A Christian community is therefore a healing community, not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision. Mutual confession then becomes a mutual deepening of hope, and shared weakness becomes a reminder to one and all of the coming strength…Thus ministry can indeed be a witness to the living truth that the wound, which causes us to suffer now, will be revealed to us later as the place where God intimated a new creation.—Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer (pg. 100, 102)
If I had to settle on a single word to describe my experience of the last several years, the only one that feels somewhat honest is “surgery.” To be blunt, I’d much rather use a word like “transformation” or perhaps the lofty “metamorphosis.” I like those words. They sound pleasant. Heroic even. Within lies the hint of a beautiful and anticipated birthing.
What I’ve experienced over the last three years has been anything but heroic. Instead it was more a reluctant and somewhat resistant submission to a soul surgery.
A necessary wounding for what would end up being a greater healing.
Although it would not be too much of a stretch to describe what has happened to me—body and soul—as a birth, it was not pleasant. Nor do I believe I’ve yet landed in the blissful beautiful result. I’m yet in progress.
Even so, this soul surgery has done its work and, in the process, I believe I’m a bit more whole now than I was before, even if covered with a few more scars. This is what God does, I think. He takes the very thing that held the power to destroy us and, instead, uses it to save us. The fatal wound becomes the freedom of a new creation.
For me, cancer and the resulting treatments and surgeries (somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen of them) forced a radical altering of my body, though not for the better. I struggle on a daily basis to do things like eat, swallow, speak or simply find the energy to do more than a few hours of work.
But, as it turns out, the real surgery—the surgery that was needed far more than the cancer surgeries—was the surgery on my heart, mind and soul. The kind of spiritual surgery that involved the slicing of unhealthy beliefs and diseased patterns, removing them so new and better life could take seed and grow.
Seeing me as my Creator sees me
It’s now been thirty-six months since cancer treatment ended, and I began the process of healing and rebuilding what was left of my life. In that time, I guess you could say I’ve been burying the old Michele, grieving her, missing her, wishing I could have her back.
Simultaneously, I’ve been giving birth to the new Michele, the one who still, at times, feels a bit foreign to me. The one I resisted at first, but am now learning to embrace. And, in a very real sense, the vast majority of my healing has involved, simply, trying to get to know her. Seeing her the way God sees her. And making peace with her.
Part of that grueling journey of deep self-evaluation, I’ve also taken a close look at who I believe my Creator created me to be. And how this true self can best shine her tiny little light in this often dark world. This has led me to evaluate what I do—as a writer, speaker, leader, mentor, business owner, artist. All of it.
I’ve spent hours and days and weeks doing professional surgery—wrestling with what some would call my “brand” or my “message.” Ultimately, I want to live—at home, at work, and in all my relationships—honestly. I want to be the same person everywhere, and to be fully present to my truest self whether I’m in my office alone reading a book or standing on a stage speaking to a crowd.
The results of all this surgery? Well, it’s more than I can write in a single post. But for now I will share with you a slice:
Welcome to my new website. This is, as best as I can discern, the most accurate reflection of who I am, who God has made me to be, and how He wants me to shine His light through the scarred-up, healed-up gift of my one life.
At least for today.
So WELCOME. I’m glad you’re here. Make yourself at home, take a look around, help yourself to whatever you need right here, right now. I’m glad we’re in this together.
Love this…every. single. word. Thank you for allowing the heart of the Shepherd and His love and grace to shine through you…over and over and over again. ???
So honest…so lovely. I know I’m not there yet. I want to be. Thank you for being who you are…in every phase. Great new site!
I’m not there yet either, my friend. But I’m not where I was. And neither are you. That’s grace. xoxox
Thanks,my friend. I needed that!
Beautiful website! Lots of great information! You inspire me!
Thank you, Chris!
Michele, I love this and so identify with the pain of soul surgery. “The fatal wound becomes the freedom of a new creation.” Yes! Oh how I wish we could sit down over coffee and talk! Hosea 6:1, “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us, but He will heal us. He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.”
Love love love that verse. Only our God could the impossible.
I have been struggling with a very rare illness and that has no known cure.
The treatment causes major problems
I appreciate your thought of your physical illness has allowed surgery on your spiritual life
Tom…me too. I am trying to see what I can do on my own with food and more exercise but it’s a struggle and hard not to give in sometimes. I get so much inspiration from Michele, as I’m sure you do too.
Bless you for being so real. Some of what you have shared
Reminded me of the skin horse story in The Velveteen Rabbit –
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.
But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.“
Sending you prayers, love, much respect and many blessings xxx
Thank You Michele – for keeping it real as you always strive for! Living our true authentic selves is what I too am after! My own personal journey with Breast Cancer going on almost 3 years now has changed me in many different ways. I love reading your blog posts, as your words are encouraging and inspiring to my Spirit! God is doing a good work in us and He desires His Best for those who love Him and worship Him in Spirit & in Truth!
Here’s to wholeness and Transformation!!
Thank you for sharing the depths of your journey. Athough using very different tools, God is peeling away the layers of protection that I have carefully crafted over decades of life. He is persistent and will continue till I see Him face to face.
Loved it! Awesome platform by the way.
Thank you, Daniel! I appreciate it.
Your heart pours the words we all feel, but can’t always access. You summon the courage to keep living–and at times to let other pieces go. Thanks for showing us how.
“He takes the very thing that held the power to destroy us and, instead, uses it to save us. The fatal wound becomes the freedom of a new creation.”
I love that, pure gospel truth. and love the website!
Michele, I love your website. I like the colors and fonts you chose. It is easy to navigate, and enjoyable to explore. The content is excellent and helpful on many different levels. Your work paid off and you have a terrific site. I appreciate your honesty regarding past and current struggles as well as your testimony of how God has used this to mold you into an instrument of his choosing. Play on sister, for the song you play resonates deep within our hearts.
Love that you continue to speak life thru life! Always blessed to often be the recipient of your heart words that speak life into what has died or been intended/marked for death! Inspires always to live life with courage and breathe truth and life to those God brings across my journey whether for a moment or a lifetime!
Much love for you, Alice.
I love your honesty, and I know from experience how God can use the hard things we’ve come through to give us empathy and understanding for others. We become wounded healers. God’s light shines through the cracks.
Wounded Healers. Just finished Nouwen’s book by that name. A beautiful redemptive gift, to heal from our wounds.
Your comments resonated so deeply with me. I have been in a surgical, re-evaluative mode for over a year. I love the comment about wanting to be the same person fully wherever I am. Such truth in that. We too often find ourselves adjusting to fit a situation or person. Maybe that’s the HSP in me, as Cheri Gregory would say.
Thank you for this encouragement today. I have been in process of creating my new website as well. I know the work behind it. I love the simplicity of this new design you have.
God bless as you continue to realize in His fullness all He made you to be as you walk with Him through the surgical recovery and strengthening process.
Love that Cheri Gregory. A wealth of wisdom! 🙂
Michele, you continue to fuel me on in my own cancer journey, as im sure many others. Love the new website, your words and the new look. Our personalities and our cancer/spiritual journey pretty much mirror each other so u really have NO idea the level of support you have offered me from afar on MANY hard days. Some days your support is more tangible than the support I receive from those close to me. Thank You Michele for staying the course!
That brought tears to my eyes Josette.
An HONOR, Josette, to walk alongside each other. With you, dear one. You’re not alone.
I’m excited about this new website! And as always, I just love what you have to say because you know….you are the real deal! Thanks for sharing from your heart, always, no pretense, just you being vulnerable, open and true….
Thank you, Brenda!
Thank you Michele. May our God bless you for living your truth. Your honesty is so refreshing. I have had over 11 surgeries in my lifetime and know how the energy just fades away. But I remind myself that my body needs the energy to heal and eventually will return to let me. God bless you and keep writing because we NEED to hear what you have to say.
Yes, the energy fades, and it’s far more difficult than I imagined to feel “less than” I once was. As I’m sure you know firsthand. Thank you for sharing your life with mine .
Beautiful. That is the one word for your website Michele. When I clicked the link I instantly knew that I belonged here. That is not easy for me to say.
Thank You for being so wonderfully transparent. I know doing so takes a great faith in knowing that God will protect you. Your vulnerability in both your writing and speaking is why I feel like I can trust where you are leading me as your reader/listener. God has already used you in many ways just in my life alone. Thank you for not being perfect… thank you for being real. Like the song by Mark Schultz says “Come as you are, Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful”.
“I instantly knew I belonged here.”
Like water for the soul. Those words couldn’t make me happier. Yes, you belong, my friend. You belong.