Risa’s continuing journey

An entry about her healing journey from Risa's personal blog.

Several years ago, I purchased a book written by Stasi Eldredge entitled “Becoming Myself.” I was intrigued by the title because I had entered a phase in my life where I was asking the Lord, “Who am I?” Little did I know that the journey Mark and I were on with this ministry would help provide the answers in a way that I didn’t expect. I think it’s a message grounded in truth that needs to be told. It is for everyone, for the teenager who is struggling with identity issues to the grandparent who is looking back on their life and still asking that question.

Our ministry’s focus is on restoring our identity in Christ, but what does that mean to most people? Yes, it does mean that you’re a beloved child of God, created by Him, and purchased forever by Christ when He went to the cross. This is how Mark describes it with help from the theologian George MacDonald: Every person that has ever been born comes from a different place in the heart of God that no one else has come from. There are things that can be known about God that can only come from you as you reflect that part of His image. Jesus went to the cross not because we are pieces of junk but because we are valuable and worth saving.

Just knowing this truth can change your life, but there’s so much more. In our brokenness we wonder how this can be true about us when we often think and behave the exact opposite of the way we want to, even though we’d truly like to please the Lord. Sometimes we shut Him out altogether because the pain of failing is too much. But Jesus knows our condition, and when He began His ministry on earth, He chose Isaiah 61:1 to read from the scroll, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners."

What does this look like? The picture the Lord has given me is like a jigsaw puzzle in the shape of a heart. Imagine this as your core soul, complete in the fullness of the way God designed you: your personality, your talents and abilities, your love languages, and even the way you laugh. As we go through our lives, however, especially up to age 20, there can be events in our lives that are too much for us to emotionally handle, things like rejection, abandonment, trauma, abuse, or simply not having an emotional need met that is necessary for our development.

Picture the puzzle now with a piece missing. Literally a part of us separates from our core soul to hold that pain so we can function. It’s really a God-given coping mechanism. It’s still “us,” with a mind, will, and emotions, but it is functioning separately from our core. And because it broke off because of pain, the enemy now sets up a stronghold in that part. He can do that because of the lie that we have believed in that place, things like “I’m not good enough, I’m not worth loving,” etc. And he uses that ground to influence us.

Now picture that puzzle of the heart with more pieces missing, each one holding a lie and under the influence of the enemy. He wants to influence the part to go 180 degrees the opposite direction of the way God designed you. Therefore, you have the core of yourself functioning as the Lord intended, and part of you “crippled,” unable to be your true self. Jesus knew that when He announced His ministry using Isaiah 61:1. The “captives” are the parts of you that are separated and in bondage because of Satan’s influence. And you, the core, are “blind” because you can’t see them. You only know that there are things about you that are interfering with your life, things you can’t get past no matter how hard you try to master them.

Now think of Jesus bringing these parts to healing, one at a time. Think of Jesus speaking the truth to each one, replacing the lie, and creating wholeness. As each piece is placed back into the jigsaw puzzle, now “wired” the way God intended your design to be, you become more fully yourself, your true design. That is what happens when the broken soul is healed./p>

The fruit in my life of the healing I’ve received is nothing short of miraculous. It’s come a little bit at a time, as the Lord allows the emotions to bubble up and I feel the pain. When a wounded part was triggered, I used to slide into a pit and stay there two or three days, unable to climb out. Overwhelming emotions that you can’t control is only one sign of a broken part. Now when I feel wounded or offended just from living life, I may feel some pain, but it doesn’t overtake me. I have a choice. I can stop and say, “Wait a minute. I’m not going there.” And my core handles things like an adult instead of a young part. (Parts stay at the emotional age they were when they broke off.)

I know I still have some brokenness in me, but I’m not afraid to face that. In fact, I look forward to when the Lord signals that it’s time to heal another one. He is faithful, and His timing is perfect. Although, I know I won’t be fully sanctified until I meet Jesus face to face, let me just say that I love who He has made me to be. I’m at peace. Psalm 131 has become my favorite psalm:

"My heart is not proud, Lord, My eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with great matters or things too difficult for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself.
I am like a weaned child with its mother,
Like a weaned child, I am content

Oh, Risa, put your trust in the Lord, both now and forevermore.".