God created us to live in securely bonded relationships and families. We are conceived in relationship, and we grow and develop in relationship. When we experience relational disconnection and separation, or rupture, we feel emotional pain. This pain (or its side effects) is there to let us know something is wrong — in the present, or in the past. God can use this pain, and our desire to find healing, to lead us closer to him and to others.
And even though in this world we may be hurt in relationships, he has also designed us to heal in relationship — with him and with his people — even though that might feel scary, because of our hurts. This is not only what we see in Scripture, but it has been true in my experience of his deep and ongoing emotional healing and restorative work in my life.
Like the rest of us, I was born into a broken world. The family dynamics that resulted from relational disconnects and wounds contributed to me largely closing myself off to other people, to emotions, to my own heart. It just seemed like a less painful way to live. But ultimately, I was also shutting myself off from really being able to experience the love and care of God.
Decades went by before I became aware that I was not going to be able to suppress and ignore all my pain anymore. That was a gift. The pain motivated me to start pursuing healing — which became a journey, not a destination. All Things New became part of that process, bit by bit. At first, I began to attend occasionally. Then I began coming for a whole series of prayer appointments. I was desperate enough to become willing to start sharing and feeling painful emotions and allowing people and God in – more and more.
As I shared my story and the dynamics and issues with caring, sympathetic, prayerful listeners who stood with me and helped me in bringing these things before the Lord, listening to him on my behalf, I was deeply touched and helped. Simply through the process of the appointment experience alone, I felt heard, seen, validated, cared for and even parented, in a spiritual sense – which all was healing.
Sometimes we just need to receive — in a childlike posture — without even really knowing what it is we need — and that is often how I felt. Several times I was prayed over for my “sense of being” to be strengthened and restored. Over time, I’ve begun to truly feel more like I am a real person; like God loves me, and that I have a unique heart that he enjoys and has designed on purpose. This goes far deeper than the head knowledge I had of these things. And many have noticed the results in my life.
I can also see, looking back now at my session notes, how so many of the other prayers that were prayed set in motion answers that included a whole array of other developments and ways of healing that extended even beyond the prayer appointments themselves — everything from the local community center, to small groups, to counseling, to new relationships, to positive shifts in our family dynamics, to new ways to receive from God, to increased discernment about my thoughts and emotions, to new tools to manage and understand those things, and much more.
Thank you, Lord, for hearing all those prayers! And thank you to all those who have prayed them and supported and encouraged me to press into him for all he has for me.
Partly through All Things New and becoming involved here, another answer to prayer is that I now have a whole group of mentors I can look up to and willingly receive from or call on. That is really new for me. I can also hope to grow into having more to give back to others. These two things were my deep desires when I first came—becoming whole enough to be able to receive and give – in relationships.
All those who come seeking prayer ministry have made a courageous choice. Be encouraged to recall that seeking healing in connection, and with the help of others, is definitely part of God’s way for us. As his word describes in James 4:16, it may mean being vulnerable enough to acknowledge — in a protective environment — what is really going on inside, and then receiving prayer from others to be healed and made whole.
This passage then continues on by reassuring us that the prayer of God’s people in this context accomplishes much and is effective. Simply coming humbly and honestly with our need allows the Lord to minister powerfully to us through his people.
I am deeply grateful for the prayers, the relationships, and his healing work thus far. To him be the glory.