Some people meditate or pray for the right theme word.
Instead of a New Year's resolution, we have a theme for 2019. It's a word or phrase that's linked to our dreams, goals, or something we're hoping for in the future. It could relate to our health, relationships, faith, careers, bucket list, or our deepest aspirations.
Four years ago, on New Year's Day I made a vision board using my theme word. I loved the creativity! It was a daily reminder to keep me on task. Also, it was a great visual tool to motivate me, especially during hard times when my plans weren't going my way.
In advance, I always pray about it. I ask God to provide me a powerful word for the upcoming year. Then I wait on Him for His revelation.
A few months ago, the Lord gave me a single word: Release. Silently, I thought, “What does that mean and how does it pertain to me?”
Intrigued, I researched the definition. I needed to know how it relates to my life. Excited to gain more insight, the word “Release” has given me so much hope.
According to the Dictionary of English Language, the word release is defined as, “To set free from confinement, restraint, or bondage: released the prisoners.”
In Dictionary.com, it says, “To free from pain and obligation. To let go. To free from anything that constrains.”
As I ended 2018, I knew there was more to my theme word. It wasn't just about releasing old stuff or walking in freedom. Instead, it was also about healing; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Releasing my painful past is directly connected to healing. Therefore, my 2019 theme has become "Release & Heal."
For some readers, my theme word may not make sense. Or you may not fully understand how far I've come in my wilderness journey. For me, the words “Release & Heal” is powerful!
You see, in 2016, God started doing something new in me. There was a shift. It started out very subtle. By 2018, it was blatantly clear.
The Lord was uprooting old junk, including from my childhood. Hard stuff that scarred me badly. Things that I couldn't understand as a little girl, including physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse. Total dysfunction. It wasn't a one time occurrence. Rather, it was repeated, habitual abuse that lasted longer than one year.
God had His sovereign hand upon my life. Even smack-dab in the darkness. He's plowing through my painful past. Those horrible messy places that I didn't want to deal with. Part of the excavation includes uprooting old trauma. My Abba Daddy loves me so much that gently nudges me to do the hard work of healing trauma.
Today, I recognize it for what it is. Evil. Sinful. Appalling. And I wouldn't doubt that I have Complex PTSD based on my past nightmare. Despite the traumatic experiences, I'm holding onto my heavenly Father who gives me hope for my future.
Although, it’s turned my world upside down, it has given me the opportunity to process the pain. To revisit the hellish ordeal that happened to me. To lament. To let the tears flow. To be justified for my anger. To vent. To confront tragic loss. To grieve. For layer after layer of despicable offences to be examined and exposed.
It's also helped me to re-establish healthy boundaries. To weed out toxic people even if they are relatives or friends. To grow personally, professionally, and spiritually.
Essentially, it’s a grueling process. I admit, I don't like it one bit. Releasing and healing is hard work! It's uncomfortable. It increases my anxiety. Sometimes, I can't sleep at night. And there are moments when sadness overwhelms me.
Yet, the only way to be delivered from this mess is to sift through the dirt. To seek professional help with a trauma counselor. To journal. To give myself permission to express my roller coaster emotions. And to surrender everything to God.
Thankfully, Jesus brings to light everything hidden. His purpose is for me to examine false beliefs, deception, and spiritual bondage. His goal is to tear down every stronghold, including the one's I wasn't aware of.
Layer by layer, Christ sieves through the filth. He exposes what the enemy tried to use to keep me hostage. Oftentimes, when I clearly recognize the junk of my past, I'm shaken up. It's mind-boggling that it was concealed for all of these years. That trauma can be repressed for countless decades.
The Lord shows me important things. He’s opening up my eyes for a new perspective. He’s gently asking me to consciously acknowledge the truth. Not the simple truth, but the kind that stabs you where it hurts most.
It’s a major excavation. Extreme anguish for me. When I start plowing through the muck and mire, it can upturn suppressed memories. I am forced to retrace my steps. To bring the lies into the light. To build awareness. And to not stay silent.
There is no way to be healed, unless I intentionally sort through the weeds and the wounds. My heavenly Father has a plan to use everything, even trauma, for something good. He’s promised me that on the other side of this gaping, bloody wound is restoration.
More than anything, what I want for 2019 is to be whole. To be healed. To be in a better place; emotionally. To restore what God has promised for me.
This is the almighty promise I stand on today. “God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he'll have compassion on you; he'll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.” Deuteronomy 30:3 (MSG)
Ultimately, His revelation of the word “Release & Heal” signifies the heavy burdens being lifted off of me. To be delivered. To be made complete. For God to fulfill his plan for me. To have peace of mind. And to rejoice in Christ who gives me freedom.
Today, I don't know if you've endured abuse, family dysfunction, or trauma? If so, I pray for you to not fake that everything is fine, but to work through the messy places.
Through the pain, may you come to know peace. Through the heartache, may you release old wounds. Through Jesus Christ, may you embrace healing. Through the valleys, may you obtain His victory.