Thursday, March 27, 2008

Revelation, Transformation, FREEDOM

“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”
Psalm 30:2-3; 5; 11-12
How else can I start a post that describes what God did for me yesterday in my counseling session?!

For those of you who remember my post “A box buried deep” I talked there about a dark box that I was so afraid of opening. A box that I had stuffed so much into, that I have barely been sitting on it keeping the lid closed. Since the beginning of March, Tricia and I have been trying to get at that box, get into it and open it. Each time we have tried, we have hit a block, either I have been struggling with getting there, even approaching it, and last week I hit such a wall of fear that I got overwhelmed and my emotions shut down. I just couldn’t continue.

Tricia said that we needed to get that box open this week, and I agreed with her. I was scared, but I knew that I finally needed to deal with this. One of the things that I needed to tell her was that recently I realized I have been putting up walls. I didn’t want to tell her, but I did. I said to her that I have found myself putting up a wall recently when I have been coming into her office, and I knew that it wasn’t helping our therapy any. She agreed and then asked why. I told her I realized I had been doing it since she had talked about moving out to seeing me every other week, rather than weekly… my thought process went something like this:

“I need to protect myself. I don’t want to get hurt again. I don’t want to be hurt by Tricia, or feel abandoned or rejected again, so I need to protect my heart.”

When I told her what my thoughts had been, she sighed and sat back in her chair. She knew what it took for me to tell her, and just admit to her what I had been feeling. It was so hard, because I genuinely like her and respect her. I didn’t want to disappoint her. I also, I guess, was afraid that if I told her she would do nothing about it, and just try to explain it away. She did explain it, using examples from her own life. Her experiences have helped her recognise, in her clients, some of those same things that she has struggled with.

And then Tricia said, “Heather, I need to apologize to you.” Just hearing those words was a balm for my heart. I could feel the knot inside relaxing away. Seeing that she truly was remorsful that comments she had said caused me to put up walls, ended up wiping away the walls I had up, even coming into our appointment. The walls were just gone. No rubble to clean up. Just vanished.

She assured me that she wasn’t going to push me out, or make that decision for me. She wants me to make that decision when I feel I am ready. After yesterday’s session, that may be sooner than I thought it was ever going to be!

We moved right from her apology into our therapy. I was ready then, if still scared. My trust in her was restored fully, and so I was ready to follow her leading.

Let’s just say, the following things are the most important details. What really changed me, from the inside out.

I got to a point where I just couldn’t go on, and I said out loud, “God I can’t do this!” (Tricia spoke to me then, “Yes you can Heather, you’re safe here, just let it come”) and then internally I said, “God you have to do this for me.” I cried, sobbed, and felt so unable to go on… all I could see in my mind’s eye was this awful black box. Then, it was one of those moments where you look away and when you look back something is there… in that moment, my God, my Healer made a transformation.

The black box was changed from this dark, battered, dirty box, to a pristine white gift box, tied with a red bow. A present. For me.

Now, that isn’t too scary to open.

One minute I was looking at this box, hardly daring to believe it was for me, and the next I was seated, with it on my lap.

Seated… on the lap of my Savior. Cuddled against Him with His arms around me, holding me. And I looked into the box. It was a red heart, resting on a bed of white tissue paper, shattered. Broken. Unmendable.

Unless you know my God.

One minute the shattered heart was in the box. The next minute, I saw Jesus holding it in His nail scarred hands. I was still cuddled in His arms, His hands ever so gently holding that heart… MY heart… and putting it back together like a puzzle. Slowly taking a piece at a time from the box, and mending it. It was recognizable as a heart. It had holes, was tattered and torn, but in most places you couldn’t see the cracks anymore.

There were still pieces in the box, but I got the sense of patience. Just waiting for Him to decide which piece to pick up next, and where to put it, and how to heal it into place in my heart. All I have to do is wait for Him to mend me. Let Him choose what piece to pick up next and heal. Let Him do it. Not me. HIM!

Then I felt Him lean over me; over my heart in His hands, and breathe. He breathed His Spirit through the holes left in my heart. He filled me with His breath of life. With that breath, that heart in His hands, MY heart, became soft and pliable… in His hands.

And I know, in my head and in my heart that I am safe in His arms.

For the first time in my life, I don’t have to run from Him. He saw all those pieces and hurts I had been stuffing into my box. I didn’t realize then, but they were all pieces of my heart, as it was hit, battered… the pieces that broke off, unmendable, I pushed into my box, unable to throw them away, but not wanting to get cut by their sharp edges anymore.

Talk about emotions overflowing. Most of this happened without words, without Tricia even knowing what was going on, except as she was prompted to pray for me. That is what is so incredible about this therapy. Tricia didn’t even need to know what was going on, unless I told her. SHE didn’t “do” anything! It wasn’t manufactured, it wasn’t forced. It was my emotions flooding out and seeking healing. Tricia facilitated, but GOD did it all. He spoke directly into my head and my heart, and made connections between them that weren’t there before.

When I was finally able to sit up, and tell Tricia what had happened, what I had seen and felt, she started rejoicing. I think I was still in shock!

I am starting to come out of my shock now, and am realizing that it wasn’t all in my imagination. This really happened.

God showed me yesterday that I don’t have to run from His love. I can stand and accept it, rather than push it away after only so much of it. I can go towards His love. I can climb up in His lap, cuddle with Him and receive it deep into my heart. Because now there is a living, breathing, pliable, able to love back, heart inside of me to receive love into.

He has renewed His covenant with me. Reminded me of His sacrifice for ME, by His nail scarred hands. Showed me that His love for me isn’t dependent upon how much I love Him back, or even if I receive it. He loves me because He chooses to love me. Nothing, not the box, not my past, not my hurts or my choices, will cause Him to back off or leave me alone.
He will never walk away!

Do you know how long I have heard that said to me? “He is always with you. He loves you. He won’t walk away, or leave you, or forsake you.”

It NEVER sank in all the way. NEVER!!!

Until yesterday. Until this morning. Until this afternoon… when I realized that this change has gone deeper than anything else before in my life. This change is different. This change caught me at the very core of my being, and I feel real again. I feel like me. And it’s OK! I am OK, not because of anyone else in my life, for once, but because of God, I am OK!!!

Oh God, I don’t want to lose this! I don’t want to lose this memory of who I am. Because of You. Who I am in You. You have blessed me immeasurably. You are uncontainable, indescribable, and Your love is unfathomable. Yet, You gave me a taste of it yesterday, and I was able to receive it. I was able to taste and see that You are good. I praise you for that. I praise you for renewing your covenant with me. Thank you God for restoring to me the joy of my salvation! You have returned me to a place of joy that I haven’t been in for years! It’s so much deeper than “happy.” You have brought me to a place of not needing to know why bad things have happened to me in the past. You have brought me to a place of knowing that, yes, hard times will come. Bad things will happen. I may struggle with depression the rest of my life… but it doesn’t matter. You matter. Praise You for starting the teaching deep in my heart that I CAN trust You. That You DO work everything, good and bad, for good. The results are good. The results cause me to praise you! I can finally start to lay down my load, my burdens, and pick up Your’s, because Your’s is so much lighter and easier to bear. I don’t have the words my Lord to express the emotions that cause these tears to run down my cheeks. I am unashamed in this moment. Unafraid. Released from the prison of my past that the enemy has kept me in for so many years. Thank You, my Lord and God, my Savior, my Friend, my Jesus. I love You. Amen and Amen!

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