"Houston, we have a problem."
Those words are familiar to us, even if we have never visited NASA or been to outer space.
If you watched the movie, Apollo 13, you saw breathtaking and horrifying cinematic art that made it feel as if you were in that space craft in outer space, or at the Mission Control Center in Houston.
The story of Apollo 13 and other stories we've heard along the way make it abundantly clear that this connection between space travelers and their helpers on the ground is an essential connection.
Houston is not a single individual. Houston is a GROUP of people who are all needed in order to bring safety and precision to the journey. Each person attending to their task - whether minute or big picture. Micro or Macro. So many different roles and tasks and skill-sets are needed.
As you can imagine, I've been reflecting on this entire "breakthrough" and "escape velocity" and space travel theme for a few months now, and it's a pretty rich metaphor for Safe Harbor during this season. I have a feeling it applies to many of your life situations as well.
Here's the thing: I wholeheartedly believe that each and every one of us needs to have a "Houston" in our lives.
The field of neuroscience is declaring and demonstrating more and more through advanced research that our brains are hard-wired to sync and heal with other brains. We need others to serve as empathic witnesses in order to have a renewing of the mind that is comprehensive and transformative.
And of course, scripture has been telling us this all along:
"...two are better than one"
"confess your sins one to another, that you may be healed"
"bear one another's burdens..."
...and all of the other "one-anothers" found in God's Word.
I bet you can think of a dozen other confirming verses and stories that uphold this theory. But it needs to be more than a theory - it needs to be part of our ortho-praxy. Our PRACTICE as hope-filled believers. We were not meant to travel alone, heal alone, or pursue Kingdom life alone.
And please hear me...EVERYONE is qualified. Everyone can do something. Nothing makes you irrelevant. How do I know? Because I have been fighting some lies for a long time. I just happen to be winning :)
In a recent podcast interview with Nicole Braddock Bromley, I talked about our 2019 declaration - BREAKTHROUGH - and our exciting outer space analogy that goes with it! In the interview, Nicole asked how I became involved in work with trauma and trafficking survivors.
I shared some of my personal testimony about growing up in church and how I once thought my "testimony" and "church lady" ways would forever regulate me to the bench as someone who was irrelevant and disqualified because of my lack of "lived experience".
Since I didn't have experience with being trafficked, drug or alcohol abuse, or anything close to the severe trauma our Safe Harbor women have experienced, I had to contend with pressure from the evil one to just sit this one out, and take the bench for all eternity.
But here's the deal: Trauma survivors were the ones who took the biggest whack at those lies. You know what they told me? They told me that they definitely DO need to have people with lived experience in their lives, but that they ALSO needed to hear stories and perspective from me.
For the past 20+ years, survivors have asked to hear about my relationship with my father, about my family dynamic, and about my relationship with my husband. And on top of asking me for perspective that sounded like a different planet altogether, they also asked about MY pain and loss and my fears, as if it were just as important.
It took my breath away. Over the years, survivors continually helped me renew my mind on this topic. By the grace of God, and with their wisdom always before me, I kept going.
Today, I know that I am an essential part of "Houston". I am on the ground, providing insight that only I can provide. And you can too. YES, if you've experienced similar trauma, shame, debilitating loss - you can share from your lived-experience. You can help dismantle shame in others by using your story to inspire and guide. But you can ALSO help by coming from a completely different angle and loving survivors from a completely difference place. It's all important. Every angle, every area of expertise, every story. Your story matters. You hear me?
So you can BE Houston - come and help us at Safe Harbor!
But you can also NEED Houston.
Don't be too quick to hold people at arm's length if they seem to be clueless. They may need have privilege and ignorance that knocks them off your Top Five list at first. But if they are humble enough to admit they are coming from a completely different perspective, and if they are willing to learn FROM you, they may just be worthy of speaking into your life as well.
So ask yourself right now - who's in your headset? Who has a completely different vantage point? Background? Skill set? Lived experience?
Who can help you accurately navigate through a discernment process, a season of decision-making, problem-solving? Who can walk with you through life and provide the "wounds of a friend", the iron-sharpening insight you need?
Please consider becoming part of our group of "Houston" providers - a donor, a volunteer, a community educator, a board member. We need every single one of you in order to become even more effective and sustainable.
As I shared in our Safe Harbor year-end letter - all astronauts know that even after achieving amazing breakthrough, escape velocity, and personal triumphs that "accurate navigation is everything."
Its not enough to escape from a traumatic situation or an abusive person, because if there is no infrastructure for aftercare, victims can actually be further harmed by being carelessly pulled out of one situation and thrown into another. If they aren't properly navigated through essential next steps, they can drift aimlessly, or even face life and death situations. At Safe Harbor, our goal is to help provide that wrap-around support and navigation for every survivor who comes to heal without our home - for up to 18 months!