Hello again! This devotional series began as a life group for women at the wonderful church that my husband Joshua and I are so enormously blessed to serve at in full-time ministry. If you’re here online for the first time with me, I’m SO happy and grateful to get to connect with you!
I’d like to be as up front here as I was to our in-person group: The first few devotionals in this series are hard. They’re hard for me to write, and I know they’re hard for some to read. Soul work is the hardest work of all, I believe that 100%.
An ultimate joy of mine would be for women to be fully encouraged and equipped to thrive in their lives! I know this to be the desire of many women, so why isn’t it their reality? One reason is that while the past is over, it doesn’t always feel over. Many women continue to be assailed by memories, compensatory habits, and worries that are triggered by the everyday stresses of life, especially those in marriage and motherhood. It is very natural for many women to suffer for years during marriage or motherhood with a restless background feeling of unresolved pain that keeps cycling back, or erupting in moments of overwhelm.
There’s no pause period between 17 years and 364 days old, and 18 years old. The night before you became a lawful adult no one asked if you were ready for the next stage of life on your own and if you understood and settled everything from the last 18 years. Even if there had been a pause break available, very few 18 year olds are in the headspace to be able to sort out the foundation of their life experience in a maturely measured way, especially if healthy methods of coping were not modeled for them. Usually what happens is that there is a latent season after a girl heads out on her own and the newness of freedom and the excitement of all that lies ahead makes the past feel remedied. New life awaits on your own terms! Marriage and motherhood, however, have ways of bringing the deeply buried issues to the surface, even ones you never realized were there until it boiled over.
Even still, you may be one of the many women who are not only affected by their past, but are also dealing with tense family ties in your present day. It’s difficult to be confident in moving onward in God’s best for your life if you feel tethered to an influence of criticism and continual strain from your childhood relationships.
While no one would desire to live in such a cycle, the time constraints of work and home life responsibilities can make a woman feel like she has no other choice but to just keep dealing with the day to day immediacies of bills, chores, deadlines, and the never ending list of everyone else’s needs. That may be where you are, moving through each day trying to get all the things checked off before the clock runs out. There just doesn’t seem to be the time to set aside to deal with what’s going on inside and you hope that it will just eventually stop coming up over time.
There is a well-intentioned myth that time heals all wounds, but the truth is that only God heals all wounds. This is actually great news because that means that healing doesn’t have to be a waiting game! Time doesn’t actively care about people, so we can’t depend on it to do us much justice. God, however, absolutely cares about you and can completely heal any pain that you lift up to Him! It may still take some time, but it will never take more time that if you left it to time alone!
Healthy grief is not simply rehashing the past. Rehashing only re-injures. Healthy grief is not simply griping about the present. Complaining is the most productive-looking unproductive action.
Healthy grief is a way to identify the roots of struggle that may have been planted in the past during your childhood – or continue damaging effects in your life today – and acknowledge them before the Lord and ask Him for help and healing. I believe that our Lord is more than willing to bring healing because anything that hurts or harms you as His child, grieves Him as well.
In any grief there can be a temptation to want vengeance, to stir up strife, bitterness, wrath, or malice. This is not healthy grief. Healthy grief is holy unto the Lord, blameless and without sin. It is a grief that resists resentment and acting out, in favor of fully trusting God’s sovereignty and wisdom in the happenings – and handlings – of the pains and strains.
Grief is not a sin. Crying is not weakness. Jesus grieved and cried, and was sinless and strong. Grief is healthy if handled biblically. Grieve the disappointment, pain, and sin that happened, or continue to happen to you. Honestly and humbly tell God what you believe you’re up against.
There is a difference between pain and suffering. Past and present life can be painful, but you don’t have to suffer from it. If you let God deal with it, you can experience freedom from suffering. But don’t delay:
- Deal with it or it will deal with you, possibly for the rest of your life, and even ripple into your children’s lives. Cycles continue until they are broken, like hurricanes that gain strength until landfall.
- Procrastinating on this will always cost you and your family more later, than what it will cost you to start now.
- Often procrastination is less about avoiding the task itself than it is about avoiding the feelings associated with the task. Regardless of how beneficial the task is, people tend to delay doing anything that will lead us to have feelings of discomfort, pain, frustration, or inadequacy. Thus, anything from physical exercise to dealing with our past has a higher likelihood of being avoided.
- Will you procrastinate today, or will you get alone with God and ask Him for healing and freedom from suffering?
- Regardless of who was or is at fault for your grief, healing is your responsibility, and only you can choose healing for yourself.
Give yourself time and space free of distraction because this is important:
What things from your past burden you in your present? Write out each (for as long as it takes).
Just as you would bear your soul to a dearest trusted friend, talk to God about each burden, and let yourself grieve before Him, knowing that, “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19 ESV
I am praying for you this week; next we will move on together towards the absolute game-changing relief of living in total freedom! Hope to connect again soon!