Some things stick so sharp in memory, like blades thrown hard in a turning board.
And those memories reveal more than just the details of an event.
Memories reveal truths about the person remembering them, things we need to look at in ourselves. Rather than make accusations, or lay blame, or look to others for resolution, when a painful memory arises we have an opportunity to see something that has been hidden.
My earliest memory always troubled me. I saw home videos of myself as a child, giggling and playing. So I know that I had those moments, but that is not what I remember early on.
My first memory is of a family altercation that left my mother in tears. I remember feeling angry and protective of her, as little as I was, around three years old. That memory would come up at random times and stab away at me again.
I shared the story with women friends last week. We were praying for each other and agreeing with one another’s desire to go to a new level of health and strength. They asked me if I wanted to pray through the memory with them.
“Of course,” I said. “I want to be done with this.”
I have recommended a book several times on this site, and it’s becoming a staple around here. Praying Medic’s book, Emotional Healing in 3 Easy Steps, is so simple that it seems like it can’t be real. But it works. I’ve used it alone, with others, and now I’ve had friends walk through it with me. It’s powerful and deceptively simple.
My friends were familiar with the book and started praying and talking through the method with me.
It really is three easy steps. The book is more thorough and gives anecdotes and testimonies, but, basically, you bring up the memory in your mind. You share the emotion that you feel when you focus on the memory. And then you give that emotion to Jesus. Repeat the steps until there is no negative emotion left, until you feel peace.
When I first focused on the memory, I felt anger. Absolute rage. I remember taking a box of tissue to my mother and being furious that someone would be so mean to her to leave her crying like that.
I saw Jesus standing there. I gave the rage to Him.
My friend Ginny said, “Ok, now go back to that memory. You are standing by your mother. What do you feel now towards the person who hurt her?”
Disgust. A wave of disgust that felt like it could knock me over. Horrific gobs of disgust.
“Ok,” she said. Give the disgust to Jesus.”
“Ok.” I gave it to Jesus.
“Now go back. What do you feel now?”
Still disgust. Not surprising, really. There was a lot of disgust.
“Ok, that’s ok,” she said. “Sometimes you have to give it to Him more than once. Just say, ‘Jesus, I give you this disgust.'”
And I could not do it.
I’m not even kidding. I could not do it.
It surprised me. I am an emotionally aware person, and I wanted to be healed. But I could not let it go. It was a physical sensation even, a tightness in my throat.
Why would anyone want to hold on to it?
And I didn’t really, but I couldn’t let it go.
The women prayed, and we just waited. I couldn’t say the words. Did I mention that it was 3 am?
Perfect love doesn’t watch the clock.
It was like digging out a dandelion root. The Holy Spirit was leading me down and down and down to something so deep that I didn’t even know it was there.
I have been to more counselors and pastor’s meetings and prayer groups than I can count. I have read books on healing and had multiple experiences with deliverance in many forms. I have forgiven much. And I am so much stronger than I was. None of it was wasted, and I have been healed of so much pain.
But I was confused that night because I was looking for more pain at the roots of these old things. I thought that when I let go of the disgust, I would feel more pain. But pain and hurt were not present. I’ve been healed of so much of that.
When I finally was able to choke out the words, “I give You the disgust,” it felt like some great covering was wrenched from me. I felt wide open, exposed.
My friend said, “Ok. You are back in the room. Now what do you feel?”
I thought I would say “pain.” But it wasn’t that.
It was fear.
A sharp and bright little burning flame of fear. A child’s world rocked to the core. It scared me so much, the screaming and the crying. And as a child, I guess I went straight to disgust and anger to protect myself. And then carried it all around for years like a shield.
I think the pain actually came later, as the implications of the problems became more clear, the waste and the disappointment. But in the beginning, it was just simple fear.
Fear is at the root of so much of our junk.
“Ok,” Ginny said. “Give Jesus the fear.”
So I did. That part was easier. But I guess that fear and I go way back. Further than I even thought. It’s a battle I’ve fought for a long time. And the Lord spoke “Lady the Fearless” over me when I asked Him the name of this blog. He meant it.
He’s speaking “Fearless” over you.
And He means it.
We are getting healed. Together.
When you remember something that stabs at you, what is the heart, the soul, the spirit within you trying to say about the past and what needs healing and release?
Perfect love casts out fear. 1John4:18b
And a thank you to the women of Facebook at Lisa Palieri Perna’s Daddy’s Girl conference. You know who you are. May you be richly blessed.