I hear the songs in my head. Melodies so familiar they bring tears to my eyes still. Words sung from the time my little voice learned to sing until I could not sing because it hurt so much. Songs that taught me about the church, doctrines and sometimes the miracles that Jesus performed. And perhaps he would perform if I just had enough faith, enough works, enough righteousness.
“I need a touch from you Jesus. I need a touch from you Lord. You can heal my body and you can heal my soul. Just one touch from you Lord can make me whole.”
“If I could but touch the hem of his garment. If I could but touch a part of his robe. I know I’d be healed. My sins all forgiven. If I could but touch him, I know I’ll be whole.”
“Touching Jesus is all that matters. Then your life will never be the same. There is only one way to touch Him. Just believe when you call on His name.”
“Hallelujah he’s an answering God. Hallelujah he’s an answering God. Yes we prayed in Jesus Name. And by faith the answer came. Hallelujah he’s an answering God”
The idea that if I prayed God would answer was ingrained into my identity from the minute I could talk. The answer to any problem was to “pray about it” or “seek his will with prayer and fasting” or “ask and you shall receive”. As a tiny girl I had faith that would move mountains. I had no doubt God would listen to me. And then I learned…well, he didn’t listen to me. When the nightmares began I prayed he would let me not have a nightmare, but they continued. When the boy shattered my soul I prayed that he would make the boy go away, but he didn’t. When my daddy started hitting my momma and she’d cry I prayed that God would make my daddy be nice to my momma, but he didn’t. But then God would answer random things, like when I prayed the new baby would PLEASE be a sister and at the age of 8 I received the best gift ever and finally had a sister.
Then I learned that sometimes God says no. Trust me, I think my momma majored in no, so God saying no was not a big surprise. I began to believe I didn’t have enough faith. So my prayer became, “Oh Lord, please help me have faith.” I prayed for things to change and sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t. Although I kept thinking perhaps this prayer thing wasn’t working I refused to believe anything other than God would answer. I learned to accept my disappointments and believe that God had everything worked out for me. That one day I would understand why he couldn’t answer my prayer and get me out of hell.
Intellectually I struggle with prayer. I swing from Abba will answer to he is somewhere playing checkers and lost my phone number. Yet I stubbornly cling to the idea that if I JUST pray hard enough, long enough, enough times, the right way that he will answer and his answer will be something other than no. I can’t let go that prayer is the foundation of my faith.
It’s good to have faith. It’s good to pray. It’s good to believe that Abba will answer. But I have to be willing to accept sometimes his answer isn’t yes and sometimes his answer isn’t no. Sometimes his answer is, “You need to get up from your bed and walk toward your healer.”
So I prayed and he answered. Her name is Lina. She and I spend every single Monday afternoon together. She opens the door to the church and we walk down the hall to her office. She offers me a cup of tea since I talk best with a cup in my hand. Once we get through formalities she sits in her chair and says, “Ok sweetheart. Tell me what is going on.” And I usually sigh and try to figure out how to tell her, “No, I didn’t do my homework.” “No, I didn’t get through the week without making at least 1 or 2 messes.” and “Yes. I still love my husband and I haven’t killed him yet.” And then we move on to the hard job of healing.
“It would be easier if Abba just waved a magic wound and healed me.” She just smiles. Which means she’s going into her preaching mode and will remind me that I already know the truth. “Healing is a process.” You think I don’t know this? I’ve been in this process for most of my life now. I’m quite done with the process. Why did they tell me that if I just ask him he’d heal me? Why did they tell me that if I could just touch the HEM of his garment he’d heal me? Why did they say that all I needed was to pray to this answering God who doesn’t have any intention of answering me?
And through my tear-filled eyes I see her. The woman that Abba is using to help heal the deep soul wounds. I smile because she’s really pushy and really gentle and I’m not sure what I think about her sometimes. I find myself thinking…”I love you. I hate you. I hate that I love you.”
I leave her office with a mixture of hope for my future and regret for my past and determination to make it through the day without an anxiety attack or ripping someone’s head off. Therapy is brutal for me. I don’t like it but I know that it’s necessary. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe Abba asked me to do this. That he has called me to be a voice for some of his most wounded children. That he’s asked me to live on the edge. Open and transparent. Raw and as real as I can be. I can’t help them until I my help myself.
That’s the tales from the therapist couch for this week.