“We look to God a lot for our future. But He’s not done with your past. He’s still attentive to things of the past.” These are words from a Christian friend and fellow author as she talked about healing through writing her debut fiction novel. She was giving a radio interview. Her words offered me a spiritual “Aha” moment. I looked at my husband and smiled. Another piece of the wholeness puzzle was placed in my wounded heart with such truth and exquisite gentleness, it brought me to tears.
That lady’s name is Jan Fallon and her first book, “Campsite Six” is full of opportunities to know her and ourselves a little better. That day as I listened, again, to the podcasted interview I felt gratitude for those God brings into my life to help me resist temptation to isolate in times of pain.
Jan’s statement came at a time when I was studying a book by another Christian author and dear friend, Paula Moldenhauer. In the final installment in her four-part “Soul Scents: A Spiritual Journey in the Son’s Embrace” devotional series, Paula talks about flourishing by giving God permission to drain abscesses resulting from hidden, unhealed, and deep past wounds.
As I reflected on the words of these two friends, I remembered a luncheon I had with Dawna Hetzler, a precious sister in the Lord and author of “Walls of a Warrior: Conquering the Fears of our Hearts.” Dawna and I have embarked on different kinds of healing journeys in recent months. But we have found great similarities and shared feelings when looking into our past experiences. During lunch, we prayed, held hands, cried and set the stage for the great spiritual surgeon to clean places that keep us stuck in dis-ease, unable to move forward into the His anointed assignments.
As a child, I was taught to “suck it up and move on” because no one wants to be burdened with the emotional baggage of others. I’ve become a master at doing just that in my adult life (for the most part) until I suffered a severe financial and physical assault one year ago. The injuries were difficult to process because they came from a trusted friend and employer, and were reminiscent of past wounds. The incident sent me into a downward spiral challenging my faith, threatening my marriage, and calling my sanity into question.
I remember standing in my basement one night and screaming, “How could you let this happen to me? Where are you God? This feels the same as it did when I was a little girl. I’m lost. I’m scared. I’m confused. Was this my fault? Why didn’t I see this coming? And I’ve already processed all this icky stuff from my past – the wound, the infection that threatened to devour my soul.”
He was silent. I was persistent, resistant, defiant, and in His face until exhaustion forced me to my knees.
In the surrender of understanding that I did not understand, I heard Him say, “I am with you beloved. We must deal with the old wounds or they will forever be the basis from which you process the imperfections of others. What happened to you recently is not okay or deserved. I will deal with the perpetrator. But I want you to see that this level of pain isn’t so much about today. It’s about a buried, festering yesterday.”
“What do you mean, ‘we’? I cannot see you in any of this. I cannot hear you in any of this. Where are you in this ‘we’ business?”
He said three words, “Jan, Paula, Dawna.” Then He added, “These Christian siblings bring my words and my love. They are there because they understand. I have worked through, and am still working through their pain, their pasts and their scars in order to help others. These sisters are not in your life by accident, little one. Listen to My servants, your sisters. Then do not fear the crying release that authors authenticity. When you empty yourself and bring your burden into the light, you will be able to grant permission for me to work on the tender spots that cannot heal without My touch.”
Today the current and past wounds are healing. Progress is slow but moving in the right direction. With God’s guidance, I sought professional help from two brilliant Christian counselors. The injuries have left scars. That’s okay.
I’ve learned to no longer bury pain or “suck it up.” I weep when I need to, pray because I want to and hope someday my words and my story will touch/help others. I thank God I don’t have to lie about my past or my personal journey. I ask Him to make me willing to open up, share my healed wounds and say to another, “Run to God for what you need dear one.”
My friends, through their words and books, have shown me how to say, “And I will run alongside you. Listen to the stories of those who have trod a similar road. Take strength from me when you feel broken by weakness. I am not in your life by accident.”
As I walk fully into this season of my life, I ask God to use me in ways I never imagined when I entered His holy operating room (imagery from Paula’s work). If you are hurting today for whatever reason, hold fast to Him and His people. He designed us to live and thrive in community. I believe my year-long journey back to health and wholeness has convinced me of that more than ever before.
Today, I am not shy about asking for, and accepting, help from friends. That has been a valuable lesson. But it is even more valuable and important for me to be able, and willing, to offer another person help from a friend.
Copyright October 17, 2018
Laura L. Padgett
Connect with me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or Facebook Author Page
Check out the books I have published:
“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.
“Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
See my Publications tab on this website for books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.