When You Are Not Okay

Band-aid pic

My daughter came to me wearing a frown as she carried her favorite stuffed animal, Chickie. When you love something hard it’s bound to fray, sometimes in the same place where the first wound originated. Chickie has required multiple surgeries and so have I. What I have been through physically is a drop in the bucket compared to dear friends who have wrestled with cancer and won. I started writing seriously seven years ago, before then I was just playing. Prayer journals and angry poetry placed at my bedside as I dealt with miscarriages, surgeries, and tests that hurt so badly that I would fold in the elevator only to stand when the door opened. I never wanted anyone to see me folded and weak. I always found a way to stand back up, sometimes only in my spirit. And sometimes I had to receive a hand and help to stand upright. Sometimes we just need help.

Six years ago I was recovering from an emergency surgery. I had two weeks to prepare beforehand and I was trying my best to figure out another option other than what my doctor strongly suggested.

“It’s now or later…how long do you want to suffer?” I would never recommend this surgery to a thirty-one-year-old unless it was needed.” I nodded; scared to death as he set the date and I emotionally ran away.

With several staged interventions of loved ones and friends, I folded again and surrendered to the cutting of surgery and process of healing afterwards. But I wasn’t ready for the fear that was surfacing and the nightmares that happened as I drifted off to sleep. This peaceful sleeper began to fight and scream with terrors. My husband would rush to my side and one time had to physically pick me up and put me back in the bed. We were both terrified and knew this was not normal for me; I was running scared even in my sleep. I had just finished my second novel and had found an editor in California that I was going to work with. But I was a rag doll who needed to be fixed with torn places no one could see, both on my heart and in body. I had started loosing weight yet looked like I was with child. What once brought death and miscarried dreams, brought forth life in abundance and my body was worn out from the aftermath. Something had to give.

So I stopped writing fiction all together because the first novel that I wrote awakened memories I wasn’t ready to deal with, so I put it down and declared it an ADD train wreck on paper. The surgery happened, I recovered slowly and ended up back in the hospital fighting an infection. I’ve always been the girl who never liked to slow down, especially if it was forced. Yet being forced to slow down was the best thing for my health and my heart. Now I make rest and taking care of myself a priority. I stopped running, I asked those really hard questions like…how old was I when my mom placed two brown-eyed-girls in a car and drove off to find the three of us a safe place? Where was our family in all of this? Where was God?

I acknowledged that what happened to her and to us was not okay as I forgave again and rejected bitterness. Again. God was always right there leading my mom, carrying her as she cried and fought for her girls. It seems like there has to be a good reason for running and hiding and pauses for healing both physically and spiritually. And so I did all of that really well and gave myself room to retrace broken places in my past. I kept a few people at arms length until I healed. I gave myself permission to not be okay until one day I really was okay and better than ever. And as I sit here with the sun on my face and joy in my heart, I can tell you with confidence that God heals your broken past and gives you a stronger, clearer voice with beautiful things to say if you let Him.

It’s okay to run from the things that hurt you, or the people, as long as you always find yourself running to God who makes forgiveness actually attainable instead of a nice thought. God can mend broken homes and hearts and sometimes He gives you an open door and a trusted friend to wrap their arms around you and help you cry a little, or a lot, as you come up for air before you lace up your running shoes.

Broken Girl,

Please don’t stay broken. Ask those hard questions, let God mend your torn places. Do it for your daughters, do it for your sons. Do it for you. I’m convinced that we travel back and forth from broken places and seasons, we are never really exempt from hard, tattered places…and so we run like rag dolls and let God do His surgery. We let Him unfold our fetal position posture and we stand stronger and there we find Him waiting with healing in His wings.

Praying over you today, we love you so much.

Unfolded and free,

Jennifer Renee


Thanks for running away, because you were brave enough and always put us first…we have a pretty stellar life. You’re worth more than rubies to me and still a total fox. I love you. I plan on taking good care of you when you’re an old lady. It was always the three of us against the world, The Three Musketeers with cute hair and a God who never failed us. We are so blessed.


Your Firstborn

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4 thoughts on “When You Are Not Okay

  1. Jennifer — My heart is quivering with the decision to laugh or cry, to run from pain again or to embrace healing. Yet I know already the right choice will be made. Whether it be laughter or tears, I will choose to embrace healing. It’s just that sometimes when I think the healing is complete, I discover another tender spot. I wince with pain. I catch my breath. And once again I face the choice to run or to embrace. Thank you for the reminder to embrace healing.

    • Saying a prayer for you as you embrace complete healing, sometimes it’s a gradual process, but so worth it. There is always purpose through the pain, you are not alone!

      Love & prayers,

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