Author: Taylor Smith
Original post: www.taylorsheasmith.com
In general, I struggle with vulnerability. I have a hard time talking about my feelings and opening myself up to criticism. It’s something that I’m working on, and to celebrate that, I’m going to take a moment to be a little vulnerable with you and share something that the Lord recently shared with me. It has to do with healing.
Mainly, that healing looks different than I thought it did. Mostly because it hurts. A lot.
I used to think that pain came from brokenness, and comfort came from healing. I didn’t realize until recently that the exact opposite can be just as true.
Real healing hurts.
Ironically, just a couple of months before one of the most painful weeks of my (short, 19-year-old) life, I had given my first “real sermon” on healing. I spoke to the youth of my church about seeking the lasting joy of spiritual healing at the cost of temporary discomfort, versus seeking temporary comfort in the pleasures of sin that ultimately lead to lasting pain.
The Lord gave me a wake-up call shortly after that sermon that I will not forget, and I may never teach again for fear of having to practice what I preach. (Just kidding… kind of…)
In all seriousness though, seemingly everything and everyone I loved was being broken in that season, and it broke me. Not only were new wounds being cut, but old wounds were being opened. I needed something to fill the empty spaces, and I needed it fast. I would like to say that I handled every situation as a “good Christian” should, but I did not. Sure, sometimes I blasted YouTube playlists from Bethel and prayed through it… But sometimes I did not.
Sometimes I cried in my dreams, and then woke up in the middle of the night with real tears running down my face. Sometimes I secluded myself and lashed out at anyone who tried to breach the solitary fortress of my bedroom. Sometimes I just kept myself busy, or spent more time with friends, or tried to cover up my issues with a few hours of whatever I considered “fun”.
My heart was broken in so many places, and all I wanted to do was bury the pieces.
It became a familiar cycle and there seemed to be no escape. Don’t get me wrong, it worked for a little while, just as it always had. Every day I felt my heart grow more callous around all the jagged edges, old and new, that tried to cut their way through to the surface.
But then one day (or one weekend really), it was just too much. All of the emotional band-aids I had plastered over gaping emotional and spiritual wounds started to peel away, and the oozing pus of my own filthiness was what came forth. Infection, putrid as sin itself, had rotted my wounds from the inside out: the bi-product of neglecting to have them examined, cleaned, and stitched by the proper Physician.
And then my season of healing began.
As you may already know, when your heart breaks, your pride is broken too. So when you are shattered, humility becomes uncomfortably familiar… At least that’s what happened to me. This removal of (some of) my pride made it easier for me to submit to the healing process I had been actively avoiding, and that’s when things really started to hurt. My heart softened again, and I was no longer numb to the jagged pieces that were cutting deeper every moment. But my softened exterior let the Lord in, and He removed each piece one by one: all the way down to the darkest corners of my heart.
At this point, I anticipated that He would just put me back together. After all, healing is defined as “the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again”, as in: returning to a previous state of health. But my Lord surprised me, as He often does.
He took all my broken bits, (old and new, big and small, sharp and dull), carefully glued them together with the grace that only sticks to imperfections, and then made something beautiful. He made something new.
My colorful past of mistakes – stories glossed to a blinding sheen with fabrications, calloused scars as hard as stones, and words as sharp as broken glass that had been driven into me and left long ago – were extracted from my heart and made into a beautiful picture.
My Lord made a mosaic out of me.
He did not make my past disappear. He did not remove the words and actions of others from my memory. He did not make me into a perfect, sinless human when He was done healing me. He did not even return me back to my previous, less-broken state.
Instead, He looked at one of His 19-year-old daughters, saw the mess she had created of herself, and skillfully separated her from the things that were causing her hurt, as only the Great Physician and a Good Father could do.
But He is not only a Father and Physician, He is also an Artist, and He made a beautiful picture from the things He took out of my life and out of my heart. He healed me, and held me, and helped me look back over my life with His eyes:
"Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’… So God created mankind in his own image… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1)
"The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust." (Psalms 103:13-14)
The Lord knows us because He created us, and He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He still calls us “good“. The same word He used to describe the towering mountainscapes, the trillions of twinkling stars in the sky, and the breath-taking wonders of the deepest ocean depths.
That is the beauty of what Jesus does for us. He loves us where we are at, and yet never lets us stay the same. Even when we are broken, He sees us in our brokenness, yet calls us “good”, and that is what we are.
So maybe healing doesn’t mean we become as if we were never broken. Maybe healing means He makes our brokenness beautiful. He makes us into a testimony. And like a mosaic, we are being made more beautiful with every broken piece.
If you are longing for God to take the broken pieces of your life and make them beautiful, then we invite you to Submerge. Take the first step and fill out the form below and one of our Submerge representatives will contact you.