Restoration

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

I used to read about healing in the Bible. I'd think, "Nice words, nice ideas." But I didn't understand how the Bible could help me overcome a terrifying situation I'd coped with for years. I'd even gone to a psychologist for therapy. Nothing seemed to help me

My roommates and I had been held hostage for several hours by a man who forced his way into our apartment. He wore a mask and threatened us with a gun, telling us about other women he'd assaulted. After he left and the police came, we were told it was a miracle that no one had been seriously injured; injury appeared to have been his initial intent. The experience was so disturbing to us that shortly afterward we all went our separate ways. I left the state to be closer to my family. But how could I separate myself from this experience? It happened. I felt that it was part of me and that I had no choice but to live with it.

About 15 years later, a job opportunity compelled me to move back to the city where the crime had occurred. Seeing the street where we lived made me realize I still felt upset.

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I'd been studying Christian Science to see if I could feel closer to God. I wanted to know that there never was a moment when God was not caring for me or when His love wasn't present. Christian Science teaches this. But at first I didn't believe deep down what I was studying; it just felt like words.

As I read the Bible and the Christian Science textbook ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures"), I found help in understanding God as a loving Father and a compassionate Mother; a Parent who loved me unconditionally, always. As I read and prayed, new views of the incident began to come. For example, I came to feel that divine protection had happened that day (the gunman had left voluntarily, after hours of threatening us). I'd been so busy seeing us as victims, I hadn't really acknowledged the way we were cared for.

One day, a single word came to my thought: restoration. I almost threw the word out as mental junk mail. But it persisted. Restoration. By listening to this precious message, and by exploring what it might mean to my spiritual journey, I was able to experience healing of sorrow about this incident, and others in my past.

The book of Joel says, "I [God] will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" (2:25). Many years of not feeling worthy or whole had gone by, and I wanted to see how I could have my peace and trust returned to me!

At first when I thought about restoration, all I could think of was furniture restoration. "Great. I'm not a piece of furniture," I thought. But the idea of sanding away every nick and chip and layer of unwanted paint or stains appealed to me. When you have finished restoring a piece of furniture, only the original perfection remains.

The author of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote a brief autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection." Here, after telling about some of the life challenges she faced, she concluded, "It is well to know, dear reader, that our material, mortal history is but the record of dreams, not of man's real existence, and the dream has no place in the Science of being" (Pg. 21). I certainly didn't want to keep living in the dream of being a crime victim.

I saw I needed to remove this feeling of being damaged beyond repair by finding my original beauty as a child of God, created by Him.

How grateful I was to awake to the spiritual fact that I could be ransomed from being a hostage to fear and vulnerability! A renewed sense of joy and awe filled me as I began to see that I could not lose the good qualities God gave me - including my innocence and my trusting nature.

Soon I could do more than just say I was God's perfect child. I felt it. I knew it. And I rejoiced that this is my real identity. My feelings of beauty and value were restored.

"Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called 'children of God' - and that is not just what we are called, but what we are" (I John 3:1, "The New Testament in Modern English," by J.B. Phillips).

The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine, contains in-depth articles about the Science of Christ.

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