I always considered healing as picking up, moving on, getting over it, coping better, standing taller, being able to smile and say “I’m good. Thanks for asking!” I did not realize that in order to heal you have to face what you are actually scared of. I always thought freedom was a one time destination. Once you were there you, you were there, no more guilt, shame, or condemnation. You made it on the holy scale of things, moving mountains, walking down the street casting out demons, BAM LET’S DO THIS YALL! I never knew either of these were a consistent practice that helps strengthen and refine us along the journey.
The other morning this was my prayer:
I did not sign up for this.
I signed up for healing.
I signed up for freedom.
Can you do something about this? What even is this? I am not a fan. We have come so far why is this happening now? I went through these things for years, why now? HELP ME I DON’T KNOW WHY THESE FEELINGS ARE COMING UP! GIVE ME SOMETHING HERE!
Freedom ain’t free, y’all.
Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
I always saw this scripture as “Choose Jesus as your Savior!” Check. Did that. Next? Where is that mushy, free, feeling I was hoping for? This hurts but I am experiencing some sort of weird peace and understanding so what even are my feelings right now?
Take up their cross and follow me…
My youngest daughter is almost one and a half. She has a little puppy pull toy that she “walks” all around our house. If we want to head to a different room we say, “Em, let’s get your puppy and go this way.” She picks up that little red string and waddles her way towards the living room pulling her puppy behind her. This is never a short journey. Y’all, we live in a small house. Our hallway is maybe 2 feet long. It takes this baby 5 minutes to get to her destination. She hears her directions, she starts following, but then she trips over that puppy about 5 times in that short distance she has to go to the living room or she gets completely distracted and ends up in her sister’s room with 10,000 toys.
I am Emily with her puppy in my journey with Christ and boy is he patient.
The only way to really make sure she gets anywhere is if you get her attention and lead the way or follow one step behind yelling out motivation or eventually just picking her up and carrying her.
I stumble too. Sometimes I get so distracted with the constant excitement that is my life that I end up on a one way street going the opposite direction. It happens! The parable Jesus used about wineskins keeps finding me. I tried to ignore it but after the third person brought it up I started listening (once again, I stumble. Actually, I can just be really hardheaded.)
“And who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine is spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into a new wineskin so that both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17)
I have been trying to figure out what this meant. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN. I NEED DIRECTIONS JESUS! NOTHING IS MAKING SENSE HERE! It is also the last week of summer. Nothing really makes sense around here. I finally asked my friend, “WHAT IS THE NEW WINE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE POURING IN MYSELF!? I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO! WHAT AM I DOING WRONG!?” Then she said, “You don’t have the wine. He pours the new wine.”
Whenever I heard about “getting over” things or “casting your problems on the Lord (Psalm 55:22) I could not figure out why he was not taking things away until I learned part of the process is stewing in your own emotions and removing the old skins. Telling him about these things and letting him work. Mourning the past. Acknowledging my pain. Part of this is the daily staring of this stuff right in the face, accepting that it happened, and letting the Father repack the wounds with love and forgiveness. I have spent weeks crying and mourning over things that have happened in life. I had 26 years of tears that needed to come out and show themselves. Those tears, ugly crying, and prayers have taught me something valuable. The trials in my life have not been punishment or a deliberate attack from God, they sucked, yes. Do I know why they happened? No. But, I know the heart of who God is and He is for me (Romans 8:31) The past hurts, but I can show the blessing stamped on every hardship.
It feels so unnatural to want to think about the things that have “ruined our life” but once I started looking at those things and exposing them, they started losing their power. Honestly, sometimes I do not want my life experiences, but I do want a good life, and those experiences are part of it. I know that all of my cries of feeling abandoned and orphaned were heard because there is restoration happening. I know that every time I have hurt others or hurt myself I have been forgiven so that I may now love others the way they deserve to be loved. There is proof of God’s work in my relationships. I know that God rescues, carries, and heals, but I also know he wants to go through this journey with us in order to build strength and stamina. Strength doesn’t just happen and neither does getting better. Just as Emily falls or gets lost among our 3 bedroom house I get lost sometimes too. I always find her and place her chubby feet right back where they should go. God picks up his children too. When I lose my way he gently calls my name and gets me back on track. Emily looks up at me every time she falls accompanied with a desperate cry of, “Mama.” I give her a kiss and encourage her to keep going. God does the same with his children, when I stumble and fall grace always kisses the bumps and bruises and gently encourages me to keep going too.