I once held a bird in my hand.
No one else could see it, but I felt it. I felt it’s heart thumping hard and afraid.
It happens– there are ways to look fine on the outside…. and no one knows what you’ve really survived.
But honestly? You didn’t just survive, so let’s toss that myth right at the outset.
The way you keep walking? You may be wounded. You may be hurting. You may be limping. You may feel alone and overwhelmed and an unspoken broken — but you’re no victim. And you’re not just a survivor. You’re a Thriver.
You may bleed but you rise.
Yeah, it may not feel like it — but you are seen… how you just keep keeping your chin up and living brave through the hurt and how you keep taking one step out of bed and another step through the door — and how you keep scaling mountains by relentlessly taking steps forward.
But I wanted you to know — your wounds are seen and it’s okay.
Not that you badge-flash your scars or anything.
Or try to hide them, ashamed.
It’s just sometimes I see a passing flicker in your eyes, old pain shooting white right through.
But mostly, quietly, the scars just become you, who you are — they just become the way your skin pulls mottled and raised over your soul and this is how you fit.
How you can look healed and thickened and still feel so thin? Yeah, I know.
If someone brushed by you just a certain way? You’d blue tender and sore all over again or just spill without a sound.
Inside, the warrior is small.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
I just — I just wanted to reach out and — just touch, glance, your wounds. You don’t have to say anything. Explain anything, excuse anything. I just wanted to touch them — you— acknowledge them. You. Bless them, you, without a sound. I just wanted to whisper your way: Wounded Warriors win. There is no remission of sins or the crossing of finish lines without things getting bloody.
You are so brave to keep facing the light. To keep walking toward Home.
The Scarred Savior will know you’re His — by your own scars.
And when He cups your face, that moment when His scars touch your skin? You’ll be wholly healed.
Can I just whisper? I know you must feel like people, the Church, have wanted you to go away. Sweep your scars under the proverbial rug. Erase you, avoid you, silence you.
Because it’s too uncomfortable for us, the neighbors, the church, the Body, to face our own culpability in scars. Face our own fallen disfigurement. Pollyanna wasn’t the only one who wore rose-colored glasses. Few like to admit that we come from a long line of Roman soldiers who have crucified our own.
I know and I’m sorry — When it comes to the bloodied and wounded, we suddenly all lose our thin, bare necks and become turtles, shirk back into our see-nothing shells.
Sometimes the church doesn’t want to know details or listen to wounds weep or wade into the bloody mess. Christ is the Truth — but too many of His people run from the Truth.
If Christ is The Truth — then where there isn’t Truth, there isn’t Christ. Why ever be afraid of the Truth? You only need fear the Truth of anything — if you think Christ isn’t capable of redeeming everything.
If we believe in the sovereign grace of God, the redemptive restoration of God — then we are never afraid of the Truth.
And maybe our deafening silence sometimes in the Body, in the Church, is just this: Truth necessitates confrontation — and a whole lot of us are more chicken than Christian. Sometimes, we’d rather save our own skin, than the skin of the bruised and battered and beaten. We can be more in love with self-preservation than with Savior-glorification.
Sometimes…. sometimes, as communities, families, churches: We’d rather make pain invisible than say injustice is intolerable — so the injustice continues.
So we pretend you, the wounded, don’t exist, so we can pretend the sin that caused this wound doesn’t exist — because ultimately, our actions prove it: we don’t really think the Wounded Healer exists.
We act like we forget: That God can raise up phoenixes from ashes — that this. is. what. He. does.
And that which we refuse to thank Christ for — we refuse to believe Christ can redeem.
Wounded One? Thriver? You gotta believe — there’s a whole lot of us who believe. A whole lot of us who are getting to our feet and sticking out our necks and we want you to know: we want you. You, not masked… you, not prettified, but you with your messy scars and your tender blue places and all that just-below-the-skin-hurt. Because when we ignore suffering — we ignore the Suffering Savior.
We need you. We needed the wounded, we needed the limping, we needed the hurting, we needed the broken and messy — you are us. We need to cup your tears, to water hard and crusted places, or there’s no growth in the Kingdom of God. We need your raw story — or we lose any hope of the redemptive Story. We need to hold your broken heart — or we have no heart.
I. am. sorry.
I am sorry for how alone you have felt. How abandoned, how ignored.
We need you — It is the scarred ones who make the Body of Christ sensitive.
It is the wounded ones who makes us heal.
And it is the hurting ones who make us honest and it is the broken ones who put us back together again and it is the scarred ones who make the Body of Christ sensitive.
Once, yeah, we found a trapped and wounded bird.
And when we simply cupped it close and listened to it’s heart —
it turned toward the light and flew.
Related: Letters to the Wounded #1