Part II: Wounds in need of healing.
Ten symptoms that indicate wounds that are in need of being healed:
- You avoid specific places.
- You avoid certain people.
- You have made a silent inner vow.
- You suffer from emotional triggers.
- You engage in addictive behaviors or have an unhealthy attachment.
- You wound others.
- You experience ongoing, unresolved grief.
- Your thoughts bully you.
- You have a secret you’ve never told anyone.
- You struggle to verbalize your hurt.
Regardless of whether or not you knew Shelley Lubben (1968-2019), if you were able to identify with any of these symptoms, they are indicators that you are quite possibly struggling with unforgiveness, evidenced by guilt, grudges, and grief. The purpose of this blog is to assist not only those who are grieving over the unexpected death of Shelley, but also anyone who may find themselves stuck in the grieving process. You could be grieving the death of a loved one, a friend or family member that you had a falling out with and were never able to reconcile with prior to their death, or perhaps it’s the loss of a job, marriage, child, or even an expectation that never came to pass. All of these experiences will generate the stages of loss, whether you want it to or not. How you handle the process affects you directly and those around you, as well.
Here’s how to help yourself transition through the stages of loss:
Filter all those feelings, emotions, and thoughts through the Word of God. Turn to Him and His Word to help you through this process. The amazing thing about God is that He’ll bring good out of evil. You may be asking how can Jesus help me with grudges, guilt, and grief?
Let me tell you: He’ll turn wounds into wisdom, pain into gain, and He uses correction to bring about perfection. He uses offenses to remove the pretenses. He humbles us to remove the pride. He uses our bruises for good and when others bash us, He uses it to bless us, if we allow Him to.
“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose,” Romans 8:28.
God is a GOOD God. He knows how to turn even bad things into good.
Read it again, it’s IN ALL THINGS God works good out of bad, however this promise is only good for believers. God uses the conflicts and crises to develop our character. He can use the bad things that were done to us, including our damaged senses, mind, emotions.
He turns our hurts into holiness. There is a lot of bad that happens to us that is the result of decisions we make and that others make. It’s a part of life. How we react and respond to those hurts ultimately is our responsibility, not anyone else’s. It also reveals our maturity. We can choose to hold onto grudges, guilt, and grief or we can choose to forgive in order to begin the process of healing and restoration to our minds, spirits, emotions and even physical body.
Most believers know Romans 8:28 by heart, but let’s look at verse 29 to get a perspective that can support the principles I’m sharing with you.
For He knew all about us before we were born and He destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of His Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like Him.
God knew His purpose from the very beginning … He planned in advance that we’d all become like Jesus, to become a member of His family.
Instead of focusing on your wounds and what someone else did to you, I encourage you to redirect your focus to the character of Christ. He’s more interested in your character than your comfort. This life is preparation for the next. In heaven there is no sorrow, suffering, or sadness. This is the character development stage.
When you find yourself asking why is this happening? Look at Romans 8:29. When hurt happens, we need to be asking:
What do you want to teach me, God?
What character do you want to grow in me?
What is Jesus like? Galatians 5:22-23 gives us the perfect picture of Christ:
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.
I’ll say it again, allow God to turn your hurts into holiness. It’s His perfect will to do so. Jesus was the first born of restored humanity. So that we see our intended shape of our lives in Him, He wants us to become godly. Holiness is only attainable through acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died in order to bridge the gap between us and God that sin causes. We become holy every time we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins. In a process that we don’t fully understand, immediately we are forgiven. He throws our sins as far as the East is from the West and remembers them no more. Though once stained with sin, we become white as snow in the great exchange.
That exchange is the only thing that has enabled me to move past holding grudges, unforgiveness and unresolved grief. I’ve experienced a massive amount of betrayal, rejection, abandonment, and pain over my lifetime, especially in the past 2-5 years. But almost 20 years ago, after I had recommitted my life to Christ, God began the process of teaching me what led to me backsliding 7 years prior.
What happened? I’m not going into all the details, but simply, I chose to not forgive people who wounded me. Oh, it wasn’t as obvious as it is writing it out now, but the bottom line was that I chose to hold onto the offense(s) … to act as if I was God … and it resulted in taking me down a road I never dreamed, nor anyone else imagined I’d ever go down.
I went from being a wife, who was a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, varsity track and swim coach, and elementary and middle school bus driver to someone who rebelled against God, resulting in a divorce, drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness, suicide attempts, becoming a victim of domestic violence and human trafficking with a felony charge of assault and battery.
Sin will always take you further than you expect it to.
I ended up in a black hole, hit rock bottom and it was there that I surrendered my life and my will to do things my way, to God. To say what He wanted me to say, do what He wanted me to do, and go where He wanted me to go.
I want to lovingly warn believers that if we don’t choose to forgive Shelley or anyone that has hurt us, it’s compromising basic godly principles and though it might be a slow fade, we could end up like her. I know I could have and we all have an enemy that is circling us looking for the opportunity to penetrate us with his fiery darts. Let the offense go. As John Bevere said in his book, “Bait of Satan”, drop the banana! Seriously, it’s life or death. And it’s our choice, ultimately.
Even 17 years ago, when I was facing incredible betrayal from a woman, which led to me grieving after finding out she was not who I had expected her to be in my life, God showed me to the stories of David and Joseph in the Bible. I found comfort, hope and could totally relate to their experiences; their tests, trials and challenges. I’ve returned to these stories countless times after experiencing pain and hurt from people over the years. Now, as I look at my life, where I am, what I’m doing, the countless blessings I have, an amazing marriage for 16+ years, the ranch, the animals, all the beautiful children and adults I am privileged to serve and mentor, my art studio, the commissions I do, lessons I teach, horses I ride and all the blessings we’ve been entrusted as stewards over and to bless others with, I can truly say that I’m grateful for every one of the trials, challenges, and pain that led to such a time as this.
I’m so grateful that God enabled me with the grace to forgive those who have wounded me, both unintentionally and intentionally. I’m thankful that I forgave Shelley when I last spent time with her. I’m very grateful for my education as a therapist and my personal journey of healing that has empowered me to not take it personally when people are mean, disappointing, or have contradictions in their lives. I realize that people hurt other people because of their woundedness and ultimately, when it happens to me, its about a process that God wants me to go through in order to be more like Jesus’ character. Holding onto an offense(s) has the potential to traumatize us even more emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically. It alters our perspective and can result in not only wounding others, but ourselves even more. If we’re not able to process grief in a healthy manner, getting stuck can result in seriously impacting not only us, but those we love and people that we were destined to impact. If I ever doubt that truth, I can reflect back at my life and Shelley’s to learn valuable lessons. If you’re honest with yourself, you can also.
I truly am sorry that she hurt so many, but I also know she helped countless people and with modern technology, her life will continue to add names to the Lamb’s Book of Life, inspire people to stand up against evil and give them hope that they can overcome injustices done to them. God is going to continue to use her writing and videos, websites, profiles, and research to inspire people to live their lives radically for Jesus. Her legacy will live on beyond what any of us can comprehend and even what was meant for evil, God will use it for His glory. Shelley Lubben was a fierce, passionate, outspoken, champion for Jesus and a wounded warrior, who never stopped trying to help other deeply wounded people.
Wounded people wound other people.
Forgiveness is giving up the right to hurt back.