Tuesday, December 29, 2015

pointing the finger

Do you ever feel like you forget about God? Does it ever seem like all your Christian brothers and sisters find it so easy to focus on Him?

I feel this way a lot. Very often when I listen to a sermon or read a devotional I get conflicted about the fact that I always seem focused on my own agenda, my own wisdom, my own achievements rather than pointing a finger at God and glorifying Him and seeking His will.

Tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

Recently I discovered an amazing website called Church.Online which allows you to watch the current week’s sermon with other people—there’s a chat room, people are available to pray with you, the sermon notes are posted so you can follow along. It’s really cool, especially for me since I find it challenging to get to church these days. This week’s sermon was preached by a guest speaker, Jefferson Bethke, on healing.

Something he spoke about really stuck out to me—he talked about the Japanese art form kintsugi in which broken pottery is patched back together with glue that has the dust of precious metals (usually gold) mixed into it. The effect is that the broken places become the most beautiful parts, that your eye is drawn to the places that have been damaged. The message Jefferson presented was essentially that once God turns your wounds into scars, you shouldn’t hide them. Your scars, once Jesus has made you whole again, become the most beautiful parts of you and they glorify God’s ability to heal. You shouldn’t be ashamed of them because those scars point to Jesus.

Your scars, once Jesus has made you whole again, become the most beautiful parts of you and they glorify God’s ability to heal.

This resonated powerfully with me; it made me reflect on my postpartum depression and anxiety in a way I hadn’t before. As I have dealt with my postpartum problems, I’ve felt passionate about being open with others about them, hoping that by sharing I can encourage others to not feel ashamed, to reach out for help, to know they’re not alone.

Not once did it occur to me that those wounds caused by my postpartum anxiety, as they heal and become scars, could somehow glorify Jesus.

Until now.

I love poetry and have from a very young age. Recently I’ve been reading through Rumi’s writings, many of which are poignant and beautiful, often gracing Pinterest in the form of hand-lettered memes. One of my favorite quotes of his is: “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” It’s redeeming to think about our suffering in this way; it comforts us to reflect on the fact that something good can come of something bad, that we might gain something from our hurts.

But now that I’ve learned about kintsugi, I think about this quote in such a different way. Rumi’s quote and the idea of Jesus’s healing powers represented in kintsugi exemplify the two parts of myself that are often at war. On the one hand, I’m tempted to point the finger at myself, to be praised for enduring hardships, to focus the attention on the wound so that I feel proud of what I’ve withstood. But I should point the finger at Jesus. I should tell the world that, despite the awful things I sometimes say and do as a result of my PPD and PPA, by His grace I am still worthy to be loved, I am still His child, not because of the wound with which I’ve been afflicted but because of the scars left behind after His healing.

In truth postpartum depression and anxiety have been massively, “life-changingly” challenging, and I think there’s a place for my desire to help others because of what I’ve learned through my experience. But there’s an even bigger place, an all-important, desperate place for my need to share with others the love of Jesus. Because wounds only become scars once they are healed, and when it comes to healing this kind of wound, He’s the only one who can.


Post a Comment