James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Several years ago, once a month, I would have suicidal thoughts. Nothing ever came of them. They were mostly annoying. The worst part was after while, I would wonder if I was crazy or something, then I would start my menstural cycle and find relief in thinking they were caused by hormones. Now I think what was actually going on was that my enemy was taking an opportune time to attack me. Eventually, I learned to catch on to what was going on at the onslaught, rebuked the thoughts and stopped having them. Glory to God!
At the beginning of last week, the Lord dropped the verse above into my heart. The part about “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely” stood out. I was hurting and wanted out fast. Over the weekend my heart had begun to break over my diagnosis.
Saturday Mike and I went to Nashville for a city tour which turned out for me to be the opposite of a “getaway.” It seemed like everywhere I turned something reminded me that I wasn’t whole; from driving by the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, to the mannequins in the Country Music Hall of Fame with two perfectly formed breast (really sad, I know).
The saddest part for me was that the biggest displays for the biggest “stars” were ones who had died of drug overdoses. The displays talked about how wonderful the person was, then were deafeningly silent on how to avoid their tragic end. In the gift shop, I found myself under the old, familiar attack of suicidal thoughts. This time it came through a different open door. I prayed in the Spirit and it stopped, but my heart was still breaking.
Wednesday, I spent the day listening to more of the “Healing School” CDs by Katie Souza. Session 4 was on the healing of your soul.. exactly what I needed. One of my deepest desires has been to pray for the sick and see them miraculously recover in Jesus’ name (I’ve had just a taste) then early this year the Lord added the desire to see the brokenhearted mended. What I didn’t know was that my own heart was wounded and needed healing before I could see my desires fulfilled.
I had a dream Monday morning about Jesus coming and binding my wounds then taking me into an office where He was cleaning up a mess. I couldn’t understand how an “office” related to me until I heard the CDs where Katie quoted this verse from the AMP
Luke 11:34 Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness.
The eye is the window to our soul and my soul was darkened by the mess it was in. Wednesday through Friday were spent with the Lord shining His light on and healing different wounds in my soul. At first, it was extremely painful. I was not a very good patient. I was happy to run away to a field trips on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the kids. And I think I was trying too hard. Our part is to trust and rest in His lovingkindness.
He started with the biggest hurts like the death of my Grandmother and worked down to the smaller ones like when I was a kid and these two doberman pinchers chased me from the bus stop to a friend’s house instead of the boy who had thrown rocks at them. My body escaped unscathed, but my heart hadn’t.
I’ve since become keenly aware of soul wounds in others. Seems like everyone I talk to now mentions a wound in their soul without even realizing it. Katie said to soak the wound in the “glory light of Jesus” though worship and not to focus on the hurt but on the healer. She used the story of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness as our example. Our focus has to be on Jesus lifted up not the snake bite (or in my case the near dog bite).
I knew from experience that when God shows you something in your heart or way of thinking in your mind that shouldn’t be there, it’s because He wants to fix it. I have learned to see it as an opportunity to repent and rejoice because of the good work He was about to do in me, yet last week I continued to struggle. Even going to the grocery store was painful. I dreaded the cashier’s friendly, “How are you today?” because my answer, “Good. How are you?” came with a cringe in my soul.
Finally, God reminded me of the part of Psalm 23 that says “He restores my soul.” I repeated it to myself over and over until the pain lessened. Now I can say “It is well with my soul.” with joy and peace again. 🙂
I am not sure what comes next. I had a dream that I was sitting at a small, wobbly, primitive table about to be served, but I had no silverware or plate or cup. Not the way I imagine God preparing a table. So now I am claiming the rest of Psalm 23.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.