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posted Aug 10, 2008, 8:17 PM by Web Master   [ updated Aug 12, 2008, 10:04 AM ]

The Invitation to Healing, Restoration and Renewing

By Micky M. Wolf             

 

Identifying Our Need for Healing

 

          Look around you.  Our nearby world is comfortable…on the outside.  Many of us have the obvious rewards of hard work and a good education.  While a number of us are members of long-term marriages, many more of us are joined in blended families and an increasing number of us are choosing alternative lifestyles either as single women raising children or as women in same gender relationships. We strive to enjoy the fruits of our labors, whether we have homes filled with lovely comforts, or more modest means.  Likely for the majority of us, it is our children upon whom we lavish almost anything and everything they desire.  And yet, a persistent, lingering sense; are we really fulfilled as women? 

          It is out of the personal experience of being healed and for some, being sent forth in ministry, that we may find ourselves in one of two “heart places”: women seeking healing and women whose restoration has prepared us to minister, one to another.  At the same time, it would be from an ugly place of pride-fullness if we thought this process ever ends.  It does not, unless we choose to say no to the Lord continuing His work in us. In submitting ourselves to Jesus’ healing and restoration, this journey continues for a lifetime.  The hope set before us, however, is that as we submit the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves to Him for healing, we become more at peace, more joy-filled, more accepting, grateful, and grace-filled, and yes even more satisfied and delighted – in being who He has created us to be as unique, individual women, part of a biological as well as a social and cultural family.

 

The Call to Healing…

 

How would you answer these questions?

 

  • Am I an adult woman [or know of someone] who experienced woundedness as a child? [Abuse, abandonment, isolation, separation, divorce, substance abuse, abortion, infidelity]
  •  Am I an adult woman [or know of someone] who experienced woundedness as an adult? [Similar to the above]
  •  Am I an adult woman who is experiencing woundedness at this time?
  •  Am I an adult woman who has had or would like to have a relationship with God?
  •  Am I an adult woman who would like to be in intimate relationship with God?
  •  Am I an adult woman who seeks healing and restoration
  •  Am I an adult woman who has received healing and restoration, seeking to serve Him?

Everything about who we are in Christ today, what He calls us to be and to whom and for what we are responsible and accountable is directly associated with healing.  Without healing, we will remain naively calm, emotionally lukewarm, and of greater consequence, indifferent to Christ and His plan for each of us as women.  We will never receive or give “Jesus Love” in its fullness, or become whole-heartedly involved and committed to being “in love with God” and “in love with our spouses, our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ” without His healing, loving touch. We may be walking in His presence, but we will not be moving toward becoming wholly equipped, His light aflame in us, to be all that He calls us to be.  To enter into healing takes courage, it takes faith, and it takes a heart willing to face the unknown, knowing only that our loving Father will reach through the smallest, tiniest opening we give Him.

The first step is listening to the Holy Spirit and discerning His presence as He gently touches our wounds.  This is not always easy, particularly in our busy lives, and with the continual bombardment of sounds, activities and demands of daily routine.  He may speak to us in a number of different ways, but speaking to us through the shared experiences of another person is one way that frequently reaches into our heart. Maybe we will hear a person share a story, their testimony, of childhood abuse and their healing on a television news program and immediately “winch” on the inside, not fully realizing at that moment that their pain is our pain.  Or, maybe someone will say something over the lunch table or at a study group about being neglected or abandoned by a spouse and we will cringe, vaguely aware of a similar pain within. When people share their stories and witness to the healing power of Jesus in their lives, the Holy Spirit uses them to reach others. 

God may also speak to us through scripture, music, even the daily newspaper, but it is the voice of human experience in the presence of the Holy Spirit and usually in community that will convict us of the woundedness we carry. As women, we know how we intuitively reach out to other women, in our joys, and in our uncertainties, albeit we dismiss the opportunity to do so much more often than we ever have as a society and culture. It seems so many other things require our time, our attention, our resources, materially and otherwise.  Sadly, “being women” with one another gets lost in the shuffle of schedules and calendars.

The second step is listening to the Holy Spirit as He helps us understand the source of our wounds, e.g., childhood abuse, spousal neglect, personal promiscuity, divorce, financial irresponsibility, addiction.  This is very important, not for the sake of intellectualizing the whole matter, but for the purpose of recognizing what it is we are dealing with.  Understanding the “root cause” of the wound helps us understand the way in which we were wounded, not for the purpose of pointing fingers and blaming either others or ourselves. Any wounding we may experience has the potential, shoved aside, to become buried under layers of behaviors to avoid the hurt, slowly becoming “infected” over a period of days, weeks, months, and maybe even years of our lives.  Understanding the nature of the wound helps us discern the kind of “treatment” we may need to aid in the healing process. If we have experienced deep wounds associated with rejection and abandonment due to incidents of abuse, addiction, suicide, or other life experiences, the Holy Spirit will help us begin to see and associate the “red flags of our feelings and the consequent behaviors” associated with the deep pain; perhaps notice even a “feeling” which we may not recognize initially as being painful. Initially, we may only being able to name it as “something that does not seem to be quite right.  Oh, well, it will go away, especially if I keep busy”. 

Similarly, if we have experienced deep wounds through relationships of co-dependency, the Holy Spirit will begin to show us the red flags associated with the behaviors we are choosing “to deal” with the out-of-orderedness of the such relationships.  As we become more aware of “cause and effect”, we will then be able “to act, not react” in a consistently more healthy manner.  It is through the prompting of the Spirit, spending time in the scriptures and in prayer that we will begin a “renewing of our mind that leads to healing and restoration. Medical or psychological interventions may also be necessary, as we give ourselves the gift of time and attention to become healthier, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

The third step in this process is to own the presence of the wounding, again not for the purpose of placing blame on ourselves or others, but for the purpose of reconciliation with that person, God and ourselves.  It does not matter that the source of the wounding may have come from someone who is deceased.  Our God is much bigger than any box we try to put Him into with regard to His desire and willingness to heal us beyond our “ideas of the possible”.  While any one of these three steps may be more difficult than the other, this step is frequently a real challenge.  There are many explanations for why “owning the pain” may be difficult; our intellect/mind does not want to take responsibility; our flesh does not like to be denied of pleasure through selfish choices; we may also be dealing with the reality of needing to do spiritual warfare in “owning” that we are wounded.  In our understanding of the healing power of reconciliation, it only seems to follow that there will be many opportunities for us to be distracted for in taking these steps of “owning our woundedness and pain” we are truly set on the path to a fullness of healing – with God, ourselves, or anyone who has touched our life and in some way wounded us. 

Reconciling oneself with our Father in heaven and with our earthly companions brings upon us the peace that surpasses understanding.  It is the authentic culmination of  “Jesus love”, the fullness of Truth and Love as our God ordains for us.  Is it any wonder that as we “work through” – and this action of healing is truly “God’s work in us” – that we will encounter an enemy in Satan who would just as soon we not participate in our own healing, let alone embrace the process of the releasing the pain that will bring us true joy?  Again, often times through the word of our testimony, “Jesus in us” speaks to those who are hurting and wounded.

As we began to accept the need for healing, we slowly became aware of our woundedness, the places of pain and darkness we try to put away on a shelf, far from our heart and our thoughts. Entering into prayer and sharing our heart with a trusted person, professional, family member, or friend is another big step, however, we need to take the first small steps, allowing God to slowly begin to reveal the lies we are living that keep us in the darkness.  It is not unusual that every pore and cell on the inside of us wants to cut and run from this process, especially if we have had little experience in relationships where we “could trust” without being hurt. Somewhere, deep inside our souls, our spirit longs for true peace and joy. Somewhere deep inside, we know the only way we can ever have any sense of being whole, even holy, is dependent upon our willingness to be purged of  “our infections”. If we can submit to exposing our wounds to His light, healing can begin and new life can be birthed.  We know others are walking in a freedom we cannot clearly identify – but we also know that as frightened as we are of what we might encounter, His call to us is irresistible. 

 

The Sweet Pain of Purging and Healing…

It would be no surprise that the wounds we receive as children are buried the deepest. These are often the most painful to recognize and own, after all, to acknowledge our being wounded as children is to acknowledge the existence of the “one who wounded us”; maybe a parent, primary caregiver, family member, neighbor, member of our community.  Though, once we accept the presence of the wounds, we can then lean upon Jesus as He shows us how individual people in our lives may have been acting out of the consequence of their own woundedness in which ways which hurt us. 

In confronting memories and our “inside places of woundedness”, we will eventually be able to confront our independent, rebellious nature that we so unconsciously use as a coping mechanism.  As we begin to allow the Lord, often through someone he sets near to us on our path, “see” our wounds, we can then begin to dismantle the behaviors we have developed to live with the pain. Exposing these behaviors or “reactions to woundedness” as “the lies they are” is “a spiritually healthy beginning” for us, even though in some situations there may remain “tender spots” which will be fully healed only over a long period of time. This process of acknowledging our “hurts”, “identifying the source” and being willing to be healed, however painful that may be, is not the time to place blame for the consequence of others’ actions or of our own. It is a great opportunity, through healing, to “recognize” and “own” our behaviors and acknowledge the behaviors of others in our lives.  We cannot change others. For it will be in “recognizing” or “owning” our own “actions and reactions” that we can purposely begin to “choose differently” and enter into a fullness of healing. This “recognizing” and “owning” then, becomes the “submission” of our will to God’s will, through which He can help us step into a restored, renewed life with Him and with ourselves, our families and our community. 

Along with the wounds of our childhood come the wounds of our young adulthood. For some women, it may be the pain and brokenness of divorce, or the results of impulsive lifestyle choices – alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, over-eating, self-mutilation, self-starvation, reckless spending, internet pornography or any of a plentiful buffet of “socially acceptable anesthetics”.  Carrying the wounds of abuse, anger, frustration and fear, we realize we have made these choices believing they will protect us in some way, even bring us into the presence of true love and real peace.  These wounds continue to disguise the lies of the superficiality of individual lives, as well as those of our relationships, whether with spouse, family members or friends.

However, in entrusting ourselves to this process, we begin to

understand how we have become enmeshed in situations and circumstances based on our “authentic, God-given” need to find nurturing, tenderness, gentleness, and unconditional love. Entering into any relationship, we often continue the process of being wounded, and of wounding.  We are literally “looking for love with, and amidst, all of the unhealthy behaviors”.  Not only are the men and women we come in contact with incapable of fully responding to our needs - only God can completely fulfill our needs - we are so deceived we do know what our needs are.  We do not know how to tell anyone what we need – and should we be able to describe the pain of the wounds that are creating a need, we discover a determination not to share this part of ourselves.  Talking about needs is taboo – as independent, self-made women we will not fall prey to that deception!  Lie upon lie, wound upon wound, the layers grow thicker, the walls build higher, brick by brick.

Every time we look to some one or some thing to satisfy the needs we only vaguely understand and oftentimes cannot describe, the wounds became more profuse; the infection spreads like a silent killer through the lifeblood of our relationship with God and with people around us.  For every attempt we make to become intimate with someone in our life, the spirit of abandonment, rejection, fear, pride, jealousy, envy, greed, or anger or other unhealthy, certainly unloving behavior manifests, rearing its’ head to throw fiery darts, or in counterpoint, bow to receive them, leaving us reeling inwardly, in confusion and pain.  For every attempt we make to hide from the pain of rejection, addiction, or any other manifestation of ours or another’s sin nature, we throw hurtful darts, only to realize they will likely come flying back at us.  We may well then retreat, again, into the anesthetic induced numbness of “great busyness”, “social or spiritual well-doing”, alcohol, drugs, compulsive eating or starving, or endless hours of sitting in front of a television or computer screen. Every attempt we get us to hide from the pain of our loneliness, fear or anger, what we might call “the spirit of spiritual abortion” will harass us, prodding us to choose the path of isolation, maybe with the presence of bitterness or resentment. As was the case in my own situation, we may eventually retreat further and further from the possibility of true intimacy with any one. Everything about us looks wonderful on the outside; everything about us on the inside is slowing dissolving as it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the perfect exterior.  But it will be in that brokenness and allowing of our woundedness to be exposed that the Lord can work His awesome wonders of lasting healing.

 

His Boundless, Healing Grace…

 

As logical and practical as we think we can be as women in justifying, rationalizing, or even ignoring our need for healing, our loving Father will continue to offer us the opportunity. Through His grace and in His faithfulness, He welcomes us with open arms. At the time of our

Baptism and later ongoing conversions, we many know little of these spirits and of our woundedness.  All we may know is that we are unhappy, unfulfilled; that what we are doing is accomplishing little to eliminate or lessen our interior dissatisfaction with our life. But none of this makes any difference to Jesus.  We are neither too far away from Him, or covered too deeply in lies and deceptions.  He will reach down and pull us out of our pain and the mire, and do so even as we have no sense, in the beginning, of why or what is happening to us.  The tiniest, tiniest, glimmer of hope within us that cries out for freedom is all He needs to come into our heart and begin to heal us.

          As we begin to allow Him to cleanse these wounds, we begin to see, by the light of revelation, the reality, the beauty and joy of restoration, as His healing touch cuts through the infection with the clean strokes of His mighty sword.  With each cut of the sword of His Truth in Love, the old is sliced away and healthy, wonderfully alive heart, spirit and soul are birthed anew into our being.  We take ownership of every feeling and emotion and thought that has been encased in every lie and deception that has penetrated our being.  We sit at His feet with each and every feeling and emotion and thought as He teaches us how to separate the lie from His Truth and Love.

          His presence is manifested through His Love in His healing word, in His healing touch, and in His healing Holy Spirit of gentle guidance and leading.  His healing is a gentle as a whisper in our ears as we kneel in prayer, not knowing the words to speak.  His healing is as literal as the embrace of a friend who utters not a sound but whose comforting touch resounds with His goodness and tenderness.  His healing is awesomely enveloping as He invites us to return to the sacraments of His church in repentance and forgiveness. 

          Accepting His invitation into this healing is a breathtaking experience at times.  You may discover you are totally depleted of yourself, nearly exhausted with the pace of this “spiritual cleansing and healing”.  But, even as you beg on occasion for a moment to catch your breath, He is faithful in Truth and Love, comforting you in prayer, touching you with the compassionate embrace of a spouse, sending a sister to your door or to your phone to speak His words of encouragement to “stay the course”.  Slowly, but surely, we acknowledge that to be wholly restored, we must die to all that is ourselves and not of Him.  This is not a journey we walk alone.  He is with us always, as are those He places on the path with us.

          The healing we are called to in the beginning of our restoration and renewing lays beneath layers of woundedness, but as He cleanses these wounds, we feel and experience authentic healing. We know we will never be in a place as dark as this again.  We begin to realize that in restoring us, He is equipping us to see “through the eyes of our heart”, to know the difference between the truth and lies.  We begin to sense His implanted love setting us in true peace, not the passing fancy of momentary happiness we experience of the world.  This is the hope set before you as we invite you to embrace this journey, persevering through the desert, the valleys, and on to the mountaintops of new birth and new life!  

 

Copyright 2000  Micky M. Wolf
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