devozine

Spiritual Practice

Healing in Process

Lanecia A. Rouse

I was twenty-two weeks pregnant with my first child. I was feeling real joy, anticipating the adventure of traveling through this crazy beautiful world with her. On Wednesday, December 4, I went into premature labor and gave birth to my baby girl, AJ. After hours of labor, she entered the world surrounded by the love and wonder of her parents and a couple of our friends from church. Less than two hours after taking her first breath, she died. My heart broke. Stories of joy are not supposed to end in sorrow. I was devastated. I cried out to God, “Lord, how am I ever going to get through this?”

All of us experience pain because of the death of loved ones, the loss of friendship, heartache over breakups, physical and emotional injury. We are bound to get a few cuts, bruises, and deeper wounds along the way. Living life fully means being open to the possibility of experiencing great joy, great pain, and everything in between. As I live through my own grief, I am learning that when I face my pain and do the work necessary to heal, God opens doors for new life to enter and grow. I realize that I am stronger than I imagined.

Here are a few insights about the process of healing that have have helped me along the way:

  • Allowing yourself to feel is important. Pay attention to the pain. Name it. Talk about it with someone you trust. Ignoring it will make you weaker, not stronger.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it, especially if you think of harming yourself. Therapy has been essential to my process of healing. Know that you don’t need to deal with the pain all alone.
  • Keep doing what gives you joy and life. Making art gives me life. When I am hurting, taking a few minutes to do something creative helps to ease the pain a little.
  • Speak honestly with God about feelings, thoughts, and the questions of your heart. God can handle whatever you bring. Prayer is a safe place to talk. Listen for ways to walk through dark and painful times.
  • Give yourself time. The healing process is different for each person and for each experience of pain. Pain and grief come when they choose and linger as long as they like. Be patient; love yourself during the entire process.
  • Look for light and love. Sometimes pain can make seeing our way difficult; but light and love show up in the people who love us, the peaceful silence of nature, a hug at the right time, a friend who sits quietly beside us, unexpected gifts, or a devotional reading. Sacred moments will give you the strength and grace you need to make it through.

Remember that when dealing with pain, some days are easier than others. Be kind and gentle with yourself, and don’t try to go it alone.

 

DIG DEEPER

devozine Journaling TS 86539389Over the next few days, carry with you a journal or a small notebook. Write down the ways you encounter God’s love. Be intentional about looking for God’s love in the small things and in the moments often missed in the fast pace of each day. Keep the journal as a light to help you walk through the dark moments of pain toward healing, remembering that God is with you and loves you beyond measure.

Lanecia A. Rouse , a full-time creative (author, photographer, artist, and speaker) based in Houston, Texas, recently co-authored the book Sent: Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas. Learn more at www.larartphotography.com.

—from devozine (March/April 2016). Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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