Battle Wounds

We’ve all got them. Battle Wounds. Scars.

Many of you know that I LOVE VBS! Some of you have no idea why. Let me explain. When I was a baby christian and a new church goer and a new stay at home mom, the children’s ministry at my church was my learning ground. These women totally didn’t care that I didn’t know a lot of bible and were obviously hard up for help able to see more in me than I knew was there. I quickly found myself not only “helping” with my first ever VBS but helping direct the preschool section.

My mentors were (ARE) amazing and by the end of that week I was hooked.

I was amazed to see how much the entire body of our church poured into this event. I’m not going to go on and on here, but I realized that VBS was a yearly unification of our church body. And I felt the love not only of Christ, but of the body of believers I called my family.

That is why I love VBS. And every year it just got better and better. Reconciliations have been brought about, hearts restored, children have found their forever savior. Whole families have gotten saved from a week of VBS. I cannot oversell VBS.

But alas, like all good things, the enemy does seek to destroy it. And this year was no different. The weeks leading up to VBS had been emotionally difficult for me. I was only half in it. But sometimes you must in fact “fake it til you make it”. And the week of VBS had been good.

Teaching the bible lesson. Not bible stories. No, the bible. With some old friends and mentors. Really teaching the kids some good stuff. Watching the nightly salvation message be delivered. Being a part of delivering the salvation message one night. Man, friends, it just doesn’t get any better than this! Teaching the Word to kids is my passion.

Then, on Friday, just as everything seemed to be going well, minutes before our first group of kids walked in, it happened. I fell. I just tripped on air and fell. I managed to save my laptop, but not my knee.

With help I hobbled inside. We found antiseptic spray and tried to bandage the bleeding wound minutes before I had to stand for the first of three 25 minute lessons. My teaching partners brought me a chair, but friends, you just can’t teach the Word to 30-40 kids at a time while sitting in a chair! So I stood to teach and tried to sit when it wasn’t my turn.

I’m not gonna lie. It hurt. It was a bloody mess. I even left a blood stain on the sidewalk that could be seen for days. And as I uttered these words to my teaching partner “I’ve got a battle wound” I knew that it was truer than I wished it were.

The nature of physical wounds is that they leave a mark. Here are some pictures of my knee through the healing process. The first picture is two days after the incident. You can see bruising at the top of the leg and the big scab as well as abrasions below. The second picture is a week after. The scab is very well formed and the abrasions are still visible. The third one is about a week and a half after. You can see the scab is starting to fall of in spots leaving the tender scar beneath it. You can also see that the scab and abrasions are interfering with normal self care functions, i.e. shaving the knee area.

I still have a scar. It no longer hurts at all, but is a visual reminder of that day when satan tried to take me out and stop my mission.

The truth is, though, emotional battle wounds are just as bloody, painful and scarring, but far less visible. They, too, leave scabs that eventually fall off exposing tender new scar tissue. They, too, interfere with self care.

We all have battle wounds. This moment, when I fell, when I uttered a glib remark about my “battle wound”, was a physical reminder of the pain and scarring I have endured as a part of this battle.

The Battle isn’t against flesh and blood. No matter how much we think it might be. Sometimes we see a person that is the face of all that hurt, the person on whom we can pin our frustration and anger. But we must know, the battle isn’t against them. It is against the powers of darkness.

When we are hurt, we tend to hurt others. That is not God’s desire for our hearts, our lives. But the pain is real. And denying it doesn’t do us any good.

The problem with these emotional wounds is that we don’t see the scars, but we see the effects of the scars. We see how short tempered we are with people, how quick we are to presume they are out to hurt us, again. Our bad behavior, that we feel is excusable in the circumstances.

Friends, I don’t have an answer. But I’m so thankful to know the One who does. I’m so guilty of letting my Battle Wounds be an excuse for stopping the mission. For failing to love others. For not stepping out into the battle again. For hurting others.

I encourage you to pause for a moment. Examine your Battle Wounds. If you have been in this War with Christ for any time, you certainly have some. Are you allowing those wounds to stop you? Are you so busy convalescing that you can’t carry on? Are you nurturing hurtful feelings as you tend to your wounds? Are you avoiding self care, like bible reading, that you know will heal you in time? Ask God for his restorative help as you tend to your wounds.

The bad news is that Battle Wounds leave scars.

The good news is that Battle Wounds leave scars.

Scars tell a story.That story is yours alone to tell.  How are you going tell it? Are you going to use it for your own glory? Or are you going to use it to show the glory of the One who has already won the war?

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