In a recent post (Pain) I wrote about the difficulties I had been having getting over hurts from my childhood. Even though my parents have been loving and good parents on the whole, there were painful memories and resentment that I was holding on to from the past. Every time I visited my parents the old pain would be renewed, and I would come home unsettled and fighting depression again. This happened many times, so that I began to avoid visiting their home.
The last time this happened was at Easter. I was bitterly disappointed, because I wanted to be able to move on and not have this horrible pain, dealing with the same thing over and over again. I felt like a child who couldn’t grow up. It helped to remind myslf of God’s love and his acceptance, but I still couldn’t let go of the resentment towards my parents. I asked God, “How can I get past this?”
The answer came when I met with a close friend and her husband for prayer. My friend asked God for healing for the hurt places in my life, going all the way back to the little girl I was, who believed herself to be unloved. And then she gave me a verse. It is very well-known, but I had never applied it in this way before:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
She prayed that when I would think of my parents, I would think of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, etc: that my thoughts and memories of my parents would focus on the lovely, praiseworthy things about them (and there are so many – thank you Lord!). I realised that my mind had been set on a certain track, so that when I thought about them I would focus on things that I resented, and each time my thoughts went that way, the groove would become deeper and it became more and more difficult for me to think about them any other way. God was asking me to consciously change my thought patterns. I had been asking God for the way forward, and He had shown me the path.
After my friend prayed I realised that I needed to repent of my wrong attitude towards my parents, particularly the way I had judged them and criticised them for years. So I did that. When I went home I felt like a huge load had come off me. I was exhausted, but free.
Since then the pain is gone. It sounds simplistic, but it really is completely different. I was a wreck emotionally before I went to that prayer meeting, and since then, I have been at peace. The real test will be when I see my parents again. Will the old hurts still sting, or are they healed forever? At least I now have a way forward. If I am hurt again, I can choose to think on ‘whatever is lovely.’