God is about redeeming us…..

Not to long ago my husband and I were reflecting on our earlier years of marriage and he brought up the subject of my earlier anger issues. My anger came to the surface soon after we married. He  went on to share how my anger had scared him in those early years partly because he didn’t know where it came from, and partly because he didn’t grow up in a home where he saw such rage explode. My anger would raise its ugly head over seemingly small issues. He also shared how amazed he was that God had healed my rage years ago. He watched the transformation and he knew I was no longer an angry person. I was at peace.

 And then he asked how I dealt with it, how did I get past all the rage, what had happened?

 Whenever we’ve talked about this in the past I would feel such shame and didn’t want to talk about it. I felt shame because I knew in those earlier years that my anger/rage wounded my husband and family. I grieved those times. I was deeply saddened that my anger was directed at the wrong people and the wrong things. And I’ve struggled to put into words how God healed this area in my life. How God took all the pent up rage and healed my fragmented heart.

 Abuse victims often go numb. We stuff our anger. We are scared of anger. Often the anger we should feel towards our abuser gets turned inward, we turn this anger in on ourselves. We think there is no anger yet it is there, often just below the surface. And sometimes even little things trigger it causing it to explode and come to the surface.

 When I was finally in counseling several years after we were married I came to understand that God gave me emotions, feelings. That the bible even commands us to be angry-Ephesians 4:26 “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” With this command comes a stipulation-be angry but in our anger don’t sin.

 We’ve been wired to feel anger. But when is anger acceptable? When is it appropriate? Sadly, too often we get angry at the wrong things. Like when we try to control people and they don’t listen to us and we get angry.

 But when we allow ourselves to get angry at what God is angry about…such as betrayal, injustice, abuse, this is righteous anger…we are wired to feel this kind of anger so that we can do something about it.

 Many of us are scared of our anger.

 In counseling I entered the grieving stage. And part of the grieving stage was facing the anger. For the first time in my life I dealt with my anger. I was in a safe place, and I was permitted to finally face, and to feel, all the rage turned inward and put it where it belonged. I finally felt anger/rage towards my abusers. I put the anger where it belonged. And in doing so I stopped punishing myself, hating myself.

 When we enter the angry stage we are in essence pushing the memory away so that it no longer controls us…so it’s not so heavy and present in our lives….we release it.

 God is about redeeming us…and when we begin to feel our feelings we are beginning to redeem our body, reclaiming it…because abuse victims go numb we are in essence reclaiming it, bringing it back under His kingdom domain…this is part of His redemption.

 Sometimes we mistake grieving as depression. While it may be true that depression is anger turned inward this is really an oversimplification. Because when we enter the grieving process we at some point will then enter the angry stage….and although it’s important to be angry…we can’t stay there.

In depression we are stuck…in grieving we are moving through it…we can feel a moving through it, as we experience and get in touch with our anger and sadness.

When we are not allowed to feel anger towards our abuser we get stuck, we begin to feel hopeless….when we go through the grieving stages we can’t skip over the anger part, because that doesn’t resolve anything, that doesn’t bring God’s redemption.

But we can’t rush the process….sometimes healing hurts more at the beginning…and that is too often where we stop but we need to continue through the process.

And all too often well meaning friends, Pastors, even counselors, tell us that we shouldn’t stay in the anger stage too long, that we need to move through it quickly and get past it, forgive and move on.

How long should it take some ask…..my answer, as long as it needs to take!!

 Often the younger we are when we were abused, and the deeper the wound, the more time it takes to heal.

 Healing takes time….give yourself, and give God permission, to take all the time needed in order for healing and redemption to do it’s work. I am still amazed (and so is my husband) that I no longer feel that simmering anger, that rage hiding just below the surface……God’s love is a redeeming love, He can truly heal and bring peace to our wounded and troubled hearts!!!

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8 thoughts on “God is about redeeming us…..

  1. We must have been writing at the same time. This is good stuff. I wish I was where you are with this – I have a long way to go…

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  2. thanks Connie, this is so good to read & be reminded of. i had someone say to me the other day “Lynn, you’re doing good, you’re not angry anymore” On the one hand I agreed with her yes I am learning to be at peace with myself & God. but on the other I was kind of mad, because she equated my anger at my abuser with a lack of walk with God. I desperately wanted to walk with God in the time of intensly working through my abuse with a counselor. I didn’t know what to do with the anger that was mostly spilling out upon myself but also others around me. the great thing is that even though there are still times when I “erupt” emotionally upon myself, more often than not I have found the strength in God to rebuke the lies and value myself & the little girl i all too often blame. God is showing me who & how to be angry at and I’m safe there. thanks for the great word connie. It is so cool too that your hubby is seeing the fruit of your victory in this area.

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  3. ((((Lisa)))), you are further along than you give yourself credit for!!
    Lynn, this is exactly what upsets me~when people equate our anger at our abuser or the abuse with a lack of walk with God, that somehow we are less spiritual….while its true that we can’t stay there forever, or get stuck in the angry stage, nonetheless it is very crucial that we feel the anger and put it where it rightfully belongs….eventually, as we are working through this in a safe place, with safe people, the anger will dissipate as the Holy Spirit comes and replaces our anger with His peace and His love.
    After I worked through the anger I was then able to take it to the cross and submit it to my Lord, on bended knee I let it go….I gave it to Him and eventually forgiveness replaced it…and slowly I could begin to pray for my abusers…..but it was a long difficult journey.
    I find that all to often those who equate our anger during the process of our healing perhaps have never experienced abuse or maybe they have never experienced the deep, soul cleansing work of the Holy Spirit!!

    ((((Lynn)))), I rejoice that you recognize the lies and are coming to value the little girl!! That is huge!! Praise the Lord!!

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  4. Jen I don’t think there’s an easy answer to your question.

    I specifically went to counseling to make progress in working through anger. There was no straight 1-2-3 solution and I don’t feel like I’m ‘finished’ yet but there has definitely been progress made where I couldn’t seem to get there on my own.

    God bless!

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  5. I”ve been going to counseling, but it just seems like it goes on and on and there’s never any progress. The counselor is good, but my mind just won’t let go.

    Thanks for replying though and congrats on your progress,

    Jen

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  6. I recognize myself in this. I have huge bursts of anger that are mostly deep frustration at myself for not being able to not please other people. I freak out at my husband for the choices I ahve actually made myself. I blame myself. There is probably more abuse lurking in my childhood than I remember. I have been in a process with deep grieving, depression and finally even rightful anger. But it seems to continue , these irrational outbursts. I have been in counseling for years. She is welcoming my anger, but my progress is very slow.

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