(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Seeking the Wonderful Counselor in Steps of Healing
By Amber Johnson
Pounding the floor with each rhythmic step, a flood of emotions swept through my body during my morning treadmill run. My gaze was set on the wall ahead of me. I occasionally glanced at the fitness center’s television screen, but my mind was somewhere else. Others around me continued their workouts with little insight into the battle going on within my heart and mind.
I felt alone.
Small tears began to well up in my eyes, and I quickly pushed them away. My legs continued to move almost without me thinking about them, as my emotions cycled from anger to sadness to feeling completely betrayed.
My mind was in the process of accepting and acknowledging that I was a victim of narcissistic abuse.
With my earbuds snuggly placed in my ears on my run, I intentionally put on the song, “God Only Knows” by For King and Country.
God only knows what you’ve been through/
God only knows what they say about you/
God only knows the real you/
There’s a kind of love that God only knows/
The song was a reminder that I was never alone. Even in my darkest thoughts and fears, God knew my pain even if no one else did.
Satan wanted to keep me bound as a victim- hurt, believing lies, stuck in people pleasing, feeling regret, shame, and staying in confusion.
However, THE WONDERFUL COUNSELOR wanted to set me free, strengthen and empower me through His Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I had to take responsibility for my healing.
While I was more concerned with the end result of “feeling normal” and healthy, God was interested in the process.
It was Who I turned to that mattered. My pain and healing weren’t a microwave fix. I had to turn to my Ultimate Wonderful Counselor over and over again for discernment, wisdom, healing, protection, and hope.
In those days, I was intentional about seeking the Lord in the early morning hours. I cried out to Him, journaled, and continued to read the Psalms. I could relate to David’s pain in the Psalms where he described his immense grief and feeling betrayed (Psalm 7 and 8).
I prayed God would surround me with the right people to help me heal. I went to therapy for many months, a support group was also set up at my church, and I sought out wise counsel from those with similar experiences.
I also had to learn how to set up proper boundaries and take time for self-care.
That holiday season looked a little different. I remember physically spending more time at home.
While my husband took our kids out for holiday events and time with family, I often needed that time to decompress away from the noise. My brain was doing a major workout, as God was in the process of rewiring my thoughts, desires, and boundaries in relationships. The process of emotional healing isn’t linear, and it’s important to be gentle and gracious with oneself in that process. Just like the physical recovery needed from a broken bone, the brain needs more sleep and self-care in order to heal.
Recovering and healing from trauma takes time, and taking steps in healing each day matter. Even if holiday events and demands of the season wanted to pull me in different directions, I had to stay firm in my commitment to boundaries and self-care.
If staying home to nap, take a bath, or read a book was needed, then I needed to respect my body and take the time to do that. I couldn’t be worried about other’s perceptions if self-care was necessary. Slowing down and being consistent were key steps in the emotional healing process, and those steps changed my life for the better.
As I look back to where I was in those tremendously difficult days, God has brought me so much farther than I could have imagined. Truly, I have been set free from what once held me in defeat. Moving into the year 2020-“WON”, I continue to turn to God for victory over my situation. Even though God has brought me so far, I recognize that my healing isn’t finished. It’s through the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR’S love and guidance that I am given strength, goodness, and freedom in that process of healing.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.”
– Romans 8:28