Tag Archives: healing

“What’s All That Crying About?”

When I was a child, my dad said things that many dads say. “Stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”. My dad passed away many years ago and I can still hear his voice and the way he said it. At the time, those words evoked fear in my heart. I was always terrified of my dad as a little girl. I know I wasn’t the only child to hear these words.

I now have four wee little grandchildren and although each one is different, they all have one thing in common. They cry. When they cry a lot, they distress their parents to no end. Crying is a child’s non-verbal way of expressing their needs and desires, like pain, boredom, hunger or fear. There are lots of reasons a child cries. Parents in their humanness sometimes react in ways that are not helpful or healthy.

How People Respond Matters 

Some responses to a child who cries can cause the child in their immaturity to interpret their caregiver’s tone of voice or reactions in a way that may not be intended or even considered. Sometimes this can create a core belief in the child that becomes a theme or framework for their entire lives.

I know now that my dad was a tender-hearted man who loved his three children and was very proud of us. I didn’t always believe this. When I was growing up, I saw him as a mean man who was too quick to strike and too slow to listen. I never felt secure around him, especially when I was alone with him.

My perspective changed several years after he died. I had a load of memories of him reacting to my tears or my other childish “flaws”. During my early years as a Christian, I was taught the need to forgive others. The Lord’s prayer reads in Matthew 6:12, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It further states in Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

I learned to forgive my dad for every negative memory I had of him. I released him into the hands and care of my heavenly Father and asked God to bless him. I then asked the Father to forgive me for holding those negative actions against him and asked the Lord to wipe the slate clean between us over those events. It took several years and loads of memories to go through, but over time it became easier and easier to remember some of the good things about him. As I cooperated in this process, God met me along the way.

After Practicing Forgiveness   

About fifteen years after my dad’s funeral, I woke early in the morning before anyone else in the house stirred. Not wanting to leave my comfortable bed, I decided to just thank God in my head for all the blessings I was enjoying at that point and time. As I did, I entered into what seemed like a daydream. I “saw” the Lord walk into my room with another fellow. I knew it was Jesus and he told me that this gentleman had asked permission to talk to me and He had decided to grant permission. Now it was up to me to decide.

Because I didn’t recognize him, I wondered who he was even though I’d said yes to letting him speak to me. I saw an old picture of my dad in my hand.  It turns out that this person was indeed my dad and he wanted to tell me how sorry he was for not knowing how to raise me well. He apologized for a long list of faults and failures and asked me to forgive him.

Astonished, I forgave him immediately. The confession was so sincere. My dad proceeded to tell me all the things he loved about me as a little girl. From there he went on to affirm me as a woman and a mother and to let me know how proud he was of me. Years of fear washed away. Any list of sins I had retained against him were forgotten during that conversation except what I needed to remember for this testimony. He bestowed upon me a father’s blessing and assured me that I would recognize him in heaven when I got there as he had been healed of all that had deformed him as a man on earth.

The conversation went on for many minutes. I cried during a lot of it and still cry today in the memory of it. These tears are not negative in nature. They are not a sign of need or pain and they are not full of regrets either. These are tears of gratitude for the encounter I had in a day-dream where the Lord revealed something to me in a way I could receive and accept. Now, I can hardly remember the negatives of my childhood with my dad.

I do remember him getting on the floor with my brothers and me playing arm wrestling with him and hearing him laugh at our vain attempts to beat him. I remember playing checkers and washing the dishes with him. I remember how he used to boast about my brothers to visitors after they left home and I am sure he boasted about me too when I left.

I remember the many hours he, being almost illiterate, helping me with homework by dictating the numbers I had to copy out of the text book to help me get it done faster. I remember him bringing my mother breakfast in bed when she was really really sick and bringing her plastic flowers on her birthday.

I remember reading the Bible to him as he lay dying of cancer at home. And I remember being there when he said his last word to God, and I know that I will see him again.

May you, my reader, learn to forgive those who did not react to your crying well. May you practice that act of forgiveness in the presence of God and may He lead you to the full healing you need so that you in turn can react well to those who cry around you. And may your tears become tears of joy and gratitude in many times and in many ways.

Behind the Anger

Behind the Anger Veil

In my last blog, I talked about anger and how it could mask the real problem and the real hurt in a person’s life. Following is a story about how I experienced this very thing in my own life. See if you can identify with this experience and follow the story to find the path I took to gain your own healing.

I was mad. I believed I had been robbed of my dignity and my character had been attacked. I was told that if I just stopped whining and complaining so much, all my problems would go away. I wondered if this was how Job felt when he was suffering.

I went home fuming. I replayed the conversation over and over again in my head. How could I have explained my concern with my brother without getting such a nasty response? I was hurting, looking for help to resolve an issue, not just whining and complaining to hear my own voice. I didn’t think I had rights that were more important than my brother’s. I had a problem that needed wise counsel, not just judgment and criticism. I had risked being vulnerable to someone I trusted and got nothing helpful to go home with, only more hurt. I wanted to tell the one I had tried to get help from what I thought of him and his “wise counsel”. I began a tirade to the Lord about this “servant of His” who was supposed to be a spokesperson for God and had done a terrible job of it. I wanted God to deal with him ever so severely and set the guy straight.

It Helps to Have Strong Friends

When I got home I called up my girlfriend. Thankfully she was not in the mood to hear my story and interrupted me. She asked me if I was willing to put my anger aside for a moment to see what the Lord wanted me to know. I was stopped in my tracks. I knew from my training and my years of practice that this was the right thing to do. I momentarily struggled with the decision to comply or continue my rant.

I complied. I put my hand on my heart and in an act of agreement, I pulled the anger out of my heart and symbolically put it in a basket. I put the basket at the foot of the cross and asked the Lord to take it.

After the Anger is Put Aside by Choice

Immediately, I felt the anger drop off and the pain behind it surfaced. She then guided me through the steps of finding what the real problem was and presenting this before God for His perspective. 

I’d had a fall-out with my brother. I really loved him and admired him. I was really hurt by the harsh words he had spoken to me. I knew the whole thing was over a misunderstanding and I did not know how to fix it. I believed I’d messed up and that our relationship was broken beyond repair. I had no idea how to correct the misunderstanding and restore the relationship.

Beyond that, when I went to a staff member at my church to try to sort it all out, he too misunderstood my conversation, became impatient with me and dismissed me with a remark like, “Women like you need to learn to stop whining and complaining. Then you might start getting along with others.” I was crushed believing that there was something terribly wrong with me. Outwardly I was angry. Inwardly I was decimated.

  

As I put the anger aside, the Lord gently took me to the first time I felt so crushed. I found it in my very first year of school when a boy told me that if I was a friend of the “retard” (Down’s syndrome child in our class), that I was retarded too. I loved the boy with the round face and was hurt to be put in a category that somehow made me feel less than the bully. I believed that there was something wrong with me. I remained friends with my friend but was taunted along with him every day as we walked home from school together.

The Lord revealed to me that there was nothing “wrong” with me and asked me to forgive the child bully, which I did immediately. The Lord also showed me that He loved my compassion and open heart towards those who were different from everybody else. He also showed me many other truths throughout the situation.

In the end, I was able to forgive the person I went to for counsel and received help from the Lord for my brother and me. He worked in both of us.  We are getting along very well today. 

In many times and in many ways the father of lies embeds lies into our lives. This is especially true while we are very young and unable to process the things we hear and experience in light of the truth. Once those lies turn into beliefs they can cause us to self destruct over the course of our lifetime. 

Letting God bring truth to those false beliefs can be life saving. The truth can open the door to restoration of precious relationships, peace in our hearts and the ability to help others so that our world can get better rather than continue in its natural course towards destruction. I know this experience was a life changer. It set me on a path that made my response to people who did not understand me much more compassionate. I gained an ability to forgive more quickly. I am not nearly so easily hurt or offended and there is room for more joy in my life than ever before. My prayer is that this will happen for you the reader as well.

How Anger Hinders Healing

 

One of the Biggest Hindrances to Healing 

 

Can we hinder our own healing? We sure can. There are many things that can block the process, but one of the biggest things that will prevent us from accessing the provision God gave us for our healing and restoration is anger. 

Anger is what has been referred to as a guardian emotion. When we feel hurt or vulnerable and we do not want to get run over by “weaker” emotions, we may choose anger. Our anger may seem to be so automatic that it doesn’t appear to be a choice, but I’ve seen people choose to put anger aside for a moment and allow themselves to dig deeper into what their anger is covering up.  It’s important for our healing that we recognize that anger can be a learned behaviour or a more socially acceptable emotion than crying. 

 

What does Anger Do for Us? 

 

Anger does many things for us. Anger covers our vulnerabilities when we feel threatened. It makes us appear stronger and tougher than we feel. It masks the fear we are feeling and gives us a sense of personal control over a given situation. Anger can be expressed both actively through outbursts of angry words and violence or passively through distancing, ignoring and punishing silence.  

 

Most psychologists now agree that anger is a symptom of wounds people carry. Without going into the many books on the subject of passive and active forms of anger, suffice it to say, they are well known among the hurting. Anger allows us to blame someone else for the pain we feel and removes us from any responsibility. 

 

There is a common phrase I’ve seen in recent months: “Hurting people hurt people”. If we use anger as a way of dealing with our pain, we may well be managing our pain but in the end, it doesn’t help us heal. Anger will hurt us and those closest to us in a perpetual cycle of negativity that prevents us from healing. 

The Bible says, Eph. 4:26, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Righteous anger is a legitimate emotion, but it is a rare thing among us mortals. Righteous anger is not about us. It is about what offends God and hurts others. Anger hinders healing and personal relationships when used as a coverup or reaction for offenses or hurts.  

In our anger we are often blame shifting. Sometimes we judge others for things they said when it is not what they said at all but what we think they meant. God is the only one who knows the whole truth, understands motive and sees every side of an incident.  It is not uncommon to be angry when we have been wronged, but prolonged anger leads to bitterness which can be hazardous to our personal health and relationships. Bitterness also does not lead to healing but rather can destroy more and more in our lives.  

Using the anger we feel as a signpost to help us turn to the healing process can make the emotion useful rather than harmful. The Holy Spirit can help us to control our reactions to anger when we ask Him to grow the fruit of self-control into our lives. 

 

Putting Anger Aside 

 

In many of the healing prayer sessions I’ve had with others the presenting emotion is anger. I will ask them if they are willing to put it aside for the moment because anger focusses on another person rather than oneself. What we are looking for is what’s behind the anger so that the recipient of prayer can find healing. When they get their healing, anger is no longer needed to protect them. 

 

Sometimes we can simply put anger into an imaginary basket for the time being. Sometimes we have to find out what they think might happen if they give it up. Then we look for truth to deal with that so that we can move on. 

 

I believe that if you are willing to put aside your anger for a short period of time, you too will find healing for yourself. When you gain healing, you are able to make room for some of the more positive things in your life, like love.             

 

1 Corinthians 13:5 says about love, “It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” It is a wonderful thing when we can love like this. Healing our hearts can lead to love that gives without pain. 

 

 

Healing for Sexual Assault

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

I was studying the Bible in the Book of Matthew and arrived at Chapter 5 verse 8. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”  I wanted to know how a person could really purify their heart enough to see God.

I had been listening to a teaching tape on the beatitudes when I heard the author of the teaching series direct us through a series of prayers and proclamations that would help up to get “pure in heart”. I was eager to get my heart cleaned up. I wanted to see God and live to tell about it.

One of the definitions of “pure in heart” is “unstained with the guilt of anything” This is an act of God. This is not something I can do. So, in thinking about my question at the beginning of my story, going to God to get His perspective was my action that led to Him purifying my heart and conscience.  Heb. 10:24 says “our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”  One of the meanings of “evil” conscience is freedom from a conscience that accuses us of guilt.

Agreement with the Scriptures and Prayer

As I progressed through the prescribed list of activities, I could tell that I was making some progress and I felt a sense of relief as I confessed sins, forgave people for ancient offences and gave God control over my life. Somewhere in the process, the instuructor announced that we would be pure in heart if we had come into agreement with the scriptures and prayed. Now we should be able to “see God”.  Then he asked us when in our lifetime had we wished we could have seen Him.

Suffering from Guilt and Shame

Immediately the spring of 1982 came to mind when a stalker succeeded in luring me into a trap where he was able to kidnap me and take me to a place where he was able to brutally sexually assault me. For years I had been plagued by the resulting nightmares, fear of someone coming up behind me, and many other results of the trauma. I also suffered from guilt and shame wondering how I’d gotten myself into such a situation.

I instantly remembered the day as if it was yesterday. The perpetrator was before me, 6’2” tall, 240 pounds. He was someone I had known briefly and spoken to three or four times before. His countenance was dark and foreboding and his previous conversations with me terrified me enough to ask him not to contact me again. All the way to his destination, I prayed for an open door. I was not able to find a way out and now I saw the room I was in. I saw the window, the door, and the furniture in the room. I felt the terror all over again as I heard the man demand that I take my clothes off.

In the safety of my own home, I asked God to show me where He was then. Instantly, I saw Jesus appear in my memory and the next few minutes were all replayed in slow motion. As the man swung his hand toward my face for refusing to obey him, I saw Jesus put His hand up and absorb most of the blow. I saw the Lord’s hand vibrate from the force in that strong arm. The blow connected with my face, picking me off my feet and throwing me into a corner of the room where I landed on the floor.

The Lord turned to me, pointed to me and gave me permission to stop fighting.

All of a sudden, I knew things I didn’t know before. I had not been seriously wounded in that encounter. I had no whiplash, no bruising, no soreness on my back, shoulders or head where I’d landed. Furthermore, I knew that the Lord wanted to minimize the effect of the noise on children who were within hearing distance of where I was.

Then I saw Jesus take a chain and wrap it around this man from head to toe. While I was wondering what that was, I heard Him say, “I bind the spirit of murder.” Then He announced that He had given me eternal life and no one could snatch me out of His hand. I had been given to Him by His Father and no one was able to snatch me out of His Father’s hand. ( I found this later in John 10:28)

Not My Fault:  No More Guilt

At that point, the terror I’d felt for years disappeared. The details of the actual rape scene that followed was fast forwarded and  relegated to the place of the unimportant. Then I saw the Lord put a white sheet over me and wrap me in it. He told me it wasn’t my fault and he restored to me a sense of innocence that has lasted for more than twenty years. All the emotions from the trauma were replaced with peace and calm.

At that point, He asked me if I wanted to see this man as He saw him. I agreed. I was at the foot of the bed we’d been lying on and this huge hulk of a man shrunk before my eyes into the body of a two-year old, and with a child’s voice begged me to tell him he was loved. I felt compassion for him instead of the outrage I’d experienced before. I was able to forgive him from my heart and have prayed for his salvation since then.

The Lord then showed me that He commanded the man who intended to rape and murder me, to take me back to my own vehicle where I was able to go home. When at home, I rocked in my rocking chair for weeks and months, and Jesus let me see how He rocked with me while I recovered over the course of the next weeks and months and how  He brought people alongside of me who prayed for me and loved on me.

The perpetrator came to my home about three months later to ask for forgiveness. I talked to him through an unlocked screen door with words of forgiveness. I refused to allow him to enter. I said I was not obligated to trust him again even though I forgave him. When the guy tried to force his way into my home, he could not open the door even though it was not only unlocked, but also would regularly fly open in the wind. He tried several times while I went to my phone to dial the police. He left before I could find the number (this was before the days of 911). This too was an act of God protecting me. I never saw the fellow again and have never been threatened or molested since then.

I feel safe and secure knowing my life is in God’s hands now.

Memories are No Longer Painful

Since I received that healing, my memories are no longer painful. I sleep without nightmares and do not fear I will “get myself into trouble”, but can rely on the Lord to keep me safe. The incident was not wasted. I have been able to help many women find healing for similar situations since then.

Ask for God’s Perspective

Perhaps you have been the victim of a trauma similar to mine. If you are still alive, it is because God intervened to some measure. He is not mean because He “let it happen”. If you are angry at God because of what man has done to you, may I suggest that you can ask Him to give you His perspective. Misplaced anger can keep you from receiving the healing you need.

By the time I received my healing, I did not blame God for what one man did to me. I was in fact very thankful to Him for intervening. There is more to the story, but that is enough this time.

What is Truth?

These were the famous spoken words of Pontius Pilate just before he gave consent to have Jesus crucified. It’s a good question. One that many people ask today.  What is truth? I found that truth is not just some statement of fact, but also a person.

Can a person really be the embodiment of truth? In the Bible, Jesus said to Pontius Pilate “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through me.” (NIV version, emphasis added.) When I read that, it explained why sometimes when I was remembering a painful memory, when I would ask for the whole truth in the matter, I would see Jesus helping me, giving me insights, or protecting me from more harm than I actually received.

I’ll give you an example:

When I was in my first year of grade school, I was very nervous and uncertain. All through my school years, with the exception of grade 11, I was a C average student and I thought I was dumb. There were three or four students who had failed that grade and were repeating the year with us. One day, as an adult, when I was really struggling to learn something, that feeling of being dumb and fear of failure overtook me and all I wanted to do was quit and forget all about this idea of ever learning something new. I stopped what I was doing and took stock of my feelings. My stomach was in knots, my shoulders were very heavy as if I was carrying 30 extra pounds on them wrapped around my neck and choking me. I sought the source of these feelings, looking into my past to where they all began and I landed in my seat in the classroom of my first year in a one room school house in my home town.

Now I know that memories are not always accurate for details, but they are more like a composite of how we perceived the event. In my case, I was sitting in my desk believing I would never learn anything here and I would never measure up. The teacher rewarded the fast learners with toys to play with while us slowpokes would labour to catch up. I never got a toy during the whole year. I really believed that was because I was slow, not too bright and useless.

When I asked for the truth, I “saw” Jesus show up in my memory, squat beside the desk and give me a toy to play with. He assured me that speed of learning was not related to intelligence and that intelligence was not related to value or worth. He opened a book before me and showed me pictures of animals that have been created, each one with its own measure of intelligence and speed and yet every one of them was a valuable member of the world and would be greatly missed if it was extinguished from the earth.

Then Jesus kissed me on the forehead leaving a mark on me and assured me that I would grow up and bless a lot of people if I don’t give up. Peace washed over me. Joy trickled in where defeat had been, and in just a few minutes I was back to work with renewed energy to learn what I needed to learn. My learning power is still not super fast, but I am less easily discouraged than before.

Forgive and Forget: does it really work?

Some people get impatient with people who are wounded. They get tired of hearing the stories of those who never seem to get over certain things.

“Forgive and forget,” they say.

“Move on,” they say. “

“Let it go,” they say.

If it were that easy, don’t you think they would have by now? I do not believe people really like misery as much as the impatient seem to think they do. As a matter of fact, I think that those who get annoyed or grumpy toward their wounded friends or relatives are more triggered by the pain of others than they might realize.

I have found, that when the one who is annoyed examines their own lives, they will find the patience to listen to others when they deal with their own pain which causes so much irritation.

Back to the question of whether or not “forgive and forget” works. It is true that forgiveness can be an integral part of healing. But is forgiveness healing? Not at all. Forgiveness can lead to healing but healing and forgiveness are 2 different things altogether.

Let’s look at a Biblical definition of forgiveness: According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary Forgiveness is: one of the constituent parts of justification. In pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law, and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the guilt of sin, or the sinner’s actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it. All sins are forgiven freely ( Acts 5:31 ; 13:38 ; 1 John 1:6-9 ). The sinner is by this act of grace for ever freed from the guilt and penalty of his sins. This is the peculiar prerogative of God ( Psalms 130:4 ; Mark 2:5 ). It is offered to all in the gospel. (M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.)

As you can see, it is not necessarily the removal of pain but rather the removal of sin and it’s punishment. Not all pain is caused by one’s own sin. Neither is all pain caused by the sin of another.

Next let’s look at the definition of healing: To restore a person or wound to health; cure a person or disease; of a wound become sound or whole. (the Concise Oxford Dictionary copyright 1952 public domain).

It is therefore clear that they are not the same.

I would suggest from my years of experience in the healing prayer ministry that although some can forgive without healing as an act of their will, when healing comes it is much easier to forgive. Healing is the restoring of a person to wholeness. When we are made whole in an area of woundedness, the ability to forgive is a natural by product of the healing and peace is the result.