When I was in seminary, a lot of people referred to the process of major spiritual change as "open heart surgery without the anesthesia." As in, God replacing our old heart with a new one, without the benefit of pain medication. It's a hard and painful process, but very worth it in the end.
That's what I'm going through right now...for the first time since seminary. It's part of my healing process, and it's gratifying to know that by embracing the pain and following God's will for my life, I am speeding the healing process along.
I met with Mac this morning, and it went really well. I told him the gist of my parish experience and the struggles and healing I've experienced since then. He listened, offered some helpful feedback, and prayed with me. No miraculous sense of peace, but a strong sense that I am where I need to be and am doing what I need to be doing. And also a strong sense of gratitude that God led me to this church, and to have Mac as my pastor, whether that be for the next four months or 16 months. He doesn't know if he's moving or not, but should know in the next few weeks. For my sake, I hope he doesn't (a new pastor might be a wild card where I am concerned: he/she could be very supportive or be threatened by my presence), but of course most of all I want God's will to be done, and that would be what is best for the congregation, for Mac and his family, and for the annual conference. We shall see what happens.
I don't think that the God 2 x 4's that I've been receiving via Mac's sermons will end anytime soon. That's OK. I'm willing to endure 4-16 months of 2x4's if they will lead me to full healing.