The summer is moving right along. I can’t believe the 4th of July is a week from Thursday! I have been trying to get at least one blog out all week. All in God's time.
I wanted to take today and talk to speak about hurt and how it shapes our personal world view. I have spent five years healing and learning to live again after my late husband’s suicide as well as living in an abusive marriage before his death. During this time, Jesus has also shown me areas from before I knew my late husband that needed healing – the deepest places of the heart. Hurt shapes our personal world view and how we respond to the people and things in that world view. I will share examples of how hurt influenced me for good and for bad. I will also tell how Jesus brought me to the other side, through the wilderness if you will, and into a new season of life, light, hope, wholeness, and joy! He is indeed the defender of my heart!
Let’s take a trip back in time. I was probably 14 or 15 years old. Most of the girls I knew were dating yet, no one seemed interested in me. I was a smart girl with a good head on my shoulders who knew what I wanted. I was mature beyond my years as well. I don’t blame the teenage guys I knew at the time for being intimidated by these characteristics. I have no ill will toward any of them. A young mind can perceive this very differently though. I perceived I was “not good enough” and “unwanted.” I perceived “rejection” from my male peers, when in fact, they simply weren’t mature enough to know how to talk to me or what to do. Those perceptions of “not good enough”, “unwanted” and “rejected”, however, would play into adult decisions later. I would allow bad men into my life because I thought they were all I was good for, for lack of better way of describing this. I would carry these wounds for years, buried deep in my heart. I was unaware of how much damage they were causing because they were, by my adult years, buried so deep I did not notice them anymore, or perhaps I just didn’t want to notice them. These wounds made me a target for predatory men who were looking for someone who was kind but who really did not like herself, someone they could easily manipulate and control. My weight also bounced up and down during my 20s and 30s and into my 40s – all tied to a woman who had not liked herself since she was a teenager. What can I say? I was a great actor.
When we are hurting, we don’t see our world as it really is, we see it how our pain wants us to see it. Our pain distorts our perspective and many times will make good seem bad and bad seem good. We will react to people and things in ways that seem out of character or don’t make sense. We will hurt others because we are hurt. We multiply hurt upon hurt because we are believing lies and looking at life through warped lenses. We make bad choices that affect ourselves and others. We destroy relationships and our love grows cold. I look back now, and I can see where not only in the last 5 years but long before, I could see my love growing cold. Here I was, a church girl who loved Jesus, who was hurting badly and being fake, and hiding behind her mask. What a mess! I should have won an academy award! My mask hid my soul wounds from everyone but Jesus.
In 2011, I landed in an abusive marriage, unbeknownst to me. After my late husband’s death in 2014 from suicide and an abusive marriage behind me, I set out to heal. I would heal from more than abuse and the death of a spouse. Jesus had more in store for me than that. I would find myself again under all that hurt from so many years ago. Jesus would show me the rejection, the unwantedness and the “not good enough” pain. He was ever so patient to allow me to see what I needed to see and show me how those hurts influenced many of my decisions. He completely healed me earlier this month, entering the deepest places of my heart and cleaning out the yuck. I can say this with surety and with confidence! He is filling me with love and compassion in return. He has shown me my full purpose, a purpose he began 5 years ago. His restoration story is still unfolding! I have no idea where it will take me next and I am excited! My wilderness journey is over, and it was worth every dry place and every painful place to get to where I am now. I see my world through the lenses of love and wholeness now. I see why I did some of the things in the past and why I made certain decisions. I also know people I need to reconcile with, and I will do so when the time is right. I can tell you healing is much better than holding on to hurt and wearing a mask to cover it up. I am not a victim, I am not just a survivor, I am a thriver and I am truly free!
Seek true healing on your journey from pain. Get rid of the mask. Let go of old thinking patterns. Let Jesus get down into the depths of your heart and bind up old wounds as only He can. In Him, all things and people are made complete and new! He will restore you just as he has restored me! He calls you by name. Come to Him and be free! He is your defender too!
Deuteronomy 30:3; God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he'll have compassion on you; he'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.