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Monday, April 5, 2010

Battle Wounds or Battle Scars???

by Dina Sleiman

Evidently, I am credited with coming up with this week’s theme idea because one time a few months ago I commented that for women, our birth stories are our battle stories. And because of that, I was assigned to be the first poster on this subject. But, when I actually went to check the calendar, it didn’t say “Battle Stories.” It said, “Battle Wounds.” Well, none of my tales really included wounds. I had thought to talk about the birth of my first child, or maybe finish the saga of escaping from the war in Lebanon. However, “Battle Wounds”… I didn’t have much to say about that.

You see, I spend time with believers from all sorts of denominations, and being surrounded by such divergent mindsets, I have come to a conclusion. Some types of Christians love to talk about their “Battle Wounds,” while others prefer to tell their “Victory Stories.” Well, I am decisively a member of the "Victory Story" group on this issue. So, I decided I would email the Inkwell ladies and see if we could change the theme from “Battle Wounds” to the broader topic of “Battle Stories.”

Before I could shoot out the email, guess what? I looked in my inbox and saw the beautiful completed header for “Battle Wounds.” And so I composed an email apologizing profusely and asking if we could please change it...but I couldn’t hit the send button. Instead, God put on my spirit a wonderful sermon my pastor preached recently about the difference between emotional wounds and emotional scars, and I realized that I did have something to say about this subject after all.

You see, a wound festers. It incapacitates. It destroys us and holds us back. It hurts. A scar, while noticeable and sometimes even slightly disfiguring, is evidence that healing has taken place.

Wow! Read that again. Seriously. A scar is evidence that healing has taken place.

You can function with a scar. It might be a little tough or red or bumpy, even itchy on occasion, but you can go on with your life and continue to accomplish God’s plans.

Now normally, I would prefer to focus on miraculous, complete healing. And I do believe with all my being that God can heal us miraculously both physically and emotionally. But the truth is, most miracles I see on a day to day basis look more like God speeding and assisting in the natural healing process through wisdom, guidance, and supernatural intervention. I’ve been healed instantaneously twice in my life, but on many occasions I have recuperated much faster than expected, or God has given me wisdom that has led to a quick recovery. Both emotionally and phsycially.

Quick recovery in the emotional realm occurs when we learn to see through God’s perspective. Through God’s eyes. When we revisit those festering wounds, not to poke around and cause pain for the fun of it, but to allow God to remove the infection, to cleanse them, and to salve them. Maybe forgiveness is required. Maybe the enemy told us a lie that has colored all of our thinking, and God wants to speak truth to our deepest emotions. But when God gets in there and cleans it out and gives us a new perspective, we begin to heal. It may look different, not quite all pretty and shiny anymore, but it will be well with our soul, and we can move on. Our scars can be a badge of honor. Proof that healing has occurred. You can laugh and say, "Look at this cool scar. Let me tell you how I got it." It's all in your perspective.

And thinking about perspective brings me right back to the birth of my first child that I wanted to talk about initially. Here’s the very short story. I had a ten hour intense labor with no drugs whatsoever. Did it hurt? Like heck!!! Did I panic? Absolutely. Did I yell? Does taking deep soothing breaths in followed by loud resounding yells out count? Did I need stitches? Two or three. Did I have stretch marks? Yes.

Yet none of that is what I remember when I think of the day Christiana Rose Sleiman was born. I think of the amazing bonding experience I had with my husband, and how he was there for me every step of the way. I think of how God ministered to me through the gentle eyes and soft voice of my midwife. I think of the unbelievable spiritual discoveries I made on that day about what it takes to birth something into existence like God birthed the universe and birthed new life within me. About how much pain and hard work is involved. I think of the overwhelming rush of tears and laughter as my husband caught the squirmy little body, and I scooped my daughter into my arms for the first time. How insanely long and thin her perfect miniscule fingers were. I think of her rosebud lips latching to my nipple in a desperate search for life and sustenance and of the rich honey-sweet colostrum that flowed in response. God's provision in action.

Incredible. Indescribable.

You see--perspective. No matter what we endure in life, we can view it as a gift, an opportunity for growth and change and dependence on God. A chance to receive hope and peace and joy. A chance to come out strong on the other side. Or we can focus on the damage. The wounds. The defeats. We can grow bitter. Blame God. Wallow in self-pity and unforgiveness. And stagnate in our faith.

Battle Wounds, Battle Scars, or better yet, Victory Stories? The choice is up to you.

Have you experienced healing from emotional wounds? Are there any that are still festering in your life? How could you hand them over to God and turn your "Battle Wound" into a "Victory Story?"

18 comments:

  1. Poignant and beautiful post today, Dina. Thank you for sharing your heart and for digging deep to do it.

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  2. This morning, my heart said, go to the Inkwell for emotional healing. I'm still working on it. I'm trying not to feel like I'm all alone in my parenting and on my journey. I did not have the same loving experience of bonding with the father of my children. He has not been there for us.

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  3. Beautiful, Dina! I can say that scars are also good reminders of what we've been through. I don't want to wear them proudly but as you say they show us where a wound has healed.

    Mary, I've been praying for you. Really. And you were on my heart this weekend. I wanted to tell you but haven't been able to find your email address. Drop me a line if you'd like. I've been in a similar situation.

    Lisa's done another spectacular job of dressing up the place. Love the new colors!

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  4. Debra, you are so kind. My email is on my profile of my blog www(dot)maryaalgaard.blogspot(dot)com.

    Thank you.

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  5. Thank you, Mary. Your comment really blessed me. Like the other Inkies, I'm sure, I always pray that God will bring in the people who need to read my post. So today, you are a tangible answer to my prayers.

    Mary, that is so hard what you're going through. I also think about you and pray for you from time to time. Honestly, the bonding with my husband at the birth of my children was so very important to me because we've gone through some very tough times too. We still do. But all three of my births are times I can look back at and see his strengths and why God has brought him into my life.

    I pray that you'll get full healing in this area of your life. Lord, please guide Mary into the fulness of your healing in her heart. Give her your eyes to look back and see things through a new perspective. Show her your plans for her life and give her a hope and a blessed future.

    Mary, if you're interested, I can also point you towards some of the ministries that have helped me to find emotional healing.

    I think you have my email also, and you're welcome to contact me anytime you need prayer or support.

    Love you much.

    Dina

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  6. Deb, thank you. You can see even today how you're scars can help you to reach out to others. It's clear that you are a strong lady who has learned to lean on the lord. Blessings.

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  7. Lisa, thanks, and lovely job on the new look.

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  8. Beautifully written, Dina! I love the comparison between wounds and scars!

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  9. I love your outlook on life! Especially when it's my first time visiting your blog! Beautifully written and I love the definition and difference between wounds and scars sometimes we don't take a look at the scars that we've overcome!!!

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  10. Niki, my pastor, Rob Stevenson, gets full credit for the wounds/scars comparison. I think it's the scientist in him that comes up with this stuff.

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  11. Jen, I'm so glad you found us today. We have some amazing ladies here. I hope you'll come back and get to know them. I saw that you are a songwriter. I do some songwriting too. Mostly, we're all novelists around here.

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  12. Beautifully written, Dina. It's like the glass half full/half empty but I've never seen it expressed so eloquently. And you're so right about the wounds and the scars. Thank you for reminding me - it's like everything else - it's our choice.

    Bless you,

    Anita.

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  13. I didn't think of it that way, Anita, but you're right. It is like the glass half full/empty. I've noticed several times recently that when I'm ministering to ladies in my life, God shows me where he was moving during their hard times, and that fresh perspective ministers to them. Most of us have victory stories hidden behind our battle scars if we just stop to think about it.

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  14. This is a perfect perspective for me to hone in on today. I've been waging a few battles and it's time for me to se them for what they really are. Learning experiences.

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  15. T. Anne, I've found that once I learn to deal with struggles from God's perspective and through relying on Him, I don't face as many attacks in that area anymore. Or maybe I do, but they just don't bother me anymore :)

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  16. Beautiful post today, Dina. I'm late to the party but glad I could read everyone's comments. I love the comparison between wounds and scars. Lots of food for thought: everything we experience can be handled with a choice, viewed as a chance to grow closer to God. But I fail miserably much of the time in how I choose. Or sometimes, it's all so overwhelming.

    Praying for you, Mary. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Well, Susanne, I don't want to give anyone the impression that I'm miss perfect. There are areas in my life that I have conquered, and others that I still struggle with regularly. But, at least I think I understand the process.

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  18. Dina, wonderful post :-) Like others have said, I hadn't really thought about the difference between wounds and scars. Thanks for sharing your insights with us.

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