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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Healing Old Wounds (What I Learned from a 3-Year-Old)

Hi Friends,

This week, I've been thinking about how God peels off the band-aids in our lives and asks us to move forward in an area where we've been hurt before. He asks us to trust, to do right, to risk. That's what God has been asking me this week. And so, I've been remembering this story:

A shriek pierced the air. Then another. And another.

A chill shot through me. I dropped the papers in my hand and bolted for the door.

Another scream sliced across my nerves as I sprinted down the hill toward the plastic kiddie pool where my three-year-old daughter was playing with her Daddy. I spotted her taut-as-a-bow-string body standing next to the pool. She turned her red, scrunched-up face in my direction and let out another howl.

My husband, Bryan, sat in a chair next to the pool with his arms crossed. White spots shone on his arms where his fingers pressed into his biceps.

I slowed. This didn’t look like the near-death, blood-everywhere, broken-bones, 9-1-1 emergency that I was expecting. Instead, it looked liked a certain little girl was having a fit.

“Hey, what’s going on here?” My voice barely carried over Bethany’s shrill cries. “Did she get hurt?”

Bryan turned toward me. His eyebrows bunched together in a frown. “No.” The words came out like a flat stone hitting water.

“No? But –“ I gestured toward Miss Blotchy-Red-Face who was now taking a ragged breath.

Bryan sighed. “You’re not going to believe this.” He pointed to the small rectangular bandage on her thigh. The plastic strip was dangling from the “owie spot” where she’d gotten an immunization two days before. “I told her we needed to take that band-aid off.”

Bryan had hardly finished the sentence when Bethany started up again. “Noooooo,” she wailed, “dooooooon’t.”

I turned to Bethany, but before I could say a word, she clenched both fists and threw back her head. “I don’t waaaant to take it off. It’s gonna h-h-huuuuurt.”

“It’s half off already.”

“Noooo, noooo, noooo . . .”

Bryan threw his hands up in the air. “I’ve had it.” He thrust himself from the chair and tromped toward the garage. “You sit with her.”
I settled into the chair and grabbed Bethany’s towel. “So, I guess you’re done in the pool, huh?”

Two sniffs, then her arm wiped across her nose. “No.”

I raised my eyebrows.

She jumped back into the pool.

A few minutes later I spotted the bandage floating on water’s surface. I hid my smile. “Hey Bethany, how ‘bout we take off that band-aid now?”

“Aaaa,” she began, then looked down. Her cry stopped abruptly. “Where is it?”

I pointed to the pale pink strip. “Guess it didn’t hurt so much after all.”

She poked at the bandage with her toe. “It came off.”


“I didn’t feel it, though.”


She studied the bandage for a moment then plopped down and starting playing with her bucket.As I watched her, I began to chuckle. All that fuss for nothing. But I guess I’m no different. Often for me, too, the anticipation of pain is more than the reality.

Because God is a good father, He, too, wants to remove the bandages in my life, those things I use to hide old pain. He asks me to open up, to be vulnerable to Him and others. But even though I may not holler as shrilly as Bethany, in my heart I still often cry, “Nooo. It’s gonna huuuurt.”

Yet, God continues to call me to truth rather than hiddenness. In fact, the Greek word for “truth” in the New Testament has the same root as “unhidden.” And so, I think about that bandage floating on the water’s surface and wonder if God’s simply trying to tell me that if I trust him and open up, I’ll find that it doesn’t hurt so much after all. I’ll find that God can and has healed my owies. And now, it’s time to trust, to risk, and to try something new.

So, these days when God asks me to take off the bandages in my life, I’m trying not to fuss too much. Instead, I pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)