“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 Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I needed this post this morning. What an important point to remember – that we mourn the past, not the future. Even if we’ve had victories in the past, the enemy is a master at whispering in our ear that this time will be different – things will never change in this situation. To accept his lies as truth goes against everything that God promises in scripture. Through Christ we are MORE than conquerors. Also so true, that God is at work when nothing seems to be happening and every breakthrough is never like the one before. The breakthrough may be just around the next bend. Praise that ALL our messes will be completely healed in eternity; all relationships will be restored; all pain will be gone, but God does give us victories here on earth that we can point to and say, “Look at the great work God has done in my life.” Thank you for sharing from such a vulnerable point. Your bravery is meeting hearts right where they are, in pain, and delivering a message of hope. God bless you!
Bev, Her words “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” sure are music to my ears…Claiming that for you & me! God bless!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Amen to that, Frances!! Claiming that Truth!!
Sarah Mae says
Hi Bev! 🙂
Yes, that got me too, “we mourn the past, not the future.”
Love to you friend!
Michele Morin says
Loss of hope for the believer is so devastating because it impacts on our view of God.
I’m trusting along with you for a renewed understanding of the bedrock of God’s character, the basis for all our hope. And your words have set me to pondering on Jesus’s words in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” So grateful for the hope of the gospel which comes to us as massive comfort when all else has been stripped away.
Here I sit, in a corner cubicle. I’m in a rural office, 90 minutes from the nearest city in SK, Canada. And your words have left me literally crying in the corner.
Thank you for writing from such an honest place in your heart. In my blog entry this weekend, I confessed that I had written off hope and even Easter hadn’t resurrected it this year. And there you are, penning words in obedience to the leading of the Spirit that would reach me in my mess. What a beautiful reminder of His love, and the lengths to which He will go to reach us!
Blessings to you today as you continue the hard work. I am so grateful that we do not journey alone.
Texas Aggie Mom says
I’m so moved by the image of you crying alone in the corner, far away from the conveniences I take for granted. I’m also smiling through my own tears in Texas, giving thanks that we both found these beautiful words today. Here’s to hope, which we both deserve! ❤
Sarah Mae says
Me too friend, I’m so glad we don’t have to walk alone. I know that hopeless feeling so well, but it’s from the enemy. God is all about resurrection – hope and new life!
Thank you for this great article… It speaks to my ❤️. Yesterday, was Easter Sunday & we are reminded, that yes he lives. He renews all things & makes them new again.
Ro Elliott says
‘. To mourn in advance is wrong because we are projecting a twisted viewpoint“… this is powerful truth right here!!!! I call it going futuretripping… we go out in the future … all the grace for the day is not our there… so the enemy assaults us there… “twisted our viewpoint”!!! And i love Dan Allender’s work… I had the privilege of sitting under his teaching for 9 months while I got my lay counseling certificate… it was so powerful!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story!!!!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I like your term, “futuretripping”. So true that God doesn’t give us grace for our future imagining, He only gives us grace, here, in this moment. Let’s put a ban on “futuretripping” unless hope goes with it! 🙂
Sarah Mae says
Dang that’s good girl! Futuretripping (adding to my vocabulary stat!)
Beth Williams says
I have often mourned the past with all the mistakes made. We should never ever grieve the future. As Christians God has promised us a bright future with the Holy Spirit guiding on our journey. Life down here in the messy middle between two Edens is hard. The devil is working over time to discourage & deflate us. Telling us that God won’t resurrect us from this problem/trial. Psalm 23 states: Even though I go through the valley of shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod & staff they comfort me. We must remind ourselves that God is with us always working on our behalf. We may not see the outcome yet, but He will bring us to victory again. Standing with you in believing God today. We will not mourn the future. We will hope in God that there is something more, even in this messy middle beyond the dark valley we find ourselves in.
Amen, such awesome truth! I so needed to hear this word. We mourn our past not our future! Thank you Jesus! He is faithful and he will come through again. I’m expecting my miracle. I’m believing with all of you!
It´s been nearly 40 years since my abortion. I have struggled mightily trying to feel forgiven. When I was diagnosed with female cancer, I knew in my heart that I absolutely deserved to get that cancer and that I deserve to die from it for what I did. If I am able to feel forgiven, I´m quickly overwhelmed with shame at the thought of having to face my baby in heaven. What in the world will I say?