I have had the experience of dealing with some long-buried trauma recently. It has not been fun. It has been panic-inducing, where my soul has been whitewashed, bleached, leeched of every ounce of strength and color. The fear that has come up has been a wall in front of me that I can’t see through, can’t get past. It’s the first time since I have come back to Christ that I have had to deal with this. And it has been constant over the last little bit.
I have experienced the touch of the Master as I have walked through pain. I have experienced the freedom that He gives as he looses my chains. Now He is bringing me deeper still, into the core of me, and touching the real, the small, hard seed of me that has been compacted and compressed over the years of the abuse I endured and became a willing victim of.
I’ve wondered why we have to address this, that hard little core. I was perfectly fine with it sitting there undisturbed. I didn’t even know it was there until it was triggered, and triggered by something that I could just completely shut out of my life. It’s not something I have to have. But I do believe that what triggered it was directed by my Father, so it is apparently something that He knows needs to be dealt with.
I have to say that Jesus doesn’t bring up pain except to heal. He doesn’t identify hurtful patterns or processes except to alter them. He also doesn’t bring things up and leave you alone to deal with them. Oh He is so good! I know that what He desires of us is to be totally, completely dependent upon and hidden within Him. He desires to be our Rock, our Refuge, our Comforter. He knows that in Himself, all things are made new, all things are sustained. He knows the end from the beginning and is the Author (originator) and Finisher (completer) of our faith. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. And He is good.
It is difficult for me to know this, and then encounter something so difficult to overcome. When the first wall of fear hit, and the panic followed after it, in my fear and trembling I was only able to say “Help!” I felt like I was drowning. It was heading towards evening, and there were dark clouds in the sky, some fog scattered here and there. The atmosphere around me didn’t help with the condition of my spirit at that moment, but perhaps that was on purpose. Perhaps I would have found comfort in sunshine and blue sky. Instead, I found comfort in Him.
Jesus has become my Rock, the hiding place I run to when I am overwhelmed. In my fear, He was who I cried out to. I quoted things at Him, things He has written in His love letter to us, things that I have adopted as my baseline truth. Not reminding Him, because He doesn’t need reminding. Reminding me. That He is my Rock. That I am safe in His hands. That He has never lost anyone the Father has given to Him and He wasn’t going to drop me. That He was already in this situation that I was facing, and that He knew how to carry me through it.
I still trembled. I still shook. I still felt hollowed out and sheer. But I clung to Him. White-knuckled all the way, clinging with all my strength. I’ve written before about panicking. Panickers flail and fling about, and its very difficult to get through to them in the middle of it. I panicked. I am so thankful that Jesus is not moved by my panic. He doesn’t rush in and try to subdue. He doesn’t panic when I panic. He is still and unmovable and steadfast. My flailing doesn’t cause Him to flail. We are so blessed to have a Father who is calm and controlled and unfearful.
This was a monumental experience for me. It was an opportunity given by my Father for me to allow Him to replace a searing, damaging, white-hot core belief. He had to expose it before He could touch it.
When Jesus touches the real in you it is painful. I’m just going to be honest about that. It’s not pleasant. I whined and cried and asked why He had to do that. I was fine with it sitting there untouched. It wasn’t impacting my daily life, my growth with and in Him, my heart for Him, or at least I didn’t think it was. Apparently He did.
Here’s the thing about surrendering yourself to Jesus: He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows where the hidden hurts are. He knows what lie is driving you. He knows what you’ve covered over, packed inside a container that has fossilized, calcified, hardened. He knows the real you. He knows. He knows the drugs you sneak. He knows the alcohol you rely on. He knows the porn you hide. He knows the little voice in your head that tells you over and over again that you’re no good, that no one loves you, that no one will want to be with you, that everyone will take advantage of you, that no one is for you. He knows your fear. He knows your real.
He wants to touch it. He wants to heal it.
I think about the woman at the well. This woman had been taken advantage of all her life. She had been let down, put down, told over and over that she wasn’t worth it. She had settled into her lot in life. She had accepted it. It had become a core belief, a hard seed that nothing could touch. Every ounce of good in her life was still set side by side with that seed that told her she wasn’t worth it, she was going to lose eventually, and it was diminished by it. Head down, hard work, don’t look around, don’t meet anyone’s eyes, don’t let anyone see you. She probably got up every morning and subconsciously braced herself for the day, expecting the worst because that’s what she usually got. Then she met a Man who saw her, the real her.
I doubt that she was instantly healed of all her fears and failures and anxieties. I know that I wasn’t. I came out of a long and difficult marriage with a multitude of scars and seeping wounds. I came to my Appointment Day broken and shattered. I didn’t know this was my Day. I didn’t know that this was the day Jesus was going to meet me at my well. I didn’t come prepared. Neither did she. She didn’t come to the well in the middle of the day expecting to meet the One who would offer her living water.
I know from my own experience that I couldn’t take too much at first. I couldn’t take big gulps of His living water. When you’ve gone without food for any length of time, it seems that your stomach shrinks. A little goes a long way. You’re filled up faster and you can’t take any more at the moment. Isn’t it wonderful that He knows that? He gave me what I could handle until I could handle more, and then He gave me more. And so forth and so on. And as I have taken in more and more, my appetite grows, and He fills to overflowing. He is so good.
The Bible doesn’t share this woman’s journey to health. But having walked through it, I know it wasn’t overnight. There were likely some things that came back up, some PTSD episodes. Some long-buried traumas that took her into dark areas of her soul. Some doubts and fears, anxieties that set up camp in her heart and took over. Maybe she, like myself, experienced the overwhelming love of Jesus and thought she was through the graveyard of her pain but found herself faced with a skeleton that needed to be dealt with.
Maybe she wondered why she had to deal with it now, when she was perfectly happy (finally, for the first time in her life) and thought she could just live and share Jesus. Maybe she wanted to run and hide in the safety of her Savior’s arms. I know how that feels. I know that the safety of my Savior’s arms is the best place for me to run. I know that I can always run to Him, that not only will He allow me to, He actively wants me to. He will never turn me away when I run to Him.
This PTSD has reared its head several times. In between is respite, is a resting place where Jesus restores my strength, my joy, my peace. And each time is easier. Each time the fear rises, I know to Whom I can go. I know where to put it. I know He wants me to give it to Him. I don’t know for sure what He has in mind for the healing of this “real”, but I know He does, and I trust Him. Over and over and over and over He has shown me that He is trustworthy.
It is overwhelming to think that the Creator of the Universe, the Father of all, the Alpha and Omega works within our tiny, intricate, stuttered hearts. He limits Himself to us. He condescends to us. He lowers Himself and all His glory to assure us over and over that we can trust Him. He knows our frames, that we are but dust, and He loves us anyway.
When Jesus touches the real, it hurts. But then it’s healed.