Last night our local writers group hosted a presentation by long time industry colleague and brother in the Lord, Mick Silva. His topic was “Writing to Heal—Ourselves and Others.” As we chatted at the back of the room, attempting to play catchup on the years that had past since we last saw one another, he made the statement:

“People who haven’t deeply processed  the traumas and losses in their lives just seem to be missing something… “

The more I think about his statement, the more it confirms in my heart what I’ve experienced.

On an emotional and spiritual level, I would have to say I was extremely shallow for a very long time after becoming a Christian.

There were parts of my life where I’d unconsciously drawn the yellow “caution” tape around, proclaiming to God and others that the experience was off limits and not up for discussion.

Childhood sexual abuse, abortion, betrayal, domestic violence. Just to name a few.

No trespassing, thank you very much.

I was fine.

Really.

It took a 12 year detour into deception to finally lead me to a place of reckoning. I could no longer ignore those things in my life that worked beneath the surface and ultimately led to unhealthy behavior.

Finding myself in a place of utter devastation, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially at nearly 60 years old led me to a place I’d avoided all my life. I had to begin asking myself meaningful, thought provoking, and pointed questions about the reality of my life, going through intensive counseling before I actually began to embrace the pain of all the losses and trauma in my life. I stopped self-medicating with work and did the hard job of processing the pain, by facing it — allowing myself to really feel it and articulate it and grieve over it. To see the lie the enemy fed me from the painful experience for what it was and then replacing it with God’s truth.

It was not a pretty time in my life. I can remember wrapping my arms around my gut, doubled over, sobbing with the force of a dam breaking. Weeping loudly. There was no containing it, it had to come out.

The combination of professional counseling, those around me within a community of believers who were safe and not afraid to walk with me though the messy process of healing, and the Holy Spirit’s continued presence was an important strand of 3 cords. As I grieved every loss of innocence and trust, every betrayal, leaving no stone unturned, I found a new depth in my life. A compassion that was missing, a way of seeing things that was new and clear and much more keenly connected to the God I called my Savior.

Now I see Him everywhere, in everything, and have a thirst to learn from Him in every circumstance in my life. I recognize His faithfulness throughout my life, even in the middle of the hardest, most excruciating valleys. That recognition and depth was missing before, and I’m not sure I can explain why. I just know it to be true.

What about you?

Are you missing something? Unable to find that deep place with Him that results in continuing growth in Him and His ways?

Have you taped off some areas of your life and declared them off limits?

Do you see some behaviors in your life that don’t honor God, possibly as a result of ignoring the wounds you’ve buried?

I would like to pray for you…

Lord, I lift up my sister to You.

I pray that You would give her the courage to begin or restart her healing journey with You. To realize she is not alone, that we have all sinned and been sinned against in so many different ways.

But You, You are our only hope. You can and will bind up our wounds. You can and will gently clean out the poison that keeps those wounds festering.

You are faithful and trustworthy.

For my sister who knows she needs to begin, but just can’t confront it, I pray that You would help her ask You for help. To ask You to make her willing to take that scary first step.

And I thank You for what You’re going to do as a result of her obedience and desire to honor You.

In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

5 Comments

  • Athena – Mick brought a lot of wisdom as he shared with those of us at the writers’ gathering.
    And he triggered in you – as you caught up in some conversation with each other – the amazing journey God has brought you through.

    It reminds me of the beauty arising out of the ashes when the ashes are what remain from the fires that have consumed our lives for too long. Healing, such as you describe, brings the beauty that we then pass on to others!

    It’s a lovely posting as is your prayer. I know all of it will touch the lives of those of us who read it. It has touched mine and reminded me why I write and how healing comes as God processes with me through that means of expression – and then it goes out to others for Him to use as He ordains!

  • It is such a fresh approach to writing, to marry your life story with your writing story. I just directed Mick’s weekend writing retreat for Northwest Christian Writers Association. Some of his phrases were “Turn the STORM into the STORY” and “turn your SHAME into SHARE.” We try to stuff those things and go on, but some writers biggest breakthroughs come when they stop covering and start healing. For fiction writers, once you go through this process, you bring those emotions and experiences into your characters life so readers will more deeply connect with your writing.

    Fourteen women came away from this retreat profoundly touched and with deeper understanding of their character’s journey by evaluating their own.

    • So exciting to hear about those fourteen women and I cannot wait to see the fruit that comes from it! Love that we are all, in one way or another, turning our storms into our stories…GOOD STUFF!

  • I’ve been digging into the next layer of healing myself this past year, and could relate to what Mick shared about how our writing intersects with our ability to face our own brokenness. God blesses us when we embrace our spiritual poverty and in turn share it with others through our writing. We are NOT alone. I wrote about the process in a recent post as well, http://ardisanelson.com/2015/09/24/trusting-the-writing-process/.

    Athena, your pain and your story are being used for God’s good purpose. Thanks for sharing again how important it is to do the hard internal work.

    • Thanks, my friend. Nice to be able to cheer one another along as we follow our paths of healing. Loved this statement you made in your blog post:

      “Writers live a life of discovery and look at the inner experience of it. As such, we often need to distance ourselves from our experiences to be able to get the right perspective on it. That takes time, patience, and perseverance.”

      Here’s to His faithfulness as we discover all that is in us and all that needs mending!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *