This summer, I experienced life changing events that swept me deeper into a void of thrashing waves of grief. With each tragedy that came upon me, I felt the waves of change burying me deeper and deeper into loss. I was slowly losing myself in my circumstances. I knew I needed to do something to access the light and strength within me. So, I prayed and prayed for answers and when I sat in the stillness of God’s presence, he whispered into my heart the answer. He had put a magnetic pull in my heart to immerse myself into nature. Into somewhere I had never been before. Into somewhere I was supposed to go earlier in the year. Into somewhere where I could go outside myself and be a support for one of my close friends. The pull only grew stronger as the weeks passed. I knew that was a fundamental key to access the peace and answers I had been searching for. So, I booked a one-way ticket to Portland, Oregon and pursued this new adventure.

The moment I stepped onto the plane, I knew I was headed toward healing. As I looked out the window and above the clouds, I felt an overwhelming wave of empowerment wash over me. I had faced my fear of flying alone head on, knowing that the other side would be a stronger version of myself. A version that I would be proud of. A version that would thank me later on.

As we drove through the different colored trees, I watched how the sun would trickle sunlight on the ripples in the river near the road. I felt instantly peace. It was as if I had left all my grief in San Diego. It was as if all my worries had washed away, leaving me only with a peaceful confirmation that everything was going to be okay. I felt all my burdens release as I inhaled the fresh smell of pine trees. I felt I was in another land where I could face my grief from a different perspective. A perspective of rationality and healing. I felt I was being directed back home to myself as the days passed. As the hikes into nature, and the sight of waterfalls immersed my senses, I felt God’s presence. The beauty of nature was so majestic. I felt like my problems were so miniscule in the greater depth of nature. Nature was calling me to it, and I had answered.

Being immersed with not only nature but my friends 24/7, was exactly what was missing from the equation. It shifted my heart to a state of gratitude of what I did have, rather than a perspective of what I had lost that summer. Being away on my own for a month taught me how to stand strong again. Realizations of how I lost myself to my circumstances and fear flooded through me, washing away what was, by creating a new way of what is. By removing myself from the control that my mind had over me in grief, I found freedom in peace and the assurance that God is a good father. And even though my life had shifted things and people that I loved deeply out of it so abruptly, the goodness of God still remained. Through every tear I shed these past months, came a stronger loving embrace from God. Through my brokenness, his light pierced through the cracks of my spirit, shining light on the new growth he was planting inside of me all along. God never left my side.

Witnessing one of my best friends live her life for her daughter, despite the incredible challenges she faced inspired me. Seeing her fight and carry on reminded me, no matter what happens in this life, life goes on. This trip changed me. It exposed truths within me that had been buried deep that I had never exposed. This trip exposed the core wounds within my spirit that were cracked open this summer. This trip brought realizations of where I am in my life, and where I want and need to be. It brought light to the darkness that chained me to the past. I learned that when tragedy occurs, and it feels time is standing still, I am never alone. The people around me needed me to find my way out of my grief, to be the person they needed during their difficult times. Being stuck in my grief prevented me from fully being what I needed to be for others, for God, and for myself. I wasn’t present, I was just moving through the motions, and mentally stuck in the pile of losses that occurred in that short time span. I was standing still in my pain. Unable to move forward into awareness and healing. It was in the pursuit of peace from months of heavy grief, that I found the pathway to healing from my pain. It was the tragedies that broke open the core wounds inside of me that I had repressed for many years. Those events needed to take place in order for me to truly heal and transform and grow into the woman I am designed to become. It was in this realization that the events that took place truly helped bring awareness of what needed to be changed and healed in myself. The events were catalysts of change for my life. They needed to occur for me to move forward into the next phase of my life. A phase of prosperity and promises gifted from God. It was in the brokenness of those dreams that I was humbly re-directed back to the path of my destiny. It was in the exploration of this new land in the Pacific Northwest, where I found my peace and purpose again. And it was in my faith in God’s love and goodness, where I was healed and learned how to overcome what was trying to bury me and distract me from my path.

Discovering Oregon and Washington redirected me back to what is truly important in this life: relationship with others, relationship with nature, relationship with God, and the relationship I have with myself. Life was never promised to be without pain and suffering and grief, but it’s what we do with that pain that contributes to what defines us.

So, with that said, just let go, and let God renew you with unconditional love and peace through each trial you face. In him you will find the courage to overcome what burdens you and finally be set free into new found strength.

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