It came out of nowhere.
One moment I was happily working in the kitchen. The next, I could hardly breathe, my heart doubled over with an old wound ripped wide open.
Not so long ago, I would have panicked, metaphorically rushed to stop the bleeding with a pathetic gauze of scolding myself and telling myself to just get over it already. But not this time. I am learning the purpose of these moments.
A song was playing – the cause of my emergency surgery. The words crept from background noise, demanding to be heard and tasted. All I could think was, “Where was this song all those years ago?”
I don’t know, but it was here today and it gave voice to everything I had been too paralyzed and stunned to say. It was excruciating to look back on that season and say, “Yes, that’s how I felt. That’s what happened.”
But then the song ended and a miracle happened. My heart was more whole than it had been five minute before. All because the pain found its voice and said what needed to be said.
I think sometimes we are afraid to admit the healing of our hearts is a process. Sometimes a very long process. It’s like we’re afraid of making God look bad, afraid to say “I’m mostly healed, but maybe not all the way healed yet.” And we’re afraid of the reactions of others, the inevitable “shouldn’t you be over this already?”
Can I say to your bleeding heart, your scarred heart, your heart in rehab – it is ok that it still stings sometimes. It is ok that certain places are sore when they are used or touched again. It’s ok.
Rarely does an emotional pain only happen once. Usually there are moments upon moments, associated with certain days and colors and sounds and smells and sights. Rarely does an emotional pain only touch one spot or one layer of your heart.
Our hearts are complex and deep. Just as the pain seeped into layers, so the healing will come in layers. And we don’t need to fear this. There is a difference between processing a pain and wallowing in it. There is a difference in acknowledging a pain with all its side effects and holding on to it.
And when it comes to making God look bad, let me tell you, when it comes to the healing of your heart, He is not concerned how He looks to anyone else but you. Every human relationship represents an aspect of God’s heart and when those relationships become less than holy, leaving their scars, our perspective of Him is marred. Part of our healing comes when we can see Him clearly again. And He will walk with you as long as it takes to uproot the lies and restore His truth.
So let me encourage you – don’t shrink back from the pain. Even if it is an old one. Truly one day, that wound will be closed once and for all, but until then, lean into the process. He loves you far too much to leave a single detail behind. And when you are whole, you will be perfectly, gloriously whole.