Hello, friend! Thanks for visiting Facets of Faith. It’s always a pleasure to meet you here. This month’s topic is infused with the “back to school” mindset, but with a twist. Tracy shared her thoughts on “What are you going back to?” here, and Kim will share next week. I’m really excited that Tracy’s hubby, Sam, will be our guest the fourth week! (You read that right. A different voice and perspective will be shared, and we’re really excited he responded to our ask!) Be sure to visit Facets each Tuesday for new posts.
What am I (Jennifer) going back to?
For you to understand what I’m going back to, you’d need to know how I spent my last weekend. I had the privilege of attending training focused on becoming a competent caregiver for children who have come from hard places. While we’ve all had experience with hard things in life, not all of us know the difficulty of intense trauma. I want to be better equipped to do slices of life with those who know what “hard place” really means. That could be a few minutes, weeks, months, or years.
What I’m going back to is some of the hard places in my own life. Admittedly, some of the events written into my story are blips on the radar, some are stones I’ve taken out of my load and left at the side of the road, a very few are landmines I need to be confident are defused. The trauma training encouraged me to go back and take a second look a few events, and I’m sure it’s related to deeper healing, more confidence in my story, and understanding how it can be powerful in the lives of others. (Have you ever considered that your personal story has power to help others overcome some of the challenges in their own?)
But why go back?
…the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” 2 Peter 2:22
Is returning to the past like parking in front of a train wreck and gaping at the damage? I suppose it could be—but if we did it with a healthier process and purpose—then no, it’s returning to those hard places to gain perspective and loosen the grip the event may have on our heart, mind, and behavior. Peter isn’t referring to a healthy look at our past here. He’s adamant about not returning to our hurtful behaviors over and over. To some extent the behavior comes out of our hard places, so returning to those hard places with a healthy mindset and healing in mind is really important. That’s the goal we should have in mind.
When I go back to the events of the past, I sit with little vignettes, try to capture them, and the purpose emerges from the shadows. When I sift through details, I take extra time to find three things:
- the power in the memory (What control does this memory have?)
- the plans of the Enemy (How does this memory serve the enemy of my soul and wreck me?)
- and the presence of Jesus. (Can I see Jesus in this memory?)
These three pieces are important to the transformation that follows. They are also common elements in every story. Mine. Yours. Everyone’s. If we examine these three things, I think we defuse that landmine. I encourage you to try answering these three questions in any of your “hard place” memories.
My next step is to think about two questions that have the ability to shift perspective on nearly any life story.
- What do I believe about God based on what has happened to me?
- What is true about God based on what is written in Scripture?
Something settles in my soul in those two questions. I almost felt and heard “Kachunk!” in my spirit when I was introduced to them. These questions begged to be answered, and I understood why. My perspective about God is crucial. It’s only in relationship to Him that I can understand some of the story details, events, and characters. I may never understand the hows and whys in my story in this life, but I have no hope of a healthy viewpoint or healing without God.
Some of you know I’ve been working on writing my story, White Wave Crashing. When my eyes took in the scenes of my life at a glance, I overlooked the presence of Jesus. I was angry that he overlooked the indelible ink falling to the pages of my life. Was he invisible? Unconcerned? (The answer is, “No!” but it took time to discover that.) I hope you find that to be true, too. He loves us. Deeply. And he wants to sit with us in the exuberant joy, the deep sorrow, and the painful grief.
Now at some point, you might join me in going back to your own “hard places,” and when you do, I hope you’ve got something you can use along the way. When you begin to remember, I hope you’ll find healing for your soul, too. Try some introspective work with the questions above. Invite Holy Spirit to do the work with you. There is victory over the enemy of our souls when we step forward, meet the challenges in our stories, and tell of the things God has done.
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. Psalm 66:16
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Thanks for reading along! You have no idea how exciting it is to walk the road with friends who drop in and share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on the monthly topic. Will you share yours?
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**If you’re interested in orphan care or curious about the training I did this weekend, connect to http://back2back.org/ or https://cafo.org/summit/intensives/trauma/. The CAFO material was presented by a speaker in a smaller, home environment, and it was wonderful!
(Shameless plug for this amazing ministry…)