Working through the process and not getting stuck!
I found John's counseling approach and the Emotional Wound First Aid Kit refreshingly helpful.
On my first visit the comparison of my emotional wounds to a physical wound helped me to get a different perspective. To measure the healing virus the woundedness created emotional space between the hurt & the pain and the reality of the healing. I could see that I had healed about 70% and yet there was 30% still hurting, wounded, sore, needing repair.
So how was I going to heal that 30%?
I admit I stumbled several times through the First Aid Kit. I found myself thinking that I had already done some of this stuff, and that I didn't need to go there again. I actually stopped for a bit. STUCK!!! Knowing I would be having another counselling session coming up, I thought, well, I had better USE the tools John recommended - or why go for help in the first place! (It remined me of the man at the well in the Bible, where Jesus asks him if He wants to get well!)
I picked up the kit again and disciplined myself to work through the excercises. It was not easy to write the letters. It seemd to me that I had too many to write! I didn't want to rehash all the stuff. But I told myself this time was the last, and that obviously if there was this reaction, maybe there was still some things I needed to work through.
Once I wrote the letters, I stopped again. I had written letters before. I journalled many times. I assumed that was it...but again I was not using the tool I was given. My own stuff was getting in the way! I hate when that happens! I had to pick up the kit again and see what was next.
I cannot tell you how excited I was about the next step. I have to say I felt a little childlike and because of my situation, I had to plan when I could burn my letters. Funnily, my plans had to be changed but my determination was solid to go into my backyard and set the letters on fire and ensure every piece was destroyed, right down to nothing.
I then went inside and picked up the kit. Treating the wound - what?! Prayer of forgiveness - sweet! This was familiar to me - and I had done some work already in this area BUT once again, this time it was different. The completeness of the process - the writing out until I was done, the destroying the letters and now applying the forgiveness....was indeed good.
"Some of you may feel that your emotions are unprotected and exposed to further hurt or injury. The old protective devices are stripped and you have no other tools to protect your emotions. If you feel this way, your feelings are very normal" Yeah!
"The good news is that you do not need to worry. Step three will cover the essential tools to help you protect your emotioanl wounds and guard your emotional body from future hazards and threats" Awesome, HOW!?!?
Make sure you read on!
Protecting the wound...what a concept. Again John brings in a helpful comparison to a fence of protection, a healthy boundary and barrier of protection. This wording makes me feel safe!
I have done some work on boundaries and healthy margins...I understand this - but the fence thing spoke to me deeply!
Four months! What - are you kidding? Revelation....the comparison to a physical wound and applying a "cast" over the wound for healing and protection is brilliant! So many times I have rehashed the wound, reopened or picked up the issue again instead of leaving it alone, leaving it with God and trusting HIM to do the work required. I love the encouragement "as your wound continues to heal and the emotional skin reforms, it is natural to experience emotional itching and irritation. It is vital to allow the injury to heal."
I wrestled with my own reactions about letting things be...taking things on that were not my responsibility, and not being my job. It was about trust too. Trust in the process - in the journey.
So how has this played out? Well, it is small steps, but I can say that this journey has freed me up. When I first came to John, I was aching with hurt - feeling vulnerable and not sure how to move past this stage. I knew I could not move forward and I had a desire to move on. I knew I needed to meet new people, step out and risk, wanted to love and be loved again - but so not ready....couldn't even really allow myself to think about it. And get out there. I don't think so!
Well, I can say I do not feel raw anymore. I do not feel exposed or even vulnerable. I have been praying a great deal through this and can say that I feel protected. I am able to ask God for a partner again and even allow myself to dream about what that may look like.
I had a friend share some horrendous news with me, and something in me is different! Instead of reacting to the pain of it and the ugliness of the situation, I genuinely responded to the beauty that the truth was now spoken and was excited that the door was now open for some serious restoration and healing work to be done in this persons life! I saw and spoke into my friends life how God had done the work before hand in her life situation and in her partners life, to prepare them for this next step and enable them to support and help in this persons journey.
I have also experienced a lightness in my reactions...freeing me up to respond more easily. In turn my reactions affect others in relationship with me, so they can respond in kind. Its health! It feels so good to be able to talk about things with no emotional baggage.
Thank you God for enabling John to put this kit together and share the tools. Thank you for leading me to John and allowing me to receive his counsel. Your counsel in words I could understand and exactly when I needed that for the next step in my journey! Thank you God for preparing me, pushing me through the steps and keeping me on track, not allowing me to get stuck. Thank you God for giving me this fresh perspective and this emotional health! Thank you God for using any part of this testimony to help someone else. Please encourage them to pick up the tools, read the instructions, get through the hard parts, not get stuck in the journey and experience lasting and authentic break through in their lives. Lord, please continue to bless John in his work, continue to ignite his passion for helping others, and enrich his own life and relationships beyond measure.
Thank you John.