While I was writing the recent blog posts, I consulted with Angela Holland, a marriage and family therapist in Coeur d’Alene. Pastoral counseling like I do does not involve professional therapy. Often when I’m meeting with someone, I determine their presenting problem requires deeper counseling expertise than I’m equipped to provide, and I refer that person to a professional therapist. I’ve received positive feedback from women who have worked with Angela.
Angela told me she always encourages women working through painful issues to pay particular attention to personal wellness. I agree. Even though wellness basics may seem like simplistic remedies, they are vitally important to not only physical, but emotional and spiritual well being. Some of Angela’s main wellness tips include:
- Make sure you’re getting enough rest. (Sue’s note: Recently I read that sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is take a nap. I liked that advice!)
- Exercise regularly.
- Learn about and practice good nutrition.
- Take a vitamin supplement.
- Spend time with friends.
- Find enjoyable, rejuvenating hobbies and activities, which are implemented at least weekly.
Baruch Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher who lived in the 1600’s said, “Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.” A well-rested, healthy body helps tremendously when we’re trying to form clear, precise pictures related to emotional suffering—such as any type of childhood abuse.
Therapy without the element of faith can be effective and helpful, but I cannot imagine taking a journey of deep emotional healing without the hope my faith gives. Angela told me some women with whom she’s worked—women who view God as loving and caring—have found great healing by visualizing the Lord is parenting that wounded ‘little girl’ residing within. She told about one woman who couldn’t seem to move beyond the pain. “One session,” Angela said, “I suggested she let the Lord parent the little girl, and shortly after that, she started to make real progress as she experienced God parenting her in ways she had not been open to or able to recognize prior to this. Amazing!”
Angela told me she’s discovered recently a book that seems to be a great resource for healing from sexual abuse issues: Healing the Wounded Heart: The Heartache of Sexual Abuse and the Hope of Transformation by Dan Allender.
The power of hope must never be underestimated. Hope is huge!
The musical Annie tells the story of a little orphaned girl who lived in an institution with many other girls. The children’s existence was bleak. Annie, an optimist if ever there was one, kept her spirits high with a song that declared, “The sun’ll come up tomorrow!” Her hopeful perspective makes me smile.
Nighttime can be scary with all of the unseen unknowns lurking in darkened shadows. A journey of emotional healing of any type is a process which begins in darkness. It takes time before light dawns, but hope assures us, eventually, the sun will come up.
I agree with what Max Lucado says about our journeys into emotional suffering: “You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With God’s help you will get through this.”
My prayer for each of you is that as you take steps into your journey of emotional healing, you will be filled with hope that assures: With God’s help, you will get through this and you will emerge into the sunlight of a new day!
The conditions for our early-morning springtime walk along Lake Coeur d’Alene were almost perfect. The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky. Gentle waves lapped rhythmically. We shared the morning perfection with these two geese sunning peacefully on a weathered pylon. Nature’s beauty reinforces the promise of hope and assurance that no matter how painful our journey may be, we will get through it.
Angela Holland, M.S., Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist/Advanced Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Damascus Road Christian Counseling & Recovery Services, 208=755-7198, www.damascuscounseling.com ↑