Resurfaced Pain - Sara Kerr
You can’t put a timeline on healing and forgiveness. Just when you think you have moved forward and let go of past hurts, they creep up and resurface in a shocking and frustrating way. What does this mean? It means there are things that you didn’t fully face to begin with.
Maybe you thought about them and shoved them under the rug because you were the only person keeping your relationship together and couldn’t risk falling apart too. Maybe you were too scared to face them and they faded under the surface, only to resurface when things are better, but you’re struggling to believe it. Maybe you have been staying in your marriage for your kids for so long that you ignored anything bad to keep peace, only to have to face the hardships head on when your kids are out of the house. Maybe you tend to run away when things get hard and haven’t allowed yourself to face what needs to be felt. Or maybe running is what you need to do for survival, but those feelings stay buried until you have more energy to deal. Or maybe, just maybe, you want to run so badly, but you get the choice to stay, so you do and that uses up your bandwidth in the moment.
We often want a timeline on healing and forgiveness, but maybe there isn’t a realistic time frame. After all, what is the small time frame of a few years compared to a lifetime? I am realizing more and more that it is an ongoing process of facing our fears and hurts, but that we tend to shove them under the rug because we fear they make us imperfect and that means we will be abandoned. We expect the hurt to go away completely and are left disappointed when we can’t forget. Is forgive and forget really our hope? Shouldn’t we remember the lesson learned? We cannot heal from or change what we can’t acknowledge, but what does acknowledging mean?
Can we acknowledge something only in our heads, no, I don’t believe we can. We need to speak it out loud the second or soon after it is felt. Write it down, add it in a note on our phones, or say it to a close friend or counselor, but it needs to be released from our hearts and our minds. Then it needs to be compared to truth. Feelings are always in a battle with truth, so when we feel the pain and fear, we need to determine if it lines up with the truth or not. Spoiler...it probably doesn’t.
Scripture says to “Take captive your thoughts and make them obedient to Christ” and I think there is no misinterpreting this advice. We need to hold our thoughts accountable and realize that we are worth facing the hardships. We are valuable enough to feel and grow. We need to cherish life as it happens and stop putting timelines on things that we are growing from. It is okay that it takes 15 years to acknowledge you were raped and to be able to heal from it and forgive the debt you are owed and the shame you feel. It is okay that it takes 5 years to process the anger you feel from a time your marriage fell apart and you were the only one that held it together. It is okay that things are good and bad at the same time. It is okay to feel anger and still be able to love well. It is all okay, everything is okay...
...even when it feels like it isn’t.