What if I feel disappointed with God? Does grief play a role in healing? Is racial reconciliation a work of healing? Katherine Wolf and David Bailey join me for a conversation celebrating the book launch of To Be Made Well. We talk about the multidimensional nature of healing, and then we respond to questions from launch party guests at the end as we reflect on healing and hardship and hope in our personal lives and our society.
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Season 5 of the Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast connects to themes in my newest book, To Be Made Well...you can order here! Learn more about my writing and speaking at amyjuliabecker.com.
*A transcript of this episode will be available within one business day, as well as a video with closed captions on my YouTube Channel.
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And acknowledging, naming, recognizing the grief is a huge part of any healing at all. And probably the disability world understands this very uniquely, that there is still sadness and loss and sorrow. And that that is not, not mutually exclusive of tremendous joy and a life lived on purpose and being awake to what God's doing on earth. But I think there, there, there one, I call it the good, hard lights that we're all living a version of that
Reconciliation and healing go hand in hand, No matter how much money you do or do not have no matter where you are on a racial category, whether you bought a us or not. Everybody has a role to play in the healing. And reconciling of all things,
Amy Julia (1m 19s):
Healing is not a performance. Healing is not achieved. Healing is not a reward. Healing is not a requirement. Healing is a gift of grace, a gift of love for each of us and for all of us. And there's so much love. Hi friends, I'm Amy, Julia Becker. And this is love is stronger than fear. A podcast about pursuing hope and healing in the midst of personal pain and social division. As many of you know, I launched a new book last week, it's called to be made well. And it has been a really fun to start seeing this book get out into the world.
Amy Julia (1m 59s):
We started getting the book out into the world with a launch party last Monday night on zoom. And today's episode of this podcast is a recording of a conversation that I got to have in celebration of this book launch. So this zoom book launch party last week, and yes, this was like a very nerdy way to party among people like me, who really like reading books and talking about ideas. Hopefully you are one of us. So my zoom book launch party last week was basically a conversation between me and Catherine Wolf and David Bailey. So if you've been a listener to this podcast for a while, you might remember both of them from previous episodes, but just in case you need a reminder, Catherine is the co-founder along with her husband, Jay of hope heals.
Amy Julia (2m 48s):
She also wrote the forward to, to be made well. And she describes herself as a communicator and advocate who leverages her redemptive story to encourage those with broken bodies, broken brains and broken hearts. Catherine is an amazing human and I'm so grateful to know her. And for anyone, especially who's in the midst of an experience of disability or chronic pain or illness. I think her words will be really insightful and helpful in this conversation. And then there's David Bailey, who is also a, I think three time participant on this podcast. And David is also the founder of Aerobahn Aerobahn is a ministry that helps churches and nonprofits become reconciling communities.
Amy Julia (3m 32s):
He is from Richmond, Virginia, and is also just a dear friend. And I'm really grateful to have had this chance to talk with both of them. We talked about the multidimensional nature of healing, all these different aspects of healing, the personal aspects, the spiritual aspects, as well as the social aspects. And then at the end of this conversation, we got to respond to a few questions from launch party guests. So this was really fun. It was a great way to reflect on healing and hardship and hope in our personal lives and in our society. So I hope you enjoy listening to this today.
David (4m 8s):
So I just want to maybe start off by just asking you Amy. Julia, why did you write this book? And who's this book for,
Amy Julia (4m 18s):
Thanks, David. And thank you for being here. All everyone who's here, but I just really Catherine and David, thank you for taking the time to be with us and just celebrate the launch of this book, which I guess technically comes out tomorrow. I, I wrote this book, I guess, because I about seven years ago had an experience that I would call a healing experience, kind of a mysterious, miraculous, it felt healing experience. And I spent a long time trying to make sense of it. And when I finally started to pull those pieces together, I realized that there was so much about healing that I hadn't understood before.
Amy Julia (5m 0s):
And that was really transformative in my life. And it brought me back to the stories of Jesus and the gospel and a ministry of healing that as much as I, like, I thought that the gospel stories about healing were telling me that Jesus was powerful and compassionate and could work miracles. But I also thought that they were like long ago and far away. And I wasn't sure that they were relevant other than telling me some true things about Jesus. Like I wasn't sure they were relevant in my own life and in the lives of the people around me. And as I started to see that my understanding of healing, the healing ministry of Jesus was really small when actually it was still really relevant because yes, because of the possibility for physical healing, but even more so I think because of like the more comprehensive nature of healing.
Amy Julia (5m 57s):
So in terms, that's why I wrote it was just because I learned so much and I wanted to share it. I mean, I guess that's what writers do, but then in terms of who is it for, you know, it's, there's a part of me that is like it's for everyone because everyone needs healing. And I do mean that, but I also think there are a lot of us who are coming to the end of these last couple of years, feeling a little bit beaten up between the like global pandemic and everything that, that brought up in our lives and just the political situation in our country right now, the global conflict that's going on. There's just a sense of like, we are wounded people, we're broken people, we need healing.
Amy Julia (6m 37s):
And that's true personally, and it's true in our families and it's true in our nation and it's true in our world. And so I think it's for people who are longing, who are like what I was doing before didn't work. Like I try, I'm trying it again and it didn't, it's not working. So I think it's for people who have a sense of that longing to be made. Well, honestly, I mean, that's where the title comes in, I guess.
David (7m 1s):
Awesome. That's really great. Thanks for sharing that. So, you know, one of the things that I, I really appreciated about your book is that you not only talks about the purse, but you talked about not only the interpersonal, but she talked about the physical, you talked about like the social w what made you think three-dimensionally about multiple dimensions? Probably. I will say that way. How about healing?
Amy Julia (7m 30s):
You know, I think that started to think about healing in terms of mind, body, and spirit, and then also communally, right? Like, so the personal, the spiritual, and then the communal, there were probably different aspects to that. One was my, when penny was born and had, was diagnosed with down syndrome for anyone who doesn't know our daughter, penny is 16 now and was diagnosed a couple of hours after she was born. And I started reading some theology of disability books that pointed out that every time Jesus heals someone, he sends them back to their community. There's a social aspect to their healing.
Amy Julia (8m 10s):
And one of the models I had in my head, like I saw disability when penny was born as like it physical or intellectual problem that needed to be fixed. And that is not how I don't think Jesus sees disability at all, but I do think there's, there is a problem. And the problem is the sense of like isolation and ostracizing and prejudice and division that can happen when you come into this world in a body that is called different and that's often therefore looked down on. And so starting to see like the social dimensions of healing. I started because I was thinking about what would it mean for penny to belong and to be re constituted into family, into our church community, into any community.
Amy Julia (8m 59s):
And then I started to realize like, well, even if you aren't someone with a disability, loneliness is like an aspect of not being well, right. I mean, even like from a literal health perspective, if you are lonely, you have a higher, or like the same rate of dying as if you smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, like it's a really bad health measure if you are having chronic loneliness. And so that was the communal aspect was just seeing how that showed up in the gospels, but also seeing how it showed up in our real world. And then I guess the both physical and spiritual aspect was really, again, back to Jesus and looking at the word that he uses again.
Amy Julia (9m 40s):
And again, to say that someone has been made well, or has been healed is the same word that he might say they've been saved. So there's this like physical and spiritual component to that Greek word that gets lost in translation a lot, because we have to choose whether we're going to say they were healed or they were saved. But so when's, the Kias is, you know, when Jesus comes to the keys to his house and the Kias gives away half of his possessions, Jesus uses the same word to describe what happens there as he does when a blind man can see. And so you're like, how is giving away money the same as being able to see when you were blind? And I think that helps to us to understand that, like we separate the physical and the spiritual Jesus does not.
Amy Julia (10m 24s):
So all of those things went into how I was seeing it.
David (10m 28s):
Good, Catherine, you, so, you know, one of the things that a lot of the gospel stories that Amy and Julia talked about, it seems like there's despite quick fixes healing of a physical problem. So you spent like time writing about just it's your experience of healing, which definitely wasn't a, a quick fix or the outcome you necessarily wanted or expected. But can you talk a little bit about how your experience with healing, but also how you handle it with the disappointment with God that God didn't heal you the way that you originally wanted God to heal you?
Katherine (11m 9s):
Oh yeah, absolutely. And I don't re-attend you people know my story, but I basically had a very, very severe stroke out of nowhere. And very daily died afterwards and subsequently became very, very profoundly disabled. I can't walk on my own. I can't drive. Obviously my face is paralyzed. My eyes don't track. I'm deaf in one ear and I've had 14 surgeries to recover to a baseline of living today. I've broken six different bones.
Katherine (11m 51s):
I've had just pretty emotional suffering in the 14 years since the stroke. And really wrestled in that time, obviously, with what, what does healing look like? And when I was still initially in the hospital, pretty much, it felt like everybody in the whole world was having dreams and visions of me running on the beach. And, you know, I mean, from strangers in China, sending us mail, I'm serious with visions of me running one day to whoever college friend, you know, stating she believed God would heal me.
Katherine (12m 40s):
It really became very complex after months starting to going by. And I still cut it, eat foods, speak, stay, and walk nothing. And eventually those dreams and visions dried up. Nobody was saying that anymore. And it was very spiritually complex because what are you do with that? And what he had to do, probably some of you on this call, understand what do you do when the healing doesn't look like what people thought it would look like?
Katherine (13m 21s):
Did God still healed? Is there still a miracle in the healing that's happened? Or, you know, it's a complicated conversation. And I don't know that you asked this David, but I'll, I'll tell you this. When those visions and dreams really dried up fully, it was about like probably eight months in. I think the Lord really enabled me to understand that those visions were likely visions of me and heaven with a new body and had nothing to do with my earthly body, which was pretty radical thinking at the time, because I'm a 26 year old, new mom of a baby with no previous health problems, not, I mean, from zero to, you know, whatever, like total insane to start to visualize living in a body that is not quote unquote healed, but tiny releasing some of my need for physical healing, knowing that healing in the most needed places could in fact happen while on earth and that's internally.
Katherine (14m 46s):
And that one day there would be a new body. And th that would sustain me on earth was the assurance of that combined with the reality of the comforter with me in this life, doing this with me. So it was very complicated to explore healing and still is. I mean, it's not gotten less complicated as I've really started spending my life and the disability community. And, you know, you get some really hard, complicated, painful deals I'm going on and on.
Katherine (15m 28s):
I'm so sorry. I'm sorry.
Amy Julia (15m 29s):
I know. I wanted to ask Catherine, I'm curious how you read, like when you read healing stories in the Bible, that seems sometimes so quick and easy, right? Like where it's like, oh, they just come up to Jesus and touch his clothes and all of a sudden, the like long lasting illnesses, like I'm curious for you whether yeah. How you read those stories, like, what happens for you when you read them?
Katherine (15m 56s):
I read them and I loved them because I sent fully have kind of made peace that that may be my story on earth, but it may not be, and I'm not going to wait around for my foot unquote physical healing to come because I've got a life to live in purpose. So there's, I don't know. I just think it's, I don't put gods in a box, you know, maybe I'll have a full physical healing next week, but I, I guess I, I love that. That's awesome for whoever got this miraculous healing, Jesus heals, but I think it's just really selling ourselves so short if we stop and just the body, when what matters ultimately is my feelings were so incredibly hurt that God would let this happen.
Katherine (16m 56s):
To me, that was more of the wrestling. It has been all these years was wait, God, I kind of unspoken thought we had a deal here. And my life's been ravaged and turned upside down. So how do I make peace with that? And ultimately, I've come to a place of recognizing that God doesn't make mistakes in our lives. And so there's this bizarre sense of calling in my broken body. That anyway, I there's a lot I could say about this, and this is your book light all about this topic, but I just think it's so freeing to not be so obsessed with the physical Healy and maybe that's what you're getting.
Amy Julia (17m 52s):
No, that's, I mean, thank you. I just, yeah. I just wanted to push a little bit on that because I think it is easy for us to get a little bit stuck on the physical, which is part of what you're, you're not saying I don't care about the physical, but you're also saying the physical is not everything and it's not the only way that God heals. And I think that's, that's just really important. I'm also curious David, like, if, well, unless you have a follow-up to Catherine, Okay. I wanted to know for you because your work is in like your professional work, right. Is in the area of racial reconciliation.
Amy Julia (18m 32s):
And I think healing on like more of a social level. Well, I guess that's my question is, do you, can you tell everybody a little bit about what you, the work that you do, but also whether you see that work of reconciliation as a work of healing and how you relate that to what we're talking about?
David (18m 50s):
Yeah. I mean, I, I definitely think that reconciliation and healing go hand in hand and, and I think so, let me just back up, I guess I'll say a little bit of work that we do. We work with the church, particularly Christian communities, because we believe that Christian communities ought to be a foretaste of the, of, of the kingdom of God. That's the come. And one of the, one of the images that John saw when he saw heaven was there was a tree of life in the middle of this great city and the leaves were by the healing of the nations.
David (19m 32s):
And so we see that the nations, the , the, the, the people, these different tribes and these different tongues, these different languages, man, things are like very ravaged and things are brutally happening. And a lot of conflict is happening here on earth. We're dealing with a global, like trying not to, to have a world war three right now, but then we also like live in a country domestically where for centuries folks were actively engaging with desecrating, the image of God and other people and manipulating laws for economic reasons.
David (20m 17s):
And saying, some people are made a more than Mr God and others that aren't. And about five decades ago, we made a change and we said, Hey, this is illegal to do, but it wasn't that we necessarily, we said, this is not good to do, but it wasn't like, we were just like, as proactive to engage in healing and reconciliation, we just said it was illegal. And then there was some laws maybe during the seventies that, Hey, we'll enforce some of these laws. And if for the most part we've kind of, kind of, as a society, took like a color blind approach. And, and it was just like, Hey, let's just kinda ignore what happened and try to move forward. And, and that's not necessarily a path towards healing.
David (21m 2s):
You can use healing. So you can use history to hurt people to say, Hey, Amy, Julia, what you did in the past. You'll never change, you know, and, or, or you heard me so great in the past that I'll never forgive you. And that could be a hurtful way of engaging with history. There's another way you can use history to hide, to kind of tell the version of history that kind of puts you in the best light, or you can use history as a way to heal. Whenever you go to the doctor, the doctor asks you, Hey, what's your medical history. When you go to the lose some weight and you work with what is exercise science folks, they ask you, what's your exercise history.
David (21m 48s):
When you go to the therapist, they asked you what's your history. And so, so history really can be a really great way to be able to, to heal. And so one of the things that we do as an administry is like, we try to help people to number one, understand reconciliation, the spiritual formation, to realize that just the work of repair and healing for brokenness is an active thing. It's a way of being spiritually healed as well as community healed, but then understand our context, you know, understand the history. I'm saying how we got here. And then the third thing that we do is try to have imagination to see like, Hey, what does this look like to have a foretaste of the kingdom of God on earth as in heaven?
David (22m 34s):
So this is like, that's what I really loved about your book will be maybe well it's because it, it had space for this. Maybe we talked a little bit about this in the book, but like, it's, it's, there's a role for all of us to participate in this work. And, and that's the work that everybody tries to do is some people to figure out, no matter how much money you do or do not have no matter where you are on a racial category, whether you're born a us or not, everybody has a role to play in the healing and reconciling of all things.
Amy Julia (23m 11s):
Yeah. I think for me, that has been such an interesting aspect of these past. I don't know. I mean, whether I look back over 20 years or since penny was born or the past seven years or whatever, but like the sense that as I understand healing in my own life, I better understand what it might look like on that. Not just communal I mean, yes, the local level, but also in like a more social sense. Like I think about, there's a story I tell in the book of my sister, when she was really young, stepping on a splinter and the splinter went so into her foot that it like the skin started to close around it. So you couldn't see that there was a wound there anymore.
Amy Julia (23m 52s):
So she was just like limping along. And then she eventually went to the doctor. The doctor's like, no, you're fine. You know, you've gotten the splinter out and she had to go in and dig it out. And I won't give all the gory details here, but it's such this picture of like what we want to do with our history to be like, no, no, there's no problem there. Like we're walking, but it's like, no, no, we're lipping. We're not like they aren't even walking right now and imagine what would happen. It would be painful. And it would be gross to actually pull out the festering wound, but then healing could happen. And that would actually be life-giving for everyone. And instead of us pretending and like, yeah, limping along through all of our days.
Amy Julia (24m 34s):
And I think that can be so true for us personally, but also true for us as a society.
David (24m 41s):
Okay. Rouse me of what time I went to the doctor with my wife and the doctor asked me, so what do you like to eat? What kind of like food do you eat? And I was like, you Cumbers. And so I was like, and what else do you like to eat? But yeah, that is, there's a level of honesty. And, and, and so in this kind of issue, we think about the middle part of your book, where there's some barriers to healing that we can have. And what are some of the, what are some of the barriers to healing?
Amy Julia (25m 23s):
Yeah. I spent a lot of time thinking about this in my own life. And then also just like, are these true only for me? Or are they more commonly true? And I, in the book ended up writing about four different barriers, shame, well, distraction, shame, fear, or anxiety, and then status. And so the distraction one is just the ways that we keep ourselves from even having to pay attention to the fact that there's a problem, right? Whether that's like entertainment busy-ness and productivity for me, I consume a lot of information, so I can feel good about myself when I'm distracting myself, because I'm like, oh, but I was learning. You know? So, and then also the kind of numbing agents that we use, whether that's alcohol or shopping or food, there are all sorts of things that can just kind of keep us on the surface and not paying attention to the deeper work appealing we might need.
Amy Julia (26m 15s):
I think part of why we do that is because when we strip away some of those distractions, we end up confronting our shame and just the sense of like, I don't want, I don't like what I see when I get down there. And I'm afraid that there's no place for God's love there. Like, and for my, even my own love there, because this is just icky and gross and I don't like it. And so I think shame can be something that prevents us from knowing our own belovedness and therefore understanding that, that we are people who God wants to make well, fear. I also see, especially come up as anxiety.
Amy Julia (26m 56s):
And I think for me personally, that usually means it takes the form of control. So instead of like resting in not being able to do everything for myself and resting into the fact that I'm like a needy and limited human being, who's going to have to depend on God and other people in order to be whole fear. Actually, for me, energizes me. I know for some people it's kind of debilitating to be in a place of fear for me, it's like, that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. Or at least it was for a lot of my life because it was like Energizer bunny, because I was just afraid of what would happen if I stopped. And so if I can stop to like, actually receive love, that can be a really different thing than fear, but the fear can be a barrier to it.
Amy Julia (27m 42s):
And then finally, that last one that I wrote about in the book is status, or like putting ourselves in these hierarchies where we think we're better than the other. So pride can keep me from recognizing my need and from healing, achievement, thinking, I need to work my way towards getting anything as opposed to receiving it. So yeah, those are the kind of really short snapshots of the different, different ways. I think we can have barriers to healing. Oh, the good news I will say though, is that I really believe that God is not impeded by the same, by those barriers. Like there's grace for us in all of them. So it's not like, oh, so as long as you like, get rid of your iPhone and make sure that you like rest on Sundays and don't have any anxiety or shame or pride, then you can be healed.
Amy Julia (28m 31s):
It's like, no, no, we are going to all have all of that much of the time. And there's still healing available. Those are just, if we were aware of those barriers, I think it can help us be more aware of what it might mean to like acknowledge the places where we need healing and ask for help in those places.
David (28m 51s):
Yeah. You know, it's funny, I was thinking about this today. Just like how really acknowledging the limits of our humanity is a way to receive the grace of God. You know? And I think one of the things kind of, particularly in our American culture, we oftentimes, I mean, I like like being like, like almost like the American dream is like to get to a space where you don't have limits, you know, that like, or you can, self-impose your own limits, but you know, this is, this is like a really challenging thing because we actually need the limits to receive the grace of God actually in our weakness.
David (29m 33s):
God's strength is made. Perfect. Right. And so those are things that, man, I hear you saying. So like at the same time, right? So there's some barriers, but like what's our role in participating in healing? I mean, you know, there's, I feel like there's some, like some practical things that you, you lay out that help us also like participate in healing at the same time. There's this tension of receiving the grace of God. So, so can you maybe help to,
Amy Julia (30m 5s):
Yeah. Catherine, I'd love for you to answer that question too, in terms of like what it might look like to have a role in healing and what it means to receive. So I'll, I'll say something, but I'd love to hear Catherine's thoughts on this as well. In both that like personal and collective way. I do think that like acknowledging pain is the start, like instead of ignoring or avoiding or hiding or denying it, it's just like naming it and saying, yeah, it hurts. It's there. And then asking for help in that place, whether that's help from God or from other people, but just saying like this hurts and whatever I'm doing to try to deal with that is not working.
Amy Julia (30m 47s):
I need help. But then I've read, I've been thinking a lot about Greg Boyle who is out in Los Angeles and the founder of homeboy industries. He's written a couple of books and he talks about surrendering to healing that the gang members, who he has former gang members, who he's worked with, think of them as people like they need to change. And he's like, no, you don't need to change. You need to surrender to healing, like you need healing. And so I just, I don't know. I love that idea of if I can believe that I am beloved, then that's going to allow me to like acknowledge pain, ask for help.
Amy Julia (31m 27s):
And then like what I think Greg Boyle says, like surrender to healing, believe my belovedness, I think there's a transformative work that can happen there. And I mean, there are some specific practices that I write about in the book in terms of how to actually do that. But that's the pattern I see in the gospels, but also in my own life, like acknowledge pain, ask for help, surrender to healing. And that's what enables me to actually participate in my own healing, but also in healing in the world. But yeah, Catherine, I'd love to hear what you have to say about like the idea of participating in healing.
Katherine (32m 0s):
Yeah. Yeah. I would say similar to what you've said in some ways, sorry to be repetitive. But I think for me, in terms of my own healing, Amper better than other people's acknowledging, naming, recognizing the grief is a huge part of any healing at all, because how are you possibly supposed to ever move on? And they, they say you don't move on that you move forward. And I do like that actually that you always carry it with you, but that recognition of deep loss and acknowledgement is always part of healing.
Katherine (32m 42s):
Again, it makes sense. I mean, surrender is obviously so tied into that. The acknowledgement of what's lost so much of Bon and I would say a huge part. It's also been not suppressing emotion and not elevating emotion either, but really having a healthy relationship with your feelings and emotions. I mean, before I could even really start to come up for air and process what was happening, it had been five years. So I had the stroke in 2008 and my husband and I didn't really locked into ministry full-time until 2013.
Katherine (33m 29s):
So it took five years and I really always liked to make that very clear that it wasn't like I woke up the morning after my life blew up and was like, yay Jesus. Now we go forth with purpose. It was like, I'm prying in bed. And wondering how can I live in this state? And the list was so long of now, I will never and pay just so much pain, but there is, there is a time when things don't hurt as acutely.
Katherine (34m 12s):
I think they most overt when I will have a low grade sadness probably for my whole life. And there's deep joy in my story, but I think, and probably the disability world understands this very uniquely, that there is still sadness and loss and sorrow. And that that is not, not mutually exclusive of tremendous joy and a life lived on purpose and being awake to what God's doing on earth.
Katherine (34m 56s):
But I think there, there, there one, I call it the good, hard lights that we're all living a version of that. But the, the other real way I see this playing out is adjusting expectations of what life has to offer me. There's been such a deep healing and being able to pivot in life and not having it has to look this way, or I can't experience any joy, but like, I don't really know what is going to look like, and I'm, I'm here for it, whatever it is.
Katherine (35m 41s):
And maybe God's going to surprise me and I'm trying desperately to get back to my old life. That's no longer available. I never could feel any real joy in the Lord, but instead I think the emotional agility we need to cultivate really can enable healing, like really can release something in us that says, okay, like this, isn't the start out with a written, but Lord, you're in charge of the story. And I want to go with the story. I don't know if that's like nearly theologically appropriate, heavy enough joy that you could fall asleep to that I kept working.
Katherine (36m 28s):
Like somehow the Lord has given me a sense that there is really powerful ability of a human to cope. And we see that throughout history. Speaking of anything we've learned in history, David has said, Christ has equipped us to really do very hard things and to lift stories that we didn't imagine we'd be living. And that mindset just changes how we, how we view the rest of our days.
Amy Julia (37m 6s):
Yeah. I think, I mean, I have no theological objections, Catherine whatsoever.
Katherine (37m 12s):
I mean, you went to Princeton,
Amy Julia (37m 20s):
I'd actually like to actually acknowledge, I love your honesty that there is joy and there's sadness and that's not going to change like this is not a T you know, tie a bow on it. That was one of my biggest fears in writing this book was that there would be some sense of people coming away with a formula for healing. And if I just do it right, and in both like, even in like a faith context, like if you just pray hard enough, if you just have enough faith, if you just, you know, whatever, then you will be made well, and there can be some truth to that. Like, as you said, there is an emotional component to healing.
Amy Julia (38m 1s):
There is a spiritual component to it and it still might really hurt. And there's brokenness in this world and our bodies and minds and spirits reflect that brokenness. And in fact, bear witness to something true when that's the case. So anyway, I just really appreciate your, the depth, the breadth of what you're willing to share with all of that. So thank you.
David (38m 23s):
Good. Yeah. Right. Well, so we got some questions, just pour it in. And I would, I got one question for you, Amy, Julia, so we can save enough time for one question for you, but here's the question for all three of us. Would you say grief plays a role in healing? If so, how so, or how does grief play a role in healing?
Amy Julia (38m 51s):
Catherine? Do you want to speak to that?
Katherine (38m 53s):
Oh, well, I mean, I kind of already did, but I do, but you first, Matthew too.
David (39m 0s):
Amy Julia (39m 0s):
You go ahead.
David (39m 2s):
And I actually, I actually think that, so this is one of the workshops that we offer at air bomb, where whenever you deal with issues of race, class, and culture, you deal with the complicated emotions of fear, anger, grief, and shame. And so, you know, if I just, all of a sudden just started crying or just started yelling or did something kind of emotionally weird or awkward, all of a sudden you'd be like, whoa, what's up with that guy. That's weird. But if I told you that I lost someone and I'm dealing with grief, then you can make space and room for that.
David (39m 42s):
Well, when you look at just our racial history, our natural response is to deal with grief. And like there's even different stages of grief. You know, you've got denial, you have bargaining, you have anger, you have acceptance. And then all of a sudden, you know, you, you know, you actually kind of like accept what's going on. I miss this. This is five stages. I can't remember the all five right now, but here's the thing. Even amongst families, people don't grieve at the same pace. Unless you think about something like our, our social history, we're dealing with grief, grief.
David (40m 23s):
And here's a major problem that we have in America is that we don't do funerals anymore. The one place where used to be, you learn how to deal with grief. We do celebrations of life. And so that's, that's very different than a funeral where you like acknowledged like somebody who I love was here and it's not here anymore. And I have to recognize that. And so just, we don't have to do what we also want to have a positive spin on it. So we're very, I think very, I wouldn't even go as far as the rest of the development and having to deal with this emotion of grief, oftentimes in a very like positive spin American culture.
David (41m 4s):
And so then, you know, you got grief, you got anger, you got shame. You also have fear. And this specifically relates to issues of race, class, and culture. And so I think grief is a really, really important part of the healing process. Because if you don't acknowledge it, it doesn't go anywhere. And when you, when you don't allow grief to process to go through the proper process, it's, it's like breaking a leg. Like you will never break a leg and say, walk it off. Well, that's what we do emotionally. If you break a leg and you walk it off that label getting affected and will never be treated, what, right. So you have to acknowledge, you have to acknowledge the pain and it might even hurt more to set the leg back and to treat it right.
David (41m 49s):
But that's the only way to get towards healing. And that's the same thing. Also what's happening in our country, at least as it relates to issues of race and social economic situations.
Katherine (41m 60s):
That's so interesting, David, as you're saying that I'm remembering the passage in Ecclesiastes where it says, is it Ecclesiastes four, two does new Mondo, that it is better to go to the house of mourning than that to feasting. And I think it's some translations. And then in the message version says it is better to attend funerals, the weddings that living in this space, or did have you read any Julia? You probably did. I took a lot of these being mortal Big surprise there I do too, which is a surprise, but I was, I was so struck that that Americans are so uncomfortable with that grieving process, the loss in death first, your and anyway, that's the fascinating point, David.
Amy Julia (42m 56s):
Yeah. And I think, I mean, this goes to what both of you were saying, but that sense of like, I'm learning how to acknowledge pain, whether that's the pain of grief or like the pain of a broken bone literally in your body, not so that we can wallow in it, but so that we can say, how, how does this need to heal? And I think I've been really in recent years struck by the language of like toxic positivity, that sense of like, and, and again, this comes up in like secular circles and in faith circles where it's just like, you know, just have a good attitude. So, Catherine, I think you do such a good job of writing about reframing things, but not in a way that's denies the grief of it, but more even just that idea of like, I guess we get stuck.
Amy Julia (43m 43s):
If we try to put a cap on those emotions, there really is a sense of like, we just have to hold everything in one place, which doesn't really work anyways. And the point is, if we allow it to come out, then maybe there is a way to move forward and we'll still move forward. You know, whether it's with a lump or with a scar, you know, it doesn't mean we'll move forward and it's all going to go away. But I do think there's a capacity to move forward and to even bring, bring whatever God has given us in that place of grief into the healing, Catherine, this might've been Jay who said this at some point, but that sense of like where your deepest sorrow has been, like going into the pit with someone else, do you know what I'm talking about?
Katherine (44m 26s):
Of course, yeah. We bust talked a lot, lot about this idea. I mean, it's the beautiful truth of second Corinthians one that we comfort others with comfort that we've received as this cycle. But I started saying that what we're doing is we get to be living survival guides for a job other, and when we reach in and look someone in the eye and say, I've been there too, and you're coming out with me that, that, that does some deep healing work in our brains. That God wired us. That way, that somehow as we free table with our presence in their pain, it's doing something to articulate, I think.
David (45m 16s):
Sounds good. So, Catherine, there's a question for you. So, so what, if any, were the pivotal moments and making peace with feeling hurt that physically basically what, the pain that, that physical healing didn't come and how did you avoid descending into self pity feeling sorry for yourself?
Katherine (45m 40s):
Well then, and today I think if I thought like really having a significant pity party would change anything, I would probably do it, you know, but I just know too much. I just know that it's going to be completely and totally pointless to not use what the Lord has given has allowed to work on my body, which is not everything. But, you know, I didn't die when I had the stroke and the doctors do not know why the I should, should definitely have died and such extreme physical limitations have existed in the space of your second chance life.
Katherine (46m 34s):
So for me, I guess there, there has been a sense of like, there's got to be a reason I'm on earth, even if it's a messed up body. And I have been known to say that if you have a pulse, you have a purpose that there's no accidents. So I think that that's really helped me not have too much for the, well, I honestly do feel sorry for myself Sundays. So I'd never wanted to say like, oh, I've arrived. I've no kidney for myself. I mean, yeah, I do.
Katherine (47m 14s):
It's really hard. You know, I watch all the other moms, I have a kindergartener, like get the kids out of the car and take them into the classroom and I will never do that. And that makes me sad and all the little things like that, that I'll never do. Like, can I stay stuck? They suck. And I think that even the acknowledgement that it's hard and painful does help me cope and doing this just some good talk therapy, honestly good for the soul healing. I believe that working it out out loud and be real about it does possibly change how you feel about it.
Katherine (48m 1s):
Which side note at Amy Joliet clearly speaks to this in the book. Isn't it all about that? Isn't it really ultimately about reframing how we view everything in this world? We really that's how we go is we look at our lives differently than we did before.
Amy Julia (48m 20s):
Well, yeah. And I would say to that, the sense of I've been talking, I gave a talk last week kind of based on this book and use the phrase, believing our belovedness like that to me is the biggest reframing. And it can be really hard, especially when you're in the midst of whether it's oppression and injustice or Catherine and your situation like a completely inexplicable accident that affects your whole life and causes pain. Like how do we believe our belovedness when these horrible things happen. And yet if we can get to that deep place of believing our belovedness, I do think it allows for a really different reframing of everything and a different type of hope and a different type of sense of purpose and, and actually less, less of a need to insist that everything is fine.
Amy Julia (49m 15s):
Like it's like a freedom to say, yeah, it sucks that I can't walk my son into his classroom. And, and I'm beloved. Like, you know, there's somehow an ability to hold
Katherine (49m 24s):
Amy Julia (49m 27s):
David (49m 28s):
You know, this, I mean, this is like something that I actually want to take a little bit of ownership of as like a person in ministry, a pastor, like we have done a really, really poor job. Most churches in America, they're really poor job of, of helping people to deal with just life just doesn't work out great. Like, you know, like, like, like, I mean, if you go to most of our services and you listen to the praise songs that we sing, the worst songs that we sing, they tend to be very triumphalistic. They tend to say like Jesus died on a cross and the resurrection happened and everything's great.
David (50m 10s):
You know, our preaching is very inspirational. Our like, you know, we just rarely ever have any like time and space for lament. And so what ends up happening is people don't know how to admit cause they haven't practices and are on our gathered times. And, and 40 of the songs are songs dealing with like mint or something's messed up with the world 40%. So this is something that's really, some of them get to be like the, the level of anger and vitriol that it could express you, like who got this, go through the editorial review of the sacred texts. Like, you know, How did this happen?
David (50m 52s):
But like, God put these words so that guy can take our anger on. And a friend of mine said it this way that like, God is not fragile. So, so God like, God can take your, your anger and your, the raw and the sort of gray emotion. And God wants that. And this reason why God gave us, gave us the songs now it's, it's, it is six minutes to, how can we get people to know about this book and yeah. And, and, and sell as many as we can.
Katherine (51m 23s):
Amy Julia (51m 25s):
Well, thank you for both of those questions. As far as like the takeaway, I, I kind of have two answers. One is I've been saying healing is for each of us and for all of us. And what I mean by that is I do think there are like particular ways that we each need healing that are going to look different for each of us. And yet there's also like everybody is invited, everyone's included and everyone needs it. Like there's an all of us thing there too, but then I'm actually, I, for the people on the launch team, I did this, I think two weeks ago, but I'm going to do, I'm going to just read the very end of the book.
Amy Julia (52m 5s):
There's not really a plot to this book, so don't worry. You're not like, you know, it's not spoiling, it's not a spoiler, but I'm just going to read the last page or so, because this is really where I would want people to know that things land. So in Romans five, five, Paul writes that hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts, through the holy spirit. It's as if this vast waterfall of love cascades into the wounded places within our own souls. And over time, we find that there is more than enough love and that God will keep pouring it into us and around us forever love that fills us to overflowing love.
Amy Julia (52m 51s):
That moves like water seeping into every broken place, every crack and crevice love that works its way into our personal places of shame and pain and heartache love that flows from us into our communities, areas of shame and pain without leaving us parched and thirsty for more abundant, transformative healing, love flowing down and through us and drawing us and strengthening us and blessing us. Healing is not a performance. Healing is not an achievement. Healing is not a reward. Healing is not a requirement. Healing is a gift of grace or a gift of love for each of us and for all of us.
Amy Julia (53m 35s):
And there's so much love. So that's the kind of that, well, that's my takeaway because that's the last page, but yeah, Like where I want things to land is with that sense of being receivers of love from God, which will mean healing in our lives. And as far as this actual book goes, you know, it's available as of tomorrow on Amazon. And it certainly, if you add probably your local independent bookstore will not know about this book, unless you go ask them to purchase it for you. And so you can buy it from them, but that would be awesome. And yeah, I would love, I had a friend pray today that this book would multiply and that really just means people reading it and saying that they know other people who should read it and being willing to kind of take the risk to tell other people, Hey, I think you would enjoy this.
Amy Julia (54m 28s):
So, and yeah, also I will say I saw somebody put this in the chat. If you are a reader and you're already on good reads, or if you have, especially if you've purchased it from Amazon, putting a review in those places helps other people know about it as well. So those all are a big help for me.
David (54m 48s):
Oh, so I heard this at the library or somebody bought it from Walmart. It, then if you could leave a review on Amazon Christian books, et cetera, help books. So after you read it, write a review.
Amy Julia (55m 2s):
David (55m 3s):
It's also tell your church and I will say, do a book club.
Amy Julia (55m 8s):
Oh yeah. And you know what we do, I will say we have a discussion guide that is available on the Herald press website and you can link to it from my website. It has questions for every chapter, but you also could just select among the questions if you wanted to meet multiple times or just one time that is all available pretty easily.
David (55m 32s):
Well, I want to say thank you so much for just coming to this launch party event. I'm the only person that would have had and this time bring your hat for the next party. And, but thank you all so much for coming out and, and Amy, Julia and Catherine, Amy, Julie, thanks for the invitation to let me host and Catherine, thank you so much for your contribution. You minister to my soul today. So thank you so much.
Katherine (56m 2s):
It made you angry, joy out. We're so excited for you for . Thank
Amy Julia (56m 9s):
Katherine (56m 10s):
We're going to be watching all over social media. You better like blow it up Tamara, and we cannot read those, then fiddle up.
Amy Julia (56m 19s):
Yes, that's true. You can also, if you're on social media, you can tell other people about this book that way, and that's a big help too. And if you go to my website, there are lots of cute little, you know, quotations and so forth that you can share. All right. Thank you everyone. Thank you. Thank you and blessings to you as you go. Thanks as always for listening to this special episode of love is stronger than fear. And thanks for taking this time, just to celebrate the release of, to be made well with me, I will be recording the book on audio book in the coming weeks, which I assume people who listen to podcasts and might listen to audio books.
Amy Julia (57m 2s):
So I will let you know when it is available in that format for now, you can find it online. You can request it at your local bookstore, look for it in a local library, access it through Kindle. I would love for you to read this book, especially if you've been a listener of this podcast in the past. This is a book that incorporates a lot of the ideas that I talk about here. It has always, I am grateful to Jake Hansen for editing this podcast to Amber Barry, my social media coordinator, who does everything to make everything happen beautifully and wonderfully. Actually I'll say, if you haven't, if you're on Instagram and you have had not had a chance to check out my Instagram page lately, Amber has done some awesome videos over there that also introduced you to be made well.
Amy Julia (57m 48s):
And I'm really grateful for what she's done with those, but I'm also, I'm grateful for you for listening. And I do hope and pray that as you go into your day to day, you will carry with you. The peace that comes from believing that love is stronger than fear.