Healing: God, Choice, Relationships
As I listen to hurting women share the heartache that comes with loving a sex addict, there are days when I feel as if I have been ministering beside the pool at Bethesda in Jerusalem, surrounded by the sick, the broken, and the dying. At those times I am reminded of the crippled man who had lived beside the pool for thirty-eight long years, waiting and hoping for his healing. And then one glorious day in his life Jesus came, and he walked straight toward the crippled man lying on there on his mat, right where he’d been for the last thirty-eight years, clinging to the ragged edges of his hope. But Jesus did not just miraculously touch him and give him a new body; instead he asked a question, and a rather strange question at that. He asked, “Do you want to get well?” Apparently healing was available to him, but he had to supply the “want-to” if he wanted to be whole. I believe there is a lesson in that picture for us: healing is a choice.
Healing is a Choice
I have never met a partner of a sex addict who did not want to heal. No one in their right mind would choose to hurt this way. Yet even in our desire for healing we sometimes fail to recognize that our want-to must include our action. Though I am a firm believe in salvation through faith, God’s Word tells us that “Faith without works is dead.” And so I believe it is with the healing of our broken hearts and broken lives; we must search out the resources we need to heal, then pick up the phone and make those calls until we find a place to connect for our healing.
Healing Requires Relationship
Healing rarely happens in a world of one. God is a very relational God, and that’s the way he designed us: to hunger and thirst for relationship and connection; for places to be known, yet loved and accepted. Places where we can bring our deepest pain and be heard in love. Places where others will gently hold up a mirror so they can reflect back to us what they hear and see in our words and countenance.
And those are the kinds of relationships that enable us to begin our healing journey so we don’t waste long years of our lives stranded—like the crippled man beside the pool—without hope or help for decades of our lives. Connection and caring from other women who understand can make all the difference in our lives. Two recent quotes from women in support groups illustrate this point. The first is from a woman whose losses and heartbreak have been far greater than my own, yet she is valiantly fighting to heal. Recently while she shared newly discovered painful information with us she said with great emphasis: “There’s no other place in the whole world where I could say this stuff that I’m saying to you all right now! I’m so glad I have you in my life.”
The second is from a woman on a different continent far, far from the United States. So far in fact that she has to dial into the conference call line to “meet” with our group in the middle of the night! Yet she’s there, putting action to her healing, even in her grogginess. Just last week at the end of a call as she said her “group goodbye” she said: “Thank you all for supporting me the way you do. You’re all truly beautiful!”
Healing is a Process
But just getting together to talk with other hurting partners would not take us very far toward our healing without a healing process. It’s the WANT-TO + RELATIONSHIP + A HEALING PROCESS that helps make healing happen. And of course, God. He is the author of our healing on every level, so even as we use materials that provide a healing process for partners of sex addicts, we incorporate God’s healing love throughout.
As you consider your own healing and where you are in that process, reflect on the following words from a recent group member who has greatly benefited from the blending of these healing components. As you read her words think about whether or not you need to take new action to move further along in your own healing journey.
“I thank God that he allowed me to find you. You have given me hope; you have been able to taste the salt of my tears. You were compassionate. You listened and cared. At first you didn’t mix other stuff in…you just listened. Your compassion gave me hope. Then you gently brought in the truth, gradually, a little at a time, and with each new piece of truth comes new revelation that enables me to “get it,” and to slowly begin to make healthier choices in my life.”