June 16, 2011

Redeeming Your Past

These past couple of months, I have been reading through the book Captivating with the ladies from my church. It has been a heart wrenching study. The statistics say that in most churches, ¼ women have been abused in some way. Well, on any given week, I sit in a circle of 8-10 women, each one an abuse victim. I want to add that this group was not designated as a “Recovery Group” or anything of the sort. The small group is named and advertised as a “Ladies Bible Study”. Sobering.

I say all that to say that if you have read Captivating, you know it walks women through the somewhat painful process of recognizing wounds, facing wounds, and healing from wounds. Week after week, women shared their stories. Dark stories. Stories that left me emotionally drained. I praise God, however, that the stories were shared. Satan loses his power to accuse and shame when the truth is brought to the light. God’s Truth can then penetrate the pain and set the wounded free!

This is our final week in the study (I am a little relieved…we need to move on, amen?!). However, I have discovered a couple of interesting insights as we have worked through this study that I want to list really quickly and hit on in-depth later…

  1. Our wounds are a sort of baggage that we carry and use as a form protection in the way of justification for certain behaviors. Let that sink in for a second. God’s responsibility is to open our eyes to our wounds; our responsibility is to deal with our wounds (read “Living Wounded or With our Wounds”). We deal by either carrying them around with us as a sort of justification for “why I am the way I am”; or, we acknowledge the hurt and the pain and then deal with the wound Biblically: through forgiveness (read “Forgive, Forgiving, Forgiven”). I don’t have to tell you which of the above two options is more emotionally taxing and physically exhausting…you already know.

  1. “Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of Jesus.” We allow our wounds to define us out of fear. We are afraid. “Your lingering disbelief that anything important hangs on your life is only evidence of the long assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be and fears you.” Who is this “one”? Satan. He is a liar (John 8) and he is out to destroy you (1 Peter 5). If he can get you to believe that you are safer carrying around your wounds, if he can convince you that you are worthless because of your wounds, if he can talk you into believing you will never experience healing from your wounds, he has destroyed you and won. The only way to defeat him is to draw near to Jesus…preach the Gospel to yourself. Remember He died for you, He forgives you, He loves you, He wants you.

  1. To redeem our past, we must believe in the transcendence of God. Some of us really struggle with looking back. Hindsight isn’t only 20/20, it sucks. Trust me, I know. However, I have to say this…I was talking with Bryant the other day and he said, “Nicole, can’t you look back though and see that God has been with you every step of the way? He was there…He was leading…He has brought you to this point.” I have to be honest…I don’t always like to think that God was present at every moment in my past, some of it is embarrassing and I wish He wasn’t looking and some of it is so painful I am angry He didn’t step in. But, when I stop for a second and think about where He has me now and when I dwell on all of the blessings He has brought into me life (not because of what I have done, obviously, but because of Who He is), I can’t help but stand amazed and grateful. Have I always been able to say that? No. Healing is a process. I am still in the process, as I am sure you are too. We are moving forward. But, and there are a lot of “buts”, God is with us…right here…right now. You may not see Him, feel Him, hear Him, or believe Him, but I promise you…He is there. Cling to the facts…keep moving forward. Don’t look back until God lets you know it is time…when will that be? I don’t know…He does and He will make it clear to you. In the meantime, just keep telling yourself, “God is here and He loves me.” Simple statements, powerful truths.