A very good question was posed to me recently:
Can we live and be the woman God has called us to be whilst still having open wounds?
This is such a good question to stop and consider.
Some of you may respond “No, I just can’t seem to live and be me because my wounds are too broken and painful.”
Others of you may respond differently.
To encourage you I’d like to share a little of my story….
So my open wound is a difficult relationship that I have with my mum; I live with the wound of not living up to her expectations, of not being good enough and of being a disappointment to her.
One of my earliest memories from when I was about 7 years old is of arriving home from school to find my mum
in the sitting room having a cuppa with a friend. I stuck my head around the door to say “Hi” and went off to do my chores. This was what was expected of me. One of my chores was to clean my shoes. I remember doing this until
my shoes shone brightly. I was so proud of them that I took them to show my mum and her friend.
My mum’s response was “Well, shame you don’t do this every evening.”
Encouragement and praise didn’t come readily from her.
Similarly, when I took my ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ levels my mum saw want I didn’t achieve, not want I did.
On leaving school I choose to go into the profession of nursing; this had been my dream from a very early age.
My mum had tried to steer me along other career paths but I choose to pursue my passion. It took a while for me
to realise why my mum had not been supportive of my choice: she really didn’t like needles, blood, sickness or hospitals. Nursing would have been the last job she would have chosen to do. Again I didn’t meet her expectations.
During nurse training I met a wonderful man who I wanted to marry. My mum wasn’t to impressed that he was only
a part qualified accountant who had been brought up on a council estate. This man wasn’t good enough to
be her son-in-law. However, we did marry and started a family. For my mum two or three children was more
than sufficient. So when I announced I was pregnant with number four, well that was a disappointment….
number five …. an outrage.
This difficult relationship left me with deep open wounds of disapproval, condemnation, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and worthlessness. If I didn’t do things according to my mum’s expectations I had to cope with her anger, rage, control and manipulation. At times this has crippled and immobilised me. Her voice has haunted
me and restricted me. I’ve been confused over who I am, what’s right and who am I living to please.
A few years ago I had to have major spinal surgery. It’s amazing how the superficial skin wound heals in a matter of days but the deep wounds inflicted upon muscles, ligaments and bone takes much longer to heal. My consultant has advised me never to go to the extreme of bungee jumping as I would instantly break my back and never walk again; he’s also advised me not to wrap myself in ‘cotton wool’ and not live. So I have had to find a mid-way point: in this place I make wise choices over what I do, I choose to do things which heal, restore and strengthen my body.
I find this analogy helpful when considering the relationship with my mum. I could go to the extreme of setting no boundaries: in this place the wounds could be ripped open in a very destructive way. On the other hand I could go
to the extreme of having no relationship with her which would perhaps be like wrapping myself up in ‘cotton wool’.
I actually choose to stand in a place where I show forgiveness, love and grace as Jesus has shown me. I choose to pray for my mum and our relationship. And I choose to share my faith with her; to be Jesus’ voice, hands and feet.
In this space I believe healing and restoration can happen, I believe our relationship can be strengthened.
It’s not always easy to stand in such a place.
I can stand here and live with these open wounds because of who Jesus says I am.
He says “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
He says that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; His works are wonderful.” (Psalm 139:14)
He says… “You are precious to Me, I love you unconditionally, I cherish you, I delight in you, you are worthy in my sight…..” “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
He tells me that He has spoken plans and purposes over me and equipped and gifted me to fulfil these.
He says “I am a daughter of The Most High God and He is enthralled at my beauty.”
”For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honour Him, for He is your Lord.” (Psalm 45:11)
Jesus speaks these Truths over me. He also speaks them over you.
So, can I live and be the woman God has called me to be whilst still having these open wounds?
These wounds are part of my story which bears witness to Jesus.
These wounds ‘are the thorn in my side’ which send me to Jesus.
These wounds are signs of victory, not defeat.
I choose to live for Jesus, to live to please Him and to meet His expectations.
I thank Him for who He is, what He has given me, what He has done for me.
I can be the person He has called me to be because of who He says I am and
because He gives me the grace, strength and all that I need to live in His freedom.
As I’ve shared my story I wonder what is resonating for you, what’s your ‘me to’ moment?
How can your story bear witness to Jesus?
How can your wounds be signs of victory?
You may be in a place where these questions encourage you to write your story with victory thanks.
You may be in a tough place; your wounds are open and painful.
Jesus can soothe them with His balm, His love, His Truth. Invite Him and allow Him to do this.
It’s taken many years for me to come to a place where I can see some of the victories and give witness to Jesus.
I hope my story encourages you to take such a journey for yourself.
(Written by Alison Green. Posted April 2016)