April 15, 2016

Healing is a Journey

When I look over my life, from when I was abused as a teen to the present, I can easily see how the Lord was working and using everything to root out self-focus, cause me to seek Him, and use me to help others in the process. Healing is a journey.

However, in the MIDDLE of that journey, all I could see was a trail of wreckage behind me and a lot of unanswered questions in front of me. It was painfully obvious that I was a mess without hope of ever changing. It was like sludging through mud up to my hips. Much like the swamp of sadness in “The Never-Ending Story”. (My kids loved that story!) I was moving forward so slowly and the fog was not letting up.

What was the point of taking the next step…and the next step….and the next?

Why was it taking so L-O-N-G for me to understand God and His way forward to healing?

Learning to be patient with myself started with me being patient with God. I needed to trust He was at work even when I could not see it. There was a 400 year pause in God speaking to Israel, from the end of the Old Testament until the beginning of the New Testament. Israel waited 400 years for God to speak to them again – to move His story of salvation forward. Then there was the baby’s cry from a manger in Bethlehem. God became man, His voice once again heard in Israel. But in those 400 years He had not stopped working to move the story forward. He had only stopped TELLING it to Israel until it was the perfect time.

God is faithful to His promises even when He doesn’t take the time to explain all the details to me. He is faithful to how He will CONTINUE to tell His story through me. He does not have to hand me a detailed, step-by-step map. Nor is He required to call me up on the phone or text message me the daily plan. He is God, fully capable of saving me, guiding me, and transforming me into His image, one moment at a time, day by day, year to year. He is FOR me. He desires to work everything that has happened to me for my good. He will never leave me sitting abandoned by the curb.

It is not His way.

Now that I had that cleared up, I needed to learn patience with myself AS He worked in and through me. This began with me accepting that I was a broken mess. No sugar-coating reality. No trying to wear masks or pretending I was something I was not.

That was followed closely by admitting I was powerless to change that broken reality. It was a raw awareness. It left me vulnerable before God. The past, the present, and the future were OUTSIDE my ability to change or control. There I sat as damaged goods before a powerful, all-knowing God. He knew it already. Now I knew it.

Scary place.

Scary, only if I did not then fall before Him confessing my total dependence on Him for the change I so desperately knew I needed. It is in the confessing that I stopped my continuously failing attempts to hide, pretend, or run into the darkness where no one would discover me. Confessing my need left me ready for the next step.

Letting Him reach into my broken heart, mind, and soul to heal and transform it from the inside out. It was what He wanted to do all along, but I was not ready. He knew this and so continued by my side until I was ready, calling to me with tenderness and patient love. There He revealed His mercy, grace, and truth, applying it to my deepest hurts. He began working from the inside, rebuilding my foundation of trust and belief in who He was. Then  He continued to the outside, layer by layer, restoring hope in His promises and His presence as I went forward.

At some point in this process I allowed others into my story. I let them know me. I found myself able to encourage them with my story – how He had worked to make me a new creation in Him. The renewing of my heart, mind, and soul changed how I interacted with Him and others.

Finally, I shared without being re-wounded because I was secure on the Rock, knowing I was His and that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I was able to confront the one who had wounded me with courage and grace – from Him. I had found my voice. I let others know when I needed space to process different layers and or new experiences. My scars were still there as reminders of where I had been, what the Lord had done and was doing, progressively losing their power to create fear, insecurity, and despair.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
(Psalm 40:1-3)

The fog may once again settle down over me in the future. The mud may again get deep enough to make the way hard. BUT THIS TIME I will travel through it being assured that He is right beside me, comforting and strengthening, until the way grows clearer. Every time I will emerge looking more and more like the One who walks with me – Jesus.

Healing is a journey and the destination is secure IN HIM.

  • Where are you in this journey – accepting, admitting, confessing, letting, allowing, sharing?
  • What do you need to know about God so you can trust His promises?
  • Who have you told your story to so that they too can have confidence in Christ, living forward without fear?
  • Which of God’s promises do you confidently hold onto when you are in the fog and you feel the mud deepening?

Share that with us here to encourage other readers and fellow-travelers!

(*If you would like to know where I gathered many of the the truths for this blog, look to these Bible Passages: Luke 2:11-12; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 4:16-17; Hebrews 7:23-25, 13:5; Romans 8; Ephesians  3:14-21, 4:11-16; 1 John 1; Psalm 23:4, 139:13-16)