Category Archives: Healing

Patience

Patience, patience, patience. The Lord has been trying to teach me patience for as long as I have known Him. I’m not a very good student in this area – I want what I want and I want it right now. When I pray for someone to be healed, I want it right now. When I pray for someone to be rescued, I want it right now. I want and expect answers to my prayers RIGHT NOW. So what happens when the answer doesn’t come as I expect it right now? I get impatient. Sometimes I get irritable. And sometimes I get downright frustrated.

This morning the Lord led me to Isaiah 38:1-5. This little story of healing is so amazing. Here was Hezekiah on his deathbed and he turned to the Lord and cried out for healing, reminding the Lord of all of the good he had done in his lifetime. And the Lord heard Hezekiah and granted him fifteen more years of life. Isn’t that awesome? Yet I can’t help but wonder about those next fifteen years and whether or not Hezekiah regretted his prayer.

I have seen many people healed or granted additional time on this earth – people who had death sentences pronounced over them and then miraculously lived another five, ten, even twenty years. My evidence is purely anecdotal and limited to the few people whose lives I have seen extended so don’t think I’m making some sort of set-in-stone pronouncement. But of those I have witnessed whose lives were extended I can honestly say they suffered great personal trauma in the years that were gifted – more, perhaps, than God originally intended for them to see in their lifetimes.

One dear Christian whose life was extended beyond what doctors could even believe suffered the loss of two children during those years. Another saw a daughter drawn into Satanism, self-mutilation, vampirism, drugs, alcohol, and jail. One lost the ability to eat and was left on a feeding tube. Another lost her voice and ability to worship, prophesy and testify so that others could understand. One man was healed of cancer after having been given only a few days to live only to have his wife succumb to cancer within six short months.

Conversely, I have seen those who were not granted additional years. Again, just anecdotal but interesting. A sweet, dear woman just seemed to not be able to get a break and finally passed. In less than two years her oldest son was dead. (I couldn’t help but view her death as merciful for she would not have been able to endure the loss of her son.) There are other similar stories of great pain and sorrow unseen because of the merciful passing prior to the horrendous events.

So what does all of this mean in the context of my impatience? If I had to guess I’d say the Lord is trying to show me that He knows best. He sees the beginning and the ending. He knows what has passed and what is coming and he knows just how much His beloved can endure. I believe His decision to grant additional time is based on His great love and mercy and not on our desires.

I somehow feel better now about those who haven’t been healed yet. Perhaps the Lord is sparing them from even greater evil. As He says in Isaiah 57:1, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”

I will keep praying for those who are physically ill, trusting that God knows what is best for each one and believing that He will heal all who can handle what is coming their way in the future.

Broken

Dear Reader,

I wrote the following in the beginning – the beginning of my walk to wholeness. I would not publish it previously because it is so raw and I was so ashamed. Now that I have been under the care of the Wonderful Counselor for some time I am able to share it with you. I pray it will minister to you, and that you, too, will find the wonder of His love and counsel in your time of need.

There is a sign in my mind that says “DON’T GO THERE”. It stands between me and memories that have been too painful to resurrect. It serves as a reminder that the past is past and can’t do anyone any good to have it relived. I am afraid of the sign and everything it stands for. I am afraid of the past. I am afraid of the emotions that are stirred by the memories – strong emotions that I cannot control. Rage and shame and guilt and despair. I am so afraid.

Slowly, painfully, I face the sign. I know that healing is beyond the sign. I must take it down, I must face the demons of my past in order to be free and whole and complete. I must.

I realized today that I am broken. Not the good kind of broken, as in ‘broken in spirit’ but the bad kind of broken, as in dysfunctional.

The realization brought with it waves of grief and deep despair for the many, many years that have been lost. As I look back over my life (looking back – not often edifying!) I see very little joy and laughter and so many years of pain and struggle, and I am jealous of those who seem to have had loving families and spouses their entire lives.

I can see now that I have lived more than 40 years wearing a mask. I put it on in the morning and I never take it off. I don’t even allow it to come off in the privacy of my own room, because to do so will make me vulnerable to the enemy I sleep with, my hyper-critical, controlling, angry spouse. Correction: spouses, for you see, I managed to escape one only to marry another.

Sometimes my mask slips, but not often. When it does and I expose some part of my brokenness to others, I am immediately fearful, for I know they cannot be trusted. You see, everyone looking at us would never believe me. He can’t possibly be what I have said. Why, he’s so friendly and concerned about others. Surely I am mistaken.

If they only knew. The nights of torment as the man who vowed to love and protect me yelled and stormed about his rights and my responsibilities. The time my first husband raped me or when he forced me to have an abortion; and all of the other times he terrorized me and my children in order to get his way. Or when my second husband chased my car with his vehicle, almost forcing me and my son off of the road in order to force us to return home – home to where he could scream and yell and verbally assault us at his leisure – the place where he killed our souls. The scenes in restaurants and gas stations and retail establishments – literally any place we happened to be was a place for an explosion.

How does one live walking on egg-shells and dodging land mines? Not easily. Not willingly. Not successfully. Consequently, I am broken. I am unable to connect on a deep level with any person. I have had to hide for too long, and I have learned that transparency doesn’t bring wholeness, it brings more opportunity for attack. Attack not only from the enemies I lived with but from the very people with whom I become transparent.

What is it about being abused that makes the victim protect the abuser? I find myself defending and even making excuses for the ones that have caused so much pain and destruction in my life. Why? Even now I look back over this writing and realize I should change it or else the offenders will be exposed. Yet some secret part of me wants them exposed for what they are – destroyers.

I have sought ‘professional’ help on multiple occasions. They can find nothing wrong with me other than a mild depression, and are willing to prescribe drugs to help me feel better. Feel ‘better’? How about just feel? As if a drug is going to alter circumstances or change the personalities of the abusers.

There is no place I can be totally honest and be myself, except in prayer. There is no place I can expose the offenders, except in prayer.

I have decided there is no hope of me ever being whole. Here is the point where others like myself begin to consider suicide. Here, right here, they begin to think about the relief from the pain, the escape from the abuse, the only possible solution. I confess the thought crossed my mind, very briefly. I quickly discarded it because that is not what my Lord would want.

Are there any other options? Divorce? No, I am too tired to fight. I’ve been through divorce before and the lies and deceit, leaving me with nothing – escaping only with my life.   Now I have had too many years of being beaten down to the point where there is no fight left in me. That was the abuser’s goal to begin with, I suppose. I just never saw it.

Escape? To where? Where can I run that I won’t be found? I would be hunted down like a criminal and forced to return. I almost said ‘against my will’, and then quickly realized I no longer have a will.

Despondent – that’s what some might diagnose as they read these words. I am not despondent any longer. I am not depressed any longer. I am not fearful any longer. I am simply broken, tired, and dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up. Waiting to die. Wanting to die. Begging the Lord to take me home. Death would be a release from this prison, this hell. It is the only freedom I can foresee.

Today, dear reader, I am free. I have found freedom or rather freedom has been delivered to me. I was given a vision of freedom and hope from another survivor. With that hope I mustered enough energy to grab hold of the horns of the altar and beseech the Lord for release – true freedom. I refused to let go of the altar until the Lord showed up.

My Wonderful Counselor has led me through dark alleys and thorny pathways — places I simply did not want to go. He took my hand and together we dismantled the ‘DON’T GO THERE’ sign. Together we addressed memories, one by one, walking doggedly through the emotions and emerging on the other side bearing forgiveness and life. The walk was not easy and is certainly not finished as each day brings another memory or lesson to be learned. There were times when it would have been easier to give up and slide back into my former zombie-like existence, but the hope and the vision of freedom kept me plowing forward. Sometimes my legs became lead weights and my back was bent and sore from carrying the load. It was then that my Savior lifted me and became the burden bearer for me, allowing me to rest in His marvelous peace. And when I was sufficiently refreshed He would set me back down on my feet and we would begin walking again – together, hand-in-hand, heading toward wholeness.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Lord Jesus. He has taken a life that was hopeless and turned it into a garden. That life, which was a result of the free-will decisions I made and decisions that others around me made, has become a fruitful vine and a place of unending peace and joy.

May you find Him today.

Wonderful Counselor

I admit that I am not the brightest spark in the plug J but I am a quick study. It doesn’t take me long to figure out what is expected of me and how to accomplish it with minimal pain and even, sometimes, a little joy. So when I started on this journey to wholeness I quickly discovered the pattern that my Lord uses in leading me through the dark places into the light. First comes my grief as I recognize that the Lord is getting ready to reveal something from my past that is going to hurt. No anesthesia is offered. Then comes physical pain as my body tries to run and get my focus on something other than the revelation that is about to take place. When I stand up to the physical pain and declare my intention to move forward, inviting the Holy Spirit to finish what He has begun, actual mourning begins. Again, no anesthesia. The very interesting part of this process is that the grief and mourning occur even before I am fully aware of what issue we are addressing. For me, the patient, it’s kind of like exploratory surgery – I have no idea what we will find when He opens me up but I’m trusting the surgeon to do what is best. Some time after the mourning begins comes the revelation, the AHA! moment when a long ago memory surfaces and replays in my mind. Again, I get to choose. I can hit the ‘Stop’ button, the ‘Fast Forward’, the ‘Rewind’, or I can let it play out. I choose to let it play because I want to be finished forever with this event that is part of the painful, paralyzing past. Eventually my surgeon and I talk it through and we both decide that the best course of treatment is forgiveness and healing. The entire process is not quick and leaves me exhausted, but it doesn’t cost a dime! I know people who have spent years in ‘therapy’ and are no nearer to being well than they were when they started. They fill their bodies with prescription psychotropic drugs and spend at least an hour a week with their therapists.

The Holy Spirit is so gentle. Revisiting the past and reliving the pain, shame, degradation, and fear of those moments is not something I would do if there was any other way to be well. There isn’t, and the Holy Spirit is only doing exactly as I have chosen. He would never force Himself on me or force me to do something I do not want to do. I have a choice – be a zombie or be alive. I chose life and that path requires some time in the furnace of affliction. Again, something I chose. What is so interesting is that with each new revelation I get to choose again – go forward or stay where I am. I choose.

I decided long ago that I wanted the Lord to correct me right now, in this life. I don’t want to leave anything left hanging that He is going to have to deal with at His judgment seat. I also don’t want anyone held accountable at the BEMA seat for something they may have done to me so with each revelation of cruel events I have buried deep within I focus on not only forgiving the perpetrator but asking the Lord to forgive them as well. True freedom comes from asking for forgiveness not only for yourself but also for those who have hurt you. I know I am truly free when I am able to pray good things for those who have caused so much pain in my life and mean it!

I prefer to stand before the Lord right now and receive His correction, His surgery, than to pretend I don’t need it and then end up surprised at the BEMA seat. Judgment. Even the word makes me cringe a little. Yet I know it is part of God’s character and that He is the righteous judge. He does not judge harshly or have a bad day and lash out in anger. His judgment is right and true and exactly in keeping with the circumstance He is judging. How I wish I had been that kind of parent!

Today I am one step closer to wholeness. God is gracious and merciful and I am so grateful for what He is doing in my life. There is a wonderful side-effect to the process my wonderful counselor uses. As the bad memories are dealt with the good memories are able to surface. When I buried the bad I threw the good in with them. Now they are free too!

Perfect Peace

Like millions of other women, I’ve discovered that aging is a bit of trial. Body parts that used to function without any conscious thought now occupy my thoughts when they don’t respond the way I want, when I want. Arms and hands that look like my grandmother’s and knees that creak and crack without any provocation. The bottom of my feet have lost all padding so I no longer go barefoot. Hair that is thinning, curling, and suddenly has a mind all its own. A body that has changed its shape so that clothes that fit are almost impossible to find, even though I weigh the same as I did 30 years ago. Eyes that need glasses, a face that has developed peach fuzz and a nose that looks nothing like it did 20 years ago. When I look in the mirror I see my mother as she was just a few short years before she died. Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong. I think my mother was a beautiful woman her entire life, regardless of age. She aged gracefully, always taking care of herself. But sometime in the last quarter century I ceased looking like my father and started resembling my mother more and more. When I get a quick glimpse in a mirror as I pass it I am often startled. Where did all the years go? And who let my mother in the house?

In a society that is geared toward looks and money, this aging stuff can be quite stressful. There is absolutely no way to regain those years or the elasticity of my skin. I spent the greatest part of my adult life trying to stay fit and keep my looks as long as I could, all because that is what our society had sold me through television, movies, magazines and newspapers. I fought a good fight but still I lost. Oh, I could, if I had enough money, have plastic surgery to lift, tuck, liposuck and shape, but it wouldn’t change the ultimate prognosis. I’m getting old just like everyone else and nothing is going to change that.

I’ve made an interesting discovery these last couple of years. It just doesn’t matter. Isn’t that funny? After all those years of trying to keep up with every other woman so that I would be thought attractive and therefore acceptable to society, it just doesn’t matter! The day that I was set free from concern about my looks was independence day for me. I used to spend fifteen to twenty minutes a day putting on my makeup and doing my hair and another five at night taking makeup off. Then there were the weekly facials, and all the creams and potions and lotions along with the hot-oil treatments for the hair. Good grief, the money I spent! Now, if I put makeup on at all it takes less than five minutes – after all, who cares? Forget the lotions and potions and pots and creams – I’m saving all kinds of money!

These days I am focused on the inside. I spend time working on my character and trying to develop those characteristics that Christ exhibited. I confess it is harder work than physical exercise and maintaining physical beauty – much, MUCH, harder. But it is so rewarding! The changes that occur as a result of all this effort are permanent changes. They don’t deteriorate and I don’t have to daily work at keeping them in place. Once the Holy Spirit effects a change in my character I can rejoice and move on to the next area that needs work without worrying about previous changes needing further maintenance.

What a joy to serve the Master! He takes our concerns and cares and turns them into dancing in the rain! When He promised to perfect everything that concerns me (Psalm 138:8) He wasn’t saying He was going to make it perfect but rather that He was going to make ME be in perfect harmony with His will and His plans. What a mighty God we serve!

Glorious Sunrise

It’s going to be another gorgeous day today, and I am sitting here in anticipation of the sunrise, waiting for the first golden rays that will turn the black sky into a shimmery display of rose and purple and blue. This is my favorite time of the day for it seems the entire world is asleep except me and the Holy Spirit and we get to watch the day start together. What a treat!

Just one short year ago I would not be sitting here waiting for the sunrise. If I happened to be awake I might have glanced out the window but it would not have had any meaning for me other than to herald another bleak day. Just a year! I am so amazed and so grateful.

The healing process has been astonishing – sometimes unbelievable. If I hadn’t lived it out myself I might question the depth of the illness and the level of restoration. But I did live it and I know it is true. I was the zombie brought back to life. I was the victim healed of all of her hurts. I was the survivor turned into victor — resurrected from a death-like state to abundant life. Taken from the depths of PTSD and a fugue state to health. What a mighty God we serve!

The walk has not been easy – at least it wasn’t as I was going through. The resurrecting of long-buried memories which were apparently the cause or start of my illnesses, was difficult and took every ounce of strength and courage I could muster. But it was incredible – each time the Holy Spirit brought a memory to surface He would stay with me as I relived it and then He brought healing and forgiveness for each one. The process never took more than a day, but the recovery time afterward could last up to a week. It was like undergoing surgery and then having to recover – except there are no scars remaining after the surgery of the Holy Spirit – every single thing is healed.

I volunteered for this process. I was sick and tired of being sick and I cried out for healing. With each instance I was given the opportunity to either stay where I was or go forward – I could choose to let a memory stay buried or I could choose to expose it and work through the healing process. I chose healing every single time. No, it wasn’t easy and yes, it was worth it!! I received not only mental and emotional healing but physical healing as well. A year ago I felt my age. Today I feel half my age! I am alert and active and so excited to be alive – the transformation is nothing short of miraculous.

I learned many lessons this past year. I learned that making time for me was critical to mental health. I learned that some people are toxic for me and I have to stay away from them as much as possible. I learned that there are people in the world that have an amazing capacity for love and compassion and are willing to stand with me in my time of need. I discovered new friends as I released old relationships to die the death they should have died years ago. I found a wonderful boldness within that allows me to stand up against injustice and abuse wherever I encounter it. I found that taking time to create something beautiful with my hands also created something beautiful in my soul.

The greatest gift I received this year is a new intimacy with the Father and a depth of understanding of His heart for His children. He wants us all healed but He isn’t going to force anyone into the process. It is arduous and painful and if we prefer to leave the past buried then He will leave it there, too. I discovered, though, that the past – even when it is buried beyond our conscious memory – directs our steps into today and the future. If we don’t deal with the past we are destined to relive it over and over again. For me, that was no longer an option. I cried out for healing and freedom and then I cooperated with the Holy Spirit to attain each. So incredible.

As I write this today I feel and know I am completely whole. There are no other memories buried – everything has been exposed to the Light and the Light has performed a marvelous work in me. Having completed that part of the work I am seeking my next assignment and waiting on the Lord.

What a glorious sunrise!!