain became normal to me. In the mist of all I have been through I am healing on the inside I am allowing God to heal my heart so I can trust again love as Jesus loves!!! My pain has purpose!!

    Sincerely,
    April

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  15. Barbara

    God bless you Sarah, continue to let God use you. We have to pay attention to our warning signs. They correct our lives. Reminds us not to go back down that dark road again. God is great!!!!!

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  16. Carolyn

    So beautiful !!been there done that,there’s a pain that there’s no words or medication can fix ,you can’t push thru it or rush it because there is a process you have to go thru,you can’t have the promise without the process, you have to go thru hurting wounded and tired, feels like the Pain intensifies day by day ,it really does stop ,u want realize when it happens..I learn from my own painful situation that we’re not suppose too fix all the pain and Suffering we go thru sometime
    it’s suppose to fix us…..Our god is healer TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!.

    Reply
  17. Prisca Hazvizikani Matongo

    Sarah you always relate to my life and I find a lot of strength and insipiration from your blogs. God bless you.

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  18. A. Jeannine

    Thank you for this! It was so on time and I thank God that I’m no longer bound by my past “would ifs” and are using them as warning signs!! Be blessed!

    Reply
  19. Jessica

    Well written and simple but powerful prayer that hits it right on the mark. I had to make note where you wrote “Yet you can’t stop focusing on the delivery long enough to get the lesson.” I have a habit of rehersing things I’d done wrong or thought I could’ve done that better or another way, and it bugs me. I literally had to tell myself, “we’re not going over that again. I just want to thank you for sharing your thoughts w/ us. Keep being open and real, youre helping someone.
    :) Jess

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  20. Mary

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings… “Will we move on or live trapped in the four walls of a dream we were denied?” This just hit me, I literally read this like 5 times without really letting it settle in. I have been so concerned about the dream I feel I was denied that I need to let myself out of this trap. I need to move on, just like you said, it is easier said than done. I need God’s help too..just like you said it perfectly, God’s help to learn to live again. God show us how to find our joy again… Thank you Sarah! I cannot wait to get my hands on your book. Your story is helping me so much and many others as well. God Bless.

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  21. Pamela Wright

    Thank you Sarah..I’m in a situation like this right now. I keep rehearsing the pain in my mind. As much as I try 2 forget it, it comes back. Do I wanna get passed this, yes I do, is it hard, yes it is. I always hear peoplel say how they’ve been hurt by church members, I know now how that feels. Only God can help me!!!!

    Reply
  22. Chelmek

    Wow!!! What a blessing you are to us who walk around with deep heary-wrenching pain. . I just prayed a prayer today about the condition of my heart ……@ look God sent you

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  23. Noldine Joseph

    Thank you for your encouraging word. It’s hard as young girl getting criticize by other people, especially being a Haitian girl, it’s so much easier to just put on a smile when deep down I’m really hurt.
    My prayer is for God to order my steps and help me to be more confident in myself.
    God bless you!!

    Reply
  24. BRE

    WOW! Sarah, your words brought tears to my eyes. I cannot stop crying. I left a relationship of verbal abuse and I just can’t stop thinking about what I went through. I talk about it over and over again. I too want God to completely heal me and remove the deep pain and the thick wall I have built around my heart. Thank you for your honesty!!! Thank you!

    Reply
  25. kimberly.morgan.1297@facebook.com

    I suppose moving on should be a little easier because what I’ve gone through has made me stronger and less afraid. Depression is very powerful and you just can’t snap out of it if its severe. Asking God to give my joy back is a something I didn’t do. I now realize that it’s going to take faith and severe work. These prayers that you posted are some that I will use continually. Thanks for sharing. I need more.

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  26. Ene

    All I can say is Thank God for using Sarah .

    I have been through so much in life. It’s as if challenges, pain, sorrow, humiliation, heartbreak etc don’t seem to come to an end. So I can never gain back the time wasted lamenting and dwelling in the hurts of the past??
    I do check your blog every morning, and here comes this succor for me………The warning sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    God bless you.

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  27. Zion

    You write so well and articulate your thoughts systematically. May GOD BLESS YOU and continue to use you for His glory.

    Reply
  28. Willian

    Hello Sarah, I’m William, I’m from Brazil, I’m Christian Assembly of God church, I was on twitter when I found you. Here in Brazil is 06:50 in the morning, and right now I just read the text above, and found it very interesting, and God continue to bless you today and always.

    Reply
  29. Kesha

    This post RIGHT HERE, hit home. These are the words to what I have been experiencing for the past 2 1/2 years. Sometimes I felt as if I was scratching and clawing to “regain my purity.” Only God could send me to this post on today! I wanted to read it on the day it was posted but had technical difficulties but God shall and does supply ALL my needs. This post was what I needed, once again. I have work to do but with God nothing impossible. Thank you again Sarah for sharing.

    Reply
  30. NoMoreShackles!

    As I was reading and trying to receive what you were saying. I realize that everything that you were saying is what I am going through. Everyday this year, this month has been a struggle that I have never experience. I’ve shared things with ppl I care about but it’s like the devil is using it against me. Anyway, I’m so grateful to be able to read what you are sharing and try my best to keep fighting for my freedom, so I can be a testimony for my nieces and nephew. Some days I feel so alone and I feel like I can’t trust anyone anymore… I’m in a place where I know God wants me to step out, but I’m struggling wondering if I’m going to be able to do it. Please pray for me and I will continue praying for You… God Bless

    Reply
  31. Carla Carter

    Thank you for always allowing the Lord to use you to be a true blessing by turning your pain into purpose!

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  32. carlean

    Sarah God knew he could entrust you with what you went through that your pain would be the conduit of comfort and hope. I could hear God say Sarah comfort ye my people ,oh for the shame Christ endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. it is Good that you allowed your pain to Reign in away that the purpose of your call to be resonated more then that which people consider a fall. Reign Daughter of Rispah and wave over your sacrfice that the buzzards of this world will see that indeed you have found peace and rest and purpose.Let God blood speak for you. Thank you for the tranparency of your life and thhe witness that allis not lost in the master hand and that is where you are reining in his hand. God bless you!

    Reply
  33. Blessed Indeed

    “Why do we insist on making our agony a shrine when it was just meant to be a warning sign? Our mistakes are servants to our destiny. . .His picture for our lives is so much bigger than the memories of what we should have done differently.”

    This really spoke to me! So beautifully stated and so true. Thank you for sharing! God bless you!!

    http://bindeed.blogspot.com

    Reply

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