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Blog Introduction

This blog is the story of how my husband and I faced the illness and death of two of our children. Each blog post is essentially a chapter in the story, so in order to truly understand it, you are going to benefit by starting at the beginning.
I hope you find our story touching, and in some way find comfort and hope through it as you face your own storms in life.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dealing With Memories

Rob remained busy in his position as Director of Missions.  The organization was based in Minneapolis, so he made occasional trips there for meetings, as well as several overseas trips to visit our missionaries. I would tag along on some of his trips to Minneapolis, but I never went overseas.  It would have doubled our traveling expense for one thing, but the main reason I rarely left home was my inability to handle leaving my "safe zone".
Grand Rapids was my safe place; Pastor Dawn, my safe person.  Nearly everything and everyone else existed outside of my protective bubble, and any ventures outside of those boundaries brought anxiety.  I was in the midst of dealing with my demons, and I needed to stay put.  Thankfully, Rob's overseers understood this and didn't push us to move to Minneapolis, although we both knew this would have been preferred.  But Rob's job allowed him the flexibility of working anywhere; he simply needed access to his phone and the internet.  I was grateful we could stay in familiar territory and continue the counseling I needed.

I continued taking courses with CLU, and found myself growing and beginning to heal through the studies.  I had completed "Communion With God", the course which got me speaking and listening to Him again; and I had taken courses called "Counseled By God", and "Prayers That Heal the Heart". I knew healing was a process, but in reviewing my notes, I found an interesting comment I had made.  "So I feel like I am going back around the circle once again. (looking at the kids' deaths as the cause of my pain) I have more ammo with me this time, but the battle isn't over."   I found it interested that each time we worked at the issues, each time I took another Bible verse inside me, each time a lie was confronted by the truth, I was given more ammunition to fight with.  I was being re-armed. It was a huge step in the right direction.

These courses taught how past traumatic events replay over and over in our minds, inflicting their pain repeatedly until the healing of those memories occurs.  Often those painful memories exist because we could not see how God was truly there, walking with us through those events.  This results in a sense of rejection or abandonment, which fuels anger. We then feel the need to take control over our lives instead of giving God full control.  I had done this exact thing.  I believed God had abandoned me during my times of greatest need. I believed He had rejected me for some unknown reason, and since He could not be trusted to care for me, I took the reins of control back.  That was a very hard job to fulfill.  We can control very little in our worlds.  We can only control ourselves and how we respond to the things which happen to us and around us. Any attempts to control others, events, and the very world itself will end up in utter futility and frustration. In my wounded state I could not see that I had grabbed control of everything; not trusting God at all.
I wrote the following which demonstrates the problem this coupe created.  "If God is the offender, it is difficult to call forth God to help.  He is looked at as the one who didn't help before, so how can He be looked at as the source of help now?" This created the ultimate "catch 22".

I read many books during this time, as well.  In a book written by David Seamands entitled, "Healing of Memories," I found interesting insights into rejection.  He wrote, "At the very heart of many of our hurts is a sense of rejection.  The more important or significant the rejecting person is to us, the greater is our feeling of being rejected by him."  In my case, I saw this as God.  How much more significant can you get than that? The book went on to say, "...the core of hurt is so painful that the person develops the additional problem of being terribly afraid of being hurt in the same way again."  Yes! I struggled with this a great deal. He went on to say, "Another common spiritual problem which may indicate the need for memory healing is the inability to trust God and surrender to Him.  However, an important principle distinct to this inability is that God created us so that we would not trust or surrender to anything we are afraid of.  This is a part of a divinely implanted protection system...we hesitate in the presence of that which we are afraid to trust."  I noted, "This has been an issue- trust and surrender."  This guy had "read my mail".  He put into words exactly what my battle was. 

This became one of my prayers.
"Dear God,
Even as I try to write this prayer I can feel emotions and struggles rising within me.  There's a huge conflict going on inside. I want to be angry and hurt and fight back at You, but another part wants to return to the innocence and trust I used to have.  I've been taught all about You since the day I was born- I know a lot about you, but I don't know how to incorporate into my brain how to trust You completely and fearlessly again.  I need Your help.  I want to trust You again; I want to be in Your will.  I ask that You give me the strength to battle when I need to, and give me the strength to do what is even harder for me than battling- total surrender.  I am choosing to slowly open myself up to You again.  I will trust You again.   Amen"

Walls were coming down.  Some crumbled and fell away easily, while others required the constant pounding of a battering ram.  Still others remained firmly in place. The outer walls were nearly gone, and the concentric circles of firmly set fortifications protecting my heart were systematically being removed, one ring at a time.  The innermost walls would be the hardest ones to go.

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