Strong Like Water: Finding . . .

Strong Like Water: Finding . . .

Aundi Kolber titles her second book Strong Like Water: Finding the Freedom, Safety, and Compassion to Move Through Hard Times and Experience True Flourishing.  The author of Try Softer, Aundi is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) as well as a trauma survivor.  First, Aundi describes our truest strength as expansive as the tide — with the fierce and gentle elements dancing as one.  Yet, God takes a compassionate posture toward any fragmented, hurting parts of you.  Therefore, view the ways God designed you to survive as sources of honor, not shame.  Thus, riding the ebb and flow of strength is about inviting you to become more of your God-given self. Resilience is in the repair, not the wounding.  And each small step of healing matters.

Above all, Aundi stresses, we must ground the words we speak to ourselves and to others in something that feels true to our bodies.  Show over tell.  We need to compassionately develop healthy, flexible nervous systems to respond accurately and appropriately to various situations.  Hence, through compassionate resourcing we learn to adopt a posture in which we come alongside and remain responsive to parts of ourselves.  Most significantly, the with-ness of God and others creates the framework that makes us strong like water.  The God of connection and co-regulation builds safety in and through us.  And that safety does the heavy lifting to ultimately bring us toward integration.  To that soft landing place of safety inside us.

Furthermore, learning to connect to goodness is part of what actually allows us to heal.  As a result, Aundi exhorts, we must learn to resource — to fight and hold on to goodness.  Or, as Wendell Berry puts it, to practice resurrection.  Our struggles fail to surprise God.  Rather, God invites us to flow toward healing and goodness.  Also, we need to realize that our value and belovedness don’t ebb and flow with every wave of emotion.  However, experiencing the full range of our emotions contributes to greater strength and resilience.  In addition, significant growth happens along the edges of our discomfort.  And we possess the choice to process our life experiences as a great weight — or as a dance!

In conclusion, Aundi underscores, God holds us.  Even when we don’t know it.  And even when we can’t hold on to God.  To attune to the experiences of others, we must remain connected with ourselves.  If we truly listen to and love our neighbor as ourselves, that creates the opportunity for beauty to unfold.  So, honor all the parts of you in order that they align with who God created you to be.  Find your truest, most profound strength as you welcome home your personhood and your story.

Hence, Aundi offers this strong like water benediction:

“Healing is always, always sacred work.  Nothing you do to turn with compassion toward yourself or another will go to waste because healing is worth the risk and the work. . . .  My deepest prayer is that you will experience the with-ness and nearness of God — in whom all things are held together.”

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Dave Henning

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