As a nurse I have had to care for wounds many times. There is an art to it. Because wounds, if not properly cared for, don’t heal. And that is why I love this post by Anisha Hopkins so much. Her words are honest and true; they go past pain into healing. Take a few moments of your day to read these words on wounds. You can read more about Anisha at the end of the piece.
by Anisha Hopkinson
5 Sept 2014
In the early morning hours, stumbling and with bloodshot eyes, he returned back to our ministry base. Only I, the night duty receptionist, had seen him. The next evening I watched him leave again and shoved back down the knowing that this just wasn’t right.
The phone rang and the stern voice on the other end scolded, “You call yourselves Christians! I’ve seen one of your missionaries around town buying drugs. You should be ashamed!” I couldn’t bury the deep down knowing any longer. A few hours later bloodshot eyes returned and it was clear what needed to be done. I had to tell someone.
The days after the telling were terribly wounding. The leadership didn’t believe me because how could this possibly be true? He was a good Christian man. Sure he’d had struggles long ago, but was reformed now. This was part of his testimony. The leadership called his family back home and even they insisted on it. My 19-year-old credibility questioned. Trusted relationships broken. It wasn’t many months later that my contract finished with the ministry and although I moved countries the wounds remained.
Christian ministry, Christian relationships, are not immune from wounding. I had been young and awfully naïve to think so.
In the years since I’ve witnessed friends also wounded in ministry. For some the wounds healed into maturity, for others they left an ugly scar of bitterness.
Having been wounded and eventually mended there are five ways I’ve learned to take care of my heart in the painful place.
Let go of my offense at being wounded.
Yes it hurts, but piling offense on top of the wound does nothing towards healing. Offense masks the real issue and muddies the water in reconciliation. Instead of choosing offense I can choose to identify my real feelings. This happened and it hurts because…
Remember why I am in this relationship in the first place.
We all love to share stories of how we ended up ministering in such and such a place. We joyfully tell of when we first felt God’s leading and the many challenges miraculously overcome. These testimonies of God’s leading are no less real after the wounding. Even in pain I can honor the relationship because I remember the bigger picture.
Godly, wise counsel. Not only for the sake of guidance for my own actions, but because those that have been wounded and healed before often bring a completely new perspective. The right counselor will lift my eyes away from my own hurt to see the fuller story.
I may be wounded, but have I sinned in my sorrow? Have I lost my temper? Spouted off regretful words? Made decisions in haste? Back up and examine my own heart. Where have I sinned?
Ultimately, the situation may never be resolved the way I feel it should. Even though it may take time, I can choose to let go of the pain of being wronged. I can choose to let go of my desire for justification.
In the aftermath of a wounding we have a choice. Tend to our hearts or let bitterness scar us.
I still think about blood-shot eyes. Mostly I wonder if he ever found freedom from his secret chains. I will probably never know and that’s ok. Although the wound cut deeply, it healed deeply too.
Have you been wounded in ministry? How did you heal? How would you encourage others who are experiencing the pain now?
Anisha is a missionary wife and mom living life smack in the middle of culture shock. Having recently arrived to her new tropical island home of Papua, Indonesia she spends most days trying to figure out how to cook in metric, practicing new Indonesian phrases, and attempting to communicate through smiles and embarrassing hand motions when words
fail. Anisha blogs about cross-cultural living and loving Jesus on namasayamommy.blogspot.com
Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/graveyard-sculpture-woman-cemetery-523110/