“Hysterical |—————————–| Historical”
That’s what Carol, my counselor, writes on the big whiteboard that is to the right of me.
I’m in the loveseat and she’s sitting in the swivel chair opposite me, but she gets up and is standing and pointing with the dry-erase marker and saying to me, “You are on the hysterical end right now, so anxious that you won’t have the answers, that things can’t change, but the more we talk about this, the more you will move to the historical side.”
On the historical side is where I can look at the trauma, the pain, the truth of something, and be able to talk about it with hope and even surprising joy at how God has worked. Carol goes on to say, “How did you get to where you are with your abortion? Why can you talk about that without being on the hysterical side?”
I can talk about my abortion because God led me to a woman who, over the course of several weeks, helped me to see and talk about it, to grieve and feel and not shy away. It was awful and hard and healing and freeing. And over the years, there was more work to be done, in God’s timing, and more resurrection to be had. I don’t know when the moment of freeing actually came. I don’t know how exactly God did what He did, but I do know that He led me through the valley of the shadow of death and then took me into a land of peace. The work is a mystery and a miracle.
So now I’m in Carol’s office hoping for another miracle.
“I felt hope for the first time in years,” I tell her. “Like maybe I’m not destined to flinch nearly every time my husband touches me.” She smiles. I go on. “I think I’ve been mourning the loss of being able to have true intimacy with husband because I’m so afraid of it, but in the last couple of weeks I have felt hope as I have seen that there are reasons my body reacts the way it does. It’s trying to tell me something, and I don’t want to ignore it anymore. I want to listen so I can maybe heal.”
As we talk, I realize that I have applied the concept of mourning our losses to what I should not be mourning. “When we mourn,” Carol tells me, “we are mourning the past, a death of some kind. To mourn in advance is wrong because we are projecting a twisted viewpoint. We are resigned that there is no hope. Mourning closes the door, but hope says, ‘Something is out there.’ The opposite of mourning is hope.”
The enemy wants us to believe that there is no hope for our marriages, our secret pain, our hidden wounds, our futures. He wants us to believe that nothing will change. Dan Allender, author of Healing the Wounded Heart, poignantly points out the purpose of our enemy is to “destroy our trust in God and kill our hope.”
But God shows us that there is resurrection! Jesus suffers on a Friday, goes through the valley of the shadow of death on a Saturday, and in a surprise twist, He comes out of the grave on Sunday! He is alive; the grave is empty. And He calls us to step out of our graves and into the light where there is hope and healing and peace and rest and mysterious miracles.
Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Ephesians 5:14 (ESV)
There is no formula for this resurrection, for His intimate work in our lives leads to a joy we never thought we could have this side of heaven. Walter Brueggeman says, “It is a surprise. In our resistance, we do not expect to be surprised. The new situation is not an achievement or a working out of the crisis, but it is a newness that comes to us.” Counselor Adam Young, in his fantastic podcast, The Place We Find Ourselves, says it this way: “The movement up into joy and vitality and resurrection is always a surprise. Always, always. I don’t care how many times God has already come through for you. It’s still a surprise when God does it this time — in this situation, with this mess.”
You might believe, as I have, that things cannot change, that hope isn’t for this situation, this mess, this pain, but that’s not true because we serve a God of hope, a God of resurrection. You may feel weighed down in despair or resignation, but I encourage you to consider that perhaps the enemy is feeding you a very clever lie and that perhaps it’s easier to believe that things won’t change than to believe that they could.
I’m believing God today. I will not mourn the future. I am hoping that there is something more, even on this earth, something good beyond the valley. Will you believe with me?
His intimate work in our lives leads to a joy we never thought we could have this side of heaven. -@sarahmae: Click To Tweet