I think that everyone heals differently. And I don't mean physically, though I suppose that could be true also. But when some awful, unexpected arrow hits our hearts, it rocks our world, and it changes forever how we perceive not only ourselves, but the world around us and ultimately - GOD. And each and every one of us heals from those things differently.
For me, there has been one place that has taken longer to heal than others. For years, I felt great shame about the fact that I wasn't able to get over or move on from the tragedy in a more timely manner. My grief has kind of left me on my own, and for a long while, I thought something was wrong with me.
I guess I know better now. I know that what happened was unique for me and no one, but God, will ever really understand. And I know now, that it's okay.
I've been sitting with the Lord in a familiar and uncomfortable place. The place that I have long labeled as my "God-Wound." It was the season of my parent's separation and divorce.
It was more than the events that happened that just led up to the divorce though. My pain is not just where I felt betrayed by my parents. It goes much deeper than that. It's where I felt betrayed by God.
This time of my life was where I felt most deeply wounded and disappointed by God. It's been this heavy ache that I've carried around for more than half of my life. I have described it as a death and a forever loss. Because I not only grieve what happened, but I grieved every memory I would never get to have because those memories were robbed from me. It has left a gaping wound, that on some days, I still wake up with and hurt over.
It felt like God had done something to me - like he struck me with an awful curse. I often wondered if He hated me. Because of what happened and where I felt like He let me down, I have spent a lifetime of doubting Him, being angry with Him and questioning who He really is. My faith has almost always been shifty, though I have deeply longed and wanted more. And anytime something bad happens to me, it pokes at my God-wound. I to go the place where I have been convinced that He's done something else to me, because He has allowed me to be hurt again.
Any hurt, hurts the biggest hurt I have.
It's taken some wisdom and maturity and many years, to look back on what happened and be faced with the truth that God didn't DO something to me there. I know it was evil. I know it was the enemy. I know my parents couldn't and didn't fight like they should have. Regardless, God allowed it, and His allowing it, felt like betrayal. It sent the message to me that He wasn't good and couldn't be trusted. Though I have current evidence to prove otherwise, all it takes is for one negative circumstance to blow in for me to be swayed back to the belief that God is not good and He allows bad things to happen to me. This is ground where the enemy has ensnared me. This belief has affected almost area of my life. And because of that, I have lived my woundedness out in damaging ways.
However....I am finally taking some ground back.
I have done some painful writing about what it was I needed during that time. I needed things from my parents, from God, from others, and I needed to know truth about what I was feeling. There was much that I needed during that time that went unmet for me - and fifteen years later I am finally looking at what those things were. I have done that privately and in conversation with others and I don't feel the need to write that out here.
But I still have questions. Why God - if you could see what I needed, didn't you provide those things for me? Why didn't you intervene in a better way?
I have a thousand whys for God and He seems to leave them unanswered. And I don't think I'll ever know them as they are part of some great mystery that He will reveal someday. It's feeling easier to trust Him with my why questions though.
Fifteen years later, I am letting God back in to a piece of my heart that was closed off. And I love that He's given me time to be ready to go in there with Him. He hasn't pressured me. He has waited, He has wooed me, and He has drawn me to Him with His gentle-loving kindness throughout the years. I love that He hasn't been in a hurry for me to "deal" with this.
So we've been going there together slowly. This place has felt like a dark room that was locked up for years. It's dusty and it smells moldy and it's full of cobwebs. It's a MESS. And we have our sleeves rolled up as we sit and sift through everything that is there. I still feel guarded about letting Him back into this place of pain for me since I felt like HE gave this pain to me to begin with. But I am also hopeful. Because the room is open again. It's not shut or off limits. It's open. I'm open.
I have been participating in Grace Group this semester as a participant in the second book. Over the last twelve weeks, I have gained this heightened awareness of my surroundings - the enemy and his tactics against me, my responses, how I am showing up to others and God's presence in my life. I have felt more alive - through good or bad - just more ALIVE. It feels good. And it feels scary too.
But through this process I am beginning to see that my greatest pain, my greatest shame and my greatest wounds have led me to a point of finding real life. If things had gone picture perfectly the way that I thought it should have gone, I would not experience life or God to the depths that I have and that I am.
I would be missing out.
God has loved me too much to give me that small of a story. And it feels both beautiful and uncomfortable to be loved that way.
God loved me too much too much to give me a lesser story where everything I had ever hoped would happen or work out or go my way. He wrote into my story, tragedy, desperation, death, heartbreak, and sorrow. When I think about the book I read by Dan Allender called "To Be Told" about co-authoring with God, I can see where I wrote the parts of violence, addiction and sin - because that's where I went with it all. And maybe that's just what happens when we "co-author" with someone like GOD. Either way, my story is changing. I'm on to what He's been writing and my parts are looking less violent, more kind and lovely, and very vibrant and life-giving.
Where I have only found anger and hurt, I am finding thankfulness towards God. Even in the places that I felt like He hurt me.
One of my favorite songs ever is called "Let it all out," by Reliant K. The lyrics to the chorus say, "You said I know that this will hurt. But if I don't break your heart, things will just get worse. If the burden seems too much to bear, remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there."
God did break my heart. God did devastate me. And where there was once resentment and anger towards Him for that, there is now thankfulness.
God broke my heart so that only He could piece it back together again. He broke my heart so that I would see Him and need Him and want Him in places that I might never have if the divorce hadn't have happened. He broke my heart so that my life would look like His best for me and not what I had planned out or thought was best. He broke my heart so that I could find Todd - the man He knew I needed. He broke my heart so that we could have a marriage where we fight, not just to stay together, but for our marriage to be GOOD. He broke my heart so that I could have deep, meaningful friendships with others because that's how relationships ought to be. He broke my heart, because He needed to.
And it makes no sense. He makes no sense. And I've stopped trying to make sense of why any of it happened, because there is no explaining some things that God does and why He does them. I think maybe how people have tried to explain my "God-wound" to me in the past, has aided in keeping me hard to God. Maybe others have to find a way to explain things in order to get through them. Because....doesn't everyone heal differently?
Sunday is Easter. It feels fitting to be sitting here as the day of celebrating not just His resurrection, but His power, His might, and His love is upon us. I feel like maybe He brought something in me back to life again too. And now - it's time to celebrate!