[this is still under constructions. But it can still be gleaned from in the meantime.]
I received this email:
I was reading your blog post from 4/2/13. Thank you for those tidbits. I too went through a divorce... Not only am I still very ashamed of the divorce but I find myself very sad about it. The event changed me and I need help finding that joyful girl who wasn't afraid to love. I am proud of you because you are allowing God to use you to help others. I hope that one day I am able to help others heal but know that I need to completely heal from my pain.
I realized when reading this that people do not realize when THEY ALREADY ARE in a position to be used of God to help others. I've had the best training on earth from childhood on, from the ultimate "presentation tutors," my parents, James and Naomi Varnum. They lived it behind the scenes, on the world's stage, they were legit. And they taught all of their kids to present a positive image, to put our best foot forward, to smile regardless of the emotion, and so on.
It's dawned on me after reading this email that because people see what I consider my "worship and faith posture," and they do not see my crumpled heaps in the midnight hour, that they consider me "back to normal," while they're seeing themselves still broken and a bloodied mess. They feel like they're barely coping. I want to help people who have endured crises, maybe even multiple crises, to see themselves in a more positive light! I want to help people who have been battered and bruised to realize THEY'RE READY to help others God is putting in their path. If God put you two in the same room, God considers you healed and ready.
Consider this story of one of my mother's life-breaking tragedies and take heart; you are more "ready" than you realize.
When I was 2yrs old, I had a sister, Gina Louise, who died when she was 7 months old. I'm now 40 years old. That means she's been dead for 37 years. My mother will STILL feel the sting of that death & mourn her loss. We go to her grave EVERY year on Memorial Day to put flags on my great uncles' graves who served in World War 2, we put flowers on my grandparents graves. And we always put flowers and a toy on my sister's grave. This is my mother's plan and she clearly leads the event. She doesn't always cry at the grave, but she does sometimes. I remember specifically, the year Gina would have graduated from high school my mom cried at the grave.
But 37 years later...? My mom is in no way, shape, or form a depressed person. She is one of the most enjoyable, jovial humans on this planet. But she still cries over Gina. Clearly, still hurts sometimes, right? Right.
Since Gina's death she's had a a son who is now a 36 yr old man and gives her every reason to be thankful. He is a great father and husband and pastors under the anointing of God. She's VERY proud of him, thankful for him, and HE MAKES HER HAPPY.
She had another daughter 28 years ago, my sister, Lacey. Lacey has given her SO MUCH JOY!
But she still feels the pain from the sudden loss of Gina. (Contact me through facebook or twitter to get her book that includes the story of Gina's death, as well as their joys in ministry.)
What's inspired me to write this blog is that I think in general we have a misconception of what "healed" is. We think it means we're back to the pain-free, innocence of childhood. And because somewhere along the line we've learned "wounded people aren't in a condition to help other wounded people" we miss out on saving someone else! We miss out on the many joys that come from being used of God to minister to others. (Click here to read about habits we form in a crisis.)
"Healed" doesn't mean you no longer feel pain from that wound. But it means things have mended enough for you to move forward and function.
I know people who have been in terrible car wrecks, who limp because they still feel pain from their wounds. They'll need to "baby" that particular leg more in severe weather changes. They'll perhaps buy different types of shoes than the fad-shoes others are wearing, or they'll not participate in certain activities. They may need to alter their lifestyle a bit. But they're out of the hospital, the stitches are gone, the yucky medicine is no longer needed, they're finished with all the gauze and wrappings. They've healed. Would it be nicer if they healed from the damage of the wreck without pain? OF COURSE! But what's happened, HAPPENED!
So, we should not wait for the "pain" to be gone to believe we've healed emotionally. Because we have a day here and there where we need to "baby" a past wound does not mean we're useless. Even people in wheelchairs, or full paralysis have been known to accomplish great things! Having days where the old wound acts up on you is normal. But you need to stop, cease, and desist going through motions that are no longer needed. Perhaps you were a victim. But you're not now! Perhaps you were a "patient" in a spiritual hospital, and I'll even go so far as to say its possible you didn't receive proper care. But you have to get hold of yourself and say, "Enough is enough!" You will NEVER get people to fulfill your needs and wants. And as long as you keep focusing on people who won't apply the medicine, people who seem to walk around with butcher knives reopening old wounds, you'll never live as God intends you to live. You and God ALONE can properly apply your medicine. And if you've got people in your life still ripping your to shreds; GET OUT OF THERE!
I've seen people who have experienced atrocities like molestation, beatings, the death of someone vital to their life, the destruction of their character, divorce, losing a career... The list of tragedies that humanity faces is mind-boggling. But these people still want care even though time, God, and maybe even supportive people helped their wound heal long ago. But because they've still got an emotional limp, that does indeed some days cripple them, they're demanding to be put back in "the hospital." Or they keep getting out the yucky medicine and trying to use it. They're still trying to wrap it with gauze. BUT THE WOUND HAS HEALED! None of that will work anymore! It's done it's job. It's over, and YOU ARE HEALED!
I'm not trying to disrespect those of you still feeling the pain. I'm not trying to make light of your pain, or say "it's all in your head." My friend, your pain is very real. But the mistake we make sometimes is in thinking because we still have a crippling day, we're not fit to minister others. And that's the thinking I seek to change.
If you know the story of Job in the Bible, you know that his children died, his business died, his marriage died; in short he lost everything. And we feel his pain. But isn't it such a triumphant ending? He again experiences the laugh of children, he rebuilds his business to prosperity, and because his 1st wife was cursed of God to not be able to bear children, we know in order to have more children, he had to have a new wife. We LOVE that he got it all back, and more! Living the dream, baby!
But I know human nature. I'm a parent. I've seen my mom cry because she misses Gina. And though the scripture doesn't spell out this detail; I'm certain Job had days after he was back to living the dream, when he thought about his first children, and he ached, and he mourned them. I wouldn't be surprised, if I could have a conversation with him, to hear him say, "There were some days I had to FORCE myself to get out of bed and get dressed because I missed my children." Or even, "There were panics and fears that would hit me sometimes... fears that I would lose it all again within a matter of minutes."
Sure! Job was living the dream of his restored wealth and prestige. But what kind of difficulties did he have with his "first wife?" According to the culture she was probably still his wife, and he either married a different woman, or had a concubines situation going on, which means her likely bitter attitude was still in his home. The point is, just because God healed him in body, soul, mind and spirit, and everything was restored, he likely had days, (his first children's birthdays come to mind) when perhaps he couldn't breathe.
And yet, he seems to have done like my mother, and found joy where he could.
Imagine a doctor who had been severely wounded in an accident, which in turn caused him to limp, or to need to get around in a wheel chair, or with a cane. But he comes across you lying on the side of the road, bleeding to death. Within him is not only the knowledge of how to stop the bleeding, how to stitch you, how to save your life. But he even knows how to survive a near-death experience. But he doesn't help you because his limps and he's not like he used to be. I hope you'd sue that jerk!
TEASING ABOUT SUING! =)
But I am not teasing about the fact that you may walk with a limp after your tragedy, but that does not excuse you from helping others get over and through their own tragedy. As a matter of fact, you are obligated to offer your services. Accept your limp. It was a terrible experience you had. You never want to go through that ordeal again. But you did. So accept you'll never be the same again. Stop trying to recapture your former self. Quit occupying a hospital bed, there are other patients who need care. And YOU can care for them better than almost anybody else.
The world needs you. The Kingdom of God needs you.
I'm not trying to be harsh. But I am asking for help. There are a lot of hurting people, and those of us who have gone through the darkest of valleys are the ones who can help navigate other's through the same valley.
And don't forget, when you seek to do the work of God, HE will add all "these things" to you! Assume the "worship and faith posture." Exemplify your faith by putting your best presentation on. Honor and worship God with your smiles. It doesn't mean you FEEL giddy, or FEEL whole or worthy enough to offer help. And it's certainly not because you don't feel pain anymore. It's because God is worthy of your "best foot forward." And the hurting are worth you taking time & expending energy to minister to them.
Please don't assume that the reason I display confidence, happiness and try to help by telling a bit of my story is because I'm painless. I still, 3 years after, deal with stress and confusion of my own tragedy. I still cry and hurt deeply. But I decided it was time for somebody else to have the hospital bed. I decided it was time I stopped depleting the medicine supply. And it was time I joined the nursing staff, limp and all!
Don't forget, Jacob carried the mark of his fight for the rest of his life. Jesus carried the marks of his crucifixion. Both were "healed." They simply found themselves in a place to show their scars and say, "See? I've been through that too. Now let me help you."
You may benefit from praying these same scriptures I pray. Click here.