Broken to be Made Whole
by: Danielle Lyles
My middle child has always been the most adventurous. She had what I called, “A hard-head making for a soft behind” syndrome which brought about a season of disciplining in her life. It took a lot of training, patience, and love to get her to a point where she learned to think before she spoke and to consider the consequences before making a choice.
Fast forward to today, and she's a budding 17-year-old basketball player. She loves the game so much that she’s played through injuries, waiting until after her games to tell my husband and I that she’s hurt. Her most recent injury, a jammed finger, happened during a game tip-off. At the end of the game, she showed us her finger. Not only was it swollen but it was also purple and crooked. As I prepared to take her to the Emergency Room, she talked her Daddy -also her #1 fan- into letting her play the rest of the season. Her defense was that she only had five games left and she’d already missed half of the last season because of a broken arm. He agreed and so I waited until the end of the season to have her finger examined.
During the next few weeks, we thought her finger was improving, but she complained night and day about the pain. She iced her finger, took pain medication and even tried wrapping it, but nothing was helping. She continued to play basketball, but it only made the pain in her finger worse. Nevertheless, she pushed through until we made it to her appointment. Upon initial examination, her Pediatrician believed her finger was only jammed but because of the prolonged swelling, ordered an x-ray just to be sure.
When the results came back, we learned that her finger was fractured, but the ligaments in her finger attempted to self-repair the break because she went so long without medical treatment. The swelling in her finger was scar tissue. He recommended that we see an Orthopedic Surgeon because her finger might have to be re-broken and re-set to heal properly.
My daughter was a bit outraged. It made no sense to her that the solution to fix her finger was to break her finger… again. She lamented that her finger looked perfectly fine from the outside and even went so far as to say it didn’t even hurt that much anymore. I informed her that if re-breaking it was the best course of action to take then that was what would be done. I explained to her the importance of taking care of these things when they happen to avoid making matter worse. I wanted her to understand that to be an effective athlete; she had to be whole physically. So, I made the appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon, and we went home.
Later that day, I replayed her Pediatrician’s words in my head. Re-breaking her finger seemed like the most extreme measure. My daughter was already in pain because of the initial break, but now she'd have to endure even more pain for her finger to heal. It was at that moment that the Holy Spirit began to deal with me about the spiritual aspect of the situation. I was reminded of all the painful situations I’d gotten myself into. Instead of running to God for proper healing, I bandaged and self-medicated my fractures in an attempt to ease the pain. These bandages consisted of jealousy, unforgiveness, malice and anger, all works of the flesh (see Galatians 5:9-21). To add insult to injury, I walked around pretending to be healed. My smile looked healed, my praise looked healed, my Christian vernacular sounded healed, but the reality of the situation was that I was not healed.
Eventually, I took my brokenness to God. He was my Father, and He loved me, so of course, I was expecting immediate relief, but He had other plans. He removed the bandages, exposed the improperly healed breaks, broke them again and reset them all with the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). Although I didn’t like the process, God knew for me to be effective in the Kingdom of God, I would have to be made whole.
While visiting with the Orthopedic Surgeon, we received good and bad news. The good news was that her finger didn’t have to be re-broken because her body had begun the healing process. The bad news was that because her body had begun the process of healing there was nothing that could be done about the pain. She’d have to endure it until her finger was completely healed which would be about three weeks.
I'm happy to report that her finger is now healed and pain-free but happier to report that she and I both learned a valuable lesson about healing the body and the soul. While we seek to heal temporarily, God intends to heal eternally. Whether you find yourself in self-inflicted or God allowed pain, seek Him for healing, His desire is for you to be made whole.