I had a counseling appointment yesterday. I was able to share with Tricia how I finally have closure on a relationship. How God moved in me through the past couple of weeks to get me to the point of letting go. I also told her how He kept hitting me over the head with the need to obey Him and trust Him.
Obedience and trust. It's like the chicken and the egg question. Which comes first? Do you obey God, and do the things He asks you to, and then based on how He brings you through, that builds your trust? Or is it rather that you trust God, from experiencing His faithfulness in the past, and therefore step out in obedience to what He says?
I have a feeling it's more a mixture of the two, rather than one or the other.
After stepping out in obedience to some things God specifically asked me to do, I know and feel deeper down that I can trust Him and that He has my best at heart.
The problem that I encountered with Tricia yesterday, which I sort of knew was there, but not as big as it was, was getting some of that truth from my mind to my emotions. From my head knowledge, to a really deep know and believe heart knowledge.
The one relationship I was working through has been laid to rest I believe. But there is some "residue" left over from that one, that tied directly into another former relationship. A relationship in which I trusted the person, but was greatly hurt, and out of that hurt and desperation to "keep" the relationship, did some things I am not very proud of. (and that's an understatement)
Over all it could be argued that I was a young Christian, and though I knew what I was doing, I didn't know any better. That the other person involved was a Christian longer (not a more mature Christian - I won't give them that) and should have known better than to manipulate me, use me the way they did.
But I did know that those things I was doing were very wrong and they made me sick to my stomach, and still do if I think about them.
For a long time I have buried my guilt and shame and anger at myself. I was at the point of burying the relationship enough, figuring to have put it to rest well enough with my last sessions with Tricia, that I would never have to revisit it again.
It is interesting how God used one thing (Henry's death) to bring me into counseling, and now that I am there, He has brought up things I have needed help with, or healing from. It shows me another way He is intimately involved in my life and in my heart. It shows me His desire to heal me and bring me to a new level in my relationship with Him and with others.
Well, as I talked with Tricia, yesterday, she brought out my care plan, and discussed my progress with me. It showed that I have made forward progress, which is good, and which in reality I knew. I have been in such a better place, even when I have been deeply depressed, that things have progressed much more quickly for me this time. As Tricia said one time, this time has been just a "tune up" for me.
In the care plan, she rated my depression as having moved from moderate to mild (I agree there for the most part, though I am still going to have swings up and down). She also rated my poor sense of self worth at a mild. When she said that one, I just looked at her, and she glanced up from reading and questioned my look. That's what brought up this relationship, and the things I had done.
After we talked a bit about the relationship, Tricia asked if I had a mental picture in my head. I did. She asked then if I wanted to do EMDR around the situation. I said we could, but I wasn't sure even how to go about this, because I felt stupid for even still having trouble with this, with accepting Christ's forgiveness in this specific area, and for forgiving myself.
Tricia said that we could just walk through the negative cognitions (the lies) and positive cognitions that I want to replace them with (the truth) and talk through the process a bit, and if we had time, start the actual EMDR therapy. We did all that, and did have time to start the therapy.
When we started, I could see in my mind's eye the mental picture, and she had me think about the negatives and see where it took us. It was hard for me to settle into, because it's been so long. I was having a hard time concentrating, especially at first. It was like I couldn't "pin it down." But I had such a strong sense of disgust that when she stopped the little machine, I said that I felt like I was going to be sick to my stomach.
She asked me if I wanted to go back there again. I said, "no but yes, I will." She turned back on the machine and again it was hard to concentrate, but near the end of that chunk of time, I was not only feeling like I was going to be sick, but emotionally I hurt, I was scared, and I was starting to be able to pin down the image in my head, rather than having it flit all over, and I was able to think about how it made me feel, and the lies it fed.
I remember hearing Tricia say softly that I was still in her office, still safe, but to let the emotions come. Oh, that was hard. I couldn't, not all the way. I might have cried a little bit, but more than anything I was feeling pure revulsion when she asked me to take a deep breath. I could barely manage the breath. She asked me to do it again and then turned off the machine. I sat up and as I looked around her office, reorienting myself, I realized I was shaking - inside and out.
Tricia asked what I had experience there. Part of it was that revulsion and loathing, but that it hurt and that I was coming up against this wall, this black wall and it scared me. She said she wanted to keep on going, but she had another appointment following me and couldn't give me more time then. She said too that she didn't want to leave me in an "unsafe" place or emotional state. So, she asked me to think about the place where I feel safe. My "safe place" right now is somewhere I run when I need to get out of my office, when I need a quiet place to spend with God, when I need comfort. It's the sanctuary at church. Right up near the front, by the piano usually. Sometimes, right on the floor in front of the first row of chairs, looking up at the cross on the wall.
So, I went there, in my mind, starting to feel the peace again of that place, and it started to outweigh the other emotions that had been stirred up. She stopped the machine again, and then had me go back there one more time, this time thinking about one of my more favorite songs at the moment. I was able to relax into that, and when we were done, felt much better than I had at the first. I felt more able to handle the rest of the day.
We prayed together and I left, heading to town to get the kids from school. After spending time with them, they left for the farm, and I was able to have some alone time. I sat and contemplated how I was doing. I realized that truly, despite the hard stuff I had come up against that afternoon, I was doing really pretty good. I had peace. I still do.
I know I am going to have to face up to this relationship in two weeks. But two years ago, if we had had to leave something hanging that long, I would have been in a panic. God is so good in giving me the peace I need.
I have a couple of assignments from Tricia. One is to find passages of scripture that talk about how God sees me, through Christ's blood. I also need to see if I can find scriptures that talk about my needing to focus on Christ. (Like in Hebrews where it talks about fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith). She challenged me as well to watch the movie "The Passion." I have never seen it. She said that when she walked out of the movie, after having watched it, she just said that she knew then and there how much God loved her.
I spent time in God's Word last night, and time journaling and praying.
I woke up this morning having had a good night's sleep, and still feeling like I am close in His arms and His peace. It is a wonderful feeling. One I haven't had in a long time, at least not consistently.
I'm so thankful! Yes, there is hard stuff coming. There are going to be more hard "letting go" opportunities. God is bigger than all those things. God loves me through all of them. He isn't surprised by anything. He still sees me through Christ's blood and sees me as whiter than snow. That won't change.
Oh God, help me keep my gaze fixed on You. You are my comfort and strength and shield and protector. Thank you for this incredible mercy of Your peace and feeling of being sheltered and protected, held and comforted right now. May I continue to rest in you in these coming days.