Journey to Healing and Joy

The Tool of Attitude

At the risk of appearing to take your heart-ripping pain lightly, I want to share two tools that helped me in my own healing journey, and continue to inspire me every day. I hope you can trust that I’m not being glib in sharing them, but rather I don’t want to omit a tool that has the power to help you as much as it helped me. So please hear my heart as you read the following.

As a teen I discovered Victor Frankel and his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, in my school library. How I admired this man who had lost almost everything, yet found reason to go on living by finding a new dream. He became one of my hero’s. A man who had endured nakedness, hunger, freezing cold, abuse, and the loss of almost his entire family, including his wife. Only a sister survived the Nazi death camps. I want to share with you a quote I found online that highlights why this book so powerfully inspires hope and fosters healing. As partners of sex addicts, we too are in need of hope and healing.

Though the agony Frankel survived, and went on to thrive, is on a different level than our pain and loss, it does hold the ability to enable us to see our hurt and loss from a different perspective, so we can survive – and go on to thrive – as Frankel did. He’s what one who knew him said:

Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankel was able to exercise the most important freedom of all – the freedom to determine one’s own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi assassin guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner life of Frankel’s soul. One of the ways he found the strength to fight to stay alive and not lose hope was to think of his wife. Frankel clearly saw that it was those who had nothing to live for who died quickest in the concentration camp.

Though in the end, Victor Frankel learned his wife had died at the hands of the Nazi’s, he knew and held to the concept that “this too shall pass,) and life extended beyond his existence in the camp. So if you find that you feel like giving up on life, as I did in the early days of my journey, I encourage you to read Man’s Search for Meaning. And in addition, I want to share a one-page document written by Charles Swindoll years ago. Though many years have passed since I first discovered this page, I’ve kept it where I could see it because it always provides a healthier perspective when I struggle. I hope you find it helpful too.

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Tripple Aces

If you are near the beginning of this journey, my heart really goes out to you. I clearly remember how lost in sorrow—and in life--I felt back then. I remember being disappointed when I woke up each morning for several weeks. My hope had been that I could die while I slept! That’s pretty bad considering I was earning my living by helping other women find healing, until my own life imploded.

Read more: How the Triple-A Approach Tool Helped Me Survive and Find the Treasure

Tools for Your Search for Treasure

chest

I recently watched a movie that provided a powerful metaphor for this journey we’re on as we continue to heal and grow and do our part to become all we were created to be. “The Monuments Men” tells the true story of a crew of art experts as they recovered works of Italian and European art stolen by the Nazis in World War II before Adolf Hitler destroyed them. Not only was it a great story, it mirrored my view of how we must intentionally use our tools to search for the treasure buried beneath our trauma, and that as we do, we can continue to heal and grow because of this journey.

Read more: Tools for Your Search for Treasure

2016 hope 845x321

Forgive me if you find that title offensive. You may be thinking, Who is she trying to fool by using the word treasure in reference to my trauma? Well, it took me time to get here too. Years passed before I began to recognize that indeed I had actually gained many gifts because I endured the ripping, agonizing, life-altering plethora of losses I lived through in 2004. And now, far beyond that beginning of a journey that would shape the remainder of my days on earth, it continues to this day. The losses included my marriage; my ministry; my home; most of my friends and colleagues; and my health. But now I realize my trauma chest actually holds beautiful, wonderful treasures too. Gifts that I would have never been given were it not for this painful, wretched, yet amazing journey.

Read more: Finding Treasure In Your Trauma Chest: Intentional Grieving

church

Because my father was a minister, I grew up knowing how “normal” clergy (and their families) really are. Yet as a teen I could see how some, especially women, in our congregation placed my dad on a pedestal. They seemed to make him their spiritual idol; the “god” of their faith. But now, decades later, as the media increasingly reports, we are seeing spiritual leaders of all faiths topple and fall, and when they do, those who have placed their hope in mere mortals often lose their faith along with losing their spiritual hero. How I wish I could sit with Dad and have an in-depth discussion about this reality. But I’m going to have to wait until eternity to have that discussion because he’s moved on to heaven without me.

Read more: Is Sexual Struggle A “Normal” Part Of Being Human?