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Posts Tagged ‘wounds’

“All People suffer loss. All loses are bad, only bad in different ways. No two loses are ever the same. Each loss stands on it’s own and inflicts a unique kind of pain.”

– Jerry Sittser

No one can escape experiencing loss in their life. It is inevitable. Life is tethered to joy and sorrow. Every season has its own felt grief.

The truth about loss is that it’s not comparable. 

I experienced loss within my family structure. My parents separated and divorced when I was a Junior in high school. That year changed my life. My father made the choice to end a marriage with my mother and move on to another woman.

His choices changed my life forever. I not only lost a cohesive family unit, but I lost an every day father and parent. I lost my self-worth and security. I lost stability and sureties that I once knew. Fears were real; they flooded my life and identity.

Death and divorce have shared feelings and responses. They have a kind of sisterhood of effects. I write in depth about these subtle differences in a chapter I wrote for “Inciting Incidents.”

Divorce is hard in that it is not a death. It carries the same created voids as death, but divorce has no closure like a death. Divorce carries the weight of rejection in loss. I felt a lot of rejection in that someone else was chosen over me. My value felt rejected. Divorce says, “Sorry, not you.” I felt given up on. There is also a unique sting in rejection in that it is not a mutual decision. Both experiences come with an extreme sense of loss. However, the difference being that death is involuntary and divorce is a decision. There is an end point with death, but divorce marks the death of a relationship.

The pain of rejection is hard to find words for. Without being able to articulate my thoughts and feelings at the time, I found myself in a deep season of grieving, mourning the loss of everything I had known to be normal. I was not sure how to carry on. I was not sure what life was supposed to look like after that night. I found myself battling depression. I slept as often I as I could. I skipped a lot of school, as studying seemed pointless. I had trouble relating to my friends. I mourned the days where I just worried about which boy I liked, passing notes in the hallway, playing sports, and negotiating curfew times.

This kind of emotional conflict was so new to me, that it consumed my heart and I did not know how to deal with it. I am not talking about trivial arguments or getting into fights. I am talking about deep conflict where things just don’t feel like they make sense. I had so many questions that had no answers. How do families dissolve? How does that much deception go unnoticed? How do I even begin to think about forgiveness in the midst of such real pain?”

Grief steam rolls through our life. Pain matters. It is real, every ounce of it. To read more of my story check it out HERE!

How have you experienced grief in you life?

How have you handled loss in your life?

 

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Hard To Healing

I am not a person who heals well. I have scars and weak tenants from not taking the time to heal.

I have been a very active person my entire life. I grew up playing on two to three sports teams every season. I would play hard. This often led to injuries.

I have sprained just about everything. My ankles are the worst. I hated rolling my ankles. I would be running fast, step or land a wrong,  and POP! I would get so ticked!

Our body needs a good six weeks or longer to heal from sprains and breaks. I always thought that was a strong suggestive time frame instead of a necessity. I usually was back on my game in two to three weeks.

I often wondered why I would reinjure myself so fast. I wondered why the body pain I felt would come on stronger and faster each time. You think after the second or third roll I would learn…Nope!

Sitting here now, years later, I can feel the places that have not properly healed.

I wonder if I would be stronger had I just taken the time to heal.

This is true for my heart as well. So often I do not take the time to feel and heal through hardships, wounds, and pain. So often I just move on, but yet wonder why my tears and frustrations would come on stronger and faster each circumstance.

Band aide management was my survival skill of choice. Band aide management is when we just use a quick fix, or temporary patch work method, to cover the pain. This does not work.

Band aides do not work if you need stitches. Infections happen if wounds are not cleansed.

Healing takes time. It takes committing to the hard to get to the healing.

When I was in private practice, I had numerous “short-term” clients who would decide not to return when the process started to get to hard.

Sometimes within the process of healing, life can feel like it is getting worse before it starts to get better.

There is pain when wounds are reopened. You have to rip off the band aide so that healing can begin. All pain, wounds, and breaks have the necessity of proper care, not just strong suggestions.

Healing needs time. I am NOT saying, “time heals all wounds,” because a lot of time can pass, but that does not mean any work was done.

I am saying that healing, of any kind, takes participation in the hard to get to the healing. That is no small or short-term process.

Healing takes commitment.

How are you with working through the hard to get to the healing?

 

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The second stage of the grieving process is bargaining. A bargain is usually described as a transaction or agreement that takes place between two people. One or both parties usually walk away with something in the end. This is an emotionally tricky stage to spend a lot of time in. When it comes to grief, it is very hard to see the results we want in the time we may demand to see them.

Bargaining can happen on two different levels.

The first is bargaining with ourselves. These are the inner vows we make with ourselves as a result of grief. They are usually unspoken and sometimes even subconscious. If I were deeply wounded by someone I care about, I may defend myself against ever feeling that type of pain again. In the first stage, I deny that the hurt happened, but with bargaining I make a vow with myself to avoid future pain in relationships.

The second bargaining strategy we might use is with God. When we experience a hard situation, we may try to bargain our way out of it through prayer. A great example of this is Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament. Hannah was mocked and ridiculed profusely for not being able to bare any children. One day she entered the temple and broke down with loud cries to the Lord. That day she made a bargain with the Lord saying, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life…”

Bargaining statements can be recognized by the words “if” and “then.” In the case of Hannah, she prayed, “God if you give me a son, then I will give him back to You.” Looking back over my own story, I have made many vows with myself to defend against future pain. When my father left, I vowed to never feel that level of pain again. I made the bargain with myself that said, “If pain is near, I will do everything I can to defend against feeling it.” As a result of this vow, I struggle with intimacy in relationships that are healthy and safe to risk in. This vow has also hindered me from risking and knowing true intimacy with God. I have had to work on breaking my vow and learning to risk.

All pain is hard; no one likes it. But some wounds can be trusted; some pain is worth risking for.  I don’t want to defend myself against grief so much that I lose out on knowing deep love and intimacy. My grieving still illuminates old vows and bargains in me. I guess that is why grief is called a process.

Some questions that I am still working through are:

  • What is my response when my bargain leaves me empty?
  • How do I respond to God when He says no or nothing at all and it feels like He didn’t hold up His end of the bargain?
  • What do I do when I walk away from a bargain with nothing?

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Sometimes I just feel like I only have a voice shouting to God from a distance. Sometimes I just see through the lenses that are filled with wounds, scars, and sin. My jaded self-perception gets stuck on seeing the old me; the dirty and weighted down me. Sometimes I see a me that only seems to reflect the lies of being the “un-able.” Through those jaded lenses, I see a me that is un-lovable, un-ownable, and un-worthyable. Those are the “un-ables” in me.

I will admit that sometimes I only have the guts to yell out to God from a distance. I see the state of my heart and keep my distance. It’s in those times I have missed the reality of who Jesus really is.

Through reading the story of the Ten Leper’s, I see myself through the eyes of one.

Leper’s are the outcast and disgrace of a community. They are forced to live outside of the life and love of the “clean.” I find myself there so many times. My heart is messy.

One night, ten leper’s had a chance to connect with one who was not only clean, but one who could make them clean again. So they shouted from a distance, bringing the only thing left to bring, their voice. Jesus stopped, took time to meet them where they were. Jesus used his voice to make them well.

One man recognized his deep healing. One man recognized that Jesus’ voice made all things new in him. One man took that same voice used earlier from distance and knelt before Jesus. A voice redeemed. A shouting voice now spoke softly on it’s knees praising the salvation of a savior.

Jesus took one voice, who only knew worthiness only from a distance, and drew him close. Jesus only heard a voice of his beloved. Jesus only saw a man who was his child and worthy of healing.

I have been a voice begging and shouting from a distance. I have experienced times of only being able to see through fogged covered lenses. Jesus hears me, always, and invites me to himself. I have a choice to hear his voice and go on with my day, healed, but empty. I also have the choice to return to the voice of  my healer.

We have two choice: to either experience the healing or experience the healer.

Which will you choose?

Do you have the guts to call out?

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I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and was overwhelmed by all the options of things to read.  The person ahead of me had 90 items, so I had some time to take a gander at the shiney in front of me. There was every topic possible on that magazine rack. The topics ranged from superstar gossip, weight loss, newest fad, sex life solutions, body image, hair color, botox, ideal vacations to places 1% of the population will ever experience, and some latest drug to enhance or cure something.

Ninety items later, I was exhausted by the one billion messages staring at me. I was set up by that magazine rack to leave the store feeling more empty then just my stomach that night.

There are too many options that enable us to not have to feel. We can literally go through life numb. We don’t have to feel guilty, sad, lonely, angry, or emptiness at all. One day there will be a procedure we can get to remove our emotions all together!

We have lost the ability to know what sitting well even means. How do we sit well in places that are uncomfortable? How do we deal with feeling uncomfortable when we don’t “have” to?

Our culture has digressed to a place where dealing with our emotions and pain is a foreign concept. I mean what do our emotions have to do with God? Why do we even have them?

Emotions are life’s GPS to our hearts. Emotions are messages that tell us that something is going on in our hearts. The different emotions we experience aide in identifying what that something is.

It is really hard to sit in feeling uncomfortable. No one likes it. No one likes being angry or sad. No one I know loves feeling hurt or lonely. What do you do in those places? How are you either pushing through or numbing that uncomfortable place?

I hate being angry. It is the worst feeling. I hate everything about it. I can sit in sadness. I can deal with that, but anger, dang! However, I have two choices when dealing with my anger. I can go off on everyone and anyone. I can throw stuff, yell, or make bystandards pay. I also have the choice to sit in the anger. I could actually deal with my anger and think it through. When I’m angry I hit the gym or go for a run. Not a gauenteed release, but leaves less of a wake the other choice does.

Loneliness is a subtle one that causes discomfort. The response to loneliness has two choices as well. I could fill my life with everything and everyone. I could put an extra one hundred hours a week at my job to avoid loneliness. Sometimes this choice can add to the loneliness rather than “fix” it. I could also recognize my loneliness and sit in it. I could leave some of that uncomfortable space open for the Lord. Honestly there are seasons of life where God wants just you. Everyone experiences the feared loneliness at one time or another.

God promises to be in all things with us if we will sit long enough in our discomfort and let him. God desires for us to respond well in our God given emotions. It may not feel like it, but our emotions are for us not against us.

So the question I am asking myself is how do I sit well in my stuff? What do I do with loneliness, exhaustion, pain, grief, anger, sadness, discontentment, disappointment, and the emotions alike?

I will ask you the same questions. What would it mean for you to sit well in your stuff?

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When I was in high school, I would always be the one people would call at any hour of the night. I was “cool” because I had a pager. A what? Mmhmm, a pager. I had a close friend who did not live in the best of home environments. My friend would often page me in the middle of the night and I would drive over to her house and pick her up.

I will never forget this one night I received a page from her. Out of routine I hopped in the car and headed over. I parked in my normal spot and started up the walk way. I could hear yelling of profanity and cries from her younger siblings. It was a nice night, so all the windows were open. As I walked up to the door I stopped to gauge the situation at the window. In the living room was my friend, her younger brother, and father. My friend’s father was threatening to strike her younger brother. It was an intimdating scene to say the least. I didn’t know whether or not to knock or stay where I was.

Words grew in great volume as the tension rose. Just as I thought I was about to witness my first domestic violence, my friend stood in the gap between her younger brother and father. With words so calm, she said, “dad if you are going to hit anyone, you need to hit me.” There was no rage or anger in her voice, just waiting. My friend stood her ground as her father tried to manuver around to get at her younger brother.

Finally her father realized my friend was serious and not going to move. My friend stood in the gap to save her brother. I was silenced. In that moment I walked in the door and stood with my friend. Her dad stormed out and we gathered her things and left. That was one powerful stand.

I need that same protecting. The lies I believe in are abusive to me. I am bruised and wounded by the weight of my fears. I allow myself to be identified with being worthless and unlovable. In the midst of that, Jesus comes and stands in the gap. He gently says, “these lies and wounds belong to me.”  They still try and manuver around to inflict pain on me, but he stands firm and protects me.

This brings me hope as I take on the crater field of my heart. I hope you feel him standing in your gap to protect you.

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I often use the phrase, “I’m working on it” when referring to my heart. I am learning that in reality I use this phrase as a shield to guard against actually having to confront my messy heart.

I used this phrase recently, and afterward I had to ask myself the question, “am I really working on it?” I can play this card as a safeguard – as if saying, “I’m working on it” lets me off the hook for responding out of my fears. By hiding behind “working on it,” I give my fears permission to take root in me.

The reality is that our mess is really hard to work on. It takes courage to confront our own hearts. My heart resembles a crater field after the dust has settled from battle. It displays the wounds of life. I have craters with other people’s names on them. I also have holes that echo the natural consequences of my unwise decisions. I get overwhelmed when staring at all the craters in my heart. I have also experienced seasons of ignoring my wounds and walking away to find comfort elsewhere.

The false advertising of life is that pursuing comfort elsewhere does not add wounds to the already broken heart.

As the wounds of my heart run deep, they manifest in different masked ways. If feels scary to confront them. Saying it out loud makes them more real.

The foundation of my crater field happened in high school when the affair of my father came out. The news shattered my world and brought on a deep level of pain I never knew could be reached. This grief sowed seeds of real fear in the core of my heart. These seeds manifest themselves in ways I am aware of as well as in ways I am still learning to identify.

I struggle with abandonment in paralyzing and infuriating ways. I guard my heart so tight that pain can’t find a way in. This fear paralyzes me from taking risks to experience real life and real intimacy.

I also fear being replaced all the time. I fear intimacy as it forces me into places that require the risk of being vulnerable and my heart exposed. I fear being a “meantime” friend as if it were only a matter of time before my friends find someone better than me. I am not using “better” in a prideful way, but voicing my deep insecurity that keeps my heart on lock down. I hate the nagging feeling of always holding my breath in waiting. I even imagine, and play out in my head, being left by the other person as a way to prepare myself for pain. By actively staying in this place of fear, I voluntarily place the shackles on my life of being enslaved to those fears.

I hate this long standing pattern of life for me. God has already done a ton of healing in me. I can honestly say that I am more whole than I used to be. It is a conscious effort to choose to trust people. I am trying to get used to sitting in a place of discomfort and lack of control. That place is terrifying for me.

There’s still the question of what if someone did decide to leave? This is a real possibility. I still grieve the loss of some really close friendships. It is even more of a possibility as our culture moves further away from commitment.

God is my redeemer. He promises that he “began a good work in me and carries it on to completion.” I have now edited my comfort phrase from “I’m working on it” to “He’s working on me.” I cannot heal my own heart. God is gentle as he waits for me to surrender my white flag to him. God has been redirecting my life out of the desert. I have spent too many weeks/months/years living life there.

Instead of adding bricks to the Great Wall of me, I desire to begin surrendering myself to him. Hillsong has a great song with lyrics that state,“rid me of myself, I belong to you…lead me to the cross.” This is my hard prayer to pray.

What are you “working on?”

How is He working on you?

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