A note from Kelly King: Do you deal with memories that are painful? In today’s article, Kaye pulls back the curtain a bit on some of her personal painful memories and gives all of us some encouragement in ways we can process those and see how the Lord can bring healing.
A few weeks ago my sister sent me a link to a house that is for sale in the town I grew up in. It was no ordinary house. In fact, it was a very dear house; it was the farmhouse I was raised in.
It has been 40 years since I lived in that home, and it has had more than a few owners in that time. The link she sent had over 30 photos attached, and I eagerly sorted through them. The rooms have been updated so my mind had to work hard to remember how everything used to look. With the mental searching came not only the memories of room layout but also how I felt entering some of those rooms and the things that happened there. For the most part, there were good times and fond memories, but if I’m completely honest, there was also a good bit of pain and wounding that happened in that home. My sister felt the same way. She still lives in our hometown, and though she could have taken the open house tour, she chose not to. When I asked her why, she said, “I’m afraid the memories will be too painful, and I don’t want to stir them up.”
I completely understand her not wanting to stir up painful memories. Many of us steer clear of past woundings to avoid the pain those memories bring. However, there is healing and freedom available to us from our painful past memories with the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer and processing. Not wanting to oversimplify this process, I would say that if you have experienced trauma in your past—abuse of any kind—please engage the help of a Christian counselor or spiritual director who can guide you through the remembering and healing.
As I explained to my sister, our lives are linear; they have a beginning point and an ending point. We cannot go back in time physically and affect change from past events. However, God is NOT linear; He is not bound by time and space. He, in fact, CAN go back to those painful places and apply a healing salve to our wounded souls. He is the only One who can do this.
In order for that kind of healing to take place, there are a few things required of us:
- Be willing to remember. Blocking and denial are two words that will hinder healing from happening. A willingness to revisit painful memories with the Lord is the first and most important step. If you don’t have a willing heart, ask Him to give you one. If you can’t seem to make the start, trust in His power.
- Courageously process the memory or wound. Be curious and kind. Curious about the story you are telling yourself and what it is rooted in and kind to yourself, offering grace and mercy along the way. Give the Holy Spirit access and permission to speak truth and healing over your memory or wound. If we want wounds that took place in the past to be healed, we will need to access the emotion we felt around the wound. This will take courage. John Eldridge said in Waking the Dead, “The lessons that have been laid down in pain can be accessed only in pain. Christ must open the wound, not just bandage over it.”
- Acknowledge your new responsibility to the memory. Is there anger you are holding on to, forgiveness that needs to be offered, confession that needs to be made? Be willing to own your responsibility to your own pain and wounding.
- Listen in prayer and apply what the Spirit gives. It has been my own experience that when I ask questions of the Holy Spirit and take time to listen, He will speak. One aspect of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into truth, and truth sets us free.
If this process peaks your interest, allow me to recommend two resources: Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge and A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer: Meeting God in the Broken Places by Rusty Rustenbach.
And now may the Spirit of God gently and tenderly lead you into all truth, may you find the courage to examine your own pain, and may you find healing in the inner places of your soul. Amen.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.