Since the launch of my second book, I have been absent. I have spent the last month trying to finish my third book in The Redemption Series, and I have found that this book was so much harder to write than the first two.
I am not entirely sure why. I just know that I took long breaks in between writing it to gather my thoughts, and process the emotions that this story line was drawing out of me.
I finally finished it, and I am incredibly proud of the way it turned out. The subject matter is deep and at times so heartbreaking due to the trials the character has been through.
I would like to offer my readers the first chapter and let you know that for the launch of this third book I have cut the price of my ebooks in half as well as the paperbacks. I am excited for my readers to see the resilience of Stacey and the hardships she has had to overcome in her life.
The first chapter: Therapist Scare Me
Therapists Scare Me
After what felt like a month of being under watch and guard by my daughter, son-in-love, and my sweet husband, I am finally free, free to walk outside by myself without everyone fretting over my mental health. Free to go to grocery store by myself if I wanted, of course my sweet and very protective daughter, Brittney would never allow me to go any where by myself. I feel like a rebellious teenager, whose parents think that keeping a closer eye on them will somehow prevent them from getting into trouble. Bless her heart, for at least trying to take care of me. I scared her and my husband pretty bad, and I don’t blame them for being extra cautious and watchful of me. At their request, ha! Really at their demand I have been told I have to see a therapist.
So here I am at the door of my past and the hell I have been through, and the chance to heal from it all, or to run as fast as I can for the hills. What am I going to do? I have been running from the day I realized that my life wasn’t like the other little girls in my classes, I grew up with men who came in and out of my life consistently, never staying for very long, and I hid a horrible secret. God, give me the strength to face this head on and heal from all the wounds that I have allowed to fester.
Here goes nothing, I think as I walk up to the door to open it. I pray that my knees don’t give out on me the minute I walk inside. “Welcome, you must be Stacey Mills. It is so nice to see you today. Can I get you a coffee or a tea while you wait?” The receptionist asks me as I walk in the door. So far so good, “Thank you for the offer, but no thank you.” I tell her as I sign the sign-in sheet. I turn around and find a seat. I am so nervous and can feel the sweat building on my brow. If it weren’t for the scared faces of my daughter, her husband and my husband I wouldn’t have come, but as they pointed out, I needed to find a way to heal, and I didn’t know of any other way to do that, than talk to a professional.
“Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Stone is ready for you now. Right this way please.” The receptionist says, as she leads me to Mrs. Stone’s office. With every step I can feel my courage leave, and I honestly don’t know if I am going to be able to do this. This is going to be the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, but in the end I hope it is worth it. There are some things that shouldn’t be revisited, no matter the reason.
“Good morning, Mrs. Mills. My name is Margie Stone and I will be talking with you this morning. I understand that you have had quite a few restless nights, the last couple of months. Before we get to the core of your visit, one of the things I like to do with my patients, is get to know them. I like to find out if they have family, if they like their current job, just something simple before we attack the harder issues. How does that sound?” I looked at Mrs. Stone and felt a little at ease. Knowing that she wouldn’t throw me into the deep end of the pool of memories. “Good Morning Mrs. Stone. I am a wife, mother and a grandma. I married the love of my life, later in life. I have one daughter whose the biggest reason I am here. She and her husband have four precious babies here on earth and two in heaven. I thoroughly enjoy being a grandma, and I love each of my grandbabies the same, despite what they would tell you.” Margie looked at me and smiled, “I too am a momma and a grandma. I love all of my babies, the ones I birthed and my grandbabies. It’s a wonderful thing to be a grandma.” I was surprised to find out she was a grandma too. She must have seen my surprise because she went on to explain, “My oldest started when she was still in High School. It wasn’t what her daddy and I would have wanted for her, but she has always forged her own path. I see now that God had a plan and a way to use her missteps as a way to minister to other teenage mommas. She’s very good at it too, and is able to go into the high school and talk to the young girls and boys about sex and the consequences. I am very proud of her, she could have fallen and refused to get up, but she didn’t.” I smiled. She got out a tape recorder, and looked at my fearful eyes, “I record all my therapy sessions with my patient’s. It makes it easier to get through the whole hour without the interruption of a pen and paper. Plus I get to really focus on your body language, because often our body language says so much more than our brain allows our mouths to.” “Okay, that makes sense, I guess. You’re the professional.” She chuckles, “I am a professional, but that doesn’t mean I am any different than you. I want you to come in here and feel like your safe, it is important that you understand that you are safe here. It is also important to understand that I will never push you beyond what you can handle, and everyone is different. Some people can dive right in to the core issues and the reason they are here to see me, others take a little more time and encouragement. You will discover where you fit in, just know that it’s okay if you don’t fit the typical mold.” I inhaled a deep breath and let it go, “How does this work?” I ask. She smiles at me with compassion and sincerity in her eyes, “We will start with why you are here, which as I understand is because you’ve been having some nightmares. Let’s start there. When did the nightmares start, Mrs. Mills?”
Oh Lord here we go, jumping off the diving board into my past. “Please call me Stacey, and they started about 2 years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer, and lost her sixth baby due to complications of the cancer.” Tears pooled in my eyes, not quite falling form my eyes. She said, “Take your time, Stacey. Allow yourself to feel every emotion as you talk about it. The more you allow yourself to feel these emotions the greater chance you have of moving on from each incident. I am not suggesting that you will ever completely get over everything you have experienced in life, but talking about it will be easier, and you’ll be able to do that without crying, or without feeling like your insides are turning. Trauma has a way of making us feel trapped in our own bodies, and we when we talk about it we are releasing the bricks, or the stones used to build up the walls, that have kept the emotions from coming out.”
I took another deep breath and continued, “The nightmares happen every night just about, and they are about the abuse I endured as a child, and as an adult. I have never told anyone about my childhood, not even my husband, because of the shame I carry, but more than that because I have never been able to say the words out loud, for fear that the men who abused my momma, and I would come back to hurt me again. I understand that the probability of that happening is not likely since I am an adult, but the fear is still there. I made a lot of mistakes in my life and some of them affected my daughter. I don’t know that I can do this, but I know I don’t have any other choice.”
Once again she looked at me with eyes of compassion and sincerity in her eyes, “Stacey, this may very well be the hardest thing that you have ever done in your life, but I promise we will go slow and take our time, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and so that we don’t push your brain too much. More than likely the reason that these nightmares have started is because you experienced something equally traumatic recently as you did as a child. But I also believe that it has something to do with your husband. When our brain can sense that we are in a safe place, it will allow us to have flashbacks, which are meant to help us heal. Unfortunately they are often more painful than the trauma itself. I think that because you finally found someone who you know will never hurt you, your brain feels that it is finally safe enough to let go. This is a good thing, and now we are tasked with helping it let go completely and safely.” “So my brain is trying to heal itself?” I ask Mrs. Stone. “Yes, in a way it is. Sometimes when we are exposed to physical and mental trauma the physical scars heal, but the mental and emotional trauma we experienced is kept hidden until we can deal with it later, and for some people they never get there, they never feel safe enough to let go.”
I looked up at her and asked, “Am I going to survive this?” Concerned she stands up and asks me to join her, “One thing I should have mentioned in the beginning that I failed to do was let you know I pray with my patients before and after each appointment. What we talk about in the room is between you, God, and me. He has to be the focal point as far as I am concerned or things don’t flow as well. So before we close our first appointment, would you like to pray together?” I nodded and she immediately began, “Dear heavenly father we come before you this morning, and we thank you for bringing Stacey in to see us. You know her whole story and you know the pain that has kept her from experiencing total freedom in you, and in life. We thank you for your guidance and direction in each of our appointments. We give each and every appointment to you and ask that your presence and your Holy Spirit will lead us. In your Holy Name, Amen.” “Amen.”
“Let’s go and get your next appointment booked for later this week. I want to see you at the very least 3 times per week. We have a lot of work to do, and I want to make sure you get some sleep soon. I will prescribe an anti-anxiety med that will help with your sleep, if you are interested.” “No thank you.” I politely declined. I didn’t want to rely on meds to get through this I wanted to rely on God and His help.
“Okay, well if you change your mind, the offer for the meds is still available. I will see you in two days. Have a good rest of your day. It was a pleasure getting to meet you.” “Thank you.”
I turned around and left for my car. I had no idea how the rest of our appointments would go, but I knew they would be filled with pain, heartache, shame, and awful memories. I felt a calming feeling take over my thoughts and my mind. I knew it was God reminding me that my shame was laid at His feet, and that he didn’t see my shame when He looked at me, and neither did my family. He saw a woman who had been redeemed in His blood.
I was exhausted and ready for bed, but I didn’t think I would sleep a wink if I tried to take a nap, so I drove to the only place where my heart feels full and overjoyed, my daughter’s house. My grandbabies knew how to cheer and old grandma up, and my daughter would want me to check in. I thanked God that despite all the horrible choices I made when she was growing up, that she still loved me and wanted a relationship with me. I loved that girl more than life itself.