It happens when you least expect it. You are walking along and wham! You are on the ground, in shock, wondering what just happened. You may have received unexpected news, or a diagnoses, or discovered a betrayal that will forever change your life. It is moments like these—circumstances of pain and trauma—that stick with you long after the event occurred.
My event happened one Saturday afternoon. It is a day that will go down in my history book. My husband had just gotten back on his feet; in recovery after months of foot issues, when I took a fall at a picnic, dislocating my ankle and breaking it in three places.
In my state of shock, I thought, “If I just turn my foot around, I should be able to stand up.” That was not happening. I laid there helpless. I was scared. I had always been self-sufficient, independent, and able to take care of myself; but now, I found myself feeling helpless and unable. I had to do what I had only taught others to do: ask for help and allow others to help me. I felt vulnerable. Immediately, others came to my aid.
As I ruminate about what happened, replaying that moment over and over in my mind, I wrestle with these questions:
During the days that followed my accident, I had the downtime to truly think about my situation. This was my first broken bone, my first ambulance ride, and really, my first major accident. I thought I would arrive at the Emergency Room (ER) and get patched up; maybe even spent the night in the hospital. I thought the “professionals” would recognize the distress I was in and rescue me.
However, after an x-ray and a short visit with the ER doctor, I was put in a splint and told, “You will need surgery. Call the surgeon on Monday to get an appointment for next Wednesday or Thursday.” This meant that my healing process wouldn’t start right away. My healing would start following surgery and I would have to live in limbo until surgery.
I screamed in my head, “WHAT! I need surgery and you’re telling me to wait!” I was overwhelmed with fear and panic. I wanted help now. I felt desperate; anxious for someone to care about me personally. I wanted someone who had the expertise and knowledge to put me back together again. I wanted someone I could trust to help me understand what I was going through; someone who would explain and walk through the healing process with me.
Over the next couple days, as I laid around in limbo, I had time to reflect on what was happening in my life: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I slow down—or the Lord helps me slow down—He speaks to me; this was one of those times. God showed me that this must be how our clients at Pure Desire feel after hearing the news about their situation.
A diagnosis of “an addiction” is like being told you are seriously injured. It is devastating; and causes pain and anxiety. In many ways, the realization of a betrayal is equally painful and overwhelming. Waiting for that first counseling session (or surgery), so that the healing can begin, seems unbearable. It is during this time that we are most vulnerable to a plethora of emotions: fear, anxiety, distress, and many more.
Restoration from betrayal or addiction is a journey of learning to trust again. Much like trusting the doctor who says, “You cannot put weight on that ankle,” we need to trust others who have been where we are, even though we want “a quick fix” healing process.
Like the healing of a broken bone, it can’t be rushed. It is slow and arduous process. We want it to be quick; to relieve the pain we are experiencing. To be honest, that day in the ER, I wanted the quick fix. I wanted the easy way out. I didn’t want to slow down, to be stuck in limbo, digging around in my feelings.
What came to the surface were feelings I try to avoid; feeling like that little girl who was lonely and afraid. I didn’t like slowing down because that’s when my emotional pain rose, but it is also when I was able to clearly hear what God was trying to say to me. This was quite a double bind for me.
Hearing God’s voice in the midst of my anxiety, pain, and healing has been an integral part of my personal journey. I needed to slow down long enough to hear Him say, “You are sufficient and adequate, even in your recovery.” I struggle with feeling inadequate at times, but didn’t want to take the time to slow down and let God address my deepest need: to hear my Heavenly Father say, “You are adequate” and to trust those words from Him.
Breaking my ankle was definitely not part of my plan; and yet, God used it to help me grow and change. This experience gave me the opportunity to trust Him more, gain a glimpse of how He sees me, and draw me closer in relationship to Him.
Debby is a licensed Foursquare Pastor and is one of our Pastoral Sex Addiction Professionals at Pure Desire. She has a heart for bringing healing to men and women who are broken due to sexual and emotional issues. Debby has her bachelor's from Corban University and has an Advanced Certification through International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).