Writing to Heal
How do you deal with hurts? Carol shares how she often turns to writing to heal through the trials, and emotional strains and stresses we can face in life.
Hurts Take Time To Heal
Hurts, fear, and pain are sometimes puzzle pieces of our lives. Hurts take time to heal. Emotional ones often take longer heal than physical injuries. How do we cope when the puzzle looks hopeless and dark? What can help with the healing process—and it is a long process, unique to each individual? Can writing help?
Journaling for Healing
I do like to journal and often pour out those hurts, pain, fears, frustrations, and discouragement onto the page— for my eyes only. Sometimes I write out what I want to ask God, beg Him for, or even thank Him for in order to help me stay focused when those dark times want to turn my focus back to the negatives.
When I attended the Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship fall conference in 2019, I sat in on a powerful workshop where participants discussed the topic, Writing as Healing, facilitated by Alan Anderson. He asked us to dig into the meaning behind words and phrases commonly used when we think about healing. He challenged us to define the terms, the concepts, and go deeper in our thinking. He threw out questions like: What does healing mean to me? What does moving forward look like to me?
We dissected the terms, shared our thoughts and stories around the group. Some key phrases and ideas stuck in my mind. The first thing we agreed on is that unless we bring the trauma, the hurt, and pain to light and acknowledge it, we will remain stuck.
I pictured an old rusty truck that had slipped off a trail and now was stuck in the mud. To do nothing meant the truck remained where it was—stuck and un-useable. No matter how hard the driver tried to get back on the trail, the old truck wouldn’t budge. The driver needed to acknowledge how stuck they were and then seek help. The picture remained vividly in my mind.
Just like that old truck getting off track and stuck, our lives take turns like that. Sometimes we wander into circumstances we should have avoided but most often the deepest wounds come from things beyond our control. Grief, loss, abuse, and financial downturns wound deeply and take time and help to get us moving forward—to move physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually into all God’s plans for our lives.
Change Comes After Facing Situations
We can’t change what we do not acknowledge so we need to start at that point. To be able to move forward we need to have the ability to face, verbalize, and share whatever the traumatic situation is, even if only to yourself. Again this takes time. It is often like peeling layers of an onion for each part of our lives are added layers based on events we have encountered.
If we sit and write about it or journal it, our handwritten notes can show something about where we are at that moment. Anger shows up as heavy writing strokes. Fear might be shaky. My writing looks different when I am depressed than it does if I am happy or excited. Writing the events and feelings does not mean you have to show it to anyone, but there might come a time you will use those journaled thoughts to help someone else.
Sharing is Like God’s Little Trumpets
One participant commented offered the picture of how sharing our stories, when the time is right, is like God’s little trumpets grabbing the attention of someone else in need and saying, “Look there is hope. Don’t give up.” Another person likened it to piecing together a quilt. Each piece is only that—one piece of the entire beautiful creation of a master quilter. On its own it does not seem like anything but put together it forms a picture, gives enjoyment and warmth to another, and gives the single piece a new life.
Sharing Tough Stories
I have had the opportunity to be write a few pieces that include some tough parts of the story of my life. Some I wrote with the intention of sharing it to help others like my book, Amee’s Story. I had years to work through the trauma of having a baby who suffered a stroke at birth and no one expected to live. It was a story of acknowledging how much help I needed in a very tough time of life.
Several other short pieces I wrote as part of a healing process for myself. I had no plans to ever share them with anyone. Yet God nudged me to give a copy of one of those pieces I wrote for my own healing to a lady in our church. I knew their family had some serious hurts and struggles but had no idea what they were at the time. I didn’t want to be so vulnerable and give this to her to read. What might she think of me? Why should I give it to her? I changed the names in the piece and approached her with a copy. “I have no idea why, but God wants me to give this to you. It is something I wrote.”
She took it and agreed to read it. A few Sundays later she came and told me it was exactly what her and her husband needed at that moment in their lives. Years later I felt compelled to give a copy to one of my aunts. She said she knew exactly who might need to read it and passed it on with my permission.
Helping Others in their Journey to Healing
These two instances taught me that sometimes, long after the traumatic event happens, when time to process it has occurred, and we have written to help my own healing journey, God plans when and where we need to share it to encourage someone else and help them in their own journey to find healing.
We agreed that no matter how much we choose to share with others, we can verbalize it to ourselves and God. It is our story. What you do with it is up to you. The picture I had that day of the old beat up truck stuck in a mud hole, unable to move forward or backward without help reminded me God waits for us to seek His help in those tough puzzle pieces of life.
Tires spin, no grip
Stuck in ruts, mired in muck
Needing solid ground.
No forward movement
Jamming gears forward and back
No success on own.
Tug, jerk inch by inch
Forward momentum achieved
With another’s help.
Unstuck free at last
Road beckons journey resumes
On solid ground.
Sidestep off the path
Stuck in mud mired in muck
Solid footing lost.
Wallow, question why
Life’s difficulties hinder
Going my own way.
Bent low bowed in prayer
Redeemed, unstuck free at last
Finding solid ground.
Twists turns hills valleys
Forward momentum achieved
By God’s leading hand.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.