This past summer I spent a month in Guatemala leading a mission trip of high school students. Toward the end of the month, one of our students fell at the beach and dislocated her knee. She was in excruciating pain and could not put any pressure on her leg for several days.
After a few days though, she grew tired of sitting around while the rest of her friends were out exploring Guatemala. I totally sympathized with this frustration. I would not have been as graceful of a patient as she was. I would have demanded to be let out to walk about as I pleased.
My co-leader and I found her a pair of crutches and made her walk with them keeping all pressure off of her sore knee. We wanted to give her knee time to heal. She grew more and more frustrated and just wanted to walk but we told her she had to wait.
I have thought about this story many times over the past few months. It is so much easier to tell someone with a physical injury to take their time to heal, to not rush the healing process. But when we or someone we know is dealing with an emotional wound, we somehow expect the healing to be quicker.
Sometimes it is so much easier to give grace to others who are taking time to heal than ourselves. I remember all the times I told this sweet girl on the trip that she was doing amazing, that she was strong and that she was doing exactly what she needed to be doing-taking time to heal.
But with myself the past few months, I have been so much less grace giving. I have chastised myself for not “being over this” or feeling emotional about things that happened so long ago. It is not that big of a deal, I would tell myself. You should be ok by now.
I am learning that sometimes it is ok, to not be ok. Healing is not always a perfect process. It is painful and messy and we want it to be over so much sooner than it needs to be. The healing process is not something that can be rushed. No matter how badly we want it, it just takes time.
I feel like I have been walking through seasons of life lately that have been dry and painful and all I want is to be through with the season. I want the rain to come, the new adventure, the new life. But these are the healing seasons. The ones that feel dry and lonely. The ones where God can touch a part of our heart that has been hidden for so long. The places that we have been unwilling to touch because we fear the pain.
It is really hard to write about these seasons when we are still walking though them. As a writer I like a neat and tidy conclusion, but I don’t have one right now. All I know is that this time, the time for healing, is worth it. One day soon it will be time to move out of the healing season and into a new life season and I am confident that it will all be worth it. Taking the time now, giving myself grace to heal, is exactly what I need to be doing.
I encourage you to give grace to yourself if you are walking though a healing season. Do not be too hard on yourself and give the Lord time to reach into those deep places in your heart, the ones that really need to be healed.
If you know someone walking though a healing season, the worst thing you could ever say to them is that they should be over it by now. Give them grace. Tell them they are strong. That they are doing exactly what they need to be doing, taking time to heal.
Because if we take time for healing, I am confident the healing will come.