Someone asked me a few days ago, What does healing look like?
Honestly, I don't have an answer. I only know what it was for me. I haven't researched enough to know what healing looks like for other people. But, I'll try to explain my experience:
For two years, I lived in self-induced shame. I cried often. I begged God to make it all go away. If I could have had things my way, I would've changed the past, or at least, had my memory erased. I lived in my own personal hell. There were days when I would think that maybe healing had finally occurred, and I could move on with my life, only to plunge into the depths of self-pity again. I wanted things back to normal.
What I didn't realize was that God was creating a new sort of normal for me.
On January 4, 2009, my pastor preached a sermon titled Hope After Failure. It was another Sunday morning when I dreaded church, when I wept the entire sermon. But I clung to every word God spoke through my pastor that morning. The one sentence that permanently placed itself in my brain was, God often uses broken people to accomplish great things. Until that moment, I thought my life was useless. I thought I'd messed up so badly that not even God wanted me anymore. I didn't see a point in my living, other than being a mother to three little girls. And, most days, I wasn't doing that well. But with that one sentence, God changed my life.
I walked out of that service a different person. I had renewed purpose. I didn't know what that purpose was except that God was going to use me again.
I listened to that sermon again tonight for the second time. I remember the exact points and illustrations that pierced my heart. This time, though, I listened with a smile. I know what the other side of healing, the new normal, looks like for me:
God allows me to sing to Him, about Him...
He uses the story of His grace in my life to bring restoration and healing to others...
He has again given me friends who are like family...
He has given me glimpses of grace I wouldn't have otherwise known...
Healing was a slow and painful process. But there was purpose in the length of time and the pain it took. Had God allowed my healing to be swift and painless, I might not have grapsed the beauty He made of my mess. I might have missed His grace. And I might not be so afraid to go back there again. When you've been through a painfully, slow process and have reached the other side, you don't want to go back through it again. Once is enough.
Healing is beautiful, but it's hard to see until you've reached the other side.
Click here to watch the sermon, Hope After Failure.