Life can throw us some unbelievable twists and turns, can’t it? I have never sat with a group of women at a Bible study who ever said, “Life has turned out exactly how I expected it to!” We are thrown curveballs, left and right, that we are often unprepared for, including unspeakable hurts. Whether it be a painful divorce, the death of a loved one, abuse, addiction, enduring an unfavorable health report, betrayal, or a number of other things, finding healing from hurts can be a long, lonely road.
The following 12 suggestions are tools we’ve used in our ministry that have proven to be helpful and successful when journeying through healing. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all and not every tip will work in your individual case. But more often than not, when we’ve made the decision to heal from past hurts and put into action that decision, the Lord will meet us right there with his embracing grace and wholeness.
1. Read a good book. This is a simple task. Yet, book reading is a dying art that we don’t take the time to do anymore. Avoid the television and over-saturation of social media. Instead, use your down time to dive into a good book. It’s calming, relaxing, and a way to improve things about your life. I strongly suggest staying in the Bible on a daily basis. There is strength found in the Word! But just the experience of holding a book and embracing a few moments alone can be life-changing.
2. Turn your cell phone off for one hour each day. Yes, I do mean completely off. Unplug from everything. We must be able to embrace the quiet and still and calm. We have become a culture of too busy, too quick, too impatient. And unfortunately, the modern conveniences of a cell phone can be bridled with text messages, emails, missed calls, and distractions that only further overwhelm you and prohibit you from focusing on self-care.
3. Start a blog, vlog, or personal journal. Sharing your personal journey, if only with yourself, is quite therapeutic. It also allows you the great gift of going back to what God has done in your life over the course of weeks, months, and years. It allows you to become thankful for how God is moving, even when we forget.
4. Seek counseling. All of us need professional help from time to time. This can be done through a licensed counselor or through a life coach or seasoned lay counselor at your church. Sometimes, simply sharing the journey and getting Godly advice is just what you need to spark your journey to healing.
5. Have a one-hour meeting with a friend each week. Simply go for coffee and a girl chat. You don’t have to focus on your problems or solutions or even the past. Simply sit and enjoy some girl time. Focus on how your friend is doing, what her hopes and dreams are, etc. It gives you a brief time to not focus on your own problems. Plus, we are all better together.
6. Leave your house regularly. Again, this seems like a simple one, but when we are going through a trauma or overcoming an obstacle, we tend to want to retreat and isolate. Do not allow yourself to do so!
7. Make a monthly date with your kids. Kids of all ages enjoy time with mom. Money may be tight, but you can call one day a month “mommy-kid-day” and you can even plan activities in your home. This is a small way to make your kids feel special, wanted, safe and comfortable. And again, this is a small way to promote your own healing.
8. Write a daily affirmation. Each day, find one thing about yourself that you like, are proud of, etc. When you are down, go back and read your affirmations.
9. Maintain your physical health. We know this is sometimes easier said than done. However, your physical health has a direct impact on your emotional health and vice versa. Take care of you – inside and outside!
10. Pursue hobbies. Keep yourself busy. Hobbies keep your mind busy and allow you to find joy in small activities.
11. Serve someone else. Who are you serving? Volunteerism is a way to see others’ problems. It can be a friend, sister, or total stranger. Serve someone. This is a great practice to show your children, even from an early age. Giving to others is a great way to enhance our community and increase our own sense of well-being.
12. Create a support system. Become involved in a single moms’ support group or women’s Bible study near you. There is power in gathering. Be active in your local church. A healthy church can change your life.
Related: "Do You Want to be Healed?" Why We Sometimes Really Don't
Related: What to do When Life Throws You Curveballs
Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single moms and womens’ issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who has a God-given passion to see women walking in total freedom. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and has been featured in countless media venues.