How to Receive Healing from God

How to Receive Healing from God

We all need to receive healing from God. (And if you believe you’re the exception, you need an extra special kind of healing!) I believe healing is perhaps the deepest meaning of redemption. Something has happened to us on the inside that has left us seriously broken. And even forgiveness, as wonderful as it is, provides only a partial answer. Those steps to healing have some common characteristics for each of us.

The need for healing comes in many varieties;

  • The child abused or neglected during his most formative years
  • The woman used for someone else’s pleasure so long she believes that’s all she’s good for
  • The addict whose soul, body, mind, future, and finances are completely controlled by an outside substance or behavior
  • The “good” church member exhausted from endlessly doing good things so she will look good
  • The spouse left hopeless, angry, and bitter from decades of marriage misery
  • The man whose unhealthy lifestyle has left him with humanly incurable diseases
  • The woman whose genes, choices, and circumstances leave her depressed and anxious
  • The parent, spouse, child, sibling, or friend grieving the death of a loved one
  • The person who sees no future beyond poverty, persecution, violence, or slavery

Jesus applied Isaiah’s passage to Himself when He said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19)

We can hope that happens in one mysterious moment. And sometimes it does.

More often it’s a process, one in which you and I fully participate.

These steps are almost always important as you receive healing from God:

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A Widow’s First Year Alone

A Widow’s First Year Alone

In some sense “widow’s first year alone” is deeply false. I’m not really alone. I never have been, and I never will be.

But grief is hard. My husband died exactly one year ago. I don’t think I’ve ever been through anything so exhausting – not OB-Gyn residency where I’d spend long nights in the hospital with little or no sleep, not the weeks caring for my husband as he became increasingly unable to completely care for himself. They say losing a loved spouse is like losing an arm or a leg. I think it’s more like losing most of who you are.

Grief hurts. In some very real ways I’ve come to terms with the pain, and most of the time I focus more on the future than on the past. But there’s a treasure in grief that you can’t purchase any other way. Words don’t do it justice, and you’d never choose the pain you have to endure in order to get it. But for those of you who are walking a similar journey, perhaps these ideas will help you find your own treasure.

This is in response to some of you who have asked me to share more about my journey as a widow. I’ll try here to share some thoughts about what helped, and God’s place in the journey of grief.

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What to do with Pain as a Widow: 2 Critical Keys

What to do with Pain as a Widow: 2 Critical Keys

There’s no way to make death and grief OK. Death is an aberration in God’s universe, and every time we meet it there is suffering. We try all kinds of things to delay it, ignore it, and pretend we can evade it, but not one of us can escape death. Death hurts – a lot.

Grief is many things; loss, loneliness, anxiety, stress, anger, depression, exhaustion, and so much more. Grief comes in waves, and each one is different than the one before. If you’ve lost someone close to you, even caring friends are unlikely to fully appreciate its deep and long-lasting impact on your mind, heart, and life.

I think the best word to describe the impact of death on those of us left behind is pain. What do you do with the pain as a widow? The death of my husband Al last year wounded me deeply. And yet I’m still standing. Some days are harder than others, but I keep going. Some have asked how I can do so. It’s more than simply knowing God, although that’s important.

Several things have been helpful in my grief journey, but there’s one thing I’ve come to know that has made the most difference. And it is this:

It’s not supposed to not hurt.

You could take out the double negative and it would still be true; this is supposed to hurt. This is not OK. And when we as Christians try to make it OK we cripple our own hearts and miss out on the empowerment God would like to gift us with.   Tweet that.

For those of us going through grief it often seems that if we could just make the pain go away everything would be alright. But that’s not what God promises, at least not yet.

And it’s not even true. If the pain would magically go away, so would the memories, the love, the gift of that person in your life. That is true even if the relationship also included suffering.

Pain means we care. Pain means we loved. Pain means this is not the way God intended our lives and the world to be. Pain means our love was deep, our lives are different because of that loved one’s place in it, and their time on this earth changed us forever. Those are good things. Would we really not want to hurt at the death of someone we cared about so deeply?

It’s not supposed to not hurt.

So what do you do with the pain? How do you go on? Can you even go on?

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12 Things to do if you’re Lonely at Christmas

12 Things to do if you’re Lonely at Christmas

Hot CocoaThe Christmas holiday season is promoted as a time of togetherness. Families sometimes travel long distances to be with loved ones for Christmas. Holiday parties, family gatherings, giving of gifts, and even church events are usually focused on joy and celebration of being together.

But what if that’s not you this year? What if you’re lonely at Christmas?

What if your family is messed up and being together only stirs up more trauma? What if you have no family or friends nearby inviting you to be with them? What if your marriage is in trouble, your kids are estranged, or outside circumstances are keeping you apart? What if you are spending your first Christmas after the loss of a loved one?

Feeling Lonely and Being Alone are not the same. You can feel lonely in a crowd; I’ve been there. You can feel at peace when you’re alone; I’ve been there too.

The important thing is to take positive action, to plan in advance. You may, and probably won’t, experience the ideal Christmas you think you want. But you’re not a victim!

Don’t let the loneliness of Christmas happen to you; you happen to your Christmas!

Taking Charge of your Christmas Experience

Wearing yourself out trying to please others or wallowing in self-pity are easy traps to fall into during the holidays. You have other choices! Here are some positive actions to consider as you choose to happen to your Christmas.

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What is Victory in Spiritual Warfare?

What is Victory in Spiritual Warfare?

If you don’t know what victory looks like, how will you know when you get there?

In recent decades our nation’s military actions have often been hampered by, among other things, the lack of a clear picture of victory. A specific group or nation has become dangerous, an honest threat to our interests or our way of life, and so we go to war – sort of. Our nation’s armed forces are the best in the world. But moving forward with unclear objectives or settling for half victories leads to frustration, loss, and eventual defeat.

In World War II the soldiers who landed on the beach at Normandy or the Marines who planted the US flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima knew they might not survive. But they knew their objective, and they knew what victory would look like. Our soldiers who fought in Viet Nam or more recently in Afghanistan have been no less personally committed, but fuzzy objectives and an unclear victory have added even further suffering to their sacrifice.

Politics or popularity or the idea of a just war aside, a nation – or an individual – MUST know what they’re fighting for in order to win.

Do you?

Do you know what your objective is? Do you know what winning in spiritual warfare looks like?

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