Note: Thank you to Doug Wolter, counselor with The Gospel Care Collective, for today’s guest post.
There is a certain dissonance around Christmas. If you have experienced a painful exit out of ministry, you know exactly what I mean. Even though you love to hear the familiar songs of the season, the hurts of what you have lost seem to echo even louder in your ears. For me, the healing process has been extremely slow, but God has been teaching me a lot along the way.
Last December, just months after enduring the heart-breaking loss of our church family, we were awakened from our sleep to a sudden phone call telling us that our 17-year-old daughter had been hit by a drunk driver. Thankfully, she was alive but sustained a serious injury to her leg. Over the course of this year, she went from sitting in a wheelchair, to limping on crutches, to finally walking again with a big boot on her lower leg. Little did we know that her painful journey of recovery would become a constant, visible reminder of the way God was healing us.
The whole process has been excruciatingly slow. At first, it seemed like we constantly needed others to lift us up and push us along—much like we did for our daughter as she sat in her wheelchair day after day. It was quite humbling (for her and for us) to depend on others in this way. As the weeks went by, she was soon up on her feet and so were we. But with new jobs, a new church, and new surroundings, it often felt like we were limping along just like our daughter on crutches. We all found ourselves leaning on the Lord more than ever before. And then, after many months had passed and life seemed to be getting a bit back to normal, there was still the weight of our grief dragging us down like our daughter’s big, cumbersome boot attached to her leg. There were so many long days. And so much grief.
Through it all, however, God has been showing us that healing takes time and we need to be patient with the process. He is not in a hurry like we are. And he is less interested in what we are doing and more interested in who we are becoming. In a strange way, it seems that God delights in the process, the wait, the unfinished journey…because it is in that longing we keep looking to him and keep leaning on him. And one day, by his grace, we will look like Him too.