Walk with me on a brief imaginary journey…

You relish having the privilege of serving in the women’s ministry at your church. Your latest brainstorm, a  “Spring Fling” mini-retreat event, is an exciting opportunity for women to gather, to worship, to fellowship, to deepen their understanding of life-changing truth with a gifted bible teacher who has the date you have suggested available. Your proposal for this event has now been presented to the Women’s Ministry Committee for their consideration. After discussion and questions, you are invited to leave while they decide whether to move forward with the event or not. At the conclusion of the meeting, they inform you that, because they have decided to host another activity led by another woman for the date two weeks prior, they chose to forgo your event at this time.

Suddenly, there are precious few thoughts about the sovereignty of God or that He chooses the instrument for His ministry for His purposes. 
There are precious few thoughts also about the faithful servant or the event that was chosen nor thoughts of thankful gratitude for her willingness to minister to others. 
There are precious few thoughts about praying for her and for the team of women that she will lead.
Instead, there is the sense of having been wounded. This experience triggers a series of thoughts of: 
“I was rejected.” 
“I am not good enough.” 
“They don’t like me.” 
As the lid is blown off of Pandora’s Box, the disproportionate response to what has just happened causes you to plunge headlong into a carton of ice cream, a bag of chips, popcorn…it doesn’t matter. It can even be the most nutritious and delicious salad! Food! Anything to munch on! Even the loaf of bread isn’t safe. What has happened here?

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For me, the wounds of the past used to be all rolled up in these kinds of situations. There can hardly be prayerful insight and wisdom because of all the voices, words, wounds of the past are bound up in the now!

When this happened, I tended to resort to the way of coping with pain I had depended on for years, seeking to anesthetize myself. Eating 0 to 5 was not on my radar screen. In fact, I would even be a bit mad at God for allowing whatever it was that seemed so horrible right now.
God began to show me about ten years ago, what was going on for me in situations like this. Why I could be “triggered” by my 4 year old’s defiance, for instance! It didn’t take much to send me flying to the pantry or fridge. The sense of needing to be comforted by food, of wanting the pain to stop…it all happened so easily and so often.

Years of experiences–little, big, long-drawn out, short bursts of “nothing much”–it doesn’t matter; if there was pain associated with them, gone unchecked, without surrendering them to the Lord, for me, it resulted in a well of pain deep down inside me just waiting for the right opportunity to be tapped. The way someone treated me in sixth grade, the word from my dad when I was fifteen, the rejection of a friend at 23. There were times–most times, of course–when it wasn’t at the surface, true. It was like it had all “scabbed over.” It didn’t take much for the scab to be scraped off and pus and blood to gush out, however.

In these times, the “wound” I felt was not relative to the present moment, but all of the wounds, in all of the situations, that all of the people caused that ever made me feel similarly–even on a “minor” scale.

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All the eating I did to anesthetize my pain…it began to STOP the day God led me into the Valley of the Shadow. It was a path of suffering, but a path of forgiveness.

More on that tomorrow…