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Archive for the ‘counseling’ Category

It’s been two weeks, but there’s not really much to update. I’m still in this hybrid grieving/depression thing. The Not-So-Casual Observer and I spent the majority of my session last night just working out strategies for getting through the next five weeks when there should be some relief, at least in the schedule aspect.

We explored both hopelessness and helplessness and spent some time imagining my ideal life. While it seemed silly at first to imagine all of these things I “can’t” do, it was actually pretty helpful in determining what I’m really passionate about.

The bottom line is that there are two areas of my life that need some serious attention: education and marriage. The Music Man and I spent some time discussing those two things, and we’re hoping to get me back in school by next fall. So, while I’m still depressed/grieving and struggling, at least that feels like a start.

So there it is. Still alive, still struggling. Oh, and tomorrow’s my birthday. So happy birthday to me and all. 🙂

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I’ve been spending some time in this desert place, and Jesus has showed me some neat things, calmed some fears, and encouraged me to press on. In fact, the Not-So-Casual Observer and I talked at length about what this feels like, some dangers along the way, and what to do when I feel like it’s never going to end. As amazing and eye-opening as our sessions are, Jesus has been showing me some stuff that’s even better.

The first beautiful part of the desert has been what I’ve noticed about myself. I realized that when I slow down, stop working, and just sit awhile, I hurt. I hurt in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. I hurt down deep, such that I feel tears prick behind my eyes for no discernible reason. I hurt enough to press both hands to my chest, hoping to quell the bursting in my heart. I can safely say that this is pain, and I’m in it.

Why is that beautiful? Well, because I don’t have to actually DO anything. Could it be that my healing here has nothing to do with my activity, but everything to do with my rest and surrender? Is the mystery really that I don’t have to perform any action, rather simply make a place for pain in my life and let it find its own place to pour out? I think I love this. And if you know what a performance-oriented person I have been known to be, that alone should evidence the massive change in my last few months.

This morning I felt like I should read the account of the Israelites’ time in the desert, and wow do I have some amazing things to look forward to. While they simply moved from place to place at God’s behest, He did amazing things even for this grumbling and unfaithful people. If my desert experience looks anything like theirs, it’ll be an awesome adventure.

Sandals that never wear out to keep my feet from burning
Fresh food each morning delivered to wherever I am in the journey
The impossible–the sea parts as I pass through, washing away all that seeks to harm me once I’m safely on the other shore

Sabbath
Consecration
Feasting
Teaching
Sacrifice

A visible covenant
My face shining after time with Him
The glory of the Lord
An established rule and reign
Authority

A cloud for direction
Rebuke and pardon
Restoration

Healing through obedience
Prophecy
Zeal

Cities of refuge
Songs and blessings

This is going to be amazing.

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Last night at girls’ group, we had a super brief discussion on Luke 9:62,”But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I fancy myself a bit of a theologue and, as such, have spent time studying over the years what exactly I believe and why. Why this verse in this place? Wanting to consider the positions I heard last night, I decided to turn to a couple of commentaries I trust. This is the one that struck me:

Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.  –Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

I love how God honors my desire to know Him more and confirms His rhema word with His logos. Just this morning we were talking about the desert valley of pain, this place both the Not-So-Casual Observer and I feel Jesus is calling me. This morning, I asked Jesus what He would have me do to walk this out, and He said,

“I want you to step onto the scorched earth. I want you to notice the grit of sand as it fills every empty space between your toes and rubs your flesh smooth. I want you to feel your lips go dry and your throat parch, how one step into this and you’re already thirsty. I want you to gaze down into this valley and see how far it is and wonder where the midpoint is, when you’ll begin your ascent, where the top is. What do I want you to do? Walk.  Look back at the lovely meadow you’ve spent the last few months in, then look at the colorless expanse before you, and choose this anyway.”

If I walk away from this, the work He’s doing in me is for naught. And since I believe that He will bring His good work to completion, and that His word will not return void, then this is what I must do. Choose this anyway.  Let it hurt anyway. Feel the pain anyway. Walk through the desert anyway. One step at a time.

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In counseling this week, the Not-So-Casual Observer said, “When I move toward you in compassion, you don’t want to receive it. You try, but you don’t want it.” Ouch.

We sat in silence for a few minutes while I thought about what she’d said. Then I looked her in the eye and said, “That really hurt.”

Which is, you know, huge for me.

She said, “I’m sorry.” Doesn’t make it hurt less, but then, that wasn’t really her plan.We moved on to my ideas of masculinity, and when I told her what I believe to be the definition of maleness (your average firefighter, for example), she said, “I think you like that in men because they don’t expose your hurt. They just let you be Hardass Heather.” (Ouch again! Can we feel me getting it on all sides?! Good thing I love this chick and think we work super well together!)

So I’ve been mulling over the meanings of those three words, and my reactions to each of them. I haven’t been able to come up with a working definition of each of them for myself. I’ve heard the old, “Mercy is not getting what you do deserve, grace is getting what you do not deserve,” but that just won’t serve for my purposes.

So mercy, grace, and compassion, I’m coming for you. However that looks!

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Bold title for me, no? Rest assured, I still have no idea if that’s a place I want to find, but at least I’ve been exploring what it means to seek it out.

It was a long time between sessions, and I felt like I was sinking. Desperate, even. I contemplated calling the Not-So-Casual Observer to see if I could set up a phone session or SOMETHING, but I didn’t want to bother her with her crazy busy schedule. The good thing that came of that was her telling me of course I could call her if I needed to, and we’d do our best to schedule something if I was in a really bad place. Good to know going forward.

We talked a great deal about a new memory that popped up since last time, and how I struggled with believing that God allowed everything in my life to happen, and that it was all in His control. It makes me crazy, knowing that I was little and helpless and abused and exploited. All the while, He could’ve stopped it but didn’t.

And then she shared this gem. In light of Rom 8:28, she said, “No amount of evil has to live as evil for the rest of your life.” I’m letting those words wash over me, the possibility of deep redemption, of redress. Hopefully it will melt some of the rage in my heart.

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Face to Face

Early last week we returned from visiting my family in Ohio. It was a pretty normal trip for me, except that I needed to ask something particular of my mother.

Now, my mom and I aren’t particularly close, and that’s mostly my doing. I’ve been a challenge from the outset, and I can totally own that. But over the last three months I’ve been having some really painful, disgusting memories of things that happened to me at the hands of my father during my toddlerhood.

The Not-So-Casual Observer and I have been working from those memories as if they were true because, well, I have all the symptoms a person would exhibit. But I felt like I needed to know the truth for myself. I’d been praying during the week leading up to the trip that if I was supposed to tell my mother what I remembered, Jesus would make a clear opportunity.

He did.

The first night, I told mom that my father had been in contact with me, and that I was really confused because I remembered X, Y, and Z (general types of abuse, the one I really wanted to know about tucked in there). Not only did she not deny it, she quietly nodded and said, “Uh huh.” I didn’t press, but I did mention the particular kind of abuse a second time, and again, same response.

Sooo, goodbye denial, hello Jesus. And counseling. I hadn’t told the NSCO I was considering talking to my mom about it since I’m only seeing her every other week and hadn’t really decided by our previous appointment, so when I sat down and told her the day after we got back, she was a little stunned. Wide-eyed and slack-jawed, actually. She didn’t actually SAY much about what I’d done, but she was clearly surprised. It was kinda priceless.

Yesterday I had counseling again, trying to work out this Father fathering issue. It’s not pretty, this thing. I don’t like it one. little. bit. Jesus is trying to get me into the presence of the Father, but I’m totally resistant. Yesterday in my session He said there’s something I fear too much to even name and, given the intensity of what I’ve already dealt with, that doesn’t bode well.

This morning He told me something I’ve seen hints of in isolated moments but haven’t wanted to believe, still don’t want to believe. There may be another conversation with my mother in my future, because this one might just drive me crazy, and I have another 15 days until processing with NSCO. Arg.

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Dearth

I feel really void right now. There are so many thing whooshing and swirling and rushing together in my head right now, and they won’t just settle in their little pockets of thought. I want to give voice to the cacophony in my head, but I’m just not able right now.

My trip home went well.There will probably be more to say at some point, but just now I’m guarding it pretty jealously.

Last night I had the gift of processing with the Not-So-Casual Observer. That’s atypical; she said last night that she loves how I process, and that together we usually process (in session) what I’ve already processed (at home). Since we got back late Sunday night, though, I hadn’t had the time to work through stuff before we met, and it was nice to let her have a voice in it, walk with me through it. I don’t really ever do that. It was welcome and beautiful. It was trust.

And now I’m gushing.

Tonight I will again have the gift of sharing with friends (God willing). It feels like ripples in a pond, my life right now. I experience things myself, then share with NSCO and the Music Man, then a small group of people, then out there in the world. I think that means it’s going deep.

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