One of the most important things I have learned from the Mending the Soul book and work book, is facing the past.This is hard but so necessary. Since I have been available to help any that would like to go through the material, I find many who come close but really can’t quite put their feet in the water to carry through with facing their past.
I have often heard the scripture used which is found in Philippians 3:13 – 14 “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on… To my shame I had never really connected this scripture to the verses prior, in which Paul acknowledges who he was before coming to know the Lord as his Savior. He tells us he was a persecutor of the church. He came to see things differently, took responsibility for his past, and then he pressed on. He didn’t wallow in it, he moved on. Until we come to see our past for what it really was, we keep getting on the same merry-go-round.
For myself I came to realize that the patterns of my life had come from a form of coping. I was protecting myself from further hurt or pain. I found a measure of comfort in my coping skills but I had created obstacles and challenges that kept me from being able to move on into healthy relationships. These also keep me trusting in these coping skills rather than trusting in God. My relationship with God was far from what it could and should have been.
One of the things I remember after I faced my issues, is feeling like a fog had been lifted from my mind and I was able to enjoy my time with my bible and my Lord, far more than before. My understanding of God’s presence with me and his care over me and his faithfulness to me became far more evident to me. I haven’t reached the pinnacle yet so I press forward for what lies ahead and know that God wants to be a part of my life in every way. He wants to keep me as the apple of his eye. Read the bible passage that tells about God keeping us as the apple of his eye, it illustrates to me what it means to walk out of the fog and into his keeping presence though life. The Lord alone guided me, no foreign Gods (or no self made comforters).
He found him (me) in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him,
no foreign god was with him. (coping mechanisms )
He made him ride on the high places of the land,
and he ate the produce of the field,
and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
and oil out of the flinty rock.
Curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
with fat of lambs,
rams of Bashan and goats,
with the very finest of the wheat—
and you drank foaming wine made from the blood of the grape.
Deuteronomy 32:10 – 14
That is the difference it made for me in facing my past and then pressing on. When I did my Mending the Soul classes with Johnna, I faced something that had really been hurting me for years and I found so much peace from expressing what was on my heart and dealing with it.
The goal of facing our brokenness is not to wallow in the past but to reclaim it in such a way that it loses it destructive grasp on the present. Trauma symptoms are not healed by ignoring past trauma but by facing, processing and reinterpreting the trauma. Facing this is also necessary to experience healthy relationships.’
Denial can and does happen with abuse. Amnesia is a lack of memory and hence doesn’t involve fully conscious deliberate denial. Denial is a technique used when abuse survivors admit they were abused, but claim they weren’t really hurt or affected by the abuse, claiming to be resilient. Sometimes we see the abuse in homes affecting others but not them, or denying that the past abuse has little impact on them today. This allows the abuse victim to deny the full painful reality of their abuse and impedes their healing and growth.
In my own instance of abuse it was over 30 years before I came to recall and connect what was going on in my life at that time to what happened to me in the past.
On page 138 in Mending the Soul “in short, unless we face the pain and truth of out past victimization, we will not be able to experience healthy relationship in the present.
The following is from Mending the Soul Work Book by Celestia G. Tracy copyright 2015 page 184; “When we refuse to face our brokenness, we’re essentially saying that God isn’t powerful enough to heal us. Denial is an affront to God. It assumes that a false reality is better than the truth(Dan Allender, Wounded Heart). and that He is not good enough or strong enough to be with us through the pain of recall and recovery. In the case of trauma, out of sight is not out of mind. Just because one has been able to repress past trauma does not mean it is no longer embedded in the brain, having significant impact.”(Mending the Soul, 136)
On page 156 of Mending the Soul by Steven R Tracy copyright 2005: “It is only when we have the courage to truly face the hurt, disappointment, and loss created by abuse that we meet God face-to-face. Ironically, mourning the losses from past abuse allows us to meet God in the present and provides hope for the future. As abuse survivors learn to face their brokenness, they can meet God in the midst of their pain and loss, and in meeting God, they can find miraculous hope for the future.”