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Christian Blog vulnerability

Wounded Healer

“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” –(Proverbs 14:13)

We have a picture of a clown in our home that our middle son painted when he was eight years old. It’s a simple watercolor portrait–traced in pencil and then painted with quite a bit of skill for a 2nd grader. Some of the color on the clown’s green eyes ran a bit before it dried, but it only adds to the appeal.

Anyway, I often take my Sunday afternoon nap on the futon that sits against the wall underneath the clown. Last week, I woke up looking at the painting, and noticed something I hadn’t before: the clown is smiling AND crying at the same time. That’s life, I thought–especially right now.

These days, so many moments are both happy and sad at the same time.

‘Tis a bitter sweet existence.

Clarification: I understand that questions of faith have yes or no answers; there’s no maybe in God’s kingdom. But have you ever found yourself saying, along with the father of the boy only Jesus could heal, “I do believe, Lord; help my unbelief?”–(Mark 9:22-25)

Yes, sometimes life in Christ isn’t all fresh water or salt, it can be a brackish in between. But that’s OK, because, according to the apostle Paul, crippled Christians make the best swimmers.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (emphasis mine)

Here’s to the wounded healers!

And Jesus is the biggest one of all. Hebrews chapter four tells us that Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, because, just like us, he experienced the ups and downs of human existence–yet was without sin. That’s why we can come to Him with confidence, knowing He will help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Like the old King James translation says, “Thou hast known my soul in adversities.” – Psalm 31:7b

There’s another place where David says God actually comes closer when times are tough and our hearts are broken. He does this in order to lift our crushed spirits (Psalm 34:18).

After all these years (our son turns 25 today!) it’s time to give the clown painting a name. From now on I’m calling him Wounded Willy. He’s happy (like a clown should be) but he’s also sad (because life ain’t always the circus).

Do you have any life scars? Maybe God could use you as a wounded healer to extend His grace to others.

Yes, you!

Categories
Christian Blog vulnerability

Dog Gone It!

Photo by David Fanatan on Unsplash

We have a dog in our neighborhood that’s a fence jumper. Every so often, even with the gate shut, he just appears in the backyard. He’s friendly enough, but we worry what might happen if he gets in when our two little dogs are out.

We thought we had the problem solved. Our super-athletic trespasser liked to jump the one section of our fence that was four feet tall, so we replaced it with a six foot wooden privacy fence. We now have a tall fence around our whole backyard. “That should do it,” I told my wife.

But wouldn’t you know, one day we looked out and there he was: standing on the back patio laughing at himself in the window. What kind of dog gets over a six foot privacy fence?!

This has to be yet another metaphor for life. We build fences around our circumstances to control them. And then, when something breaches our puny perimeter, we build better ones.

Yet sometimes, no matter how hard we try, IT still happens. They make LifeProof cases for phones, but not for the human condition. And when something jumps the ‘fence’ and laughs at itself in the window, it’s easy to feel violated, unsafe and unsure about the future.

Enter God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, who most certainly understands humans.

He became one.

Psalm 139 makes it crystal clear: the Lord knows more about you and me than all the data mining companies of Silicon Valley combined!

As it turns out, He’s a fence builder too.

You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Psalm 139:5

King David doesn’t mention sideways, but surely the Almighty has that covered as well.😀🙏

From the sounds of Psalm 139, and other similar scriptures, God never looks in on one of His children and says, “Well, would you look at that?!”

So friend, can we agree that whatever we’re facing right now—be it good, bad or ugly—God saw it coming and knows what to do about it?

His Word is His bond.


Here are a few go-to promises I turn to when I’m ‘on the fence’ about God’s protection and provision:

“What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

Please share your favorite scripture about God’s watch-care over us, if you’d like.


For another story about setting boundaries, that also involves an uninvited animal on our property, please see “Cat”astrophe.

Categories
Christian Blog vulnerability

Lost Four Words

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

It’s amazing how words frequently used in conversation come and go. During the Valley Girl craze of the 1980’s, phrases like, “Gag me with a spoon” and “That’s totally bogus!” were heard often. These days, we have new words and phrases to convey similar sentiments.

Today, I’d like to discuss a four word phrase that has fallen into disfavor. You just don’t hear it that much anymore.

It was my fault.

Personal accountability makes people feel vulnerable. And according to sociologist Brene’ Brown, vulnerability can be excruciating; people almost universally avoid it. In her popular TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, she explains why: Vulnerability opens the door to shame— another unwanted emotion—so we look for a way to ease the discomfort. The shortest path is to blame others. Which, again, according to Brown, is a wrong way to deal with vulnerability.

Of course, the Bible is filled with stories of people who grappled with personal culpability. Some handled it well and some did not. I won’t repeat these at length, but here are two of my favorites.

Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit, and she blamed the serpent. But God held everyone accountable.—(Genesis 3) #wrongway

When King David was confronted, after he committed adultery and murder, he blamed only himself saying, “I have sinned.” –(2 Samuel 12:13) He admitted his accountability. #rightway

Back when I served as a worship pastor, I once convinced our church to sponsor a popular Christian recording artist in concert. I assured our parish council that ticket sales would cover the cost of bringing this person in. I was wrong. The concert lost $3000!

The first thing I did was start thinking of excuses. But as my wheels turned, the Holy Spirit burned something into my heart: “Say it was your fault.”

So I did. I stood before the church’s leaders and admitted that I blew it. However, to my surprise, they disagreed! “We voted to do this,” said an older deacon, “It’s on ALL of us.” And everyone agreed!?

I experienced God’s grace with skin on that night. All because, with His help I was able to say, “It was my fault.”

This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

Isaiah 66:2

For a great story about a person who faced a vulnerable situation through God’s provision, please read this post by Musings and Roses.