“Nothing goes to waste, you put it all to use, the old wounds and long-ago slights become the stuff of competitive energy”. Lance Armstrong

What do you do when the pain finds you?

I consider myself a survivor, having suffered emotional wounds as a child, as a woman, because of the color of my skin, and so on. The hallmark of these experiences is my ability to recover quickly and to “never let them see me sweat”. Of course as I matured, I realized my recovery was a mask, even to myself, for I had only hidden the wounds. So deep in fact, it grew into a tumor. A benign tumor, thankfully but I knew it was made up of unresolved issues and pains made flesh. It was growing in my womb, the place of creation. I realized that our brain is engineered to create something out of what we give emotion to. I buried these feelings in my subconscious but gave them life nonetheless. Thoughts are things. As a woman, I am genetically predisposed to creation, thus a fibroid tumor the size of a small turkey grew within me and had to be surgically removed.

Too much information? Perhaps.

I believe a good backstory is important in storytelling, wouldn’t you agree? During this time, I began the work of meditation and spiritual self discovery. As scary as the situation appeared to be, I was emboldened to uncover the spiritual and emotional contributions that had led to it. What was hidden and unspoken had to be dealt with lest something worse follow that could not be removed by the surgeon’s scalpel. And just like that, The Lord came to me. Not physically, although His spirit had always been within me. I think this time I was more aware. I was engaged. Through dreams and the still small voice speaking to my heart during prayer, the Holy Spirit led me to places and things of the past that had taken root, creating my condition. I saw that by burying such strong emotion I had given these negative experiences life. It was a painful experiment but the joy of The Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). My joy is so full that even sharing this makes me laugh! I had become such an expert at hiding. To find myself writing such personal thoughts is a testament to the amazing usefulness of recovery.

Yet, I am still being transformed! I was visiting my mother this weekend and she said something that triggered my emotions. It wasn’t even about me but emotions from my childhood resurfaced, unremarkable and long forgotten. Or so I thought. I became angry, briefly, then I saw an opportunity. This is the beauty of emotional healing and spiritual transformation. Pain leaves clues. Recently I decided to return to college and finish my degree. I was feeling some doubt about whether it was worth the time and investment. The emotional trigger led to a boost of confidence. Doubts may come but the spirit of the Lord is ever present and reigns supreme in my heart. The childhood memories were edifying, a reminder of how far I’ve come. I laughed at my hurt feelings because without them I would have missed the remarkable lesson they gave.

There is an intimacy that develops within, when you set your mind to know The Lord. It is a real relationship, Christ in you. The path of discovering beauty from the inside out is ongoing and apparently never ending. I thought I had reached a pinnacle. I had earned my stripes, my spirit recovered, my soul washed and made white as snow. Not! Yes, healing happens and your spirit is renewed but then comes the work!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 KJV.

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