Last weekend my synagogue sponsored an amazing healing prayer conference. What a blessing! One of the points made by the presenter Judith MacNutt was that there are two types of trauma that affect our physical health, one being the obvious kind such as physical abuse, the other more subtle, such as not feeling loved by our parents that can cause trauma not perceived at the time. The latter type actually affects the neuro pathways in our brains and as a result negatively impacts our health physically, and yet, we don’t realize it. Consequently, we may act and feel in ways we can’t understand which make it all the more difficult to heal these wounds.
I have been sharing with you the recent challenges regarding my daughter. And I thank the many readers who have responded sharing similar situations in their lives, indicating to me that so many of us are the walking wounded when it comes to carrying the burden of worry for our loved ones. I was well aware that my daughter’s illness caused great sadness in me, the feelings of powerlessness, the hurt from missing our times together. My conscious self was all over those thoughts, and I thought feelings as well. What I had not understood was the physical trauma that had been caused from the times I worried about her safety, the neuropathways that had been changed that silently affected my emotional health.
We’ve all had these feelings – days we just feel a little down for no real reason we can explain. We just don’t feel like ourselves. My mother would say in Yiddish, “Gayt meer nit un kop”, literally translated “Doesn’t go in my head”, but the expression is understood to mean “I’m just not feeling in a good place right now”. We sometimes blame hormones, food we’ve eaten, the season, others’ actions. We don’t realize our underlying emotional and spiritual health is what holds us back from a sense of well being. And if we’ve been in that place for awhile, we may even have forgotten how we used to feel, like the frog being boiled alive so gradually that he doesn’t even know it’s happening.
“Coincidentally” on the very next morning after I heard this topic discussed by Judith MacNutt, I received a text from my daughter that was so lucid and unlike her style for the past several years. Not that she was over her illness, but just kindnesses were in her words – please and thank you – and very rational discussion of the topics at hand were new. I had recently engaged a number of prayer warriors to intercede for her and it seemed clear that prayer was working, not to mention the strong effects of our healing prayer conference. Baruch HaShem!
What surprised me even moreso was the immediate change in my psyche that resulted from her texts. It was as if a huge burden were lifted from my shoulders. I had not realized how much my general sense of well being had been diminished subconsciously by my internally carrying the weight of my daughter’s situation. The feeling of joy that overcame me that morning after our interchange was something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. And yet, I hadn’t realized until that moment the contrast between how I was feeling that morning compared to my overall sense of self the days before. For the boiling frog it is usually too late, but thankfully not the same result for us if we allow HaShem to do His work in us.
This revelation about mothers, daughters, restoration, and joy filled my heart as I was taking my morning jog with HaShem, as I allowed Him in. At the very moment that I understood what our Abba was saying, as I felt joy, the lyrics “Be glad and sing you songs of joy” played in my headset from “Yoducha Amim Elohim.” Later that same morning, two of my closest friends “randomly” shared positive stories about their daughters just in normal conversation. One even unexpectedly brought her baby daughter to visit and I hadn’t seen them in months. The timing of all of these events that very morning were vivid affirmations that HaShem was all over the situation. He’s got it all under control. We just need to remember that, especially when the moments, the hours, and the days are not as encouraging as I had experienced that morning.
It is hard to know for each of us what the hidden traumas may be that are blocking our joy. Yet it is helpful to know these do exist so we can pray that HaShem will reveal them to us as we seek prayer from our prayer partners and through our individual times with our Abba. We can stop trying to be so strong and let ourselves feel pain as we give it to Yeshua to bear for us. We can recognize living a joy-filled life is a lifelong journey with its inevitable setbacks, successes, and ultimate reward.
The name given to me by my parents was Diane Joyce. My mom and dad told me I was named Joyce because I was a joy to them. And yet their love of me had its issues. Perhaps the feeling of being unloved by my daughter as a consequence of her illness stirred up unresolved feelings, those hidden traumas, from my own childhood I was not even aware of were still impeding my ability to feel joy. How deep the healing as the revelations unfold.
So many of us struggle with feelings of imperfect love, initially by our parents, and as life continues, in various relationships. No matter how hard we try, we are all human and even the best of us make our mistakes in our relationships with others.
Just as my given middle name Joyce indicated at the time, parents are intended to love their children, and children are intended to be a joy to their parents.
Only one parent is perfect, our Abba, who is actively waiting for each of us to let Him fill our lives with joy.