In 2008 my family and I went through one of the hardest, darkest seasons of our lives. After ten years of marriage, my son Jason found himself in a divorce. The pain seemed to swallow him up as every beautiful memory of his wife crumbled into disappointment. He was living in a nightmare, and as his father, the pain that he and my three grandchildren were going through hit my heart in the sharpest way. My heart broke for my family. I spiraled down into a state of hopelessness, exhaustion and depression, and couldn’t get off of the couch for three months. I had a choice to make. Would I continue to lie on the couch and let the situation envelop my entire being, or would I face the pain and process my grief with honesty and truth?

In John chapter 11, when Lazarus came out of the tomb, he was alive yet bound. Jesus asked the people around him to unbind him from his grave clothes. I think this paints a picture of what many of us look like in the spirit. Living as “spiritual mummies,” we have had true conversion experiences but are still living covered up and bound by the pain of our past. I used to live this way. I had deep wounds of rejection that spawned from my father’s death and being raised by two very broken stepfathers. I settled into false humility and self-hatred, and because I couldn’t love myself well, I definitely couldn’t love others well. The worst part about it was I didn’t even know that there was more to life than the way I was living.
Do you feel like there are areas in your life that are still being bound in some way; or areas that are clouded by fear, dread or anxiety? Well the truth is that Jesus is enough to forgive your sins and transform you into a new creation. The power of the cross did not stop at your salvation and it’s time to begin unravelling the grave clothes, even if they’ve become comforting to you.

Many Christians think their job description is to cheer others up, so they put on a happy face regardless of how they are actually feeling. They ignore or stuff down their pain. This leads to a life where hurt brews in the deepest parts of our souls and comes out in brokenness in our everyday lives. Whether we realize it or not, unresolved wounds will have a voice in the stories we are living. We all have hurts in our past, but it’s the way that we deal with them that will result in our level of freedom. We must confront our pain and even be okay with this process taking time, in order to become free, healthy and whole.
This journey may not be fun, but it’s worth going through for the sake of freedom. My family got through the divorce of my son Jason, even though it was a process to follow Jesus out of the pit. We realized that the best way out of despair was to confront every memory, give a voice to our mourning, and hold on to the hope that God had abundance in store for us. Remember that in Hebrews 12 it says that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him. He could persist through the pain; face it head on, even though it was obviously not enjoyable in the moment. Jesus could do this because He focused on what he was gaining in the process. What is your vision for your life, your relationships, and your dreams? I encourage you to face your wounds and unravel your grave clothes for the great joy that is your life vision set before you.