A guest post by Karen Castleberry . . .
Frustration, anguish, and shame permeated my being. How could a seemingly insignificant secret cause such pain?
My nephew moved his family of six across the state line for a new job and a fresh start when illness struck. His wife was taking care of their three little ones at home with health issues. My niece was in the hospital alone. And I couldn’t get there to help. My little secret was exposed. I couldn’t drive on the interstate, or for any distance really, without having a full-blown panic attack.
A coworker tried to comfort me as I sobbed my anguish. She suggested I go to a Christian counselor who is skilled in inner healing. Despite my uncontrollable fear of driving any distance, I was determined to get over this fear. I white-knuckled the 45-minute drive down the interstate to her office. Arriving with numb hands, sweat pouring off of me, and gasping for breath, my journey to inner healing began.
Several months passed, and while I did get a measure of relief, I couldn’t say I was healed. My counselor suggested I take a 12-week course in inner healing and deliverance. My eyes and heart began to open up to God. I cannot remember not knowing about God. I come from a long line of pastors and have been a Christian, I think, since birth. I often envied those that have a distinct before and after testimony, not grasping at the time how blessed I was to grow up in a Christian family.
Over the years my faith in God increased. And a personal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit slowly developed as I peeled back the layers of inner healing. Learning that God desires to have a personal relationship and is wanting to be invited into every detail of my life was a revelation and a joy. As I studied the Bible, my relationship with God grew and my fear diminished.
Twelve years after my first counseling session I ran into my counselor. She asked if God ever revealed what was the source and origin of my fear of driving distances. Puzzled, I said, “No, He didn’t, but I am able to drive now because I know He is always with me.”
Curious, I asked God what was the source of my fear. Later that day a teacher was describing her experience at the dentist. It hit me that was the source of my fear.
Growing up I had a filling put in nearly every tooth. The visits to the dentist were dreadful. My father’s well-meaning attempt to lessen the trauma only made it worse. We went to a dentist that used what I called goofy gas to calm us while working on our teeth. I was the only one in my whole family who didn’t love it. It made me feel nervous and out of control. The noise of the drill and the light flashing in my eyes sent me into a panic, crying uncontrollably at the end of each session. I was horrified to learn, not long after my last tooth was filled, that my dentist was found dead, in his office, hooked up to the goofy gas.
The panic I felt in the dentist’s chair was the same panic I felt driving on the highway. The drone of the tires, the sunlight flashing through the trees, and the claustrophobic effect of traffic could trigger those traumatic memories. That combination would bring on a panic attack while driving.
I stomped my foot and demanded to know, “Why, God, didn’t You just tell me back in the beginning of this journey and heal me instantly?”
I felt His loving smile and His gentle eyes rest on me as I heard, “My beloved child, you wouldn’t have pursued Me.”
Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Their son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.