For as long as I can remember, I have longed to belong but have instead presented a version of myself that I thought might be accepted by others so that I would fit in.
The online definition of “belonging’ is defined as a verb meaning to be a member or part of a particular group, organization or class. To fit in to a specific place or environment, to have the right personal or social qualities, to be a member of a particular group or to be rightly placed in a specific position. I loathe every single one of those definitions because they do not convey the deep longing that exists for someone who aches to belong.
Brene Brown, who is best known for her Ted Talks on Vulnerability and Shame, compares and contrasts what it means to ‘belong’ with what it means to ‘fit in’. She makes the clarification between the two which I feel gives us a more accurate definition because we can see that freedom exists with belonging and does not exist when we try to just ‘fit it.’ When attempting to fit in, we are attempting, to the best of our ability, to ascertain who we are to be with those around us and what the situation or circumstance is that we are encountered and then conforming or changing who we are as persons so that we “fit in” and so that we will be accepted.
Belonging, on the other hand, is about freedom of authenticity. It is the freedom from having to alter our selves so that we will be accepted, wanted and valued. When we belong, we are respected for who we are and loved without having to “do” or “be” anything other than ourselves.
In summary, belonging is being somewhere you desire to be with others you desire to be with and they want you. Fitting in is when they don’t care one was or the another whether you are there or who you are when you get there. Belonging is being accepted just as you are while fitting in is being accepted when you are just like everyone else. “I get to be me if I belong” vs. “I have to be like you to fit in”.
What I understand right now, in this moment is that as long as I settle for just fitting in I will never satisfy the deepest longing of my heart which is to be intimately seen, looked upon in love and to experience the safety of truly belonging. My deepest longing and desire is for the unique and unrepeatable gift of myself to be received. If I were to write a mission statement it would look something like this:
“It looks like stopping daily for the one in front of us and looking into their eyes. We have to see the one. If we cannot see the one, we will not be able to deal with the multitudes. If we see the one, we will understand suffering, because we will see one parent suffering from the death of a child. We will see one widow trying to not lose their faith as they try to imagine how they will raise up their children alone. We will see the one in front of us that is struggling with pornography and the impact it has on their family. Revival is about looking into they eyes of the person in front of you as they come into your life and looking into their eyes and seeing Jesus looking back at us. I desire to lead a radical army that sees goodness and truth and beauty in the lost and the broken. We need a radical army of laid down lovers=a whole generation of those who are so full of passion and intimacy that they run into the darkness without fear to bring in the lost bride.”
As a person who went to school for and earned a degree in Psychology, I have read many books regarding this subject of abuse, neglect and trauma. Some of the graduate courses I took in Family and Individual Counseling required us to have patients and we recorded the sessions to be critiqued as a class with our professor. Even then I was frustrated with the process of diagnosing a person with a disorder rather than to bring healing and freedom from triggers.
What traditional therapy does is diagnose and help cope with symptoms. What inner healing does is make the person whole. It heals them, just like we heal disease of the body. It is my belief that inner healing can restore our “person”, our well being.
It is easy when we are dealing with a physical illness to desire a diagnosis. We see a doctor, get tested and get diagnosed so we can get medicine or start some kind of treatment. But what happens when you have an identity wound? A wound that strikes right at the heart of what you believe about yourself. You cannot get a blood test and have someone tell you to take this pill three times a day until it is better. I am that person that can help you determine which wounds you are carrying and how they act as a lens from which to view the world, thus distorting it.
I want to walk alongside you to find the healing and wholeness that you deserve and desire. I want to help you identify the wounds and heal them.
We are called to bring people truth, life and love but many of us are wounded from abuse, neglect or trauma. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity. To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and keeps our pain and cries for help unheard.
Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know our God. Instead of dealing with the real issue, our identity wounds, people are being diagnosed with a disorder. Ironically, the worst thing you could do to someone with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.
Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up in such a way that we act on those beliefs in disordered ways. Let me help you discover what is blocking you.
When a person experiences a trauma it creates a deep wound penetrating our identity and distorting our beliefs. I will help you identify what beliefs you have formed in response to trauma and rightly order them as well as your responses to what triggers you.
A person with identity wounds is unable to base their value and their worth on truth but instead their identity is reliant upon others. Is this something you’re struggling to be set free from? I can help you.
The only one that can give us our identities is God because He is truth, life and love from an unchanging source.
What if you have “God” wounds preventing you from going to God for this identity? Many people with sexual abuse wounds and other traumatic wounds form childhood have such a problem and I was no exception. If you are struggling from religion wounds or God wounds, this is a great place for us to start! I have opened up some time in my week for Life Coaching sessions. The Life Coaching sessions are 60 minutes long and include a digital workbook and a Wounds Chart for you to begin identifying what is triggering you and why. If you are interested in one of the few spots on my weekly calendar, please email me at EmbracingYourGreatness@gmail.com. The cost is a donation of $50 for an hour-long session and all resources are included.
I read a great quote by Heidi Baker about revival looks like. She talked about how it looks like stopping daily for the one in front of you and looking into his or her eyes. We have to see the “one’. If we cannot see the “one”, we will not be able to deal with the multitudes. If we see the “one”, we will understand suffering, because we will see one child that is dying from cancer. We will see one mother angry that God, the universe, the world, whatever or whomever was responsible for taking her innocent child. We will see the one widow trying to not lose her hope and dreams about having a a beautiful life as she tries to imagine how she will raise up his or her children alone. We will see one person, struggling with pornography and the impact it has on their beliefs about their own bodies or about how to be in relationship with other peoples bodies. Revival is about looking into the eyes of the “one” and seeing the “person” looking back at you, not the individual, the person.
Personhood is about individuality and being a unique and unrepeatable person chosen to come into existence into the world at this exact time and place for a reason. Out of the countless “potential” people who could have been chosen, personhood means that you are chosen. I believe that. I believe each person is chosen and called into existence. For some of you, that creator is the universe or divine energy, karma, or God. For others you may believe that your existence came into being only because two people had a baby but make no mistake, you are here and you are so unique that even your fingerprints and DNA speak that truth through science.
Not only are we unique but we are three parts. Our personhood is a triune being. It is physical matter, it is immortal soul (some call this energy that lives on after death or is transformed after death) and it is spirit. I do not want to get religious or specific in ways that will separate us in this discussion as my only purpose is to speak to how glorious we all are and how individual and complex it is to be a human being. Our unique treasure within the vessel of who we are is perfectly suited for love and the world is in desperate need of love. For now I hope we can agree that the world needs a revival and that revival must begin with an encounter of love.
What does that look like? Well, love is encountered in many ways. We can encounter love through a slow falling snowflake, drifting like a fat white fluffy snowflake, drifting down like confetti and landing on our tongues. Love can be encountered by the sound of the trees moving in the forest as a gust of wind comes and moves them in a rhythmic dance of stretching and swaying of each tree in unison. Love is encountered when a baby grabs the finger of its parent as it drinks its milk. Love is encountered in the embrace of one another. There are many ways we encounter love and each of us are called to enter into the revival bringing that love to others.
If love has a face, then let it be our face. We have to be willing to look at one another with love in our eyes and love in our hearts unafraid to be seen and to see the other. The world needs lovers. I do not mean sexual lovers but I mean lovers of hearts, lovers of intimacy. The world needs people so filled with love they are overflowing upon all that they encounter.
The world needs a radical army of laid down lovers willing to see the good in every person especially in the lost and the broken. We need a generation of crusaders who are so full of passion and intimacy that they run into the darkness without fear to bring in the lost and broken. Those who do not know love hide in darkness. We, who are lovers of all that is true, good and beautiful are to carry this as if it is a light carried in our vessels of clay, we are to be tabernacles, the hands and feet bringing hope to the h That is what love looks like. It looks like you and I opening our hearts to the hopeless.
Love is not a mission or a program or a feeling or even an action or act of the will. Love is a living entity that is the source from which we draw upon. We are to be smalls signs of that love carrying it out into the darkness.
So why is it that when we are desperate for love that we seem to be incapable of giving and receiving it? Because you cannot give what you do not have. Why don’t we have it? Because many us have wounds from our childhoods caused by a lack of love or a distortion of what love actually is…
“Wounds caused by a lack of love, or a distortion of love, are often at the root of our brokenness. That’s why we call it ‘healing broken hearts’…healed by a positive experience of love.”- Emiliano Tardif
People are not perfect. The expression “hurt people hurt people” comes to mind. The thing is…we must first encounter and receive love personally before we can be the face of love to others. So if we are not encountering love in the people we meet then it may be because those people are hurting and are in need of healing. People are hurting because of a lack of love and affirmation.
“Love does not start with a good program. It cannot. It starts with being in love, being intimately connected to Jesus. It starts with knowing first that I am loved. I cannot give what I do not have. It is supernatural. It cannot be apart from Him. All living fruit in my life has come only from a living relationship with Him.” Michelle Perry
She is of course speaking about the source itself and once again I invite you not to get distracted by the word to describe the source. I may refer to the source as God but you may have another name. What I would hope to convey is that we need to be filled so that we can offer our excess to others in a gift of self. When we find healing we can hold all that is poured into us. Our hearts are filled to overflowing. When we are wounded, we leak like a sieve through the cracks created in our hearts by those who have wounded us with trauma, abuse or neglect. The enemies of our souls would have us to believe
We need healing so we can hold all of the love that God desires to pour into our hearts. Without healing, we leak like a sieve…the graces we receive from prayer and sacrifice just leak right out of the cracks. The enemy of our soul has us believing that none of this works, God is not real or that prayer and sacrifice don’t matter. The reality is we are barely able retain the graces God is giving to us much less share with anyone around us when we don’t address the places we are leaking.
We don’t need more programs. We don’t need more catechesis. We don’t need to focus on teaching the rules of religion. The “how’s and what’s” are killing people’s love. What we need is healing. We need to seek healing for our own broken hearts so that we can love others better.
We are all family. Love desires to see the one in front of you. Love means stopping for the one and making a connection because every person is awaiting your face of love is asking themselves “Can you look past my pain and addiction and love me anyway? Can you see beyond the masks I wear to who I really am? Will you love me even when I disappoint and hurt you?”
I realize that stopping to see the “one” may be a bit frightening for some of you because “seeing” might compel us to become involved and that involvement would surely entail risk. Risk might mean personal cost and this is why so many people wear masks, hiding there pain, their fear and the broken places where they feel thew will be rejected or abandoned. However, I KNOW that we are on the cusp of a major revival. I KNOW that many people are praying for courage and beginning to say yes to the Holy Spirit so they can be the radical laid down lovers for Jesus Christ that the world needs so badly. I know because I am in that army.
What is the key to revival? SIMPLY PUT IT’S deeply and intensely Loving your Neighbor. Radical intimacy is needed because love has a face and it is not something it is someone and that someone is you. Are you so full of passion for Jesus that no matter what you are asked to do you will say yes?
Perhaps you are worried you won’t do or say the right thing. Well the truth is that there may be NOTHING you will be able to do but you can listen to their stories and pray with them. All we need to do is all things in love. Even the tone of our voice or making eye contact in a loving way can be an invitation to a hurting and lost soul to enter into deeper intimacy and this prepares the way for relationship with Christ, when they see Christ in us.
One thing we need to be better at is empathy. Many of us are sympathetic but not empathetic. What people desire is connection and when we are empathetic we connect to something in us that understands the pain or suffering in the other person in a real and personal way and we feel WITH people. Sympathy is a pat on the back and usually starts with words like “At least….” where we try to makes someone feel better or try to make them see the bright side or we say “when life gives you lemons make lemonade!” Well, if you lemons are the death of spouse how do you make lemonade out of that? This short video says all that you need to hear about how and why we need to STOP being sympathetic and learn to be empathetic so that we can honor one another in a more intimate and connected way.
Are you ready to reach out for the lost? Are you ready to be a radical laid down lover for Christ? Well, honestly, sometimes the way Jesus begins is by undoing us so that He can put us back together in a more whole and perfected way. We need to be transformed from the inside out. This happens with our own personal encounter. Encountering does not always feel warm and fuzzy or profoundly healing, sometimes it is more as though He comes and sits on you to make a point. Sometimes pain and suffering is the only thing that will make us give in and stop running and surrender to Him and allow Him to do His work in our hearts and heal and transforming us so we can radiate love to everyone around us.
It is not what He is building around us it is what He is building inside of us that truly matters. We need to focus on the eternal things. Everything around us is in a state of decay, houses, cars, things rust and break down but Holy immortal souls are being lost and the Holy Spirit desires to set the world on fire with the burning love of the Trinity.
If love has a face, it is my face and it is your face and we have to look at one another with love in our eyes and love in our hearts. Who do you need to forgive so that you can begin loving them?
If you desire to be the face of love then pray this prayer right now!
Come Holy Spirit! Father, please come and heal my wounded and troubled heart. I beg you to heal the torments that are causing anxiety in my life. I beg you, Lord Jesus in a particular way, to heal the underlying source of my sinfulness. I beg you to come into my life and heal the psychological harms that may have struck me in my childhood and from the injuries they have caused throughout my life. Lord Jesus, you know my burdens. I lay them on your Good Shepherd’s Heart. I beseech you—by the merits of the great open wound in your heart—to heal the small wounds that are in mine. Heal my memories, so that nothing that has happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety. I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive. You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart, please, heal my wounded and troubled heart. Heal, O Lord Jesus, all those intimate wounds that are the root cause of my physical illnesses. Jesus, I offer you my heart. Accept it, purify it and give me the sentiments of your own Divine Heart.
Come Holy Spirit and Heal me. Heal me from the pain caused by the loss, death or abandonment of my loved ones. Grant me the grace to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that you are the Resurrection and the Life. Make me an authentic witness to your resurrection, your victory over sin and death, and your loving presence among all men and women. Amen
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing”. 1 COR 13:1-3
I have received profound healing in my relationship with God through the Hearts A Fire retreat’s written by Fr. Michael Gaitley. 33 Days to Merciful Love is proving to be a beautiful and wonderful book that I believe is a gift to the Church for these times. We are now in a time where so many of us have been wounded by people and sometimes even by the Church herself.
When the Church is who hurts us, we may be tempted to believe that God is not Good or that we are not good or deserving of anything good. I have met many people deeply and profoundly wounded by the Church. This has created a huge division in our world. I believe this book/retreat is a tool that can begin to heal division and bring all Christian souls together with one uniting purpose; to receive the merciful love of Jesus Christ and then to bring it to hurting souls in our broken world.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (397) it says that “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart…” lets talk about what this means. First of all we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Male or female we are icons of the truth, life and love of God walking around on earth and we are supposed to be making visible the invisible reality of God through the living our of our lives in union with God. However, when the devil comes and whispers his lies, we can in a sense, divorce ourselves from God and accept the proposal of the evil one.
Why do we do that? Because the father of lies wants us to believe that God is not trustworthy and does not want to honor our desires. He begins by planting seeds of doubt. We doubt that God loves us, doubt that He desires to bless us, doubt that he will honor our desires. This doubt leads us to fear. In our fear, we may respond by grasping or taking instead of remaining in a place of trust. Doubt means to be uncertain, to fear, to be afraid. Why do we plan and strive for what we think will bless us rather than wait for God’s timing or say on the matter? Because we are afraid and we hide ourselves. We turn away from God.
Now that we understand that the evil one uses doubt to tempt us to believe his lies, we need to identify what our desires are and where we may have doubts so that we can invite the Holy Spirit it shine his flashlight of truth there and help us to come back into union with God.
Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you won’t acknowledge.” This is so true! We must first see where we are being lied to before we can divorce ourselves from the liar and come into union with God and his truth and will for our lives. If we pretend that we don’t need God or that what we are doing is God’s will when it isn’t we will remain miserable, lost and afraid.
By inviting the Holy Spirit in, we expose where the enemy of our soul (Satan) has put fear into our hearts. Adam and Eve were afraid and so they hid themselves. God desires for us to take off the fig leafs we hide behind. He wants us to not be afraid because He promises us that He will always show up. He wants to honor our desires and he wants to heap a double portion of blessings upon each of us. The question is, do we believe Him and what, if any, lies are obstacles to His truth coming alive in our hearts? One way to discover the answer to these questions is to journal. When we journal we contemplate, we meditate, we hold truth in our hearts and ponder it thus allowing it to be birthed within us. It is in this secret place where the Holy Spirit begins to speak to us. It is as if the Holy Spirit is a flashlight that illuminates things that we cannot see in the darkness. When we journal, our thoughts and emotions as well as our will is engaged and in this sacred place and time the Holy Spirit shines His healing light on the broken places in our hearts, minds and souls. He speaks to us gently there telling us what it is he wants us to know about his love for us.
After reading through “What is Trust” (Week 1 Day 1) I have put together some thoughts and questions to ponder and journal through.
Do we believe God is trustworthy? Are you afraid that God cannot be trusted to honor your heart’s desires? Why or Why not?
Where have you felt God has not shown up in your life or where do you feel you are still waiting for him to bless you?
Think of one memory in which God did show up or bless you?
What is it that you desire God to do in your life?
Now quietly pray to the Holy Spirit to come and shine a light on this desire and ask Him to show you what He wants you to know about this desire of your heart.
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy, Help me better to know the great and unsurpassable goodness of God. Amen
The Walking Dead is a highly successful television series that has just begun it’s 5th season. Why is it that so many people are interested in shows about Zombie apocalypse or an outbreak of illness creating zombies? Perhaps Hollywood can see what so many of us are refusing to acknowledge. Many of us are the walking dead. Well to be fair some of us are the walking dead and some of us are the walking wounded. Drug addiction, alcoholism, porn addiction, food addiction, kids killing each other in school, people beheading other people for “God”. What the heck is going on? It seems like we are living in a world filled with zombies.
What is interesting to me about all of these successful movies and sitcoms is how they parallel our own culture. It is as if these movies are a commentary on our culture of death. We may not live in the biblical times of leprosy but we certainly live in a time of spiritual leprosy. We live in a fallen world and with fallen people. The new normal is not man and wife with three kids a dog, a house and a white picket fence. In fact, I am not even sure what the new normal is, but it is definitely not the “traditional” family.
The movies we watch that are depicting human beings as zombies, are closer to the truth than most tv sitcoms. We are all in need of healing. We need to find a means from which to heal our wounds. We are all wounded in some way. Some of us are living with the effects of sexual abuse or physical abuse; some of us were abandoned by our parents. Still others were emotionally abused or psychologically traumatized by alcoholic or drug addicted parents or even others were ritualistically abused. Whatever the your childhood, chances are you either experienced abuse or neglect yourself or someone very close to you did. The effects of abuse wounds us and it is in through these wounds that we begin to form our understandings and beliefs about who we are, who God is and whether or not we believe in anyone or anything.
The wounds that are inflicted upon us are openings to evil or negativity. Call it what you will, it is through wounds that we are opened up and it is at these moments we can become bound as prisoners to our pain, our fears and the vows that we make to ourselves. We also need friends that we can trust to love us despite our wounds. We need friends to help encourage us and help us find joy and courage to persevere so that we can go into those dark places and bring healing to them. The reason why we are struggling in this world is not because we are somehow strange or because we are not faithful or pious enough, it is because we live in a world that has been divided because of sin. Being faithful and growing in holiness can help us in our struggles but unless we address our wounds we may find ourselves carrying a larger struggle than God desires for us to carry by ourselves.
If you or someone you know feels they are nailed to their cross instead of carrying it, then perhaps you are in need of healing.
Here is the Good News! Christ came to restore us! He makes all things new! Am I saying that healing our wounds is as simple as bringing our suffering to Him on the cross? Yes I am. It is not simple or easy to do but it is simple in choice.
But wait a minute…have you been seeing Jesus as some wimpy guy walking around in an effeminate gown talking in gentle high pitched voice? Cause my Jesus is not wimpy, he is B.A. He will kick some major butt if anyone tries to mess with his girl (that’s me). Are you seeing Jesus as the laid down lover he is? He is ready and willing to run into the darkest of nights to bring in his lost bride (that’s you). You just have to call out to him..
In scripture, it says we have a mighty savior that will wipe away every tear and comfort every infirmity and remove every sin for those who believe and trust in him. Instead of despair we shall have the oil of gladness, instead of shame we shall have double honor, not just in heaven but here in our lives, progressively as grace perfects our nature. The zombies are the sin and the evil in the world and he wants to eradicate it so that you can be resurrected and made new!
Jesus wants your happiness in the world and in the next, he wants to set you free from all that has enslaved you! Everywhere you go he is with you and longs for you to trust in him. He pursues all of us intensely because of his great love for us. We are no surprise to God, he knew what he was getting when he made us! You are no surprise to God, I am no surprise to God yet he created us anyways! That is such a consolation!
When our wounds are redeemed and washed clean in the blood of Christ we are made new. The very places you feel the most broken become your most beautiful gifts. He will shine out of your wounds in ways that will not only transform you, but it will transform the people around you. His light shines through our wounds revealing hope and healing. When we are set free from the healing power of Jesus Christ we are able to retain the graces He pours out to us and we will have Christ to give them in their own thirst.
How can one begin? Pray this prayer. Come Holy Spirit Come. Next ask for prayer ministry. Even Jesus had someone help him carry his cross. Then, find a healing mass and receive the sacrament of the sick so that your wounds can be healed. The sacraments are means of grace that fills us. Grace perfects our nature and healing ministry is the means from which to retain this grace so that we can be transformed. It will be through this transformation that the world will be reconciled to God.
For the past 6 months I have had the honor and privilege to be apart of a healing ministry that has been offering a monthly healing mass as well as prayer ministry. People have been coming from all over the state of Wisconsin. If you cannot find a healing mass in your area then consider a pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville Wisconsin. We are offering a monthly healing mass to heal and free the oppressed. If you need deliverance from the evil one, if you need healing for your afflictions then come to the living water! Come be healed! You will receive anointing with oil in the sacrament of the sick, there will be deliverance, there will be healing prayer ministry and you will be given an arsenal kit to take home so as to continue finding healing and freedom. Perhaps you are called to bring a healing mass and prayer ministry to your own parish. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what it is you are being called to do and then ask for the grace to do it. I believe we are on the cusp of a revolution of laid down lovers willing to run into the darkness to bring in the lost bride. I believe that that Army is a Marian Army. Join the revolution. For more information you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/TotusTuusHealing
At first I thought going to a memorial service to say good-bye to Kolbe (the baby I just lost in miscarriage) was that last thing I would do. The thought of making myself emotionally vulnerable and go back into the wound that I just wanted to walk away from was the least appealing idea to me. Yet, when the priest at my Church texted to tell me that the cemetery that Kolbe was to be buried at had a memorial service being offered the very next week after losing my baby, it seemed to be an invitation from God. Either that or it was very coincidental that within a week of miscarrying there was a service being offered. Then he told me that the day it was offered was the very day we had a meeting scheduled anyways so he knew I would be free.
I have begun to see these kind of coincidences as ways in which God is gently nudging me in a particular direction. They are painful nudges, but they are invitations that I have begun to understand as doors God the Father desires for me, His daughter to walk through because He want to take me deeper, closer and farther in my spiritual walk towards Him.
I can refuse these invitations, but I some how know if I do I will be staying right where I am. A couple of years ago I began recognizing these invitations for the first time. I did not realize that I was always being invited and had even accepted many of them. Instead I had thought I was just “experiencing” deeper intimacy here and there, randomly. Then it happened. I was in Florida at a Healing Retreat dealing with the shit storm of what is my life and I heard the Holy Spirit prompt me to accept His invitation. That is when I recognized that I am always being given invitations. What do they look like? Usually they look very painful. That particular night the invitation was clear. “When I invite you, say yes. If you do, I will heal you. If you don’t, you will stay where you are.” The Holy Spirit was telling me that even when it was scary and felt like dying that if I trusted Him and said yes to whatever it was He was inviting me to, that on the other side of it I would find healing. It is as if you are blind-folded and walking through traffic and someone is reaching their hand out on the other side telling you to walk toward them. As scary as that felt, I still heard Him saying “Trust Me.”
I heard the invitation to walk into the loss of this baby when it would be so much easier to just continue marching forward and get on with my life. It is so easy to do with all of the things on my calendar. I could easily slip away from it all and just try to forget. Yet, here I was standing in a cemetery listening to poems being read out loud by other women who just lost their babies. The most beautiful part of the ceremony was the moment the woman there handed me a purple balloon in honor of Kolbe. As it was placed in my hands the tears slipped out of my eyes and down my face. To hold something in my hands that was for Kolbe broke open the stones I had tried to put around the wound in my heart to keep from feeling the loss. One of my most favorite songs ever started playing as we were invited to say goodbye in our own private way.
I watched a mother and three children each take a balloon and tie a note to the string. They released their balloons together and I watched as she kneeled on the ground holding her children and watching with them as the balloons rose in the air carrying their little notes with them.
Looking back at my own balloon I closed my eyes for a brief moment and I swear I saw Kolbe holding hands with his siblings in heaven, laughing and running chasing after the balloons like children do. Then I did what I must always do when I am going to accept an invitation sent to me from God my Father. I let go.
I love this image by William Blake because it speaks of what it means to unite oneself and ones desires to the will of God. It speaks of reconciliation and of union. I love the pose of the man as it is reminiscent of the cross, with his hands extended in such a way. The body speaks a language and this man’s body is saying to me that while he realizes the suffering, the cross that comes when he opens himself to God there is a peace and resting that takes place by allowing God to embrace him. The fulfillment of all desire can only happen if we unite our desires to that of God’s for us. Knowing this is one thing, knowing it as an experience is and entirely different thing.
Earlier this week I had a song playing through my mind. It’s a Leonard Cohen tune called “Waiting For a Miracle.” Listening to Leonard if feels as if time slows down just a little bit and my mind quiets down. It calms me, it transports me out of the chaos of a given moment into an interior life that feels like prayer. St. Frances said when we sing we pray twice so perhaps music is it’s own form of prayer. “Waiting For a Miracle” says it all.
I was waiting for a miracle to come. The way Leonard sings it, with such gentle melancholy expresses the tenderness of desire to have what I want, yet at the same time expresses the sadness of knowing that it would take a miracle. There is no begging or pleading, just a hope and desire for it. This has been my hearts song for the past week.
This morning I woke up with another Leonard Cohen song singing itself into my mind. I had to smile because I felt it was a grace from God that caused it to sing me awake. It was my first thought as I opened my eyes.
“If It Be Your Will” is a song that I have loved for many years. It is a song I have sung in times where I desired to embrace the will of God and not my own and I prayed for his grace to be poured into me so that I could desire it. The part that says;
“If it be your will
That I speak no more And my voice be still As it was before I will speak no more I shall abide until I am spoken for If it be your will”
Became a prayer of sorts as I struggled with attacks from people that took it upon themselves to try and destroy my speaking career. I know that God has the only power to do anything. This song is my new prayer as I have transitioned into the hardest part of this miscarriage. I am still waiting, but not for a miracle to come, but for a miracle of life that was created inside of me to make it’s way out. It is the hardest for me because I wonder what I will see or worse, that I will miss him or her and flush her away. That is why it’s hardest. I just want this part to be done so I can transition to healing.
When I reached for my phone this morning I saw the tweet of Pope Francis. As if to affirm that the song that was sung to me as I awoke was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit, his “tweet” spoke of God’s will being my own.
“The one who listens attentively to the Word of God and truly prays, always asks the Lord: what is your will for me?” Pope Francis
I can thank God for transitioning my heart this morning by a gift of His grace. I truly know that I want what He wants. I know there has been nothing wasted, a soul will exist for all eternity and his/her name is Kolbe and will be praying me into heaven.
I realized early on in this process that I could offer this suffering to God. I solidified this during the mass yesterday when I offered my body as a living sacrifice. I offered my body as an altar upon which to offer this miscarriage as a spiritual sacrifice to God and asked for Mary to give the graces to her priests who offer themselves daily without ever being able to hold the results in their arms. I asked for the gift of spiritual motherhood to the priests in my life, that I would love them as Mary does. That I would see them as my sons that need a mother to pray for them, to love them and offer prayers and sufferings for their protection. I usually never help distribute communion, but I was inspired to do so.
I felt inspired to offer communion and felt the love of my heart being poured out to every person who approached Jesus. I found myself looking deeply into each persons eyes as they came forward and felt a deep merciful love of Mary in me flow out to them. I did not look at them as they approached, I would see them. I would see their goodness and longing and desire to be filled and offer them the living God that is the only thing that can fill that void.
I am in a good place today. God is Good, all the time, God is Good.
Martin Hudáček’s sculpture entitled “Memorial for Unborn Children
SUNDAY, MAY 3:40PM
Before reading this post please listen to The Song “I Grieve” By Peter Gabriel. You can listen to it while you read my blog as it will open in a separate tab. This song as it embodies the emotions that I am experiencing. It captures the moment of my life that I am living, right now. The lyrics are so perfect… There is something beautiful and something so raw about embracing life even when it means that we embrace the intensity of suffering, sadness and grief.
I am working through my emotions as I experience this miscarriage by journaling here on my blog. I have a hard time with allowing myself to cry, to feel. It is easier to numb myself. I have become quite good at. When I wrote the last two posts the flood gates opened in a way that I realized I needed. I only realized it after I opened to feeling the pain. It almost seems like I am not supposed to be grieving. Some of the questions I get like “how far along are you” is just code for “your not far enough along to be so upset.”
I was almost ready to numb myself through this but then I realized that I really am hurting and if I don’t face into that hurt it is going to come out sideways. It always does. Rather than stay in denial, or turn to anger as a means to control my pain, I am choosing to embrace the pain that comes from feeling everything, talking about it and processing it in the moment. It hurts. I still find I cannot stay in the moment with my feelings and allow myself the grief that is just below the surface because life does go on, and on and on and on. My children need me, my house has chores and there is work to be done. I keep having to push down the sadness and disappointment and grief.
I will keep updating this one post as I document the process of losing Kolbe. If you are just happening upon this blog post then you can read the first two posts by clicking the links. The first one, “I’m Having a Miscarriage” and “Deep Sorrow” will get you up to speed and I will put headers of the day and or times of the new entries…
Where am I at right now? Well, this image helps to make that clear. Right now I am angry at my body and I feel very alone.
I am angry with my body for failing to protect this precious little person. I feel alone because not everyone sees a miscarriage as the loss of a child. Instead it seems to be viewed as the way the body discards babies that were possibly genetically inferior and “for the best.” I don’t know why I am miscarrying but I do know that the reality is that I am losing a baby.
So where am I at in the process today? I am still waiting. I have a terrible back-ache, I am cramping but as of right now I am still waiting for my body to complete this process it seems to have committed itself to. There is light spotting of pinkish brown mucus. It reminds me of when I would go into labor. The first stage was losing the mucus plug. It was so exciting to see that process begin because it meant the long wait to have a baby was finally going to be over. It signaled that very soon, a baby would be placed into my arms. It signaled that a process was starting. It was a sign indicating that a process had begun in which the result would be my child leaving my body.
It means the same thing today but there is no joy in it for me. There is only grief. So I will walk into that. I will grieve.
We are body, soul and spirit. We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit). Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.
Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power? I say no. I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles. In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power. Christ desires to restore us. Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth. He makes us whole. I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17
We are not disorders. I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity. To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.
I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?
Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.
Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way. It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct. This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true. This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect. When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.
Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul. It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul. We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone. Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.
The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity. Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.
the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.
Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body. For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up. When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame. He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants. They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons. When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects. They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.
What was good and right became disordered due to sin. This is the reality of the world we live in. If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another. If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness. Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.
We are complex human beings. The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.
Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up. We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.
Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness. Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing. Anything else merely treats a part of a person. Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.