We each have a story. No matter where we’re from, or how old we are, we each have a past that has shaped who we have become. But why does it seem like no matter how hard we try to move on, to forget our past and simply move forward, it somehow still haunts us? Why do some things never seem to get resolved? Why do our hearts hold on to things we thought we’d long since forgotten?
Just over a year ago I found myself in a situation where these questions became real to me in more ways than I ever thought possible. I had just been through a break up that wrecked my world as I knew it, and I was lost. I was heartbroken and devastated and, no matter how many friends and loved ones gathered around me, I felt more alone than ever.
For a while I allowed grief to overtake me. I cried and I wallowed and I moved through life like someone else was controlling my every move. I simply stopped caring, because what’s there to care about when your world seems to have fallen apart?
But you see, the funny thing about life is that society and culture don’t allow us to grieve for very long. You get a few days, maybe a few weeks, and then you’re expected to be better. You’re expected to go to work, to see friends, to go out to dinner, and before you know it, all those friends and loved ones who were so concerned and worried about you, are now moving on to other things; because that’s how life works. The world just keeps on spinning and you’re expected to keep up.
But what does that mean for us? What does it mean for those of us who are left brokenhearted and in despair? Well, we do what everyone does. We wake up each morning, shove our problems as far out of the way as possible, and we live. We go through the motions of life, picking up the pieces that were broken, and slowly begin putting ourselves back together, all the while doing our best to keep our pain and grief at bay. Eventually, we realize that we’re okay again; or at least we think we’re okay.
We live, we laugh, we hang out with friends, and everything seems to be going great until we get that little nudge in our gut. You know what I’m talking about. It happens in those rare, still moments when life slows down just enough for you to hear your own thoughts. In an instant, all that pain comes rushing back like it was yesterday.
But we push it back down. We refuse to feel it, to go back to that place. We think, “I’ve come so far, I can’t let myself feel that way again.” And that’s how we continue to live our lives. Never truly realizing that the pain and the hurt and the despair never actually left. Never realizing that, because we never dealt with our problems, we are now held captive by them.
You might be reading this and realize that my story sounds oddly familiar to your story. Or maybe your story is different, but the underlying principle is the same – that somewhere in your life there was pain, heartache, despair, devastation, or fear. And while you thought you dealt with it, because you continued to SURVIVE, you realize that maybe, just maybe, you never really did deal with it, because that time of pain still manifests itself in your life today. It still haunts you and holds you back from God’s beautiful plan for your life.
If you’re sitting there thinking this, please know that you’re not alone, because all of these thoughts, questions, and realizations are ones that came to the forefront of my own life here at YWAM during my DTS.
I came to Kona for my DTS with the intent of expanding my medical knowledge, learning a bit about God, and then going on an outreach where I’d be able to utilize my medical skills to help those in need. I was under the impression that I had dealt with my past. That I had moved on from the pain that had engulfed me and I was now ready to move on to a new phase of my life.
After a few weeks here, however, I realized that the picture I had envisioned for this season of my life was only somewhat accurate. While my medical knowledge is definitely growing (I at least got this part right), my knowledge of what it means to be a Christian, as well as my relationship and walk with Christ has grown exponentially; and this growth, the portion that has brought me the greatest joy since arriving here at YWAM Ships, has also brought up all of that pain, heartbreak, and devastation that I felt a year ago.
Now reading this, you may think that this sounds awful, and it was, at first. Because the minute this deep, emotional trauma came bubbling back to the surface again, I fled from it as fast as I could. I wanted nothing to do with it.
But I’ll let you in on a secret. God doesn’t let us run from our problems. He may let us hide for a little while, but eventually our loving Father brings all of that junk right back around again. Why? Because we HAVE to deal with it. We have to sift through it. We have to understand it. We have to figure out how it affected us, shaped us. Because only then can we begin to heal from it.
Only then are we free.
When all of these emotions came flooding back, they seemed to consume me all over again. I crumbled. I was angry, sad, confused, and I hated it. I felt like I was right back where I was a year ago. But I wasn’t. This time was different. This time I had something that I didn’t back then. This time I had God.
Not an abstract God that saw my pain, and knew my heart, but really couldn’t do anything for me. No. I had God, MY FATHER. A Father who told me, “You are my child, I will not leave you, nor will I forsake you.” A Father who didn’t just know my pain, but FELT my pain. Who didn’t just see me cry, but cried WITH me.
This time I had the knowledge of a Father who so desperately wanted to walk with me, to take away all of my pain and heartache and replace it with hope and joy.
Before my DTS, I didn’t realize that my thoughts, my actions, and my life were all held captive by the pain of my past. I didn’t realize that I was so guarded from what my heart had experienced that I never truly dealt with the pain, but rather chose to bury it as deep down as I could.
But over the last 8 weeks, I finally found the missing piece, the piece that truly allows us to heal and move forward. That piece is God.
DTS is more than just a place where you learn about who God is. It’s about finding yourself in Him. It’s about looking deep inside your own heart and allowing God to bring up all the junk that you’ve been hiding.
It’s about standing up and saying, “I refuse to be a prisoner of my past. I refuse to be a victim of my pain.” It’s about allowing God to walk you back through the hurt so that you can finally allow your heart to heal.
By Heather Fedak
Port YWAM Kona DTS student