In the midst of the questioning that led to my search, I had a life-threatening experience that brought me face-to-face with what I really believed about God. The recovery was the darkest and scariest thing I had ever experienced. It occurred in the deepest, most secluded place of my soul where no person on earth had the ability to reach. I wish I could say that knowing people were praying for me was a comfort or that their words of encouragement were of some help. Unfortunately, they were not. My study of Jesus’ interactions with people became the only source of what I cautiously hoped would be my comfort.
It took a year for me to recover physically, and I was going to need all the strength I had . . . and more. The changes taking place in my heart led to my counseling therapy with Danielle. I was going to learn a little bit more about how “fearfully and wonderfully” we have been made.
One of the first things I learned is that memories are interesting. I’ve always thought they were something intangible, created by my brain but that could only be expressed by words I chose to use. Not so. We have no control over how memories of trauma affect our bodies or express themselves. Much research has been done in the past 25 years on how the brain works in conjunction with the body, creating emotions. I find the research fascinating, but more so when filtered through what God has already said about it. Mental and emotional responses to trauma are not sin but results of biological laws God designed. That shed some light on Matthew 5:17-48 for me. Jesus seems to be teaching that sinful actions begin in the heart. Our outward actions only matter to people if we don’t address them there. We can’t control the anger, lust, marital separation, lack of integrity, retaliation, and lack of love in our hearts. All of those things can reside within us while our actions contradict them. For years I struggled to make them reconcile. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve realized why I can’t.
This is the tension of humanity and Divinity that I wrestle with in the most intimate place of my soul. And it’s where I found the unlimited love, unfathomable mercy, and inconceivable compassion of the God who created me.