Facing anything is difficult. But facing the pain that lives deep inside us is terrifying. Especially if you’ve lived with it for a long period of time because it can become part of our identity and when it does, releasing the pain feels like dying to part of who we are. And, in essence, that’s what we’re doing. But there’s glory on the other side of that release and that’s what you’ll discover in this week’s devotional.
Disclaimer: This devotional is not a substitute or replacement for your regular therapy or mental health. If it causes flashbacks or distress, see a mental health professional right away. I am not licensed to counsel or give therapy of any kind nor is this devotional an attempt to do so. The contents and suggestions in this devotional are ones of personal experience of my own and are not meant to be professional advice or therapy.
For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;
This hurt is so deep and it matters to You. It really matters to You. So willing to stop my whole life to heal it. Thank you. I fall back into You and fall apart because I surrender. I’m through running. I’m through denying it didn’t matter. Because it did and still does. I have to spit it out. I have to vomit it out. Have to purge this pain and heal. I can’t stay in the past, have to move on!
I made a powerful discovery in my healing journey from shame, trauma, and self-rejection. So powerful that it was the turning point in my healing. I’ve wrestled this demon of trauma and abuse for most of my adult life, about forty years and only in the last year had more breakthrough than in all the years prior. I’m convinced the reason is that God brought me to a place that I was ready to accept events in my life for what they were and stop running from the implications.
I’d been to counselors, classes, therapies, delved into God’s Word and used many tools to navigate my life in order to deal with my dysfunction. I’ve found that these tools were God’s mercy in my life to walk me forward to a very important place.
Denial is a very powerful emotion. One I didn’t even realize I was using. I’d discovered that I couldn’t come to a place of healing without the ability to call things what they really were and I’d also discovered that what I’d been doing all along is running from that reality. I’d minimized the impact of the wounds I’d sustained to the degree that I denied their impact on my life and my soul and this mistake almost cost me my life.
God began to invite me into His heart and give me permission to acknowledge the impact that these acts of abuse had had on my soul and my life. I’d lived with tremendous amounts of guilt over the hurt I’d caused others in my life, but never gave myself permission to feel the sorrow from the losses I’d experienced from trauma. The pain of that was almost unbearable and THAT’S what I’d been running from all my life.
All the self-defeating behaviors that I practiced; hiding, shame, self-rejection and so on were ways that I’d turned the anger I felt and the responsibility for other’s actions in on myself because that was easier than facing the pain. It sounds like a bunch of psychobabble, but truly it’s not. It’s what I’d learned from the Holy Spirit. When I began to honor where I’d been instead of shaming myself for it, deep healing began to take place in my soul.
The scripture above in Psalm 22 is actually David’s prophetic vision of Jesus’ crucifixion. I encourage you to read the entire account because it’s a vision of Jesus crying out to the Father about what others were doing to him at that moment! He was crying out the heinous things they were inflicting upon Him and in it, God revealed to me that Jesus was pouring out His pain to the Father and He was honoring it and He heard Him. I thought, if it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for me!
A dear friend told me in the midst of this process when I asked her about honoring my experiences in writing and poetry and posting them on my blog:
They are sacred, beautiful, valid and critically important to share. Expressing them will help others find their voice. Not being able to share the pain adds insult to injury. The way you share will be a forerunner illustrating how Grace responds honestly and finds healing.”
When I read her response, the word “honor” jumped out at me. I realized that I had not honored myself for over forty years and it was time to start. It was the breakthrough I’d been searching for all this time.
Stepping into freedom in this regard is not something you can force or really even plan for. It’s a matter of God’s timing, but you can posture yourself to be ready when the time comes. How? By staying humble before God. Bringing every feeling, fear, and frustration in your healing and laying it at the feet of Jesus.
You can’t allow yourself to deny what you’re feeling any longer. I’m not saying to let your feelings dominate you, but I will say this from very intimate experience, if you don’t listen to your feelings, they will demand to be heard! And when they do, even your physical body can be impacted in very negative ways. In fact, information on a study was published in the Harvard Medical School/Harvard Health Publishing that stress may cause autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or the two could be connected. It was an observational study, but one that bears looking into for the sake of my point.
I had suffered from autoimmune issues in the last 5 – 7 years and the doctors could never tell me what was wrong. Is it possible that these things could have been caused by the stress of the trauma I experienced? Only Jesus knows.
The point I’m trying to make is that our feelings are indicators. That’s all. Indicators that something is wrong and calls for attention to be given to them or they could overwhelm us.
So here are your steps into freedom….when you experience feelings of sadness, grief, anger, frustration or other emotions, don’t ignore them, but take them to Jesus in prayer and write them in your journal. Expressing them in writing or tears is a responsible and healthy way to release them and get them out and to honor them. Taking a walk or doing something physical is also a good way to release them. Whatever you choose, RELEASE THEM or they will control you!
We must honor where we’ve been and the feelings we have about our losses and grieve them. GRIEF IS NOT A SIN, but a beautiful process God has given us to move beyond our pain and go forward. There is no set pattern, but a day to day release and understanding that God is aware and He cares!
Psalm 22:22-14 [Emphasis mine]
I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly, I will praise You.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.