Enjoy this devotional written by a FlourishWriter’s Student…
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
It was a sultry summer day as I set up my imaginary tea party in the attic bedroom shared with my two older sisters. I was ecstatic to have the room to myself! I took great care, laying out each piece of my treasured china tea set. I adored the soft gold color and the delicate white floral pattern. In my eagerness to prepare the table, one of the plates slipped from my hand and landed on the floor in two pieces. I was heartbroken.
I couldn’t bear the thought of tossing my dish in the trash, yet it served no purpose in this shattered condition. Broken and worthless. I often felt the same way about myself. I ran my finger over the ragged edges, drawn to the sharpness that formed from the break. I took one half of the broken china plate and grazed it slowly across the flesh of my eight-year-old wrist. As I drew the first line, I wasn’t quite sure what compelled me to do this. And yet I continued, drawing another line right below the first.
I noticed little trickles of blood oozing from the wounds and felt oddly unfazed by this. Each line I etched brought pain from the depths of my soul. A pervading loneliness attacked my senses. I couldn’t seem to stop myself from marring my flesh and continued on to my other wrist.
I looked down at my red streaked arms and felt alive, a rushing sense of release. This was a stark contrast to the wooden numbness and emotional void I typically experienced. I felt no shame for what I had done.
I hid the two broken china pieces at the back of the white wooden cupboard where I stored my dish set. I changed my short sleeve shirt to a long sleeved one to hide my secret. I knew if my mother saw what I had done, she would ask questions that I had no answers for.
I went downstairs to find my mother making dinner before she left for her 3-11pm hospital shift. I peeked into the pans on the stove and saw she had made my favorite meal: macaroni and cheese. Guilt crept in. She was so busy cleaning up, that at first, she didn’t notice my inappropriate shirt.
As I turned to leave, I heard, “Susan, why on earth are you wearing a long-sleeved shirt on a hot day like this?”
I panicked and blurted out, “It was the first thing I grabbed; it won’t be too hot.” My mother looked confused but left it at that.
Guilt consumed me for the rest of the day. The secret I was hiding felt like it was burning holes right through me. None of this stopped me from repeating the same behavior on and off for many months after. My brokenness remained intact.
The dysfunction that occurred daily in my family home had taken a toll on me. I felt invisible, broken, desperate, forgotten, and alone. My tangled cocoon of feelings lay dormant, lying in wait to spew forth like hot lava when I least expected it. The cutting I subjected my flesh to was a way to feel emotional pain in place of void and nothingness — a way to survive the destruction of any kind of normalcy.
I am grateful to my mom for taking us to church school where I began learning about God and faith. I loved sitting with her and my siblings as we listened to the pastor speak about the Lord. I felt bathed in peace, comfort, and the unfamiliar feeling of safety.
It was difficult to recreate the same sense of peace while the arguing ensued at home. My mind drifted off as I tried to block the infiltration of frightening sights and sounds around me. My siblings and I pretended to the outside world that all was well while we suffered in silence. The secrets we held eroded our souls.
As an adult, I went to therapy to try and unravel the pain of my past. I discussed my compulsion to feel outward pain and my struggle to find safe outlets to express it. I shared my experiences of cutting my wrists with the broken china and how I equated its lack of worth with my own.
I realized that in Jesus’ eyes I am treasured, worthy, and loved, despite and even because of my brokenness. He does not cast me aside because of my flaws. He loves me because of and through my imperfections.
Even though I secretly hid the marks on my wrists from my mother, my Heavenly Father saw them. He was with me. I was never alone. I was not forgotten.
He mended my wounds and transformed my brokenness.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
As a young adult, I realized cutting was my cry for help, a way to feel things that were too painful to utter out loud. The Lord tenderly watched over me as I carved upon my wrists the pain I couldn’t verbalize, the pain that had no other outlet. Even though I felt powerless as a child, the Lord protected me. He stepped in and saved me from myself. He gave me a voice.
Jesus never saw me as unworthy. He sees me with eyes of redemptive love. The Lord never questioned my value. He forgave me even as I marred my flesh, the flesh He created with hands of love.
The enemy celebrates when we live out the lies we falsely believe about ourselves. We need to replace the untruths with the Lord’s promises and truths, embracing His abiding love. Our Abba Father cherishes us. We are His beloved, His treasured ones. We are and always will be worthy of His love and devotion.
Susan Bricker lives in sunny Hernando Beach, Florida with her husband, Gary, and are full-time caregivers for her dad. They have five beautiful children scattered across the country and try to visit them as often as possible. Susan is an avid Flourish member and is passionate about writing, reading, travel, photography, nature, and wildlife. She is a punster at heart, a dog lover, and has been known to travel miles to find a great Black Raspberry ice cream. She is currently working on her first book, a Christian nonfiction. Susan’s desire is to honor and glorify the Lord with the words she writes. You can find Susan via social media and on her blog leanintothelord.com.