March 10, 2021
March 10, 2021
By Tracey Levine, Executive Director of Healing Housing
In 1995 my husband had a wonderful job opportunity present itself in Monterey Bay, CA. We packed up our 3 children and moved from New York to the most magnificent and rugged coastline this midwest gal had ever seen. God’s handiwork was never lost on me and I was and am still most grateful for the 16 years we lived there raising our children in its splendor.
Drawn to the outdoors and immersed in homeschooling our children, we spent lots of time exploring the numerous parks and various hiking trails with our newfound community of friends. We learned lots about the flora and fauna of the coastal desert.
One day when we were out exploring trails with an herbalist friend, she pointed out the plant jewelweed and explained that it grows next to its antidote – poison ivy. She shared that Native Americans used its sap to treat a number of various skin rashes. I remember at that time being touched by God’s design – that where pain grows in life, He provides the antidote to heal.
My life has had many patches of pain and discomfort. My first year away at college I was raped by a violent intruder. Although my life was spared, the scars of trauma ran deep. My boyfriend at the time stood by my side and helped me get through each day of classes, working tirelessly with police to help find the rapist. The pain was paralyzing but his love and care was my greatest comfort, especially being so far from the safety and love of my parents and home. God’s love was ever present in the man that would one day become my husband and father to our incredible 4 children.
The years that followed the rape were a destructive blur of trying to numb the pain of trauma with alcohol. One night the pain and shame of drinking was so great that I cried to God for help and He answered with a clear message “If you stop now, no one gets hurt”. I surrendered to my disease of addiction and attended my first 12 step meeting the next day. I was surrounded by a group of women who listened, lifted and walked with me on my journey of recovery. They introduced me to the antidote for my pain – a God of my understanding whose unconditional love was all healing.
In the past year I separated, in love, from my husband of 35 years. God has provided a therapist, a church community, steadfast friendships and work in service that has seen me through what has felt at times to be unbearable pain. His Love, as demonstrated through others, has provided hope, comfort and relief from the pain. I do not know what joy nor pain lies ahead but I do know that God’s Love grows in abundance and it is all I need to navigate the road ahead. It has never failed me.