This is part one of a three-part series on Inner Healing through the Presence of God.
My childhood home environment was unhealthy, at times. Frequent yelling, fighting and physical violence, exacerbated by my parents’ divorce when I was seven caused me emotional wounds. I’m sharing not for sympathy, rather to openly acknowledge the state I found myself in as a college student. When I decided to live earnestly as a Christian at age 20, I was an inward mess.
The year that my mom kicked Dad out of the house, insecurity made its home in my heart. Elementary school age, I recall having mixed emotions, torn between missing him desperately, yet ever so grateful for the calm and quiet atmosphere around the house. Out of respect for my deceased parents, I’d rather not expose all their frailties. But all seven kids saw, heard and felt the wrath of undeserved anger that left marks.
There were eight years (ages 7-15) of being raised by a hard-working, single mom. During those years she would treat herself to one evening out each week. I clearly recall Thursday night being her bowling league appointment. She’d leave her two girls alone for three hours (9 pm-midnight), locked in because we were supposed to be sleeping. We all know kids and let’s just say we were not sleeping. Fear came to visit me every Thursday and dug its tentacles in deeply. It started with imaginings of dinosaurs walking my street and grew to burglars invading our home, including even the unthinkable: rapists and killers.
Why would a kid fear such drastic events? Because real live played out in newspaper headlines in my home state at the time. I still recall his name: John Norman Collins. Collins was convicted of just one of seven murders in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor, Michigan area that began in 1967; the slayings stopped two years later after he was arrested in 1969. An avid reader, I consumed Detroit News articles. My mom encouraged reading, unaware I was terrified. How could I know then I was feeding my fear?
So when I say that there is emotional healing in Christ, I speak from experience.
God truly does heal the brokenhearted and binds up our wounds (Psalm 147:3). It was said ahead of time about Jesus, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18).
I was bound all right, invisible chords of insecurity, anxiety and fearfulness choking me. Mel Brooks movie, High Anxiety summed me up hilariously.
Medicating My Pain
Like many teens of the 1970’s, I experimented with illegal drugs to anesthetize my pain. I regret much of my high school wildness and sexual promiscuity, but without knowing where a person once was, how can we celebrate who they are now? Despite all the fun of those years (it was really fun), there were consequences. The price of sin is costly (Romans 6:23) and I’ve since learned that God built-in sin’s painful payday to deter us from what He knew would harm us, not because He is cruel.
Through spending time with Jesus in both prayer and studying His Word after accepting Him at 20, He began revealing my inward condition to me. That process began forty years ago and still continues. Have I made progress? Absolutely! I’ve overcome many of my fears and God’s love has healed my Father wound.
Are there vestiges remaining? Sadly, yes. Just today in my quiet time, the Lord and I discussed a current emotional issue. I acknowledged it, released to Him and asked for freedom from it. Emotional healing is a process, at least for me has been. Someone told me it’s like layers of an onion. I hated that analogy when I heard it because I didn’t want it to be true. To my chagrin, I’ve come to realize it is!
I had the privilege of interpreting a dream for someone recently in which a heart condition was exposed. Too many of these type of heart condition dreams occupy space in my dream journals! But I’m grateful for each one as they exposed negative emotions I had denied and pushed down into a dark crevice of my soul. Don’t have to deal with that feeling … so I thought. But like a pool noodle, my various unresolved issues keep popping to the surface. I see this as God through His Holy Spirit using every means available – people, dreams, circumstances – to expose and highlight the emotions within us in need of healing.
The Fathers Reaction
God clearly communicates to us that our weaknesses are not a disappointment to Him, nor do they surprise Him. He is not upset with us. As we come to this realization, the fatherhood of God begins to emerge in our minds and hearts. Through confessing our shortcomings to Him, our very acknowledgement is our first step to being healed and eventually overcoming them.
The Father wanted me to know (and you, my precious reader) that He is aware of how each of our wounds got there and that we had no control over it. Our heavenly Father just wants us to be rid of it.
Exposure can lead to closure – if we let it.
As we lean into God as our Father, He will walk us through it, revealing the root cause, not just the outward effect (our behaviors). The trick is to humble ourselves, push away our pride and be willing to face the things He wants to show us about ourselves. You’ve heard the metaphor, lance that wound so it can bleed the bad stuff out, then healing can occur. That’s true. But I’m a practical, tell me how to do that kind of woman.
Therefore in part two, I’ll discuss the purpose our shortcomings play, why they need healing and how to begin the restoration process. I will provide a prayer for emotional healing and links to resources containing inner healing prayers. Part three will explain the ways God took some once broken areas, and once restored, used them in my life to bring glory to Himself.
So check back here next week for the conclusion. Until then, know that you are safe in the hands of God, for even Groucho Marx knew that “blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.”