A Story of Trauma Healing and Purpose to Inspire Your Journey

A client recently said to me: “I just wish I could hear some stories … stories about other people who found their purpose and the difference in their trauma recovery and their lives.”

I immediately understood the request, because I remember when I was embarking on the journey of finding my purpose, and wishing I could hear some stories.

It inspired me to begin gathering some stories from people who had attended my Power of Purpose workshops.

After sending an initial query to some of the wonderful people I had met from all over the world, I was pleasantly surprised by the responses of  eager willingness to inspire others with their stories.

It was so exciting that I decided to re-launch the program.

I had done it dozens of times a year … at least. And often 4-5 x a month.

I had a dream of having my Mother attend one of my programs. For years, there was a website: www.WhereInTheWorldIsDrNeecie.com that my team set up specifically for her.

She would know where I was and pray for the program and the people who attended it. I wanted her to see and experience it for herself.

The dream came true, and she was the most vibrant participant in the room! Shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with cancer, and fought an amazing fight. I slowed my schedule to spend time with her.

Then there was COVID … and it seemed it was over.

However, my purpose isn’t over!

The enthusiasm that poured forth

because of my query re-ignited my passion!

I sent the past participants who had responded a few questions to get the process of sharing their stories started. Then I wondered the best way to articulate what would be most helpful to people like you.

I reached back to the client who had inspired the process and asked him what would be most helpful. His quick response guided me well: “Oh, I don’t know … what was their trauma, what’s their purpose, and what difference did it make?”

I was very grateful for the guidance and would love to share a few stories with you over the coming weeks.

My hopes and prayers are that it will be helpful to you in your process of finding and living your purpose.

1. What was your trauma?

I will begin my sharing with Suzanne because she attended the very first Power of Purpose program I delivered.

Suzanne had grown up in a very religious home. Her mom and dad were both involved in ministry but had a terrible marriage. 

There was often yelling, throwing, and breaking things. She shared that one morning her mother had shattered a glass coffee carafe after her dad had told her how fat she was.

When these moments occurred, Suzanne would hide in her closet as a little girl.

Then the “unthinkable” happened. Her mom and dad decided to divorce, which (at that time) would end both of their ministries.

They did indeed divorce but decided it would remain a secret so that their ministries could continue. Suzanne was not allowed to tell anyone, nor have friends over to their home.

Her parents lived in separate rooms, and one of them was usually gone. Yet on Sundays, they showed up as “one happy family.”

She wrote: “My whole life was a lie. I hated it. I hated God, because in my mind I thought it was because of him; I was forced to live a lie.”  

“I watched my mother wither away. I could see she was afraid, lonely, depressed. When I asked why she was so sad, she would just stare into the distance. My mother who was once vibrant and fun, withdrew into a place that I could never go and find her. I raised myself.”

“My dad was mostly gone and I’m fairly sure there were multiple women involved. I was actually glad, because it meant he was gone, and at least the yelling stopped.”

“I raised myself. And did a poor job. I had no moral compass and ended up pregnant at age 17. Because it was a ‘disgrace’ to them, I was sent away to a home for pregnant girls, and threatened with my life if I told anyone I was pregnant. I would just return in 8 months as if nothing happened.”

“Thankfully, something wonderful happened to me at the ‘home for pregnant girls.’ Someone told me that my parents couldn’t force me to give up my baby. I had no idea I could choose to keep my baby. With just 2 months left before his birth, I wrote my parents a letter and informed them of my decision.”

“They told me to make a life for myself and that I could never return.”

“By that time, I was relieved. I had no idea what I would do. But I was determined that somehow, I could do it!”

“The people at the home helped me reach out to my boyfriend. I found out he’d been searching for me but was told I had mental problems and was sent to an institution.”

“He and his family came to visit me with loving acceptance.”

“Long story short … they moved from our small town to another town. After our son was born, they helped us put together a little wedding, and gave us a place to live while we both grew up.”

“I was a terrible-hot-mess! But they loved me, accepted me, and helped me find my way.”

“I had abandonment issues, attachment issues, and trust issues. But I loved my baby, I loved my husband, and I loved my new family. Maybe most importantly in my life at that time, they loved me!”

“Although they knew nothing about trauma healing … they knew about love. Their love healed me enough to survive.”

“But I always knew (or at least hoped) there was more!”

2. What is your purpose?

Suzanne heard about the Power of Purpose from a friend.

The friend told her it was a new program being launched and she could attend for free if she would be willing to provide feedback after the program.

In addition, she (and all participants in the beta program) were asked to participate in a follow up program for 3 months.

“I thought … well, it won’t hurt anything, although I didn’t really think I had a purpose beyond raising our son.”

“On the first day of the program, I was taken aback.

I’d never experienced anything like it.

It was fun, filled with activities, and group processes.”

“I remember watching ‘the movie of your life’ in a closed-eye process. It was the first time I actually realized and acknowledged the craziness of my household growing up. When I wrote the words and phrases on the very large sheet of paper, I knew something was happening inside of me.”

“Things once buried were pouring out like a volcano. But I knew it was good.”

“At first, I thought I’d attend the first day and see how it went. Then decide whether to return the next day. But by the time we went to a ‘closing’ circle … I was certain I would return!”

“During the second day, I could really feel myself moving closer to my purpose. But when you’ve been programmed to believe that life is one big lie you live, and then you die … it’s hard to trust anything that’s good and true. Therefore, I wasn’t sure.”

“But by the time the ‘letter from God or the person you most admire’ came … my purpose just poured out of me!”

“My purpose is:

Empowering women to step up and live in truth and shine in whatever role God places them in!”

“I didn’t know how, when, or if I could actually do that. But I decided that I was not going to worry about that. I was just going to focus on believing that maybe I could use what had happened to me to stop the struggle for other women. I realized I had NOTHING TO LOSE!”

“I can also tell you that I left there that day a different young woman. For this first time in my life, my past and my future made sense.” 

“I remember my husband saying to me that evening: ‘What on earth has happened to you’?”

“I really couldn’t put it into words. There were just no words that could adequately express what was happening in my heart and my brain. I guess it was that ‘alignment thing’ you talked about.”

“But I was different. I am different.”

“I have a purpose …  Today I know it and believe it totally! Because I live it!”

3. What difference did it make in your healing and/or in your life?

Suzanne continued: “I never really thought what I grew up in was ‘trauma’. It was all I ever knew. So, I thought it was ‘just normal life’.”

“I had no clue that anything good could come of my history, much less out of me!”

“All I really know to say is that I arrived that first day ‘okay’. I arrived in my normal ‘surviving’ mode. I arrived ‘grateful that I had figured out how to become good enough at being a mom and a wife’.”

“I left that Power of Purpose weekend alive. I left thriving. I left knowing that I could become the best mom and wife ever! And I did!”

“If that was all the difference it had made, that would’ve been enough. But so much more has occurred.”

“I had so much more capacity to love.”

“I woke up every day with an anticipation about life I’d never felt.”

“I embraced truth and felt like I wasn’t living in the shadow of a lie for the first time in my life.”

“Then the purpose thing.”

“I realized how as a little girl I was left with nothing but lies. Lies about who we were. Lies about what we did. Lies about what we believed. Lies about everything, including divorce!”

“I wanted to live truthfully. I didn’t want to hide anything. I guess I just wanted to be proud of myself, and of my life.”

“Thank God my husband’s family (now my family) saw potential in me. They could have just told their son to leave me because I was clearly a mess. They didn’t.”

“I wanted to do the same for others. But I ‘just knew’ I never could.”

“All of a sudden, after finding my purpose, I just knew I could!”

“I wanted to be sure no other adolescent or young adult woman had to experience what I did. Or if they had, to find a way to heal and have a marvelous life.”

“I remember hearing once that ‘your passion is for your benefit’ but ‘your purpose is for the benefit of others.”

“I didn’t know where to start, so I just started volunteering at a women’s shelter. I didn’t know if I would be able to help them, because my danger had been in the arena of mental, emotional, spiritual.”

“But after just a few visits of volunteering, I knew that most of them had escaped from danger mentally, emotionally, spiritually … although most of them believed they left for physical safety. I knew how to speak to that!”

“I became proficient at getting them to talk about other ways they had been in danger. That it had not been limited to their physically safety. I thrived doing that.”

“I went on to get my degree in counseling, then a master’s in psychology. “

“In my internship, I realized that women experienced much of the same thing in their workplaces or careers. I began teaching workshops for women in relationships, and women in their careers. Having the courage and strength to stand up and shine.”

“My husband and I created a business with great products and services in that arena.”

“The difference it made for me to find my purpose?

I have a life.

I have a fulfilling life.

I have a fabulous marriage.

I have an admirable adult son who is proudly serving as a Marine.

I have a treasured ‘daughter-in-love’, who’s getting ready to give birth to my first grandchild.”

“If I could say anything to your audience, it would be this: FIND YOUR PURPOSE! No matter where or what you came from, YOU have a purpose. It’s what life is all about! Take the time. You are worth it, and those you will serve are worth it too!”

I read something in the Harvard Business Review that I have kept close to me through the years:

Many people work their whole lives to achieve material success only to find their happiness and sense of purpose wanting when that success comes. They often spend years looking for purpose in their lives, in order, to feel a sense of meaning. Success without significance — purpose, service, and meaningful relationships — is not really success at all. 

I hope Suzanne’s story will inspire you to find your purpose.

You may think or believe, like her, that you couldn’t possibly have any purpose.

But you do! 100% of us do!

But not knowing it or living it is not living at all!

It steals our energy, leaves us wondering if our lives matter or mattered, and keeps us from ultimate fulfillment.

My hope and prayer is that you will do whatever it takes to find your purpose!

No matter what you’ve done, or not done … you deserve to live and thrive!

And that comes with purpose!