My Wounded Heart and Soul

It has been years since I’ve last seen most of my family.  I think I was about four years old when my mom remarried and moved us away from our home in Florida and Tennesse. My mom met her new husband while he was stationed in Florida, while she worked as a waitress at a car hop.  She had already been separated from my father for a while although he didn’t take to the separation easily.  From what I have learned about him, he was a very jealous man and made life with him impossible.  Moving to New York meant my involvement with my family both on my father’s side and my mother’s side would be very little to none at all. While some would say I’ve had a good life, I have a sister and brother who I absolutely adore and love deeply, I have always felt like I missed out on something. What most people don’t understand is, it is hard to be plucked out of one family – the only family you know – to be placed into a whole new family with strangers.  Growing up I didn’t always feel like I belonged.  I was reminded often I wasn’t Joe’s daughter (my step-father) anytime he and my mother argued or he would introduce me as Edna’s daughter. Saying I didn’t feel like I fit in was an understatement.   After so many years went by I was more like a stranger to my actual family but, not “real” family to my step-family.  I will say that was not how I was treated by my Aunt and Grandma.  Even tho they were not my real family, I was very close to my grandmother and grandfather.  I love my Aunt and I became very close to her children. Most people even thought we were related, interestingly we do resemble each other.  We grew up as a close family, we celebrated holidays together and it was important to my mom for us to sit around the table as a family.  She was a stay at home mom, and when it was time to eat our meals she insisted we sit at the table together as a family.  That changed as I got older and then my sister and brother as well.  But, holidays always meant our family sat around the dinner table.  My mother would dress up the table and use our better dishes and silverware and the meal was always special.

For years my mom would tell me stories about her youth and things that she did with her siblings.  It made me wish we had a closer relationship with them.  My mother is one of eight children.  I didn’t understand why my mother insisted on keeping a distance from not just her family but making sure my father’s family were not ever in the picture.  I don’t think she knew when my father died, I believe she came into that information a couple of years later when my step-dad adopted me. I was thirteen, I didn’t want to give up my name, but it was what my mother wanted and so I really didn’t have a choice.  I was too young to go against what my mother wanted and even when the judge asked me if I understood what was going on, I just responded saying I did.  I know my name kept me with a sperate identity from the rest of the family, but emotionally I didn’t feel like I was one of them.  I was made to feel like an intruder and giving up my identity meant leaving my family behind.  Letting go of ever finding my father and reconnecting with my family. In a sense, that is what happened, and I felt as if I betrayed my father.  I wish my mother would have made it possible for me to know them but she held on to such anger towards my father that she punished all of us.  He was a jealous man and extremely jealous of her and any relationship she had with anyone.  I always knew she wasn’t in love with my father but it turned into hatred because of how jealous he was that she did not want anything to do with them at all.  Even making sure I didn’t too.  My father died when I was ten and my grandmother – his mother – died just 16 months later.  I missed out on a lifetime with her and with him.  They died young.

Every year on my birthday my mom would make me and everyone else listen to her re-tell stories of my childhood funnies.  Most of the funny stories were about Joe taking me to his barracks and I’d do impersonations of Bugs Bunny and Groucho Marx, and a few stories about how I’d escape every morning to go play in my yard while my parents were still sleeping no matter how they locked the doors and windows.  I don’t remember my dad much at all.  I was so young when my mom separated and then divorced him and remarried and since she moved us such a distance away I never saw him again.  My father died when I was 10 years old and at age 13 my step-father adopted me.   My step-father was a good man.  He worked two jobs to provide for us, and when my sister came along I was so happy.  I was a big sister.  Then a few years later my brother was born.  I was eleven and he was like my baby.  I was so proud to be his big sister.  I watched him during times my mom worked with my dad or if they went out I’d watch both my sister and brother.  It was an important role – Big Sister.  But it did not erase the need to want to know my family.  I didn’t know my father had died when he did.  I’d constantly look him up in the phone books, but surprisingly there was no one else listed by my last name.  I didn’t understand that at all.  I later found out my father had a sister and a brother and was raised with his cousin in the same house.  They were all raised like siblings.  But they were living in other states, so now how to find them.

I first met my father’s cousin when I took a trip back to Tennesse when I was seventeen.  It was the first time I was back to visit since I was five years old. My mom had eventually told me my father died but I didn’t believe her.  I thought she was telling me that so I’d stop asking her about him.  My mother had a lot of anger towards my father and I always felt she resented me because I did favor him.  She never told me she loved me and that weighed heavy on me for many years.  I always felt I wasn’t good enough.  Well, when I met my cousin he confirmed my father had died and took me to see his grave.  At the sight of his grave, I collapsed.  The realization that he was really dead was a lot for me to emotionally handle.  That evening I got very sick.  In the middle of July, I was cold and couldn’t warm up and my throat swelled up, a reaction to the shock.  Anger set in.  I was angry with my mom for keeping me from knowing my family.  I felt like I had no home. My father’s family were all strangers now and some didn’t want to know me because they were upset with my mom.  I was stuck in the middle.  My heart was wounded, my soul was wounded.  For years my relationship with my mother was contentious at best.  I can’t remember my mother ever telling me she loved me.  I wondered sometimes why did she insist on keeping me, why not leave me with my father?  During those years, I didn’t feel any special closeness with her.  She would remind me I wasn’t family whenever my adopted father had an issue with someone in his family and I’d say something she’d tell me to leave it alone that was Joe’s family.  So, even tho I was now his adopted daughter I was still put on the outside of family issues.

Yes, I guess in comparison to others I had a good childhood.  I grew up with a mother and a father with a sister and brother but emotionally I was not in good shape.  My heart and my soul were wounded and I didn’t know how to fix it.  My mother and adopted father fought a lot while I was in Juinor High school and into High School.  I’d come home with a nervous stomach afraid of what I’d walk into.  It got so bad between them that I didn’t know which one was worst.  My mother who was jealous of every woman my adopted father spoke to or him being intolerant of her.  I’d come home from school to be made to sit at the kitchen table while he would proceed to tell me how sick my mother was.  She was sick too, but we did not get her the help she needed because we didn’t know what her illness was.  She had seen a doctor who prescribed tranquilizers but that only seemed to make it worst. We didn’t know at the time she suffered from depression.  After my brother was born she suffered postpartum depression but since that wasn’t diagnosed during that time she wasn’t treated properly and the depression only got worst.  The fighting only continued and escalated, at one point my mother tried to commit suicide. When I turned eighteen I decided to move out and live on my own. I couldn’t take the constant fighting or being placed in the middle of their arguing anymore. I needed to get out from under them and start to live my own life or so I thought. I went on to make some bad decisions.  I married the wrong man, he was abusive and I spent years dealing emotionally with that divorce. Life continued with some good decisions and some not so good ones.  I’m learning how to heal my wounded heart and soul.  Part of that is getting reacquainted with my family.  It has caused some emotional triggers but that’s how we heal. We deal with the pain we have been faced with all our lives and hit the reason’s head on.  There’s more a lot more before healing is complete but this is a beginning for me.

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Sanctification is for the Soul

Me11Our souls are sickened and even injured in the ravages of sin.  Not a one of us is unaffected by sin’s injurious affects.  In this article, I want to share from my from own experiences and also speak of Sanctification as the means by which our healing is completed.  God is not remiss in anything; therefore, He provided a means of securing the healing that Christ sacrificed to give us. (Isaiah 53:5)

“We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness” – A.W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy, 107

What is the difference between the soul and the spirit of man? We know the spirit is soul3healed when we become born again, but what about our souls?  Our souls must also be healed from the pain and wounds of things that have hurt us. We know that it was in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that our Sins were healed. His Blood was shed for our salvation once and for all. Yet our souls are still wounded; these wounds affect all areas of our lives and even our behaviors, thoughts and actions. What do we need to do to purify our souls? First, we need understand that man is a multifaceted creation. That is, we consist of Body, Soul and Spirit.

Our Spirit is healed when the Holy Spirit comes to reside within us, but our souls are not immediately healed. What are the elements of our souls? Additionally, the soul is composed of three parts – your mind, your will, and your emotions. What happens in each part? In yourmind you remember the pain and the things that have been done against you. In your will you makes decisions and choose life paths.  Not only this, our very emotions  keep us mindful of the fear, hate, anger, joy, and sorrow that has permeated our thoughts.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19:   17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.…

Why is cleansing our souls important?  We must purify our souls so that we are not doomed to keep repeating our sins.   Yes, we are restored in our spirit but what happens soul1when things transpire against us and hurt us?  In my life, my soul has been wounded over and over.  As a result, I fell into to sin over and over.  I would repent each time but it’s a cycle of sin and repentance, sin and repentance.  It is only in cleansing our souls that we stop this cycle.  We also know we can not continue that cycle of sin and repentance.  Let’s look at each part of the wounded soul and what causes us to keep making bad decisions.

Romans 7:20:  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

The mind

We get busy thinking of how either we have sinned or how someone has sinned against us and we dwell on that event.  When we do something that causes ourselves pain we look for solutions and ways to restore ourselves to God’s grace, but what about when someone else causes us pain?  We dwell and we dwell on it.  Unlike when we cause ourselves any pain, when someone else hurts us it puts us in a defensive position. It becomes so important that we put ourselves into a depressive state and sink further and further into despair.

I was a reformed smoker who had quit for 20 years, then after going through the pain of losing my Mother and at the same time my Father was dividing the house by building a relationship with the very person my mother had so much contention with, I started smoking again. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  I would dwell daily on my loss and my anger.  It was for a couple of years that my focus was on anger and hate.  My soul was not clean; it was becoming bitter and hardened.  All I wanted to do was stay angry and hurt them back.  In holding on to that anger, I sinned against myself repeatedly, and I caused my soul a lot of trauma.  It’s in healing the soul that we are restored fully to God’s grace and that was where I knew I wanted to be, but I was allowing the pain to fully consume me.

Psalms 41:6 – Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad. 

The will:

By our will, we make decisions and, in our injured state, we make choices under the influence of unwelcome spiritual tenants of the mind.  During the time I was angry, the raging tenants of my mind caused me to be mean and to say and do hateful things.  I didn’t want to, but it was because my soul was so badly hurt that I could not help myself.  I was not me, there existed another person living within me, someone I didn’t recognize and I did not know how to discard the thoughts that kept creeping into my mind.  Being angry was all I knew and that would drive me everyday.  Not only was I damaging my soul, I had become responsible for the damage I was causing others.

As far as I was concerned, if they didn’t like what I had to say or what I did, it was their headache, not mine, and how they handled it was not my problem.  Admittedly, this was wrong thinking and I was ‘not’ following Matthew 7:12.  I caused them the pain and anguish they were feeling, so I was responsible (Ephesians 4:31-32). When you are angry and surround yourself with like-minded people you solidify and erroneously justify your reasons to be angry in your mind and convince yourself it’s ok.  In this injured state, you feel that you’ve been hurt and are justified in behaving this way for the sake of survival. Your will is greatly affected by what lives in your mind.  Unless we cleanse our minds and evict harmful thoughts that control us, our will can only continue causing us to do the things we don’t want to do.  We have to learn to deny ourselves and set our minds on the things of God so our souls can once again be clean and purified.

Psalms 38:4-5:   My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. 5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly

The emotion:

We want to forget the pain we have been caused.  We struggle with insecurity and self-condemnation.  All the negative emotions we allow to live within us and the conflicts of the past can cause us physical problems as well.  It can cause us to suffer from headaches, depression, and stress.  Symptoms of illness caused by our hurt and damaged soul. We don’t always consciously know we are under such stress.  It becomes a normal way of life. How many headaches or stomach issues have you suffered with?  Stress will cause your immune system to weaken and allow the stress to willing invite illness’ to live within you. When we allow our emotions to control us it controls how we relate to others, to God, and to ourselves and in ways we don’t choose and have conscience control over, we suffer. Our emotions cause our minds to perceive things that may or may not be there, assume that someone is out to hurt us and perceive that they will do us harm.  We keep ourselves in a state of flux and suffering.  I spent many nights pondering what the person who was causing me so much pain was doing and what they were saying about me, how they were manipulating any given situation to work against me.  I spent many hours planning what I would say in response to anything they did or said.  Clearly wasting so much valuable time and effort.  Time that could have been better utilized in cleaning out the negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts, but when your soul is so badly damaged it is easier said than done.  Little by little I was shutting out God. Me, who has always turned to God in prayer was being ravaged by hate that I could not see the damage I was doing to myself.

lamentations 3:19-20:  19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 

So what do we need to do to heal ourselves and purify our souls?  If we don’t, our damaged souls can cause us to continue to sin, do things we don’t want to and lose control over how to break the cycle.

Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Our souls have to go through the process of sanctification.  To cleanse and purify our souls we have to pray.

 

Luke 11:1-4 – Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer: 1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. ‘ ” 

It is from the power from the spilled blood of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection that we have the power to take part in the healing of our souls.   We need to invite Jesus Christ to be in our hearts and souls, but how do we start the process?  We have to believe and have faith and trust in God that He can heal us.  We know God loves us, and wants us to grow in faith and in truth because we belong to Him.  God does not want the devil to walk alongside us and cause us doubt He wants us to remain in love and know the truth in God’s word.  When our hearts are healed and we grow in faith we become someone else ( Romans 7:14-24).  I don’t recognize the person I was when I was so filled with anger and hate.  We go through periods in our lifetime dealing with sin we put on ourselves or sin brought on by someone else and it’s during those different periods that we are different people.   I no longer smoke and I am in the process of  healing my heart of the sin which has caused me to begin smoking again.  It is in the power of prayer that we turn our thoughts and actions to positive emotions.  I know when I pray I feel God’s love within me (Psalm 18:6). His light shines in my soul and makes me feel warm and loved.  I know having Jesus living in my heart protects me from harm (Psalm 34:17).   Does that mean I will never be hurt again? Absolutely not, but what I have learned is that it is imperative to go down on bended knee and pray for help even more so during times of torment.

John 8:36 – If the Son therefore shall make you free , ye shall be free indeed.

soul2We have an enemy, the devil, who would love nothing more than to attack us and make us doubt God’s love.  We are all subject to the devil’s intervention, but it is in recognizing the attacks on our souls that we must stop and turn to God for help.  We do not want to allow the devil to invade our souls, and he is a slick one.  He will tempt us by using our fears and moments of doubt against us. Have you ever been sitting watching TV and all of a sudden thought about something that made you angry?  I have.  That is the devil at work, he sends his minions to sit with you and to jump on any moment of weakness.  That is when we need to pray the most.  We are saved in our spirit through the resurrection but that is only half the job, it is in healing our souls we complete Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. When our souls are purified at the time our bodies are returned to the earth our souls will be returned to God (Psalm 100:3).

Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous , and then thou shalt have good success .

Do not allow the devil to control your thoughts.  It is his purpose to separate you from God and cause you strife and suffering. Have faith and trust in God’s word and He will keep you on the side of victory.  We see the attacks by the devil in so many ways. We live in a world where there is so much animosity and hate that we can not escape the attacks on our souls, but if we choose to let the anger reside within us the devil wins.  Do not let him win (Ephesians 6:13).  During the times of spiritual warfare we need to pray, and pray hard for all those who knowingly or unknowingly sin against us and cause malice of the soul.  That is the time for us to stop and think about what is going on, and with the love of Jesus Christ defeat the devil by turning our hearts and prayers to God.

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

soul4

Our soul and spirit are the incorporeal aspects ascribed to humanity in the Bible.  From this Biblical teaching, see the difference between the soul and the spirit and their respective needs. For believers, the spirit was immediately saved in resurrection, but we had to evict sin from the soul through the process of sanctification. Through this process we renewed our souls and restored God in our hearts which completes His full redemption. It is in God’s grace we are fully restored as we were when He first made us in His image (2 Peter 1:4). However, sin is everywhere and as humans we are susceptible to sin again. Those who have turned back to God must be guarded against sin or sin will once again enter our soul. We know the devil is smart and he lays and waits for his opportunity. (1 Peter 5:8) The truth is that sin has not been destroyed and if we do not remain vigilant and keep our hearts turned to God, we will fall once again under the devil’s control and on a path to spiritual defeat (Matthew 13:24-30). God understands our emotional pain.  When our souls are under torment,  be honest about what you feel and turn to God for healing.

 

References:

God Wants to Heal Your Spirit, Your Soul, and Your Body By Emily Dotson
Inner Healing Prayer with Psalm 46 by Bill Gaultiere
Healing your soul by Katie Souza – series of videos
Andrew Wommack: Spirit, Soul & Body – series of videos