He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

I have another blog prepared for this week, but it feels as though we are supposed to talk about wounds today . . . a weird place to start the new year, I realize. But, when I think of all the new year’s resolutions that we so commonly make–lose weight, be healthier, quit smoking, limit or quit drinking, spend less, pay off debt, get organized, repair relationships, go to church—I realize that all of these problems or excesses in our lives may not be the problem at all. Rather, they are a symptom of the problems in our hearts that are much more deeply rooted.

Most of us will go the doctor if we break our arm. We allow the doctor to examine us. We get the X-rays, and we walk out with a cast on our arm. Everybody that sees us thinks, “that person broke their arm,” and there is no shame and no secrecy. We wear the cast the prescribed amount of time; we go back to the doc. We do what we have to do.

Even so, when we are brokenhearted, when we lose a person or an identity or a dream or faith altogether, how are we to cope? I don’t think many of us do cope, or acknowledge our losses at all. The average grief period for a major (uncomplicated) loss is 2 years, and yet, we are keenly aware that the average time our community will tolerate our grieving is about eight weeks. We all understand that there comes a time when we must take the mourning clothes off and re-enter the world. As we re-enter the world, I think a lot of us forget that we still have a cast on our arm, if we bothered addressing our wounds at all. We walk around, wounds gushing blood, limping and bleeding . . . and never even admit it to ourselves.

What happens when we refuse to address, bind, salve our own wounds? They don’t heal correctly. And when they don’t heal correctly, we end up with weak arms that may break more easily. We end up with nasty, painful scars. We end up with scaly brittleness, anger, frustration, and excesses. We drink and eat and smoke and buy and push the right people away while clinging to the wrong people to minimize a pain we won’t even acknowledge.

Well, I am done with that. I realize that I have some wounds that are so deep that they may never completely heal in this world. I realize that they may always take special care, properly applied bandaging on a regular basis, the monitoring of professionals. I realize that healing does not happen over night. But, this year, 2013, I am standing naked in front of the New Year’s mirror searching out the wounds instead of staring at the X amount of pounds I have to lose. I am staring at that within myself that needs mothering, nurturing, and forgiving.

I am going to watch myself at parties and in my most alone moments, and when that anger and embarrassment and sadness rises up, I am going to follow it back to its source. Why am I feeling this? Where is this coming from? What can I do to pay this pain its due, bandage it up, and heal it? What can I do to love myself instead of silencing those things that are crying out in my heart and soul to be heard?

We were meant to heal. We were meant to bring all of our pains and brokenness before our Lord, and ask Him to transform them into beauty. But, to give them to Him, they must first be acknowledged within our own hearts. This year, pray with me to our Savior:

Lord, we know you meant us to live full and whole lives in You.We know you desire to heal our hearts, and continually turn all things into good for those who love you. We know that you are capable of delivering us from the bondage of our untended wounds. We pray that you will search us, and help us see that which we need healed, so that we can put the past behind us and live into your plan for us. We dedicate 2013 to healing our wounds so that we can live fully in you. Amen.

I don’t want everything I am and do to be rooted in pains in the past. But I also don’t want to pretend that the past didn’t happen, ignoring the wounds that need tending. I want, instead, to be living in the present, in awe of the new thing Christ is birthing within me.

Pulling out the salve,