Friday, August 3, 2012

The Process of Healing

If there's one grace of chronic illness, it's perspective. It offers a deeply unique look into ones overall life; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally. That might not make sense to everyone but I think anyone who lives with illness, or anything that's dramatically changed ones way of living, will clearly understand what I mean by saying that. And in this perspective, we learn a lot.

I have found that healing from a chronic illness is a process and oftentimes a long one. It's not always black or white either but usually many different shades of gray. 

Unfortunately, delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis are big issues for many of us and greatly feeds into the dissemination and progression of the pathogens, which subsequently leads to a lengthier, more complicated healing process. So an accurate and timely diagnosis is vitally important but regrettably not always the case.

I have also found that healing from a chronic illness isn't just about healing the physical body alone. Believe me, it certainly is that. It's also about healing on every level of who we are ~ body, soul and spirit. So when we engage in healing we must understand the process is inclusive of all three of those levels; it is a multi-layered process.

The body, mind, and spirit will make known what they can no longer tolerate; be it poor eating habits, old infections, toxins, unrelenting stress, lack of sleep, toxic thoughts, unresolved emotions, spiritual issues and voids, etc., as well as the primary or dominant pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites). Whatever is in need of being repaired, restored, rebuilt, and/or released is what will be made known in order for healing to take place.


However, this process of healing is truly unique for everyone because every person is biologically different. One can have the same illness or experience similar injury or grief but be affected very differently by it. This brings up a most important and complexed topic concerning healing in general. There are no one-size-fits-all-cookie-cutter healing regimens. Period.


Furthermore, what might apply in theory doesn't always necessarily apply in practice. We are each unique individuals with a unique overall make up. This is another key component in the comprehensive process of healing. I could write an entire post about this alone but for the sake of writing about other relevant issues; I'll move on.  


I think people in general can oftentimes be dismissive of the process of healing. Please notice I emphasized the word process, as in a series of actions, changes or functions bringing about a result, progress or passage. I'm not saying we never want to embrace healing. I'm saying we don't always want to embrace the whole process. After all, it can be long, painful, arduous (yet rewarding) work. That's a hard sell for a fast-paced society that wants quick or instant fixes. I think we would just rather pop a pill or have God step in and take care of it all for us. Sometimes God does do that. A lot of times He doesn't. And as far as super pills go; I certainly don't know of any. 


I do believe healing can come in a variety of ways. For instance, through various modalities of medicine (nautropathic, homeopathic, biological, nutritional, botanical, chiropractic, osteopathic, allopathic, etc.); through various therapies (music, massage, lymphatic drainage, crainosacral, myofascial, and other forms of body work.); through prayer ministry; or a combination of these. 


I believe that God can and does heal miraculously; supernaturally. I've been a witness to this. I also believe healing can come quickly, if not instantaneously. 


However, we often have to walk through the process of healing and I believe it's because this is the most beneficial for us in the long run. Everyone might not agree with me about that, but this has been my experience as I know it has been for many others. 


I certainly don't have all the answers but I do see the wisdom of God in the path He has me traveling. I'm not saying it's easy or simple; far from it. I'm not even saying I understand everything; I don't. I am saying it is purposeful. And I trust where the Holy Spirit is leading me. 


Through the process of healing we can learn and discover many things. Even about ourselves. Perhaps even who we really are. We can learn what works and what doesn't. We can gain greater insight and understanding into what we need and function best with, like healthy lifestyle choices as well as the treatments and therapies that specifically aid our body's ability to heal (it's different for everyone).


We can also learn how to live our lives in healthier balance. How to work without overkill; eating healthier, whole foods and getting better nutrition; taking care of ourselves properly; setting appropriate boundaries; resting; feeling and dealing with our emotions and not suppressing them or staying stuck in them; spending time with the Lord and spending time in quiet reflection (especially in the midst of busyness or chaos); sharing meaningful time with family and friends, etc. 


We can also become more attuned to the signals our bodies often send us. Sometimes those signals are purely about the physical body itself; what's going on cellularly or in a particular organ or system. Maybe it's a signal that support or action is needed physically. Sometimes the signals about what's going on emotionally inside of us. Perhaps things we're not even consciously aware of but needs our attention. And sometimes we're getting signals straight from our spirits calling us to look for higher and deeper truths.

A wise and trusted therapist friend once told me that any new, fresh grief can restimulate old grief. And I have found this to be true as. This is actually true of many things. 

If, through the process of healing, we discover we are holding onto anything unresolved - grief, trauma of any kind (physical, sexual, psychological, etc), guilt, rejection, bitterness, depression, unforgiveness - whatever it is - we must acknowledge it and then deal with it in the right way. 


There can be a link between what we feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are interconnected. This is how God created us. What we experience on one level can and will flow over and affect us on other levels.


I absolutely believe the wisdom of our bodies can help us understand what is in need of healing. This shouldn't be too shocking. After all, we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) by our Creator. So why would it be surprising that we have an innate ability to heal given the right support and environment?


I need to say that I believe whenever God allows us to journey this way, we must understand in and through it all; He ultimately wants us to know Him more (no matter where we are with Him, there's always more). And I mean to know Him in a deeper way; not just know about Him. We can know a lot about people but that doesn't necessarily mean we have a close relationship with them. So it is with Him. I believe among the many things the Lord desires to be accomplished through our healing processes, this is always at the top of His list ~ for us to really know Him.

Ultimately, love is who He is; it is His very nature (1 John 4:7-12). And knowing His love anchors and shelters us in a way that nothing or no one else can. Again, I don't mean simply knowing about His love but rather being intimately familiar with His love. It is, in my opinion, the key to truly knowing Him. And as we come to understand more of His love for us; we learn even more about who He really is.

I believe if any healing process is going to be successful, then love must be at the core of it. This is one commonality we all share. If we do not feel loved and supported, the overall healing process will be more of a struggle. Or if we don't feel inherently loved or have not dealt with heart issues that might contribute to this, then at best, we can only heal moderately.

God's love does us good. Truly, He loves us personally, unconditionally, and infinitely. And each time we choose to function in His agape love, we are reflecting His very nature. Jesus even gave us a commandment to love each other as He loves us (John 13: 34-35). 

Love is serious business. Love is God business. And it's very healing.


As much as I've personally learned through my own chronic, debilitating illness and ongoing healing process, I know there's more. There's always more. 

I do know there is usually a process of deeper growth taking place within us as we journey through the very process of healing itself. I understand it can be hard to look at it like this at times, especially when feeling so physically bad or discouraged or frustrated or brokenhearted. Yet it still remains true. And as we embrace this process of healing and growth on every level; we embrace the possibility of great transformation.


There is still so much that could be said, but as I have attempted to put into words what I believe to be some necessary keys for healing, as I've come to know and learn myself that healing truly is a process, I see how much we need to love and support one another through such processes. And I also see the importance and value of helping each other get where we need to be. We truly need each other.

I want to encourage you, whatever kind of healing process you might be going through right now - be it your health or the health of a family member, the death of a loved one, a fractured relationship, a traumatic experience, or any number of things - know that it's okay. 

Its okay if you have no words; tears and silence speak their own language. It's okay that it's a marathon and not a sprint; this takes time. Its okay if you feel lost; God's not lost you. 


Just keep seeking and trusting Him. And keep walking. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and allow the process to take you where you need to go. 

Know you're not alone. 


Know there is hope. 


And above all, know that you are deeply loved.


~ Michelle


Michelle Holderman 

Copyright © 2012 


Photo Credit ~ Favim.com

6 comments:

  1. Michelle
    I really needed to hear this tonight...the process of healing....God's desire to know us. I have had a tough day with a huge increase in pain. I struggle with this as I have been doing so well and know I am healed...it is just not manifest totally in my body. God's timing. In my Spirit I am well. In my body, better but not finished. Today my soul was struggling with it all. I walked this morning down to the river...probably too far for my body as the pain soared this afternoon. I saw the river, I was there. I made it. I spoke to it. Not tired at all. It felt so wonderful~
    So, after shedding tears and questioning why, I read about the process of healing and I am once again calm, and planning to spend time with God...in rest. And remember my walk to the river. I see more of those in my future.

    Bless you.

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    1. Oh Renee - you made it to the river!! I'm thrilled that you got there, made your goal, but I'm sorry you're having so much more pain. I understand how discouraging it can be when pain and/or other symptoms increase or you have setback. Perhaps your body just can't quite do it all yet. One day at a time. Yes, rest and take heart, friend. It's okay. Love and hugs to you.

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  2. wow..I read your first line and it hit me b/c I just posted on perspective...Your insight here is amazing to the healing process and so right on. And I've learned from my own struggled with recovery from rape that healing is a definite process. I wish sometimes it was more of an abradabera kind of thing but it takes so long sometimes. Your words are amazing...and encouraging. Have a dynamite weekend Michelle...Stay strong...

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    1. Thanks so much, Nikki. And thank you for allowing Him to use you and your life to be an encouragement to so many of us. I know you understand all about the complexities of the healing process. Love and hugs to you...

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  3. Michelle,

    It truly is a blessing to have found your blog. I know it is no coincidence. I recently was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Though it's not wonderful news, I do feel a sense of relief and peace to now know what I am dealing with. I've been googling lyme blogs lately and it is a joy to come across one that is saturated with the Hope of Christ and the Word of God.

    I have much to learn about Lyme. I've shared it with some of my loved ones but not all, simply because I know so little. I am encouraged to see someone whose faith has remained strong. Thank you for sharing your story. It has brought great encouragement to me tonight. God is using you in the midst of your suffering. I pray that the Lord continues to touch your life and meet you in a special way. His goodness shines through your words. Thank you.

    God bless you,
    Jenn

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    1. Jenn,

      First off, thanks so much for your heartfelt words. They are dear to me. It truly is my desire to write, speak and encourage with the hope and love of Jesus and share what He has given me. I appreciate your prayer. Thank you.

      I am so sorry to hear of your Lyme diagnosis. (((Big Hug))) However, I totally understand your relief to finally know; to have answers. If there is anything I can do to help support you, please let me know. I'm here. And I mean that sincerely. I'm on Facebook if you'd like to send me a friend request.

      I was reading through your blog and profile last week. Enjoyed reading the random facts about you. Anybody who loves A Charlie Brown Christmas is a friend of mine :) And my family and I are all Yankees fans. Woo-hoo!

      I'm following your blog as well and look forward to reading more of what you have to say and share.

      I'm so glad you found your way here. God is a great navigator. Know that I will be praying for you through this journey.

      The Lord bless and keep you too,
      Michelle

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