Maybe, like me, you’ve been through things that have shaped your whole self. Difficult experiences can do that – alter how we think and feel, chip away at our sense of worth. I’m determined to be more than a product of my past and I battle so hard at it – so the days I slip up? When my childhood is showing? It feels a lot like failure.
Over the years, I’ve waged war against depression, insomnia and eating disorders, and in God’s strength, I seem to have won. But there are odd days, still, when the scales taunt me; when I’d happily draw the curtains and hide away. Or there are days when I say words I wish I could take back. I react, all too human.
At times, I’ve found myself thinking who am I kidding? No matter how hard I strive at becoming something other, I can never escape what I’ve come from.
And it’s frustrating, isn’t it? Soul-destroying, even. Because we’re told we’re new creations; that our identity lies in Christ – but what about the days we don’t feel it? How about when our minds slip back into old, broken patterns; when we respond out of deep-rooted fear?
There are days that I wonder. When the anxiety takes hold or when my self esteem plummets. In the moments I embody the brokenness you’d expect me to, I do wonder if God has changed me at all. Am I truly made new, if I’m right back here again?
In nursing, we pack cavity wounds to prevent them from healing over superficially, before the deeper layers have had the chance to renew. You do your utmost best to prevent further deterioration; to treat underlying infection, while encouraging the forming and knitting together of new tissue.
Sometimes a wound must stay open a while so you can heal layer by layer.
And God does heal, but often healing is a process.
We are being made new, but we are works in progress.
Sometimes, determined to heal over and desperate to be made new, we expect perfection from ourselves and quickly. But maybe, in the process of making you new, God’s dealing with what’s there beneath, and we need to allow ourselves grace for that. We need to allow ourselves time and daily mercy, just as we would for anyone else.
We are works in progress, you and I. We are still forming. And at face value, it may seem like not a lot has changed, but those deeper layers, they’re knitting together and our God of restoration, He’s making you new.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” – Philippians 1:6Leave a Comment
If only more could see the beauty in the wounds. Getting past where he takes us is sometime a struggle, so worth the journey. Time has been my friend now in my 50’s learning to love myself so I can truly love others has been like a road rash to the bones it can heal but it has taken a long, long time. My middle name is Ruth no fear of spider just some people, this post stoke to me… beautifully written Thanks You.
Ruth I find myself struggling in this season and I have no idea why – its lasted about a year – starting with real tiredness, now I’ve been super down, have gained weight and i don’t have the energy to fix it all. I am a singer songwriter – or at least that is one of my gifts, but right now I don’t want to participate majorly in church with that gift and i feel guilty about it – not bc I think God is judging me but maybe others or even myself. Im not sure what he thinks. Im not happy right now – and I tell God, I know you are near but I don’t know how to stay near you. I pray he will take me thru to the otherside of this quickly or at least be close as he walks me through. writing all of this helps. God bless you and thanks for this post – incourage is my daily vitamin right now…
I saw this and just wanted to reach out to you. I too have had a really rough year . . . sounds a lot like yours, actually. I finally went to the doctor and felt a bit like a hypochondriac but then discovered that my thyroid wasn’t working right. Have you thought about checking that out? And – if that isn’t the cause of your bad year – just know that I will pray for you. It is hard when you don’t feel great to engage in old passions. Also, I have zero energy but have started to work out because the weight gain was so depressing. I cannot do it on my own, but I have turned my work out time into a prayer and praise time. I put pandora on praise and worship and pray that God will do for me what I cannot do for myself. It is amazing how much that time has helped me. I often start the workout on the elliptical not knowing how I am going to go for 5 minutes, and I find He distracts my thinking with the music so that I can often do a whole 30 minutes or so. I haven’t lost a lot of weight but I feel much better about myself and a little stronger. At any rate, I know it can be really rough to feel so bad and hard to connect with God. The other day I was praying for some relief and taking my thoughts honestly before him, and I noted that I felt like such a failure. In my soul, I felt God saying that couldn’t be the case because he created me and he doesn’t create failures. I honestly felt like he was angry that I felt that way — not angry at me but angry at the deception. So if you are feeling like a failure, let me encourage you that you are not one because HE made you and HE makes all things good.
blessings to you!
Thanks Melissa – God bless you…
Tom Blair says
At the moment I am trying hard because I want God in my life every minute of the day but sometimes I feel I let him down but your words that we are work in progress has lifted me and if I feel down I will be thinking of those words . God Bless you Ruth and thank you for your words
Thank you for this, Ruth. I’m not feeling very new lately… I’ve been self-centered and sick, and it’s hard to see the healing coming. But God is making all things new, and He has good in store! Praying healing over you and in this place today.
Hi! Me, too! I get frustrated when the new creature isn’t showing thru. Mulling thru 2 Cor 3,4,and 5, leading up to the new creature verse, I am reminded that these chapters are telling us that it is the Holy Spirit in us that is doing this work. I am trying to learn to live in the truth that the Holy Spirit living in me is a more miraculous, even as the text says in 3 somewhere, more glorious thing than Moses hanging out with God, collecting the 10 Commandments. We, who are adopted into this new covenant have the more glorious faces reflecting God’s light, and it isn’t our light, or our doing, but His! If we doubt, we can read the verse after the new creature one, 2 Cor 5.18, which says ‘all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself thru Christ…’ so, yes, let’s try to use self control and stay attached to the vine, but be thankful that it is all about the work in us that He is accomplishing for His glory. btw 2 Cor 3, 4, and 5 are my faves right now!
Nurses are healers, and we also are works in progress as you so poignantly point out here. God bless you for sharing!
While worshipping this past weekend, the Lord very gently reminded me that he loves ALL of me – not just the victorious spaces, but the spaces that gape and gawk and backslide and produce a big fat fail. He loves ALL of me. It is not my job to make all of those fixes this side of heaven. But He promises to bring about growth and change if I will submit to Him. My salvation, my victory in Christ are not determined by what I accomplish but rather what He has already accomplished. I am ever grateful.
O I did not realize that I was healing …… this is a very good teaching ….. for me anyways …… the thing is …….. in some things …… will they ever heal ……..
I don’t think that seeing JESUS on the cross will ever heal …….. it’s one of these spiritual things that will stay with me forever and ever …… a permanent ONE.
Bless the LORD O my soul and forget not all HIS benefits.
Judy Durham says
This, spoke volumes to my being…. this, is what I needed. God never ceasesto amaze me, ever. Thank you with all I am.
Thanks…for ALL sharing . WE all have a story and pain that we bottle up at times, but is wonderful when it is poured out and shared ! Caring and helping others is the true mission with the Love of Jesus Christ ! Blessed by your open hearts to share ! Dealing with listening to God’s voice and being under attack by all the worldly things that can stop from receiving His will …. Prayers for Our Hearts and Ears to be open to Jehovah Mekadesh – The Lord Who Sanctifies You ( Leviticus 20:8 )
Jodi Michaelides says
Jesus has been restoring all of me and I feel so blessed and I have a very complicated past of abuse! God is so BIG and can help all of us overcome anything if we keep our eyes on HIM. It is completely ok to have slip-up days.
Ruth, thank you for sharing this insight.. somehow it is so clear, in speaking of a physical wound and the way it must heal! Helpful for thinking of emotional wounds! I tend to get frustrated that my old wound is so raw & painful still… but as you point out, it needs to heal layer by layer. God doesn’t want me to have bitterness left in there, but to purify me & heal me well.
Marisa Slusarcyk says
Yes! So many layers to heal and it takes time and sometimes we are left with a scar but we learn from those wounds, those injuries to our soul. He died so that we can be saved, by His stripes we are healed – one day at a time!
Dear Ruth and (in)courage family,
Thank you for sharing, it wasn’t by chance I stopped for a moment a brake to ck my email. I needed this very much. I too have been caught in sorrow for past shadows that at times block out HIS light.
If anyone wouldn’t mind please lift me up in prayer as our older son will be married in one and ahalf wk and I need this cloud to be lifted. MUCH much blessings to you all for being HIS cornerstone today that I could stand on.
This may sound silly, but I often think of God’s healing as a crock pot. It takes a lot of time, but if we allow God to do His work in His time, the result can be amazing. I wish that healing would be fast, like a microwave, but if I try to hurry things along and make it happen, the results are just not as good.
Our father God is amazing how he leads us to read things to encourage us. I have been a dreadful sinner in my life and the consequences have hurt a lot of people including myself . And it haas been very hard to forgive myself. But I thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. I am still in pain with a tear in my rotor cuff and bursitis so please pray for me
Wow. I needed this today. Thank you.
I really needed to here this. I have been struggeling with a lot of old thoughts and feelings latley and have felt so discouraged….I really like what you shared about packing the wound. I am glad that God promises to complete the work He started in us even when we don’t have it altogether (:
The example you used from your nursing background, of healing & being renewed from the inside out, really resonated with me. I watched over my adult daughter for 5 months this past year after she had her large intestine and 2/3 of her small intestine removed as a result of Crohn’s. Looking at the huge wound that lay open and had to be packed every day, and the drains and vacuum pumps that pulled the bad fluids from her body, and the IVs that pumped the good fluids into her body, my untrained eye said there was no way she could survive. But every week, the wound surgeon would come by to check on her progress and to see the results of the care she was given. And every week he would measure and photograph the wound, and discuss the improvements he saw with the wound care staff. I saw nothing but the awfulness at first and for many weeks. But gradually, I began to see what they saw. I saw the redness that signified new tissue growth. I saw the changes in the photographs and measurements, as the wound began to shrink in size. When I finally trusted what the medical staff was saying enough to begin to see things with their eyes, I SAW THE GOOD CHANGES. So I’m learning to measure progress differently. Not from day to day. Sometimes not even from week to week or month to month. But I CAN TRUST the One who knows and sees differently than my untrained eyes…and HE says He will continue HIS work in me until the day Jesus returns. AMEN!
Beth WIlliams says
Time heals ALL wounds. Such a profound, but true statement. God gives us trials, wounds, etc. to teach us lessons and to bring us closer to himself.
For a long time now I have been dissatisfied with my job and in a “grouchy/yucky” mood most days. Through friends and prayers–lots of prayers–God is teaching me patience and showing me just how blessed I am. It is so easy to lie awake worried and wondering. When that happens I try to make a list of all my blessings and start praying for my friends and co-workers. That takes the focus off me.
I’ve been thinking about this often recently. I keep getting myself into trouble with the same sins. Sometimes I wish sanctification was a quicker process but I am so thankful for God’s grace and patience with me as he transforms my heart.
Anne Capozzi says
Thanks for sharing your heart! Everyone of us walk that road…one thing came to mind as I was reading this and that is the word of God is truer than our emotions. It’s fact and we can thank Him because we “are” new creations and we “are” the righteousness of Christ even if our emotions rage on.
Remember whose voice you have to listen too. Either Gods voice or the devils. Choose Gods voice always. Have a blessed day!