Can I Heal From Relational Hurt? With Lysa TerKeurst [Episode 250]

Heal Relational Hurt Lysa TerKeurst

Healing rarely happens overnight! It usually unfolds more gradually, and often, it’s a really rough process—especially if it’s relational healing. The long journey can begin to feel hopeless, and when the pain becomes too much to bear, you start to wonder if you’re even going to make it.

Well, my friend, you are going to make it! And today, best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst candidly shares her own healing journey and gives you practical steps to keep going when you’re worn out and tired of trying.

As we talk about her book, You’re Going to Make It: 50 Morning and Evening Devotions to Unrush Your Mind, Uncomplicate Your Heart, and Experience Healing Today, Lysa shares what obedience to God looks like when you want to give up. Plus, she explains the importance of boundaries and how the acceptance of suffering can alter your healing process.

Lysa will give you the encouragement you need to face even the most devastating circumstances, and the first step is to simply show up.

So, now that you’re here, it’s time to soak in this refreshing, biblical truth and much-needed hope for the hard road ahead. And by the time we’re done, you’ll say out loud, “I’m going to make it!”

Meet Lysa

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times best-selling author of more than 25 books. Her most recent books include Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, and It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. She’s the president and chief visionary officer of Proverbs 31 Ministries and writes from her family’s farm table in North Carolina.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Heal From Relational Hurt? With Lysa TerKeurst [Episode 250]

Lysa TerKeurst: I very much knew that I could do the best I could to physically survive and spiritually survive, but I felt like there's no way I'll ever be able to recover emotionally from this and I'm always going to be a fractured person.

Jennifer Rothschild: Healing rarely happens overnight. It usually unfolds more gradually, and often it's a really rough process, especially if it's relational healing. Sometimes you wonder if you're even going to make it. Well, my friend, you are. And today, best-selling author Lysa TerKeurst will candidly share her own healing journey, and she's going to give you tons of practical encouragement for yours. So today we are going to show up and soak in truth. And by the time we're done, you will say out loud, "Yes, I am going to make it." So, K.C., what are we waiting for?

K.C. Wright: Welcome, welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can truly do all things -- all means all -- all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, would you welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey there. Jennifer here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you live the "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. It is through Christ's power in you, in me, in K.C. that we can do all he's called us to do and be who he has created us to be. And I'm telling you, he has created you to be something special, our friends. So thanks for hanging out with us. We're going to really enjoy hearing today from Lysa TerKeurst.

And by the way, Lysa and I were together in February in Jackson, Mississippi, at a Fresh Grounded Faith, and it was fantastic. So you're going to be able to hear part of that Spill the Beans on a coming episode, so I want you to be looking for that, because the girl has lots to share. And, K.C., I was just thinking.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Lysa's name is one of those names. So my computer reads to me, my friends, if you don't know this. So my computer reads to me, and it cannot pronounce names well. Okay? So, like, Habakkuk, you know, is Hibakkuk. Hosea, Haseah. So, like, I interviewed a guy named Jamar recently.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: My computer reads it Gemer. And it's like, oh, my gosh. Well, Lysa TerKeurst has one of those names anyway.

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And she spells it with a Y. So it's all I can do every time I hear it read, Lyssa TerKeurster. And I'm like, what in the world? So anyway, just cannot pronounce names very well.

But it reminded me of this, K.C. Okay, so when I was in college -- this is terrible. Okay, do not be offended. Take off your judgy cap if you've got one on.

K.C. Wright: Please stop -- don't write us any letters.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, don't write a letter about what I'm going to tell you --

K.C. Wright: We're not going to read them.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- because this is true. This is what happened. I had a friend in college, and her -- speaking of weird names -- her gynecologist, his name was Dr. Feely. Isn't that awful? I'm just saying.

Okay. But then I think it was Sandy Patty who had a dentist named Dr. Molar. All right, that's all I got for you.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. And when I was in junior high, my industrial arts teacher, who gave me my first paddling, my swat, the first and only time I ever got a swat in school, his name was Mr. Wackerman.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So see? It's not all in a name, my people, it's not all in a name, so...

Anyway, I love Lysa. She and I have been friends for many years, and I just really don't like that my computer mispronounces her name all the time, so I want to make sure she gets a very proper introduction from K.C. So would you introduce Lysa to our friends.

K.C. Wright: Well, right now I want to play Liza Minnelli's song.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, right?

K.C. Wright: It's Lysa with a -- do you remember that song?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my goodness, yes.

K.C. Wright: Okay, my mind's all over the place right now.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Anyway, so read, K.C., read.

K.C. Wright: Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times best-selling author of more than 25 books. Her most recent books include "Good Boundaries And Goodbyes," "Forgiving What You Can't Forget," and "It's Not Supposed To Be This Way." She is President and Chief Visionary Officer of Proverbs 31 Ministries and writes from her family's farm table in North Carolina.

So pull up a chair to our table and listen in to Jennifer and Lysa.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Lysa. So you do not title a book "You're Going To Make It" unless you as the author have felt like you were not going to make it, so that's where I want to start. Can you, like, give us some insight into what you've been through the last couple of years that might have felt overwhelming or like you weren't going to make it, like it was going to take you down.

Lysa TerKeurst: Yeah, I -- the last ten years of my life have been by far the hardest that I've ever endured and survived, and there were so many days, Jennifer, that I didn't think I was going to make it and come out on the other side whole and healthy. I very much knew that I could do the best I could to physically survive and spiritually survive, but I felt like there's no way I'll ever be able to recover emotionally from this and I'm always going to be a fractured person.

But it was interesting, my counselor Jim kept saying to me, "Lysa, when you finally get to the place where you determine enough is enough, you will hit a spot and you will not look back." And I never thought I would get there, but I eventually did get there. And I remember the moment I literally felt something break inside of me. Because it was one more discovery, one more heartbreak, one more just painful experience, and I felt something break inside of me.

And so I went to my counselor and I said, "Jim, I am so worried that that breaking means that I'm now broken and that I won't ever be whole for any other important relationships in my life," with my kids and my friends and my ministry and all of that, and Jim said, Lysa, that was not the moment you broke; that was the moment you healed." And, boy, that was powerful because it was the moment that I finally stood up and accepted reality. And mental health is a commitment to reality at all costs.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. And somebody just heard that. I mean, I just heard that. And I think that's a paradigm shift, because some of us think mental health is trying to just deal with all the things, fix them and manage them. But when you're saying face reality, sometimes what we're doing by trying to fix and manage is we are trying to ignore and create a different reality. So I appreciate that distinction. And I've had the privilege to watch you over the years and to see the integrity and humility that you have had in the process of this difficult situations, the revelations, the healing, the fight. Because it has been a fight for your health in all areas.

But one of the things that I observed you doing -- and you even talk about it in this book -- is you created a daily rhythm of receiving and releasing -- okay? -- receiving and releasing. So I would love for you to explain to our listeners what that is and why it helps us when we're in a situation like you just described.

Lysa TerKeurst: Well, healing is very daily, and that's part of what makes healing feel complicated and long. And I remember asking different people, "How long is it going to be until I feel better? How long is it going to be until I feel normal again?" And different people heal at different rates, and there's all kinds of dynamics that happen, and there's never a formula. It's not like healing is a checklist that you can just get through this checklist really quickly and, ta-da, you're healed and you'll feel better.

And so because healing is so daily, I remember I had to manage my pain daily. And one of the most beautiful practices that I found was not overcomplicating it. And, you know, I'll be honest, Jennifer, sometimes in this process, I would just get so down and so heartbroken that I did not want to pick up God's Word and read it, I did not want to pray, because to some extent at times I almost felt like, God, do you see what's going on? And it just keeps getting worse. And how could a loving Father do this? And so there were times that I just got so low that I just didn't even want to engage with God. But what I learned is the moment we feel like we want to read God's Word the least is the moment we actually need it the most.

And so I couldn't do deep Bible study in that season because I was so overwhelmed. I couldn't even have a simple quiet time. But what I could do is every morning just receive one small nugget of truth from the Lord. Just one. And then at night before I would go to bed, I would scan my heart and I would intentionally verbalize, "God, I am feeling intense pain, so I release that to you today." "God, I'm feeling bitter, so I release that to you today."

Now, did that mean that the bitter feelings went away? No. Did that mean the intense pain went away? No. But what that did mean is that I entrusted that to the Lord and I verbalized it. And though it didn't fix things, it did give me a marked moment where I can look back now and say I walked with the Lord through this. He walked with me through this. He never left me and I never left him. And at the end of the day, I believe that was absolutely crucial for this journey.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow. Well, and as I'm hearing that, I'm thinking, you know, during your season of very intense pain, there is a spiritual logic to what you did. But, Lysa, here's the deal. Just in our everyday low-grade suffering, that's such a brilliant practice, because every day we need to receive that truth from the Lord and every day there's something we need to release. And it does, it just seems like it keeps an uncluttered soul when you do that. So I'm grateful you shared that.

And I'm also mindful that someone is listening right now, though, and she is, like, totally relating to the intensity of the darkness and the pain, and so she is trying to believe -- because she trusts Jesus, she's trying to believe she will heal from this, but her life is a total mess still. Okay? So tell us, why is healing never as neat and tidy as we expect it to be?

Lysa TerKeurst: Well, because it includes heartbreak. I mean, trauma doesn't just happen to us, it happens in us. And so there are physical realities, emotional realities. The feelings are intense. When we love deep, we hurt deep. And so the deeper that the pain goes, the longer it's going to take us to heal, obviously, and we need to give ourselves grace for that. But I will say, Jennifer -- I don't know if you remember this, but one time we were speaking together, and we were doing a panel Q&A, and you said something that -- I'm not going to get it quoted exactly right now, and I hope you can correct it and make it right. But you said something, the sentiment of which has stuck with me. And I would say I have repeated your statement in my mind probably more than any other. It was so profound. And you said something like, "Lysa, you will suffer a lot less the quicker that you accept what God is doing and trust him," or, "the quicker you accept the sovereignty of God." Do you remember that saying?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. I don't remember my exact statement, but, yeah, that is the -- I do live by that, because that's how I manage blindness. To resist the sovereignty of God is to invite continual suffering. But when we embrace what God allows through his sovereignty and mercy, then I do believe we live on a healing path more quickly. Yes.

Lysa TerKeurst: Yes. And that statement that you said to me, it profoundly changed the way I looked at my suffering. I thought I was a victim of suffering, just that it was inescapable. But you saying basically the quicker that we just accept that God is in this and there will eventually be some purpose to our pain, even if we don't ever like it, even if we don't ever agree with it, even if we never wanted it, and even if we don't even see a lot of good that comes from it, God -- he has a purpose. He has a plan. And the quicker we accept that, the less we will suffer. And it profoundly changed me, it just really did.

Jennifer Rothschild: I'm so thankful for that, because that's the kindness of God.

And, you know, I was talking with somebody yesterday who lives with a permanent disability. He had a brain condition, and so now he lives with memory loss, with vision impairment. And it's so significant that it affects his daily function. And we were talking about when do we accept the suffering as part of God's plan, and he said, "If I could just see some purpose in it." And that was our conversation, Lysa. We may not ever see the purpose. And sometimes what God allows in us that's so horrible, he's doing something through us that we may never see. And that's part of the release, I believe. I'm going to release my expectation, God, that I need to see a public ministry forum from this suffering. I'm going to release my expectation that I'm going to see someone's life change because mine stinks right now. We need to release the expectation and trust the sovereignty of God, that he's doing something far beyond what we may ever know. And even if he doesn't, we can trust his merciful heart in it, which is so hard.

Lysa TerKeurst: Absolutely.

Jennifer Rothschild: So hard in the middle of it.

Okay, so let's get something -- I want to go real practical here. Okay? Because I know there's people listening, nodding their heads, going, yes, but how do I live through tomorrow? Okay? So one of the things I've observed in your life is the importance of boundaries as you heal and as you process pain. So tell us the importance of boundaries, why they matter, why we need them.

Lysa TerKeurst: Boundaries help us avoid extremes. So sometimes we live in the extreme of I'll just take it and take it, it's fine, it's fine. I'll just, you know, do it one more day and one more day. And we just get so eaten up with frustrations and resentments that then we're tempted to jump to the other extreme and just say, I can't take it anymore. I'm done. And boundaries give us this beautiful opportunity to avoid the extremes and bring it back to the middle where good communication can happen. I think sometimes we look at boundaries as an attempt to shove other people away or to shut other people down or to control or manipulate or punish them. Those are not appropriate ways to look at a boundary.

What a boundary really is is an effective communication tool that helps us avoid extremes, where we get the opportunity to communicate what we will and will not accept, what we can and cannot tolerate, what we will and will not do, what we have the capacity to give and what we don't have the capacity to give. And I'm convinced, Jennifer, those honest communications can be building blocks for healthy relationships. I think more relationships die not because we attempt to have boundary conversations and they go poorly, but more relationships die because there are conversations that needed to be had that we refused to have because we just didn't know how.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow. Okay, that's hard and good, and I'm grateful you shared it, because I do think that's where we live a lot of times.

All right. So speaking of being honest, let's talk about this. How can we stay super honest about what we've been through -- okay? -- like the sorrows from yesterday, the heartache, the pain that still might hurt, while at the very same time we stay hopeful and optimistic and have faith for possibilities for the future?

Lysa TerKeurst: Well, I'll be honest, there were some days that I didn't remain hopeful and I didn't remain optimistic, and I think that that's the beautiful reason that God encourages us to practice lament and to pour out all of our concerns, questions, even our complaints and -- you know, just, "God, I can't deal with this," and just really pour out our heart to him. And the practice of lament is significant, it's biblical, and I think it's a very underutilized practice. And God is big enough for us to do that, and I think releasing some of that helps us to have a more honest relationship with the Lord.

But also, I think those days that we feel like everything is hopeless, what I found, Jennifer, is if I will just hang on for just one more day or one more season, I can then see that there will be good that comes. And maybe it's the tiniest little sliver of good. But where God is, good is there. And God never leaves us. So that means good cannot permanently leave us. And, yeah, this may be a really crappy, horrible, awful season -- and it's okay to admit that -- but there's also some kind of good, even if you walk outside and it's just the sun shining on your face, or looking up at the sky and realize the world is not falling. My world may feel like it's falling apart, but the world is not falling apart. And if I can just look a little bit outside of my trauma, I can find hope, because there's a big, wonderful, amazing world out there. There are people to meet, adventures to take. There's laughs to be had. And, yeah, the world can be a cruel place sometimes, but it can also be wonderful, and we just need to not lose sight of that.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, you're talking about a little bit of -- let me call it godly procrastination. Like, if you just think, I got to quit, I can't do this, then you just put it off till tomorrow, and keep putting it off till tomorrow, and suddenly tomorrow becomes this beautiful reality where you see the fruition of that hope. And I've seen you do that, Lysa.

Listen, I could listen to you talk about the situations and how to manage them, because they're so relevant and you're so articulate. And I'm grateful you've written the book, because I believe it will be a daily resource for women to really deal with this kind of stuff and to, you know, just have you kind of be that voice in their ear that says, "You are going to be okay."

We got to get to our last question. All right, so here's the last question. Why is obedience to God so important during hard times? And I want to know personally how that has played out in your life.

Lysa TerKeurst: I'll give you a saying. And I don't mean to sound, like, trite or too Christianese-y. But I cling to this saying because I have such a propensity to think that I could figure this out and do something to make it better. And what I've finally realized is I cannot change another person if they are unwilling or incapable of changing. Change has to come from within them, not because I put external pressure on them. And so I can't change people, I can't change circumstances. I can't change the realities of, you know, all the hardships that I'm going. So my job is to be obedient to God today. His job is to figure everything else out.

K.C. Wright: I 100% agree. 100%. Okay? Our job is to be obedient today. When we hear the Word, we just don't want to hear it; we want to receive it, love it, and obey it. That's the psalms. God manages the change; not me. Right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: Lysa had some really good and practical truth today, as always, and I know it hit home with lots of us. And, you know, Jennifer, she mentioned lament.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: And when she said that, we just had an episode on lament --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Yes, we did.

K.C. Wright: -- based on your study --

Jennifer Rothschild: The "When You Pray."

K.C. Wright: "When You Pray" Bible study, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. In fact, the "When You Pray" Bible study, it covers six different kinds of prayers. One of them is lament. In fact, that's the chapter that I wrote and the message that I spoke. But the cool thing is, y'all -- it has free video teaching with it, but it's not just me. It's five other authors, including Jackie Hill Perry and Kelly Minter and others. So you do want to check that out. In fact, I'll have a link for it on the Show Notes. It's called "When You Pray." 'Cause it does help you learn how to pray, but that includes how to lament well when life is hard.

K.C. Wright: And, of course, my friend, check out Lysa's resources too. We'll have all the links to them on the Show Notes at 413

Our friends, we love you, and we mean it. We are so thankful for you, yes, you listening right now. Feel the podcast hug. Thankful you hung out with us for another powerful 4:13 with Jennifer Rothschild and Lysa TerKeurst. Come on. Thanks for being you, thanks for giving us a kind review. We love you.

Until next week, remember that you can trust God. You can show up, you can heal. You're going to make it --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: -- because the Greater One lives big in you, and because of that, you can do all things through Christ who gives you the strength you need minute by minute, day by day. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.


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