Open to Heal: Awaken My Heart Weeks 10-12

Introduction

Weeks 10-12 of this devotional seemed to be much about healing and finding your meaning in God. Week 10 was all about healing or rather allowing God to be the divine healer. Week 11 called the readers to make life meaningful through daily prayer. Week 12 was all about how we speak to ourselves and healing from the lies that we have been taught throughout our lives. These weeks really challenged me to come to terms with my tendencies to "know" God but not "experience" or "see" God in my life. It also gave me a chance to reflect on how healing isn't a matter of just saying "I forgive you" and the pain disappearing, but truly about how pain can have long-term affects that children may not realize at the time.

Week 10: Let Him Heal You

Verse of the Week: None

This Week Emily acknowledges that there has been a time in each of our lives that we have felt that God has abandoned us. She references Christ's words on the cross "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" She tells the readers perhaps some of them have sobbed those words before. This weeks centers on allowing us to recognize that God was there in the times we perceived he was not. This week asks that the reader "step into the healing" (53)

This week the "Soul Exercises" were:

  1. Take the time to revisit those places and feeling of being abandoned by God. Allow yourself to walk there in prayer with Christ, and let him reveal himself to you in a new way in the midst of that suffering and pain.

  2. Sit with the scene of the Passion (Lk 23:26-49) this week, and pray most especially with that moment when Jesus called out the Father in agony. What does this scene bring up in your heart? What is the Lord speaking to you through it?

The "Your Heart's Prayer This Week" was:

Jesus, I know you never abandon me, but there are times where if has truly felt as if you have. I invite you and give you permission to take me back to those moments in my life where I felt that you were not there with me. Reveal to me your presence in those moments, in that season. Show me your face in the midst of my past and current sufferings. Awaken my heart to see that you know the pain of feeling of being forgotten and abandoned, that you understand and have compassion for my feelings of desertion and sorrow. Amen.

I recalled a few different times where I felt that the lord was not present in a moment of pain and suffering. I worked through three situations this week. I will mention one. There was a period in my third grade year where the main way I got teased was by a group of boys asking me to "play dead". This began as a result of me doing so before parent teacher conferences. I knew the boys were laughing at me but I didn't know how to say no to them or perhaps it was a lack of strength. I did not get much attention from peers back then so perhaps I accepted the attention despite the negative feelings it gave me. I began to receive some healing during this week. Later on in the journey a more pronounced healing would come for some deep childhood wounds that I wasn't aware I had residual pain from.

Song of the Week: Heal The Wound by: Point of Grace

Week 11: Make It Meaningful

Verse of the Week: None

This week Emily reflected on how we can get caught up in the busyness of life. Our days can become monotonous. She connected it to her life as a young mother and how some of her daily chores include: "another load of laundry, changing another diaper, unloading the dishwasher again, or washing pots and pans after dinner every night" (58). Then she reflects on a meeting with her friend Sr. Francesca of the Lamb of God. This nun at that time "her duties in the convent had recently changed and that she was now responsible for more cleaning, including scrubbing all the toilets in the building" (58). This sister praised God for her job of scrubbing toilets which she acknowledged was her way of bringing glory to him. Emily then highlights the words of Theresa of Avila when she told her sisters "'...remember that our Lord goes along with you, to help with you both in your interior and exterior duties'"(58). So Emily took those words to heart and start praying while she washed dishes. Thus, she encourages the reader to turn their daily tasks into a time to pray.

This week the "Soul Exercises" were:

  1. What are some of the routine boxes you have to check off every day? Do they include changing diapers, cooking dinner, going to class, clocking in at work? Who can you pray for as you do these task this week?

  2. This week, identify at least two areas in your life where you can make your work a prayer. Write them down and try it for a week. Make the effort to pray throughout these tasks this week. Notice how your prayer changes them, and changes you.

The "Your Heart's Prayer This Week" was:

Jesus, there are many moments of monotony in my life. I don't wish to wish my days aways, dreaming of a more exciting and fanciful life, mindlessly checking boxes on my to-do list. Awaken my heart to these moments of my everyday schedule, these moments of fulfilling my vocation, these moments that seem to mean nothing. Help me turn them into sacred moments to connect with you throughout my day. Amen.

I wrote up a whole list of activities that I did throughout a week at college. I chose a person or persons to pray for. I will be frank that may have written up the list but I was not great at remembering to actually make these activities into times of prayer. When I was able to remember to do so it made it feel as if God was right at my side. I also felt like I was accepting his invitation to be with me always. It made it easier to do my work and felt like I could get more done asking God and the Holy Spirit into my every moment.

Song of the Week: What Faith Can Do? by: Kutless

Week 12 : Silence the Self-Loathing

Verse of the Week: None

Emily began this week's reflection with a hypothetical of an artist who was poured his heart and soul into a project and then someone saying "'Wow, what an ugly you made there. It's hideous! What were you thinking?'"(62). She then points out that is what happens when people speak ugly words about themselves "in the presence of God" (62). She shared a story about a song she sang in high school that reflected her body image at the time. She then shared that few months prior to her writing this reflection that she had a conversation with her sister where she was talking negatively about herself and her sister simply told her to "'Stop Talking'". This week Emily extends her hand to the reader inviting them to "rearrange the lies you have believed and spoken to yourself for years" (62). She also encourages them to "talk to a friend or a counselor about this" if they need to as a way to begin the process of undoing these lies.

This week the "Soul Exercises" were:

  1. Do you typically speak positively or negatively to yourself? If you speak negatively to yourself, what are some of the thing say? Write them down. Would you say those things to another woman?

  2. Take time this week to write a letter from God to you, telling you what he sees in you, and who you made you to be. Ask him to take the pen and speak the truth of who you are in your writing.

The "Your Heart's Prayer This Week" was:

Jesus, I know you did not create me to spend a lifetime putting myself down. Give me the grace to be a woman who is confident, humble, graceful, and strong. I want to speak words of life to others and I want to speak words of my life to myself. Each time I am tempted to insult who made me to be, help me to choose positivity and kindness instead. You make only good and beautiful things. Thank you for creating me as one of them. Amen.

I honestly admitted to myself that I tend to talk down to myself. I did make a list of lies. The ones that came to my mind first are perhaps those that I struggle with the most. However, some of the ones that appeared at the end I struggle with much such as the lie that friends I have will leave me behind if they really get to know me enough. I think is because of much of the bullying I experienced in childhood such as was addressed in week 10. When I wrote the letter from God to me, I was affirmed in daughterhood. I also knew it was God controlling the pen because the words said are some of those when I try to say them to myself I find them hard to accept. It also reminded me of my need to ask God more often what he thinks of me and how he wants me to see myself.

Song of the Week: Be Kind To Yourself by: Andrew Peterson

Conclusion

My largest takeaway from these weeks as a whole was that healing is truly a process. Healing takes time and sometimes in the midst of the healing we need to remind ourselves the healer is God not us and we need to ask him to lead us in the healing. He will give us time to heal, but he wants to be included in that healing or rather wants to be invited in to perform his acts as the divine physician so that we can live the life he has made us for.


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