It is hard to believe I have been in Amsterdam for nearly a month now. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for me. I am so thankful for you! I really would not be able to be here without your love, care, prayers, and support in my life.
This past week of classes has been a tough one. The topic was trauma and sexual abuse. I went into this week a little apprehensive as this topic really touches my heart. Now that I am on the other side of this week, I look back with the most grateful heart for all God has done and is continuing to do in my life and my classmates lives.
I want to share with you just one of the things God taught me this week.
In class on Monday the speaker, teaching on trauma, gave an example of a trigger being a man with a beard. As these words fell from his mouth I felt a shoot of pain in my heart. I felt shock. How could he possibly have used the one thing that used to trigger me into a life of complete fear? There was a panic feeling that rushed through my body.
This doesn’t affect me anymore I told myself.
I shut off any feeling trying to invade me, I didn’t want this pain, not now.
I thought I was okay.
I thought Satan was trying to rattle me.
I don’t have to deal with this now, I already have, haven’t I?
The next day in class the speaker used the example of the man with a beard again. This time the example carried on and my mind carried me back to that day I was walking to work, turning the corner to see a man with a beard walking toward me. I was sitting in class but I wasn’t there, I was on the street paralyzed in fear.
I’m not okay.
Maybe I haven’t dealt with this.
Is this you God?
I decided in that moment the speaker needs to stop using that example. Yes, I will ask him to stop. He will certainly understand. All it took was a simple prayer of, “Lord is this what you want me to do” to change my mind.
Tuesday night our class has an optional worship time. I decided I was going to go in order to relax a bit before finishing up my homework. God had a different plan for this time with Him. I came into that time of worship with this burden heavy on my heart. This sharp memory of the past that wouldn’t leave me. As I was trying to sort this out with God I heard the sweet sound of these words, There is no fear in love.
My heart needed these words. It was in that moment I realized God took away the fear I used to feel from that memory. These words from His Word truly came alive to me:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,… 1 John 4:18a
Because of God’s perfect love inside of me, there is no room for fear. With allowing myself to “feel” I just started crying. Several of the staff came to my side to pray for me and comfort my weary heart.
These tears came because I was silent in my struggle but the worship leader spoke directly to my struggle, encouraging us to give our burdens over to God.
It was in that moment I knew God wanted me to deal with this pain seeping into my heart. He wanted to take my burden in His hands.
One of the sweet ladies praying for me told me she saw me as a bouquet of flowers-not lacking anything, completely full. The Florist was rearranging the flowers, getting the bouquet ready to be exactly how the Florist planned for it to be. She told me that the pain I am feeling is just God rearranging the wounds and scars of my heart so they are in a place where God is going to be able to use me as He planned.
This really touched my heart and helped me to see something I desperately needed to see. I was trying to avoid pain that God wanted me to feel. All pain is not bad. There is pain God allows us to feel that is not meant to overwhelm us or hinder us but is meant to prepare us for the good works God wants to do in and through us.
I feel like my theme for the remainder of this course is the following:
When God brings pain it’s not to hurt us it’s to heal us.
I came into this adventure with God thinking I was completely healed from the wounds of my past. There is always more. More healing. More grace.
I hope you read these words and are left feeling encouraged about the pain currently in your life. God has a purpose in the pain. He doesn’t want to hurt you He wants to heal your broken heart and bring you into a life of freedom.
With His Love and Mine,