October 12, 2011
I Haven't Got Time for the Pain
"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help." Psalm 18:6a (NIV, 1984)
I knew I needed to talk with someone about the pain that was still buried in my heart, but I didn't want to talk about it. I was tired of hurting and afraid I'd fall apart or slip back into depression if I let it all come to the surface.
I didn't have time for falling apart. Plus it was in the past and I thought it would eventually just go away.
Have you ever avoided dealing with pain because it would take too much time? Or have you tried to pray away the pain only to realize healing is a process, but one you're not sure you want to go through?
Although we can't go back and change circumstances or relationships that wounded us, we can go back and process our pain with Jesus. In fact, we won't heal from our hurts unless we do.
When left unresolved, the pain from our yesterdays can creep up in our todays and keep us from experiencing all God has for our tomorrows.
This happened in my relationship with my husband several years into our marriage. I don't know exactly when it started, I just remember feeling a lot of anger and realizing I had a critical spirit towards JJ.
One day I sensed God showing me damaged emotions from my childhood I hadn't dealt with or healed from. Circumstances that happened in my past were now hindering my present, casting shadows of fear and doubt over my future.
I decided to make a time line of my life, marking key "emotional" events. As I prayed over it, I wrote down any painful emotions and memories I could remember.
Although it wasn't easy, I asked the Holy Spirit to remind me of experiences and relationships that had wounded me, what affects they'd had on me, how far from God they took me and how they had hurt me and others.
Years of disappointment as a child in a broken home with a broken heart led to a significant sense of loss. Yet, I never grieved the happily-ever-after I longed for but didn't have. Unfulfilled hopes led to bitter expectations.
During that time God showed me how I wanted JJ to make up for what my dad had never been as a father to me, or as a husband to my mom. Hoping to create my own version of "happily-ever-after," I became controlling and critical.
I thought if I could get JJ to be the husband and dad I wanted him to be, my broken dreams would get put back together. Maybe he could provide security and shelter for the little-girl-emotions that were still crushed inside my heart.
But my strategy wasn't working. Instead, I needed to cry out to God with my hurts and call on Him for help. And, I needed to take time to respond to what He was showing me.
Time to seek God for my security and hope by letting Him be the father I longed for. Time to grieve things I wanted from my father that I would never have. Time to invite God into my hurting places so He could heal my wounded emotions and set me free from my fear of never having a happy ending.
Finally, I needed to forgive my father and release my feelings of anger, abandonment, disappointment and hurt. I also needed to confess my sin of unrealistic expectations and let go of what I thought was my right to "happily-ever-after."
It was a process that took time, prayer, courage and tears, but it was worth it. Over time I was able to let go of my past and my pain as I took hold of hope and healing. I was also able to accept JJ for who he was and trust God to make him the husband He knew I needed, instead of the one I wanted.
When we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring His perspective into our pain, redemption comes. Whether it is the pain from our yesterdays or hurts from our todays, when we give Jesus time to pour His truth into our wounds, His love flows into our pain and makes us whole again.
Dear Lord, please give me the courage and help me take the time to walk through the process of letting You heal my hurts and restore my heart with hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Jesus?
This devotion is taken in part from Chapter 4, "Finding Hope for Your Future Despite the Pain of Your Past" of Renee's book, A Confident Heart.
Is there pain from the past you need to process with Jesus? Renee would love to pray for you. Visit Renee's website where she shares more of her story and the healing hope she's found. Also, enter to win 2 copies of A Confident Heart — one for you and one for a friend!
Make a time line with key events that brought painful emotions and memories. Ask Jesus to reveal how they affected you, your relationship with God and others. Then ask Him to walk you through the process of replacing your pain with the healing balm of His presence and promises.
"Although we can't go back and change the circumstances or relationships that have wounded us, we can go back and process our pain with Jesus." — A Confident Heart
Psalm 18:1-2a, "I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge." (NIV 1984)
© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 12 October 2011.