Saturday, July 22, 2006

Captivating, chapter 6

Captain’s Log, Stardate 07.22.2006


Healing the Wound: I like their analogy of a father who would care not only that his daughter is rescued from a car accident, but also that she receives healing—not left to languish in ICU. God desires not just to forgive us from our sins through Christ, but also to heal us right now.

I thought the passage from Isaiah very appropriate for that, but I didn’t care for the authors’ paraphrase. I thought the scripture itself was clearer and more powerful.

Hemmed In: The authors state that God cursed Eve with lonliness so that she’d turn to God to fill her. Well, isn’t that true of everybody, not just women? Is this not true of men, too? Obviously, I’m not a guy so maybe it’s not true of guys. I think I’ll ask my husband.

I know that for me, God deliberately took away all my friends so that I’d turn to Him and lean on Him more. I was leaning on my friends more than God, and so He had to take drastic measures with me. I still do, I think, and every so often He sweeps in with a gentle reminder.

The authors say God thwarts women’s plans to fill their lonliness with work or service. They also say that the defense mechanisms women (and I guess men) erect to protect themselves from worldly hurt also prevent God from coming in to heal them.

Turning From the Ways You’ve Sought to Save Yourself: The authors talk about letting Jesus come in to heal you, being vulnerable to Him. It seems to be speaking to women who are Christian but who have never opened their deepest hurts to Jesus to heal.

“What if it were true? What if Jesus really could and would do this for your broken heart, your wounded feminine soul? Ask him, Jesus—is this true for me? Would you do this for me? He can, and he will . . . if you’ll let him.”

For me, this isn’t new. The act of letting Christ in to heal me was the main reason I became a Christian, and it happened starting the moment I accepted Jesus. He has been healing me ever since.

This is mostly due to Oswald Chambers, and his talk of “reckless abandon” to Christ. It significantly impacted my relationship with Jesus to think of giving myself to Him in “reckless abandon.” I love that phrase. It brings such joy and freedom in mind for me.

So at this point, the chapter didn’t feel like it was speaking directly to me. At the same time, I had this fear—what if I’m in denial and I’m missing something?

But then I had to pray and trust God to speak to me if it was something important for me. Ultimately, it isn’t this book that speaks to me—it’s God. And I also know that this kind of fear that I’m “missing something” isn’t a godly fear.

Invite Him In: In the guided journal: “Think of the way your life is not working out—or the lives of women you look at and long for. How is God stirring your heart?”

I really didn’t like this question because again, as in previous chapters, it seems to be telling women to actively look for what’s wrong in their lives, for areas in which to feel discontent.

I don’t agree with this. God tells us to learn to be content in our circumstances. And I think that for wounded areas in our lives in which we need healing like this, we don’t have to actively search for it—it’s there, raw and painful, or being ignored like the elephant in the room.

Forgive: I like how the authors emphasize this, because I think it’s really true. I’m not saying it’s easy, because I still struggle with this a lot, and I admit there are people in my past whom I’m not quite certain I’ve really forgiven them.

But I’ve felt the acid of bitterness eating away at me, and it’s not pleasant. The conviction of the Spirit that I need to let go isn’t too nice to feel, either—for me, it feels like a stick prodding the wound. But I also know that the freedom of choosing to let it go is sweet, and I try to do that when God brings the issue up for me.

I like how the authors emphasize that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.

Let Him Father You: I also liked how Stasi told about how she initially thought of God the Father in relation to her own father, who was absent in her life. It’s a good point that many women don’t have good fathers, and viewing God as father doesn’t always bring up the best associations in their minds.

She talked about how God revealed Himself to her as father to replace the poor father-role-model she’d had. I liked that, because it gives hope for other women who had abusive fathers to be able to relate to God as their true father.

My dad is great, but I don’t think this chapter was written for me.

My thoughts in sum: I think this chapter is meant to be a powerful revelation to women who have deep wounds from abuse, who have denied their pain and never sought healing.

I know I was scarred when I first started walking with Christ, but God started working on those scars right away. It was like my knee surgery incisions—they were tender with lots of lumpy scar tissue, but my physical therapist started massaging them with a special cream. It really hurt to break up that scar tissue, but now they’re smooth and well-healed, and the scar tissue is gone.

I do wonder about women who don’t have deep wounds to heal who read this chapter. Would it just encourage them into a pity-poor-me party?

While I realize this chapter is about healing, I noticed the authors never talked about women taking responsibility for any bad decisions they themselves might have made. Now, I realize that some abuse is inflicted on women, but sometimes women are wounded as a result of their own bad choices—I know I was.

The chapter seems to say, “None of this was your fault—it’s because of others and Satan. You’ve built up a defense mechanism because of it all. But God can heal you now.” That’s probably not the author’s intent, but that’s what the chapter’s message seemed to be.

It bothers me because I’m always trying to encourage the teens in the church youth group to take responsibility for their actions and choices, to not blame others and the world, to face up to consequences and trust in God.

However, I also know that women often suffer abuse inflicted upon them that really isn’t in their control. I know that the abuse can cause horrible wounding that festers for years. I think this chapter is really for them. The steps presented in the chapter are good ones for healing, and they focus solely on the healing of Christ, His love, His power.

4 comments :

  1. I too love the phrase, reckless abandon, but have never thought to apply it to my relationship to God. I keep meaning to read My Utmost for His Highest.

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  2. I believe that God will hem men in as well as women.
    Letting Jesus heal me isn't new to me either, (Thank You Jesus :-)
    The forgiveness aspect is what I blogged about too.
    Then I liked your sum up. I do think it is important to take responsibility for our own choices, but to know that we are loved INSPITE of ourselves . . . I just thank Jesus (again!)

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  3. I believe that God will hem men in as well as women.
    Letting Jesus heal me isn't new to me either, (Thank You Jesus :-)
    The forgiveness aspect is what I blogged about too.
    Then I liked your sum up. I do think it is important to take responsibility for our own choices, but to know that we are loved INSPITE of ourselves . . . I just thank Jesus (again!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Camy-once again, great post, I love how thorough you are! I just don't have the patience or the time, really, to adress every thing I thought about in the book.

    I really appreciate you saying this:"But then I had to pray and trust God to speak to me if it was something important for me. Ultimately, it isn’t this book that speaks to me—it’s God. And I also know that this kind of fear that I’m “missing something” isn’t a godly fear." I totally agree and it's a great reminder. I'd been struggling with the " what if I'm missing something" thoughts as well. I also like how you adressed that God instructs us to learn to be content with our situations. I couldn't agree with you more on that as well- it has been a lesson I've had to really learn hard in the past 3 years. Thank you. : )

    ReplyDelete

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