From The Inside Out

A few days ago I got stung by a yellow jacket. It seems we have had a bit of an infestation and they have been sneaking there way into our house through some crack or cranny for weeks. My sting followed a cowardly attack when I unknowingly grabbed the handle of a bag along with the yellow striped perpetrator. If you’ve ever been stung then you know how the throbbing can last for days. With each pulse of blood in my finger I was reminded of the incident.

Eventually it stopped hurting. In fact I realized just a bit ago it hadn’t given me any pain in about a day. The healing was imperceptible but happening even as the throbbing continued.

Isn’t that how healing works?

Deep work goes on under the skin, and we don’t even perceive it. We feel the ache. It can feel like an open wound but somewhere along the lines we wake up and the hurt, though visibly scarred, has become something you can live with.

There are wounds I bear that continue to ache after years and years of living with them. The scars are emotional. They are the wounds inflicted by experience, circumstance and  great loss and at times they have threatened to cripple me entirely.

Over the summer I read book that affected me deeply. Emily Rapp’s memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, is her account of her young son’s diagnosis and slow death at the hands of a merciless genetic disease known as Tay-Sach’s. Emily’s writing is raw and she asks all the questions about life, death and what it all means in a way that cuts right to the heart. It is clear that she is searching for meaning and though I disagree with some of her conclusions and methods I still found myself resonating with her journey.

In the book she speaks frequently about healing and what it means for her son who carries with him a  death sentence. She says,

“Healing (for Ronan) would not mean the radical healing of his physical form. It might mean instead his full acceptance into community, into family, not the fixing of his physical body.”

I read that passage and her words sunk deep in my soul. I don’t think I’ll ever lose the ache of loss. It haunts me in my darkest moments, slinking around corners when I am at my weakest. But I am strongest when I am in community with others who know my scars and accept me as a grace needy sister. Wounds and all.

What I do know is that my husband, my friends, the ones that know and love me best are aware of the ache I carry deep. They cover me with love and that love is strong enough to drive back the pain. The Body of Christs heals itself from the inside out.

The deepest healing we can experience always takes place from the inside out. 

My husband and I have a deep desire to see overseas workers cared for well so they can serve well. While serving on the field we observed senior colleagues who had not been abandoned with wounds long neglected. Those wounds were like gangrenous sores. They were in danger of being lost entirely, like an infected limb.

Deep healing needed to take place. The kind which can only begin and end with Jesus. He uses His Body to do the healing. My own healing has come through women who have mothered me, a husband who has led me toward Jesus and friends who have called me out of the pain into wholeness.

My pain has been used to show others hope. I am often left to wonder if that is the greatest healing we can hope for in this life; that God would redeem our pain through the healing of others.  We can waste time begging God for answers about the million piece jigsaw puzzle of life or we can put our broken pieces up against another person’s and help them make sense of their place in the picture.


How have others been a part of your healing? How have you entered into someone else’s pain to bring the healing balm of Christ?

Photo Credit: Fiona McAllister Photography via Compfight cc


  1. mary beth November 4, 2014

    Yes, I relate to this. I recently returned from the field and am recovering from depression. It would be easy to hide in shame and not tell people what’s really going on under the surface. But opening up about it has allowed my friends to share their experiences with depression. Other friends have told me, “After talking to you, I realized I need help.” I am grateful that God is healing my life and my heart, and using this time to help heal others too.

    1. Amy Young November 6, 2014

      “Like!” (we need to get like buttons :))

    2. Elizabeth October 14, 2016

      Thank you for your writing. We recently left the field because I was very sick physically. Then, while I was recovering, the Lord made it clear that we cannot return yet because my husband’s emotional health is not strong like it should be. I ignored so many warning signs because I just wanted to return so quickly. My heart is grieving over this confusing season of wanting to be in two places at once…the field so we can do the ministry we love and finish what we started and home so my husband can get the emotional healing he needs. It has been an exhausting emotional battle trying to be strong for everyone. I know Jesus is all I need. I have no words left to pray just sadness and a gaping wound He needs to fill with Himself.

  2. Elizabeth November 5, 2014

    Oh Jessica, dearest, my heart goes out to you in your losses. I know they never completely go away. I have not lost my parents, but I live with a man who lost his mom in his teen years and his dad in his early twenties, and I know that the ache runs deep, that it springs up in the most unexpected of times, and that he still misses them.

    I love your desire to care for overseas workers so they can thrive! Such beautiful, honorable, important, heart-wrenching work. And it is so true that Jesus uses His Body to do the healing. The counselor I mentioned on Monday was always telling us that “love messes up your problems.” He meant that when we are in truly loving, caring relationships, our pain does not hurt as much, and our healing starts to take place. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about here. And our greatest pain being redeemed through the healing of others? Yes. Yes yes yes. So true. Love what you’ve shared here today: He uses His Body to do the healing.

  3. Malia November 5, 2014

    Your analogy of the yellow jacket is powerful. I’ll remember it and your encouraging words that healing goes one while the pain still throbs. Thank you.

  4. From the Inside Out November 21, 2014

    […] Visit me over at Velvet Ashes today to read the rest of my story of healing. […]

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