This post – Parts 1 and 2 – are dedicated to my therapist Elizabeth Steinmann, who saw my need and helped me ask God for His peace, even when I wasn’t sure how.
(Part 1 ends with me sharing a heartfelt journal/email entry, which I had written from pain deep in my soul…)
My therapist assured me that this was not a crisis of faith, nor unconfessed anger or unforgiveness. We talked a bit about those things, and I told her that I had tried to honestly assess and I couldn’t find any. She agreed – said that she hadn’t seen any evidence of them either. Then came the cool part!
She asked me to close my eyes and focus on my heart. “Remember to breathe! So what does your heart feel like?” She began to pray, asked God for His peace to comfort me. And as she guided my focus and prayers, I described and prayed what I felt.
My heart looked like a crazy twisted ball of thick and thin wires, a tangled mess. It was very heavy. And I wanted to lift it to God, I tried to give it to Him, but my arms were not strong enough. I prayed aloud and asked Him to lift my heart up to Himself, and take the contorted ball for me. He reached down and lifted it up and out of my sight.
Elizabeth asked me what I wanted to do next. And she again reminded me to breathe. I told her that I wanted to crawl up on God’s lap and let Him hold me while I cried. She encouraged me to go ahead. So I did.
Ever since I was little, I have this mental picture of me on God’s lap. I can’t see His face, but He is big and strong. I sit sideways on His lap, my head against His chest, and His strong arms hold me, firmly yet somehow gently. Love flows through His large hands.
This time, I also felt Him from behind me, like He was hugging me with His hands wrapped around onto my arms, and His face close to mine as He whispered into my ear, “I love you, Peggy.” I closed my eyes and received His hug. I brought my hands up to place mine on His. My therapist said that it’s good – she could see me receiving His forgiveness, and saw me forgiving myself. I cried as I prayed, asking God to forgive me for moving away from Him.
When we were done praying, I was smiling through tears. And I’ve been reminded of an important truth. It’s not enough for me to ask God for help or forgiveness. I need to stay in His Presence and receive what He has for me. His peace. His forgiveness. His grace. His unconditional love. I need to stay with Him as I meditate on who He is and what He has done for me. I need to stay with Him until I am covered by His “peace that passes all understanding.” (Phil 4:7a) He gives peace, not chaos. So I can stay with Him until I am more peaceful. I need to “Be still and know that [He is] God.” (Psalm 46:10a)
I tend to rush. But what God wants most of all is that I slow down, spend time with Him, enjoying Him, learning about Him and His character and how to see myself the way He sees me – as His precious beloved child. I cannot rush that. I don’t want to miss it.