What I’m about to explore with you is the opposite of one step forward, two steps back.
Have you ever heard the phrase, you have to go back to go forward? This has been absolutely vital for yours truly as I have walked the path of healing God so kindly offered to me — both physical and emotional.
I remember many road signs along this journey since I turned forty — each one was an intersection at which I stood. Each time, healing was my choice. I was well aware each time that I chose the path toward healing, that in order to continue to put miles on this old vehicle, I needed to be brave enough to peek under the proverbial bed and drag the monsters out and look at them once and for all. Having faced them down now, I can honestly say that it would have been impossible to step into a place of healing until those foes were vanquished.
I’m speaking in metaphors, and what I mean is that I had words to speak, forgiveness to request and offer, and pain to leave at Jesus’ feet.
Secrets kill. Pain manifests somewhere — often physical and definitely emotional. Unforgiveness leads to ugly bitterness that binds and cripples.
You have to go back to go forward.
We went back this last week. Back to the place in which we both grew up and then raised our family. Six years away is enough to have mostly gotten used to what it feels like to occasionally go back, but there are certain places there that emotionally sucker-punch.
I set up a dinner-date with one remarkable person who I have loved my entire life and drifted away from some twenty-odd years ago for no real reason. She and I spent much of our childhood together — somehow I ended up at her house for most of our childhood summers always packing extra underwear just in case we could finagle more days of Barbies played in the magical secret rooms built into their massive home on Lake Michigan. She and I played unsupervised in that lake for more hours than I could ever count. No wonder I’m a girl who can’t get enough of the Great Lakes! Where she was sass and spunk, I was scared and shy. I needed her as a child, and I missed her as an adult. So here we were — two women who last saw each other in our early twenties — about to see each other for the first time almost 23 years later. Just a few things have changed. Our aching hips, our ability to read words that are close-up, and vast amounts of experiences, pain, and growth.
When I saw her sitting there, it all came rushing back. And I could feel her heart pounding as much as mine as we hugged and tears wiggled their way out. We closed the restaurant out weaving words and stories and memories like a quickly-created quilt of precious moments. Her eyes are exactly the same. Her giggle hasn’t changed a bit. She told me neat stories and information about her life that I craved. Twice she said some fascinating words that ended with *that’s because of you.*
If I’m honest, I was SO scared to go see her. There wasn’t anything real to be scared of, but the unknown had my breath gone and my heart racing. I was scared of what would pull up from the depths. But you know what, both of our courage to just run toward it all, allowed one of the most beautiful evenings of my life. And it was proof positive that what God heals, He heals.
It’s been a few Years of Yes for this girl. When God tells me to say the words, I have agreed and obeyed before I can back out. It has changed me more than I can express. He has asked me to share my story (public speaking!). He has asked me to write something every four days (91 Little Things). He has asked me to ask for forgiveness. He has asked me to forgive the biggest hurts. It’s like getting rid of the things that cause food poisoning. They just need to get out before the poison can fully set in and destroy!
Maybe consider some YESes. Maybe you have some words that need to come up and out. There is healing there. And with the healing comes release from the ugly feelings that you hated anyway. Purge the dark and let the light in, friends. It’s right there waiting for you to walk toward and receive.