Healed From the Inside Out – Dana’s Story
For the last 13 years of have worked as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of a large public hospital. I have spent my entire working life surrounded by people who are gravely ill and in desperate need of healing. One day as I was removing the bandage from the deeply infected wound of one of my patients, I heard the still, small voice of God speak to me, “Dana, you are a nurse, right?” I replied, “Yes, God, of course, I am.” He then said, “Well, don’t you know that all wounds have to be healed from the inside out?”
It was then that I realized that the insights I had gained into the healing of physical wounds also applied to emotional and spiritual healing. In my time as a nurse I have observed that the focus of our health care system is on symptom management rather than holistic healing. It is much easier to slap a diagnosis on a person, treat that diagnosis, and then send them on their way without ever really addressing the root issue. God was reminding me that for real healing to occur it would have to happen from the inside out. This marked the beginning of a long and at times very painful healing journey in my own life. God led me to the place of acknowledging and exposing the unhealed wounds of my own life so that they could be healed.
From the time I was a small child I learned to suppress or deny painful emotions. I was simply following the example of my parents, and their parents before them.
Whenever I faced disappointment, discouragement or failure I pushed any feelings associated with these experiences deep down inside. I did this for the next 30 years.
This coping strategy impacted every area of my life, particularly my close, personal relationships. It was after the end of a damaging and dysfunctional long-term relationship that I reached a point of crisis. A short time after the break up I spent some time with my parents and for the first time I began to see the depth of our family dysfunction. I remember watching the way my mom and dad communicated with each other and realizing that what I had come to believe was normal was actually nothing like what God desired for our family.
That night I prayed, “God whatever is in them, I don’t want in me. I need your help. I’m laying the cards on the table God; I’m giving you everything, leaving nothing untouched by you. You get to have all of me.” As I submitted to God, he spoke the most beautiful words:
“Dana, if you give me your worst, I’ll give you my best.”
As I began the journey of complete surrender, the Holy Spirit began taking me through an awakening process. I remember one night going forward for prayer at church when one of the leaders approached me and said, “Dana, you are here because God placed you here and he chose you. You don’t have to feel under qualified because he has qualified you.”
In that moment, something on the inside of me literally woke up. I truly received grace for the first time. I didn’t have to assume the responsibility of qualifying myself because Christ had already assumed it. That night, as I was in my bathroom, I heard the Holy Spirit say; “Now you are ready.” At that moment, memories from my childhood began to flood my mind. Traumatic events and experiences, scenes that I had repressed and forgotten came into focus. I felt a level of pain I had never experienced before, the full expression of repressed pain. I lay on the floor in the fetal position weeping uncontrollably. My mind was racing and my heart was beating so fast I thought it would burst. I remembered shouting out, “But God, I forgave them!” And the Holy Spirit replied,” You did forgive, but you didn’t deal with what happened to you.”
After that encounter I realized that I had to disconnect myself from the source of affliction. I established more healthy boundaries in my relationship with my family. I still loved them but I needed time and space to heal.
I realized that for the last 30 years I had been numb. It was time to let God expose the wound and take off the hard covering. I established a mentoring relationship at my church with a leader who supported me but also empowered me to take responsibility for my healing journey. I spent time in prayer and reading God’s word and I met with a Christian counselor.
During this time my mother started sending lengthy, toxic text messages condemning me and trying to manipulate me with guilt on social media. It got to the point that she threatened to end her life because of what she thought I was doing to her. I knew I had to stay strong but at the same time I was genuinely afraid that she might follow through with her threats.
One night, as I took communion I took authority over the assignment the enemy had placed over me through the words spoken by my mother. I refused to let them have power over me. I prayed a prayer of protection over my mother and myself. It was then that I heard God whisper to me, “Dana you are going to have to let go and trust me with your family.”
As walked in obedience and surrender to God I allowed him to remove the filters and barriers that had been constructed over a lifetime. If I wanted to move forward, I would first need to go back.
In order to become the woman that I knew God had created me to be I had to let him first heal the little girl that I used to be.
I will never forget the night when I knew I had been healed. I was in a time of worship at church when I had the most beautiful vision. God was holding my heart in his hand and stitching it back together. It had been on the surgeon’s table for a long time but now it was restored, in the master surgeons hand.
After God took me through this life-changing healing process, I developed a greater level of compassion and empathy. I now have an increased capacity to love others because my own soul is no longer wounded. Nursing is not just a profession to me it is my ministry. God has called me to work in an environment that I don’t always agree with but I know that I am there to transform it, not be conformed to it. Whether I am a nurse at a patient’s bedside, a pastoral care worker at church or a friend in a coffee shop, I am now able to speak life and healing into others through the wisdom and example of my story.
I am living proof that God heals.