The Good and the Hard Truth of Therapy

Here’s a little secret about me – I cry during home improvement shows. You may not be surprised by that but it’s become a more frequent occurrence since we bought our house.

My favorite home improvement show is Home Town. Growing up in a small rural West TN town that had seen better days before my life time makes this a much more relatable show – especially since new life is now being breathed into my home town too.

Henry loves watching this show with me. Last summer when Henry was hitting a growth spurt and sleep regression, we would climb in the master bed and snuggle up watching Home Town. He was so tired and wouldn’t dare lay down in his crib but he would rest his tired eyes laying next to his mama as we watched them turn old houses into someone’s new home. It’s playing now as I pen these pages and Henry is laying in the floor, sucking his thumb and watching along – so rare for a busy not yet two year old.

Today’s episode quickly brought tears me to tears as the hosts’ baby brother and his wife announced they not only bought a house to renovate but they are also pregnant. AND show hosts Ben and Erin Napier shared that they are expecting as well – baby #2. Sure, these are reasons to shed happy tears but I’m learning through my time in therapy just how important it is to identify the root of my emotions.

I put myself in the counselor’s seat and got to work. The first thing I identified was joy for these families owning a home and what we know that means for a family’s future. It is truly such a special time!

The second emotion I felt was sadness. This is hard to put out into the world but if I’m honest – I’m sad I’m not pregnant. We want more kids and I feel like we’re running out of time if we want a big family – ya girl is not getting any younger! I tell myself, “We’ve only been trying for a few months, these things take time.”

That’s when I hit a new layer of emotion and likely the most common for me – fear that our prayers won’t be answered because I have bought the lie that says God doesn’t show up for me.

It’s a complete lie! And here in my chair as I process the emotions bubbling up to the surface, I feel the Lord reminding me of truth and of all the ways he has shown up for me and proved himself faithful.

This lie was not planted by my experience with walking with the Lord, no. This lie was planted by my experience of walking with people who I trusted and who did not show up for me.

This lie is the trauma talking.

One of the biggest takeaways of the last 2.5 years of being in therapy has been piecing together the ways in which my personal trauma has informed the way my mind and body responds to the world around me. There are parts of my early life that I’ve never known to be out of the ordinary that I’m now piecing together as actually traumatic and a significant part of why I react the way I do today.

Therapy is hard, hard work. Don’t get me wrong, I need it! And also, I completely understand why so many people would rather carry their emotional baggage than unpack it all and process the ways it has put a physical strain on their body for so long. It’s a painful process that takes time but what I’m certain is true is that I would rather take the time to find healing and redemption and walk through life a little lighter than to keep carrying this baggage and it continue to wreak havoc on my mind, body and spirit for the long haul.

My husband needs me to be healed. My son needs me to be healed. My church needs me to be healed. And I need to be healed to better experience the abundance that Jesus has promised by allowing Him to move in me and heal me body, mind, and spirit.

And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that someone is reading this and the thought of unpacking your own emotional baggage seems too hard a task.

Let me tell you, friend, it is hard but it is also worth it.

Your people need you to be healed, too.