Posted by: Nancy Day-Achauer | August 20, 2009

Healing and the Church

     The other day a friend posed a question on Facebook asking what came to mind when we heard the words “healing” and “church.” His question got me thinking about my experiences as a church member and how they differed from my experiences in the secular world. As I consider my overall experience in the church, I realize that a lot of healing occurred there. Most of the healing was gradual, I don’t believe I even thought of it as healing at the time, but in retrospect the church truly has been a healing experience.

     As an adult, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with my young daughter. We knew no one there and the nearest relative was two hours away. It’s challenging to get to know people and become part of a community when you relocate to a new area. We started attending a nearby United Methodist Church and became part of that community. We formed friendships with people and experienced camaraderie; it was like Cheers without the alcohol. I was healed of my feelings of loneliness and isolation. Sure, I would eventually make friends elsewhere (at work, recreation, etc.) but the bond of friendship in the church is different because of the commitment to being a community.

     At times when I was feeling beat down at work the church affirmed my worth. My boss and clients may not have always appreciated my work but the church provided a counterbalance. When I shared my work frustrations I received words of encouragement. When I served food to homeless people, visited people in nursing homes, and helped out at Vacation Bible School my sense of worth was affirmed by others and by the experience itself. Healing is experienced when your self worth is affirmed.

     When my daughter went through her “bad stage” as a teenager it was the church that got me through it. People shared their experiences with me and I learned that not only was I not alone, there was hope for a positive outcome. Parents can go through some tough patches while raising their kids, there are times when we have doubts, we sometimes feel like failures, and we occasionally experience pain and regret. The church is a place where parents can be healed of the emotional baggage of parenting.

     My experiences in worship (e.g. sermons, prayer, music, and scripture) also proved healing in a variety of ways. Worship helped deepen my experience of God and nurtured my personal relationship with the divine. I noticed over time that I was becoming healed of old wounds, including the ones I didn’t talk about. The wounds from an abusive and domineering brother, the wounds of growing up in a community whose culture did not value my gifts, talents, and interests, the wounds of a lifetime of things said and unsaid that hurt me deeply, all those old wounds that hide under the surface. Am I completely healed? No, some wounds get reopened and new ones occur, but the church helps me find my way back to God’s healing power.

     I am a happier, healthier person because of the healing I have received from God. I have experienced that healing in the church because God is at work there through people. Yes, God is everywhere but God likes to work through people. We all are in need of healing, often times we don’t even realize it, and our lives improve during the healing process and are better than we imagined after we are healed. I pray that you find a church community where you can experience the deep healing that only God can provide. I know it’s available because I have experienced it and I want the same for you. Grace and peace.

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Responses

  1. I think that you and I have had similar experiences of healing and church. The very thought of church brings to me a sense of peace and well being. But I know that we both know people who have been greatly harmed by the church and it is certainly my prayer that, with the Holy Spirits help, everyone can experience the church as the place of love and peace and acceptance that we do. At least most of the time:)

  2. I felt so pleased as I read this; so glad to read about someone’s positive church experience. The Bible is clear that we were created for community and I, too, have been blessed to receive that in church and am grateful.


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