From the Inside Out
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Life is full of surprises. We make plans. We expect our days to unfold in certain ways, though aware minor things can derail or distract us. But there are those times, when everything you anticipated gets flipped on its head entirely, and you find yourself wondering what on earth just happened. Such was the case in my house over the last several weeks. My son was at basketball practice one evening, and it was a seemingly innocuous injury. So much so that he didn’t even mention it at the time of the event. Fast forward a couple of days, and the boy was in agony, due to a well-placed elbow directly to his jawbone. After multiple trips to the doctor and several phone calls, two weeks later, he was admitted to the hospital and in surgery within hours of admission. You see, this blow to his face had created bleeding deep within his jaw, invisible to the naked eye. Through the course of two weeks, the bleeding had become a hematoma, which then developed an infection within it. He never spiked a fever. The only outward signs were the swelling below his jaw. Praise God the ENT caught it before it broke through the skin, affected his breathing, or he became septic. My son was released from the hospital after 48 hours of IV antibiotics and sent home, with some specific instructions for his wound care from where they had inserted a tube into his neck. My job was to insert a peroxide-soaked swab into the opening three times per day in order for the wound to begin to heal from the inside out. Were the outside to close up first, he would be at risk for a repeat infection.
Oddly, and as the way God often works, the irony of this timing was not lost on me. I began to reflect on how my son’s wound needed to heal–from the inside out. God deeply impressed upon me that our wounds, the invisible, intangible ones require healing in the same manner. He began to show me how He heals from the inside out. Prior to this, God had already begun the work of revealing and uprooting the primary lie that had so affected my adult life. I had been reading through the journals that I had maintained for the majority of my adult years. Over and over, I witnessed on the pages of my journals the younger version of myself wrestling with the lie that no matter what, I will never be enough or good enough. God, in His gentle and loving way, was showing me how that lie crept into most of the choices I had made. Coupled with these fresh insights into younger me, I couldn’t shake the obvious analogy to my son’s open neck wound. It had to heal from the inside out. I began to dialogue with God about this very thing, expressing to Him that we had already dealt with the root issue of when, where, and how the lie took hold. He vividly clarified to me that it was not about the initial and subsequent woundings, but it was how, for all these years, because the lie was present, it carried infection and slowly spread throughout my life. God is so faithful though. He pointed out there were scars, but, in order to clean out the infection for good, we needed to rip open the scar in order for the healing “peroxide” of His Holy Spirit to enter and began to close up the wound from the inside. Just like with my son’s wound, the peroxide stung him every time. And, because I love him and wanted him well and whole, I persisted in knowingly causing him temporary pain for complete healing to occur. As I read the thoughts, the feelings, the pain, even the immaturity of who I once was, I experienced the whole gamut of emotions. I was angry that I had allowed the lie to color and affect years of choices and decisions. I was frustrated that I could now so clearly see how my entire adult life was affected by it. I was sad for the wasted years. I was broken hearted over the pain of that young woman. The scales were removed from my eyes, and I saw clearly how I had been living from the fear of not being good enough.
God said to me, “Throw all of those feelings on me. Bring Me your anger, your pain, your tears, your frustration, your rage. And now accept My Holy Spirit into the open wound, once and for all. Let My Spirit uproot the lie. You don’t have to be good enough for Me. The blood of My Son IS and WILL ALWAYS be enough. I love you just as you are. I created you with your unique personality, your unique gifts, your unique passions. Embrace who I made you to be. Accept My forgiveness and know Mine is enough. You are enough, royal daughter, because you are Mine. Now your wounds can close, can heal, from the inside out. You will be free because who I set free is indeed free. Walk in My freedom.” This freedom Jesus has graciously bestowed upon me has liberated me. Fear of not being good enough can no longer hold me down because I walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ. Where I once felt compelled to prove myself, Jesus is stopping me dead in my tracks when I venture down that train of thought. He is kindly pointing out to me when I am operating from believing the lie. I feel liberated, but even when my feelings say otherwise, I will choose to believe that I am still free and do not have to walk in bondage again to the fear of not being enough. I am free. I am whole. Only Jesus can bind up our wounds from the inside out. All we have to do is open our hearts and invite Him into the ugliness of our wounds. At times, it may involve Him opening up the scars because infection is festering deep beneath the surface. Sometimes, we may have even dealt with the core issues but neglected to see their long-term effects until much later. Jesus wants to heal the initial wounding event and the ripple effects in our lives. He wants us to walk in His freedom and be healed in Him. It’s easy to look at this and think, “why did it have to take so long?” But God’s timing is perfect, regardless of what we may think or expect. He has a plan for every single one of our lives, and He reveals it to us as we can accept it and step into it. I will turn 40 years old this year. I can’t help but think of the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years. Perhaps, my desert wanderings have come to an end, and in this year of my life, I am finally going to enter my earthly promised land.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28