Hurt hearts and old wounds. Becoming yourself. God's invitation to heal.
Updated: Sep 16
"Hurt people hurt. Loved people love.(Folk)"
" He heals the brokenhearted, he binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).
" Grace and love are for free. Relationship... is not." (Stasi Eldredge).
My dear friends, dear women.
When I registered for a six weeks Online Study three years ago, I had no idea what it would unleash.
For years I had "held my own." A work colleague once said to me that she preferred to always swim on the surface, because the howling misery would grab her, looking deeper. "I tried that once, Bille, but I ended up drinking way too much alcohol. So I decided to swim on the surface and not to dive in. I'm fine there."
It's what we do, and it's what I did, too: I refused to look honestly.
Yes, there were many situations that I knew had a significant impact on my life right up to the present: my perception of others. My attitudes. My patterns of behavior. My secret fear of being home alone at night. My then-emerging tension and the old familiar rigidity of shock into which I fell. It's all too easy to come to terms with it- like fear of heights, or fear of spiders. And you don't tell people, because it's ridiculous for a grown woman to be afraid at home alone. Of what? So you repress- and endure- and you feel a little ashamed. One hopes that all these hurts will disappear with time, just like that. After all, Jesus sets you free. But, let's face it- he's not a magician, he doesn't just take away what needs to be looked at, understood, forgiven and healed. One hopes that if only Satan is shown the door firmly enough in Jesus' name, he will finally stop intimidating the elect.
But it happens again and again.
We hope that by our own behavior we can bring about a change-the memories will fade. But it takes little to destroy the equilibrium thus gained again. "Shame and discipline will not end it," says Stasi Eldredge in Becoming myself. But then what will it be able to change?
Is deep reconciliation with one's story possible? Is restoration possible so that inner freedom can emerge? Yes.
But only if we understand that Jesus' love really means love, and begin to allow it.
I knew that I was avoiding certain situations, that some events had the potential to push the same buttons over and over again that brought me down. But honestly? When I'd turn around on the hilltop and see the smoke of Sodom burning, I'd think, "This is too much. This is so much that I won't be able to sort it out in my whole life. Now I'm saved-that's over. Now I belong to Jesus-that's not me anymore. I am now a new creation!"
The only problem is: there is no time for God. He doesn't save you at 15, not at 30. He claims with your salvation...your entire life.
And what was-positive and negative-doesn't disappear just because we're saved.
So like Cinderella, I stood before a mountain of lentils and peas- and doves were not to be seen sorting it for me. And then- my heart broke. Once again a situation of helplessness, slander and powerlessness. Once again bullying, but this time at the expense of a wonderful little girl who should have become our foster daughter permanently. My heart has never been more broken than the moment I realized that the terms of employment had been purposefully turned against me in such a way that continuation of employment was not possible. Not without seriously jeopardizing my marriage, my family, and my mental health. I cried out to God. I pleaded for help. His answer was a complete confrontation with my own story.
His answer was a six-week Becoming myself study with Stasi Eldredge, which she led herself- with the support of her longtime team. What it was to unleash, I in no way suspected. And if I had seen how the path would continue after the sunny path disappeared into the forest, how steep the mountain would become- I probably would not have taken it. Am I glad I did it anyway? Yes, yes and yes.
But a wellness weekend with happy christian fellowship, well, that looks different.
Stasi Eldredge is a gifted writer and in this she is not inferior to her husband John Eldredge. Even those who massively criticize John for his direction and theology readily concede at any time that he is a brilliant writer-that his books read with ease and pleasure. But both are very much more than good writers whose books seem light on their feet and, at first glance, a bit theologically "thin."
They are darned sharp-eyed and invasive Christian counselors.
They offer, they entice, and when you get close enough, they wield the sword of the Word and separate flesh from bone. They offer-and you can swim with them on the surface, simply dismissing their often provocative theses as shallow and reactionary. They entice: One is spun in and sympathizes with them, is amazed and touched by their personal candor and heart. They wield the sword of the word: they surprise you with an accurate truth of God that hits the root of pain completely unmediated. And: They catch - they offer their prayer, their words to formulate what you cannot put into words yourself.
Experience shows that at the end of the day, at most three out of ten women and men are fully committed to this path and do not prefer to flee back into the shallower waters.
But inner healing, release, allowing change through the Holy Spirit, through the love of God leads to such a gain in (Christian) quality of life and inner richness that it is worth confiding in.
I cried for six weeks.
I have been defensive, I have been evasive, I have been relative. I have been shocked by the grief that was buried deep within me. I have argued, raged, wrestled with God ("Yes, beautiful love, Jesus, where have you been? I was a CHILD!"), I have opened up and laid it all out for Him. I told him that forgiveness, that is real, genuine forgiveness and not repression, needs his explanation, his look. I sweated blood and water - and as often as I wanted to evade, I was lovingly brought back smiling and insisting.
And week by week, it was less fear, less shame that held me captive.
God retold my story-and the truth set me free.
We all want instant solutions.
We don't want to look- we want things to be okay. But if we don't learn to let our hurts heal, we will pass them on. We will hurt others - and never escape the spiral of being bound. We must look, not deny.
If you want to get involved, know this:
You will need time for yourself. You will cry. You will fight. You will pray. You will be comforted. And for a while, God will center you and your story. You are not walking this path alone. You are safely accompanied by the Holy Spirit, you are wrapped in the love of the Father and safely sheltered by Him like a newly breastfed child.
Take time this week.
Think about what it would mean to be free inside. Consider what it would mean to look back on your past in reconciliation.
For today, I'll close with a question to open this series:
If Jesus stood before you and you were allowed to wish for one thing that he would surely grant you, what would it be?
Find your answer. I join you in prayer and intercession. And so does the team at Wildatheart- as they pray for the healing of all who are touched by their ministry.
Sibylle/ Daughter of Zion.
Weekly in-depth impulses on the topic will be posted as usual on my social media presence on Facebook and in Zion's Daughter's associated community groups: https://www.facebook.com/Sibyllezion
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