Every week as I sit down to compose my blog contribution, I pray. I’ve prayed for the message that would be typed with my name signed at the bottom but I’ve said “Lord, use me! Give me your words, help me say what you want to be said” and every time I feel like He takes my hand, squeezes it a little and says to me “I don’t want you to write to speak, I want you to listen. I want you to listen hard because you need this as much as everyone else.” As I write, and as His presence dwells here in written word, I pray that I will hear Him as much, if not more than the rest of you.
I want to start this message with just a little question: “Did you bring the Band-Aids?” Even though I don’t really want to admit it, I’m pretty sure I did.
Seems like a strange question right?! Band-Aids? What do Band-Aids have to do with anything? Some of you might think “hey, she’s a mom, of course she’s got bandaids.” Some of you might be thinking “hey I have some too, you never know when you might need one” but these bandaids probably aren’t exactly the ones you’re thinking.
I did some technical research for this message…you know…google… And I googled “what is the purpose of a Band-Aid?” thanks to the internet I was instantly on the “Band-Aid website”. The purpose of a bandaid is to protect cuts and scrapes…you know wounds…
Kids think bandaids help heal the wound. Cover it up, and you forget about it. Every time my kids get shots, they get a bandaid. The shots don’t usually even bleed, but they’re a good way to distract from something that once hurt, even if the pain was temporary. Sometimes bandaids are even fun, pretty, colorful ways to hide the wound, hide what hurts. Some bandaids are flesh colored, or even clear. Why do they have flesh colored or clear bandaids? Well, because sometimes people don’t want their bandaids to be seen. They don’t want to draw attention to the cut, scrape, blemish, they just want to cover it up and forget it. Here’s a funny thing about bandaids though, if you took a dirty wound, and never cleaned it, they wouldn’t be a whole lot of help. They might even conceal a serious infection that needs to be cleaned, and requires a little further attention to heal properly.
One thing I’ve thought about as I’ve been writing, is how many times my kids have hurt themselves, in the 9 years that I’ve been a mom. They’ve fallen down, they’ve bonked, they’ve scraped, they’ve cried and although I know immediately something is wrong, I’ve said over and over and over again “show me where it hurts.” So many times they’ve wanted my comfort. They’ve wanted me to hold them tight until the pain stops, kiss it better. Often times they don’t want you to look at it close enough to touch it, let alone clean it, cause what if that hurts worse?! They’d usually rather you just stick a bandaid on it, and let them forget about it.
How often has this happened to you? I don’t mean as a mother, I mean as the child, the child with the Heavenly Father. How many times have you been hurting? How many times have you cried out to Him in agony, wanting Him to hold you, and comfort you, and kiss the hurt away? How many times have you actually let Him look at it to see just how bad it is? It’s just like our children. How will we know if they need stitches, or a tetanus shot until they let us see why it hurts so bad? How will we keep it from getting infected if they won’t let us clean it? I imagine that’s how God feels about us. He knows we’re hurting, He hears our cries, but how can it heal properly when we won’t let Him look at it? How can we keep from the devil infecting our hurts, if we won’t let Him cleanse us with living water? When we just put a bandaid on it, it doesn’t ever heal right.
So I ask you again…did you bring the bandaids?
The bandaids I’m talking about are not trademarked, yet most people have them and use them on a regular basis. You might have the same bandaids as a friend, and maybe that’s what has drawn you together. Maybe your bandaids are the bandaids of a fake laugh and a crooked smile so no one knows you’re hurting inside. Maybe your bandaids are bandaids of isolation because you don’t want anyone to know that you don’t have it all together all the time. Maybe you’re pushing away those who love you the most because you don’t want it to hurt if they look at it. Maybe your bandaids are bandaids of busyness so you don’t have time to think and address the hurt. Maybe it’s a bandaid of gossip so it draws the attention away from you. Maybe your bandaids are the flesh colored or transparent ones, because you don’t ever want anyone to know what they are.
Did you bring the bandaids?
I wear my bandaids a lot to be honest with you, especially to church for some reason which seems so silly, since the church has been said to be a hospital for the broken. I put my happy face bandaids on because I don’t want people to look at me and think “man, she’s a mess.” I want to come, have my heart to heart with The Lord, and deal with me on my own time. I was at church a while back ago and it took every happy face bandaid I had to get myself in the door. I knew it would take everything I had to hold it together, and no matter how hard I tried, I still cried. I tried to wipe the tears as quickly and quietly as I could, yet somehow as our heads were bowed, a sweet woman next to me placed some tissue in my lap. She saw my bandaid! Then, a friend saw it, from all the way across the church even. You know what she did?! She just wrapped her arms around me! She didn’t know why I was crying, she just knew I was hurting, and she wanted me to know she cared!! It made all the difference in the world to me.
Sometimes we wear our bandaids because we feel like we can’t stand to break down not one more time. Sometimes we wear our bandaids because people don’t understand our injuries. Sometimes we wear our bandaids because we’ve done something we regret, and our wounds are self-inflicted. Sometimes we even pick at those wounds ourselves and make a bigger mess than before. Sometimes we wear our bandaids because we don’t want people to think we’re a mess, or to judge us for what we’re going through. But regardless of why we’re wearing them, we need to get underneath them. We need to let someone look at them, let Him look at them, cleanse them with Living Water and let them heal.
What happens after wounds heal? Sometimes we have scars. If I showed you my belly you’d see 12 scars. Some are small; some are one on top of another. Sometimes they itch or rub against my clothes and get irritated, and sometimes I forget I have them all together, but each of them tells a story of 3 surgeries I had in the same year. Those scars were because at one time I was hurting. My hurts weren’t outwardly visible. If you looked at me initially you’d have no idea I had been living in pain for years. It wasn’t until I started losing a lot of weight that some people noticed I was sick, and even then some people didn’t believe there was anything wrong. It took telling someone I was hurting to make it better. It took a ton of tests that said “there’s nothing wrong” and ultimately letting them physically look inside of me, intricately examine me three different times to see what was causing my hurting, and to completely remove the pain for me to heal. It was a long process, it was a painful process, an exhausting process, but it was necessary. Have you let Him look at you intricately, even when all of the “tests” said nothing is wrong? Have you let Him search the depths of your soul to determine what it is that’s keeping you sick and hurting?
The surgery scars I have will always be there, telling a story of their own, but they no longer hurt, they no longer need bandaids. Sometimes when I look at those scars, I no longer see that they are there because I was sick and hurting, what I see is so much better! I see the people who loved me, and came along side me to help me heal. Sometimes when I look at those scars I see a Sunday School classroom full of people who laid hands on me, and prayed over me because we still hadn’t figured out why I was hurting yet. I see a close friend who one afternoon dropped everything she was doing to come and be with me at the surgery center so I didn’t have to sit there and wait alone, and afraid. My husband had taken off all the time he could to be with me, but this time he had to just take me, and go back to work. She stayed through the waiting, through the entire surgery, and with me in recovery until he could get to me. So sometimes, when I see those scars, I don’t see the hurting anymore, I don’t see sickness anymore, I see love.
There’s another thing about healing that we forget sometimes. Emotional healing can sometimes be like healing of a broken bone. Sometimes it has to be re-broken for it to mend correctly. Sometimes we try so hard to heal on our own, in all the wrong ways, that we have to be re-broken to be healed by Him.
Maybe you’re at the point in your own healing where your hurts are now scars, but sometimes the devil irritates your scars, makes them bother you a bit just to remind you that they’re there. It doesn’t mean the wound has to be re-opened anymore. Pray for the irritation, and press on.
So now I ask you, what’s under your bandaids? Where do you hurt? Maybe it’s the hurt of loneliness, maybe it’s the hurt of insecurities, maybe it’s the hurt of loss, or failure of some kind? Maybe it’s the hurt of discouragement or disappointment in yourself or others. Is it the hurt of your health or troubled relationships? Is it such an unclean wound that now it’s getting infected? It doesn’t have to be this way. Let Him look at it, let Him cleanse it, and let it heal. Don’t pick at it, you’ll just make it worse.
The bible says:
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:13-16 NKJV)
God wants us to come alongside each other, and allow people to come alongside us. How can we ever heal if we won’t allow anyone to know we are hurt? Maybe you have some people in your life who love you desperately and just want to love you, and hold you when you’re hurting. Maybe you have someone who wants to just encourage you, and pray for you. How can they ever pray for you, if they don’t know? Maybe, your hurts are now just scars. You’re at the joyful part of your healing, and you’re back to singing psalms of praise, let your experiences be used for His glory, to help heal the wounds of others, no more bandaids.
In His Love~ Rosalynn L.