The Healing

by Rhonda, August 20, 2023

I arrived home from Florida sunburned and mosquito-bitten.  I'm not complaining, though, because as a redhead I would expect nothing less from the Sunshine State.  Which, incidentally, could also have been called The Mosquito State.  They have these bugs called no-see-ums, because as it turns out, you don't see them.  But, they see you and they definitely saw me.  I'm still itchy a week after departing from The Sunshine-Mosquito State.

But, again, I am not complaining because I know the numerous bites will fade, eventually the sunburned skin will stop peeling, but the peaceful vibes after a week on the beach will remain.  

Florida, you passive-aggressive state.  I miss you already.

Now, I'm back into my normal work-life routine.  School starts soon for my kids, and the summer is coming to a close.  We had a great summer, and we're dreading the start of the busy season again.  

But there's one thing we're not dreading, which is football season.  We're excited about that.  We've taught our friends from Ukraine all about American football, and luckily they've chosen to be fans of the right NFL team, praise the Lord.  We like to scream at the TV together now, and I'm looking forward to experiencing another football season with them, particularly since they understand the rules better this year.

It seems like life always has something to look forward to, and I can't help but be grateful to God for healing me through some of the hardest times so I can find joy again.  Four years ago, in the midst of divorce, I wouldn't have thought I would ever have the ability to laugh again.  I certainly still go through challenges, but due to God's amazing grace, I am enjoying my life.

I can remember waking up one morning four years ago.  My ex and I had just separated and my anxiety and depression were off the charts.  I would wake up to anxiety all night long, tossing and turning in my misery.  But, this particular morning when I awoke for just a few short minutes I forgot my ex-husband was gone.  For those few minutes, my world was all okay, and I was peaceful.  Then the memories all came barreling back into my mind and I remembered my life was a total disaster.  

I can remember begging God that morning to heal my mind.  I'd had a few precious moments of peace that morning and I wanted it back so badly.  I'd asked for Him to heal my heart before, but my mind was so broken.  I couldn't focus, and I couldn't think straight.  I didn't have the ability to control my sadness.  I struggled to get through a day of work, and I certainly couldn't problem-solve.  Sitting through a movie could never happen, there's no way my mind could focus for that long.  I could stare at spreadsheets for hours at work, but I would not understand them.

God promised me He would heal my mind, and He did.  Don't get me wrong, I am still battling some serious issues such as unforgiveness and anger.  But, after that particular day four years ago, I began taking baby steps of obedience.  I knew His healing would come through my obedience.  I had to be very careful not to make my situation worse.  I couldn't add drama into my life in any way.  I had to be very careful with what I put into my mind.  I was discerning with what I watched on television, even what I listened to on the radio.  I was so desperate to keep my mind from being triggered backwards into a spiral of anxiety and fear.

Really, fear was the biggest weapon Satan used against me at that time.  I was afraid of everything, but the biggest thing that haunted me day and night was failure.  What if I lost my job because I couldn't focus and we lost our house?  What if I lost my relationship with my kids, with my family?  What if everyone rejected me the way my ex did?  I was afraid of everything and lived in pain every day, slowly turning into an insecure control freak.  Satan used fear to keep me paralyzed, and it worked for far too long.

But then, God asked me to do the tiniest acts of obedience to bring me out of my fear.  Go to church.  Give up listening to angry music, and stay away from television that triggered me.  Much of what He guided me through was around what I was putting into my mind. Get up at a reasonable time.  Go to bed at a reasonable time.  One by one, He would ask me to do these simple things.  They seemed so small and inconsequential, and really they were just common sense.  You would think I wouldn't have to be told by Him to go to bed on time, but my mind did not work and I couldn't see my way through the smallest of decisions.

Sometimes He would ask me to do things I didn't understand.  He told me to pray for my ex (are you serious, God?).   I would resist at first, but eventually I would give in because I wanted my mind back.  He knew what He was doing far more than I did.  I knew I needed order and not chaos.  I kept telling myself He is the God of order, so if He suggested things to me, they had order and purpose.

Looking back now, I am amazed at the depth of my despair and the reign of fear that once controlled me.  He really is the God of freedom.  So often, we think obedience means that we're somehow controlled or caged.  But, obedience to God frees us.  He saved my mind, I'm telling you.  Just like the man who laid by the pool for thirty years, He healed me.  Even now, He continues to heal me.

Tonight, as I watched Alex play with two boys from Ukraine and I chatted with their Mom through a translator, I realized that we are going to be okay.  Yes, it feels odd to be a family of three now, instead of four.  But, my God can heal anything.  He works all things for our good, and He takes care of us through it all. The good, the bad, and especially the ugly.

Yes, we are okay.  

Jesus my Savior.  There's nothing like Him.

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