It’s odd, but for the longest time I could not recall many events of the year after that first Christmas as a separated family. If asked to describe that time in my life, however, I would definitely have to say it was a time of healing. That sounds so peaceful, but in reality was quite excruciating at times. In doing a little informal research, I found that the most common definition for the word healing is to be made whole. It is the process of restoration to an organ which is diseased or damaged. Many people today are in need of physical healing, yet far more are crying out for spiritual and psychological healing.
In my case, my sense of reality, my moral compass, my emotions, even my thought patterns, were seriously disrupted and shattered. The reflection staring back at me in the mirror was simply that, a reflection. My spirit was crushed. I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I simply didn’t feel. I didn’t know how to anticipate anything but negative results – especially from my own efforts. I had become absolutely numb to the core of my being. I was in desperate need of being made whole. I was in need of spiritual and psychological integration. I had to find that person God created me to be and set her free.
I would learn that it would not be easy. You see, Satan is a destroyer. The last thing he wants is to see a broken spirit restored. God brings life, and fullness, and creativity, and joy, and goodness, and success, and fulfillment, and love, and respect, and salvation, and abundance! “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
God had a lot to teach me in that year, and He and I both had much work ahead of us. I had no idea the flood of emotions about to be released, nor was I expecting the bitterness and anger that would be uprooted for me to acknowledge and deal with. Grave danger exists in a relationship whenever an individual can no longer express his or her heartfelt emotions in a healthy way for fear of sparking rage, resentment, or rejection. I had pushed so many emotions so deep for so long I was unsure whether I would be able to retrieve them. I honestly did not realize they were there, much less know whether I could retrieve them.
Looking back I am extremely grateful for that year. It marked the beginning of a relationship with someone I had never truly taken the time to get to know – me. Through counseling I pulled back layers exposing raw emotions. I found myself slowly allowing vulnerabilities to be exposed whenever I felt safe. In group counseling I began to participate a little at a time sharing events that had taken place. Seeing the group participants’ reactions helped me to realize these things were not normal. I was not crazy for protesting. I was not wrong to be angry, upset, and hurt. The weeks in between gave me time to process the emotions finding their way to the surface. Sometimes I did well with the anger, and others, well not so good. I had to learn to feel what I felt and sort it all out later. Thankfully my friends and family were understanding. Whenever I would go on a tirade with my brother-in-law on how I thought women should be allowed to play baseball with the guys doggone-it – or some other crazy argument like that – he would just smile (once his blood pressure came back down.) Eventually I learned to manage the triggers and responses became more appropriate.
I was determined not to rush into resuming a marriage that led only to further destruction, but I was equally as determined to take my time in deciding whether permanently ending the marriage was the right decision for me. To be perfectly honest, as troubling as it sounds to me today, there were times I wanted to run back to the life I had left. Even as bad as it had become, it was familiar and predictable in its own sordid way. I am so thankful God did not allow that to happen, but I do relate to women who struggle with this issue after leaving an abusive spouse.
For those of you who have never found yourself in this situation, keep an open mind as you read. This is not a one size fits all predicament. Women of all different age groups, women of all different ethnic groups, women with all different levels of education, even women in all different career levels have found themselves locked in controlling, abusive relationships. It is not easy to understand or explain, even for the person who has been through it. Many will not speak out for this reason.
For those who may find these writings all too familiar, there is hope, and there is help. I am still in the process of becoming fully acquainted with that person God created so many, many years ago. She and I have become pretty good friends since we have been meeting on a frequent basis with our Maker, getting to know more and more what He has in mind for us. I am becoming more excited as the meetings progress!
As for my story, it is ongoing. In order to wrap up this segment, however, I have a couple more things to share. I would be remiss if I left them out because they show so clearly how God shows up, and how He sometimes shows off just a little to be sure we understand it is Him that is at work.
Dear Lord, I cannot thank You enough for watching over my life, even when I didn’t specifically invite You to be there. I am so grateful for those who faithfully prayed for me when I was unable to pray for myself. I praise You and thank You for healing my soul, my heart, and my mind. I thank You that You remind me whenever I start slipping back into those old habits or ways of putting myself down that You remind me that I am Your daughter, bought with a price. I love You. I pray for all who are reading this. Dear God, bless their lives. Let these words be uplifting to them, let their hearts be touched for You. God I ask You receive the glory for anything good that should come from this. In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen
“If you let people break your spirit and detour you from your path, then you have not been true to yourself or those you’re here to touch, those who believe in you.” Allison Dubois
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23