Recently I have found myself wrestling with the Lord on the question of, “Is there space for a duality in living free and redeemed from my past but still struggling and feeling the weight of it?”
While I know that yes, there is, I struggle to recognize and understand what that means for my life right now. In my relationship with the Lord, I have always seen it as all or nothing. I box up my broken story and lay it at the cross, I hand it over and leave it there, choosing to live in His joy and freedom, continuing on. I fully know and believe I am redeemed, my identity is in Christ, I am worthy of love, Jesus died on the cross for me, and that alone is enough.
I live in all of these truths, but have often failed to recognize, and at times blatantly ignored, that God wants to open this box I’ve given Him. He wants to touch each moment of hurt and sin and bring full healing, but I have to be both present and willing for that to happen.
For a long time, in my mind, if I was struggling or feeling the weight of my past, I felt like I was doing something wrong. I told myself that I was holding onto what wasn’t mine and needed to let go. Because I gave it to Jesus, I believed there was nothing more to deal with and I needed to move on.
This thought process fed into avoidance and not seeking the healing God promises and wants to give. I have to remind myself that recognizing past traumas and hurts in my life for what they are and what they’ve done doesn’t devalue God. On the flip side, recognizing who God is, knowing He is greater, and seeing the beautiful things He has done doesn’t devalue the junk. Giving things to God doesn’t mean I’m expected to be okay or over it in an instant. It’s okay to need to work through, feel, and experience it, and it’s important to do that with Christ.
I don’t doubt God could have taken this box I gave Him and brought instant and complete healing, but there’s something to be said about the process. It is a process of recognizing the brokenness, holding the grief, anger, and other emotions, and simply sitting with the Lord when the memories are unbearable. It’s a vulnerable process of addressing the difficult stuff but experiencing His tenderness in every moment, every step of the way.
-Marta Payne, University of Missouri Alumnus