I've often heard the analogy that when God heals our hearts and minds, it's like an onion.
It doesn't happen all at once. Instead, God peels back our hurts and memories, the things that caused us pain, layer by layer. He heals one part, and then, as we are stronger from the previous healing, He can go a layer deeper and heal another area.
I've heard this. I've believed this. I've even written about it.
Still, I must admit that I was completely surprised when the Holy Spirit began healing another layer of my heart in the spring.
Hadn't I been there and done that? I even wrote a book called "Finding Healing."
Could there possibly be more?
Also, I had a plan. I had an agenda. I had a schedule all mapped out, and "spend time remembering and facing some of the most painful truths about my life" wasn't on it.
Still, here we were.
The Holy Spirit was undeniably placing me in circumstances and surrounding me with situations that triggered memories that had to be faced, worked through, and healed.
Once again, I used the same Biblical Steps to Finding Healing I wrote about almost five years ago.
Was it because the process didn't work the first time?
Absolutely not. Instead, because of the previous healing I experienced, I was now stronger and able to go to the next layer, facing deeper truths and experiencing a level of healing that would have blown me away earlier in life.
So once again, I found myself:
Facing truth—yes, this really was a part of MY life. Yes, it did need to be healed and overcome.
Once again, the Holy Spirit revealed truth to my heart and uncovered memories.
I was praying to God, expressing my deepest emotions to Him.
I was searching the Scriptures for answers.
Talking to trusted friends.
Seeking the advice of a friend who was a counselor.
Again, I was choosing to forgive those involved…myself…and even God for allowing things to happen.
I was taking action to change things in my life.
All the steps I wrote about in Finding Healing were now a daily part of my life.
It reminded me of a friend who told me that the first time she read Finding Healing, she thought, "I've already been through this process. I worked through all my issues and thought I was completely free. Then, as I started reading this book, the Holy Spirit began stirring my heart to work on areas I'd never even thought about before. After following these steps to work through the next level of healing, I now have more freedom than I ever imagined possible."
This is a spiritual truth in all of our lives.
We've never arrived.
Until we get to Heaven, the Holy Spirit will always work on us, healing us, removing ungodly things from our lives, and shaping us into the image of Christ.
Even the great Apostle Paul said,
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,
but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14, NLT)
Let's read that again from the Message:
I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made.
But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
In these verses, Paul admits, "Dudes, (that's how Paul would refer to the early church if he lived today) I don't have it all together. I haven't arrived where God wants me yet."
However, he doesn't end with this statement.
He goes on to encourage all of us to "press on." Keep allowing the Holy Spirit to help you forget and overcome your past and shape you into the image of Christ.
When the Holy Spirit says, "We need to work on this area," don't have the attitude, "Been there; done that." Instead, follow Paul's example and be excited about experiencing more healing and freedom in Christ.
Even if you can't get excited about the process or the pain you must face, at least determine that you will do whatever it takes to gain the freedom God wants you to walk and live in.
Don't be content to settle for just one layer of healing. Instead, allow God to peel back all of your layers, heal every area of your past, help you overcome all of your bondages and sinful tendencies, and become everything—not just part—of who God wants you to be.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."