Have you ever been in a bad place emotionally or spiritually and thought it would be that way the rest of your life? The days so dark you believed you’d never feel right again? I have. I’ve been in that place. I understand exactly what the Psalmist was talking about in the 102nd Psalm:
“By reason of my loud groaning [from suffering and trouble] my flesh cleaves to my bones.
I am like a melancholy pelican or vulture of the wilderness; I am like a [desolate] owl of the waste places.
I am sleepless and lie awake [mourning], like a bereaved sparrow alone on the housetop.”
(Psalm 102:5-7, The Amplified Bible)
When my mother died in June 2000, it was unexpected. Even though her health had not been good, none of us, except perhaps my dad, had a hint it was as bad as it was. As Christians, we all rejoiced that she was no longer in pain and that she was with her Lord, but that did not mean our pain or our lost was not real.
Over time, my grief turned to anger and I turned inward. Outwardly, I said and did all the things expected of me. I told my children not to be angry at God because Mamma was gone, but inside I was questioning God. How could He let this happen without preparing me?
I became angry because I didn’t feel my husband was as supportive as he should have been, but I was too inward to tell him what I needed. Issues arose in our marriage and we became more and more distant. When we did reconcile, it was still not as it should have been because I began substituting my relationship with my husband for the relationship I’d once had with God. I expected more of my husband than God ever intended.
Except for a couple of friends, most of the people at my church were clueless about what I was going through. Even those who knew I’d lost my mother had no idea that I was struggling. I kept my feeling inside, not letting anyone close enough to see my pain. We stopped going to church for a while because I felt the church had let me down.
I stopped reading my Bible or praying. I questioned God’s love for me or if I had really ever heard from Him. But even when I was deep in unbelief, there was still a small spark of hope. God’s call to us is “without repentance” – He promised to never leave or forsake us, even when we turn our backs to Him.
Sometimes God uses things from unexpected sources to reach us. The Creator of the universe creates a way to reach us even at our lowest. For me, it was a song. Not a “Christian” song, but God used it to scratch the scab on my heart. The same year my mother died, Kathie Lee Gifford put out a CD “Born For You”. I’d listened to it many times, but one night while I was up late writing, one special song touched that small spark in me and something began to break.
“I’d like to lose all time again
And look for trees to climb again
Recite a little rhyme again
And dream a reckless dream.
For someone I’ve exiled in me
Awoke today and smiled in me.
I need to find the child in me again.”
(Child in Me Again, written by Annie Dinerman)
Yes, I needed to find the child in me again – the child who’d trusted God with her whole heart without question or reservation. The child who could laugh at life and who loved without reservation or expectation. I sat face to face with who I’d become and desperately wanted to go back to the child I had been before. The last line of the chorus goes, “Oh I need to recapture the truths I’ve unlearned.” I needed to recapture The Truth I’d turned from.
I still was a long way from being spiritually or emotionally healed, or even wanting to do what I needed to do to get there. But it was beginning. Some of the hardness had been removed.
A few days later I “just happened” to read a verse of scripture from the Message Bible in a magazine.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt.11:28-30, The Message Bible)
It was as though Jesus was speaking directly to me, inviting me to just walk with Him. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” I don’t have to try to please anyone. I don’t have to be a certain way. Religion had burned me out and let me down. He was offering me what I’d needed all along – a relationship with Him alone.
There is a medical procedure called Debridement which is the medical removal of infected tissue to improve healing of healthy tissue. It can be painful, but sometimes is necessary for the antibiotic treatment to work. Once the infected or dead tissue is removed the healing medicine can be applied.
Sometimes we need something to remove the dead part of our souls before the healing balm of God’s Word can heal what remains. It can be a painful process, but if we allow it, the Holy Spirit will do a work in us that will start the healing process that comes with the application of the Word.
“He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction.” (Psalm 107:20, The Amplified Bible)
Whatever is the cause or source of your pain, whatever the pit is you’ve fallen in, or whatever the sorrow is you’re carrying, you are not alone. Allow the Spirit of God to move in your life and He will heal you. The process may not be easy, it probably won’t be exactly what you expect, but true healing is yours through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace and blessings,