Glancing at my hands one recent evening as I prepared for bed, brought a measure of sadness to the surface. Cuts, abrasions, scars, battered nails, and joints disfigured from arthritis. Told I had beautiful hands at one time, the current reality portrayed quite a different story. Yet the now time altered hands whispered a deeper truth, one that held the hidden beauty of wounded healers.
Though superficial beauty charms with the appearance of wholeness, our woundedness comforts with the intimacy of service in suffering.
Feeling the twinge of stiffness in my hands as I pulled back the covers on my bed, the same words echoed through my mind from all those years ago, “you have beautiful hands.” Only this time the words were spoken by the Holy Spirit.
wounded hearts, healing hands
Pursuing the place of vulnerability in any healing journey, taught me the importance of embracing the wounded, broken pieces of my life rather than hiding or discarding them.
Through the broken, wounded places we become whole, healed; but they also provide the conduit through which we offer healing and comfort to others.
The breaking open of our hearts and lives endows us with a greater capacity for love, compassion, and service. Within the embrace of our own brokenness, we become wounded healers.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”Ernest Hemingway-A Farewell to Arms
Wounding and healing are not opposites. For from our own woundedness, healing flows outward.
Gazing back at my worn hands, I failed in seeing the beauty the Holy Spirit whispered, until He unfolded the secrets hidden in the scars.
Hands once unacquainted with hard work learned the labors of keeping a home, birthing and caring for children, washing, scrubbing, and cooking.
Hands though weary with wiping away endless tears of my own uncomforted grief, moved to offer the comfort of wiping away another’s grief, soothing another’s pain, and binding another’s wounds.
Hands once idle and lonely, sought the industry of sewing and quilting for the needs of others. Channeling the hunger for emotional fulfillment into the kneading and baking of bread for enriching the lives of others.
Hands once absorbed in binding my own wounds, learned in the binding of others’ wounds, healing flows both ways.
Wounds and brokenness often create feelings of isolation; as if we now bear a social stigma, disqualifying us from fellowship and service. But as Henri Nouwen notes:
“Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds, so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?”
Full of examples of broken and wounded people, the bible displays story after story of God’s redemption in His use of wounded healers.
How many of us found healing through repentance as we recited the words of David’s own brokenness from Psalm 51? Or found Hope and freedom from a sordid past through the story of Rahab? (Joshua 2)
We hold the treasure of the greatness of the gospel and the glory of God which shines through the gospel in our fragile, prone to breaking hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)
Our willingness to serve others through our own woundedness pours out the healing balm of redemption into their lives, while simultaneously healing our own.
Becoming strong at the broken places, our own wounds heal as we comfort and strengthen the wounds of others.
tell his story link up
I am thrilled to be the new host of Tuesday’s Tell His Story Link up! Jeanne Takenaka and I share the link up on alternate weeks, with Jeanne hosting the first and third Tuesdays, as well as the occasional fifth Tuesday, and my hosting the second and fourth Tuesdays!
Each week we gather here as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs you.
This is a place where poetry, snapshots, prayers, and stories find a safe spot to nod in agreement that what we have to say matters. I am glad you are here and would love to have you join the #TellHisStory community!
Click over here to read more about the #TellHisStory community and find a button to add to your site.
Let’s Link Up!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Lux G. says
Cheers to all the broken and beautiful human beings! This is really comforting to read. THANK YOU!
Thank you, Lux, praise God who redeems our brokenness for his glory!
This is soul deep beautiful poetry my friend! Sharing it on my FB.
Thank you Maryleigh, I am blessed by your kind words!
Lois Flowers says
This is a precious post, Donna. I’m thinking of the verse that says, “by His stripes we are healed.” If Christ’s wounding facilitates our healing, I suppose it’s no wonder that God allows our wounds to be a conduit of healing for others. What a hard-yet-blessed privilege to be used by Him in this way!
Thank you, Lois, as always for your kind words. I am so encouraged to think how God uses our wounds in a similar fashion to His own-in bringing healing to others. What Hope that brings!
Lisa Blair says
Redemption of our wounds through the One wounded for us is an amazing sight to behold, Donna! Really, it is a miracle! Thank you for these beautiful, comforting words of hope.
Lisa, you said it all, it is a miracle-one only God can do in us, which brings such Hope in broken areas!
Anita Ojeda says
What a beautiful reminder that our beauty comes from inside us, not from society’s standards. When we see ourselves as God sees us, we can start healing and changing into his likeness.
So true, Anita, the older I get the more I realize the beauty of youth was only a glimpse of the true beauty which comes from the inevitable wounding of life.
Tea With Jennifer says
I love your following statement Donna;
“Our willingness to serve others through our own woundedness pours out the healing balm of redemption into their lives, while simultaneously healing our own.” So true!
Blessings to you sweet friend, Jennifer
Thank you, Jennifer, I’m sure we would love to serve and benefit others without the wounds, but how precious of God to redeem them in service to others.
Jerralea Winn Miller says
I love your example of hands wounded in service, because after all, HIS hands were wounded for us, and they are beautiful to me.
This also made me smile for I’ve noticed lately how my hands now look a lot like my grandma’s hands …
Jerralea, I love the thought of His wounded hands bringing us healing. And yes, I am smiling with you as I glance at my very grandma hands too!! But actually what a compliment, right?
This is a beautiful post, Donna! I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Japanese art of Kintsugi but your post reminded me of it. It involves broken pottery being mended with gold lacquer so that the joins are very obvious but beautiful. I think it reflects God’s work in our lives in how he can turn our brokenness into something beautiful by strengthening us at those broken places and enabling us to help others.
Lesley, I am very familiar with the Japanese art of kintsugi, I wanted to use that as an example here, but thought maybe too many people had heard it before. I love the picture it creates of beauty coming from brokenness, exactly what God does with our wounds!
Deborah Rutherford says
Donna, this is so beautiful and comforting. To look at our brokenness as God’s call to be his wounded healers. To know that our suffering gives hope to others. Thank you for your tender heart, wise words, and beautiful hands.
Deborah, thank you for your kind words! perhaps answering the call to be wounded healers isn’t exactly the ministry we would desire, but it is perhaps the most Christ-like, given by HIS wounds we are healed.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
I find I am unbroken,
I am the Man of Steel,
and honour is my token
to show that I am real.
Past wars could not shatter me,
nor cancer, with it’s gibber-face.
I have gained the victory,
and I thereby own this place
where I was meant to bleed and die
upon the dank and cloying ground;
instead, I set my heart to fly
and sing with high wild curlew-sound
that passes over every wall
of He who died that we’d not fall.
Thank you, Andrew for your amazing way of sharing yourself through your poetry! Thank you for sharing through YOUR woundedness, I know I have been blessed by your wounds.
Michele Morin says
What an amazing surprise to learn that we “weep with those who weep “ more deeply when we have suffered ourselves. Thank you for sharing the painful purpose of your wilderness journey.
Michele, we certainly become more compassionate and connected when we reach through our wounds to others!
Barbara Harper says
We’re thinking on the same wave length this week. It’s often in the places where we have been wounded that we develop a sensitivity to others’ wounds. How like God to use our wounds as a ministry of helping and healing, as His own Son’s wounds did the same.
Barb, isn’t that amazing? We both wrote similar articles! I know I have learned more compassion for others through my wounds than any class can teach!
Linda Stoll says
Henri has penned it so well. Those wounds don’t need to be wasted and grieved over forever. God can redeem them in our tender, empathetic response to other broken travelers. Amen.
Spot on, Linda, Henri Nouwen gets it so well in that quote! How I praise God He never wastes anything from my life, not even my wounds.
Joanne Viola says
This is most encouraging this morning. The question becomes: “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” It is amazing that as we serve others, reaching out to them, our own wounds heal as well. It is in the pouring out of ourselves that we receive. Blessings to you this morning!
Joanne, Henri Nouwen’s quote hit home for me too! Isn’t it so like God to use our wounds to heal others? I’m not sure why I never grasped that given by Christ’s wounds we are healed!