I know what it is like to be broken. Only a few short months ago I broke my wrist while skating with my kids. It happened so fast. One moment, I was sailing around the rink like an eleven-year-old with my hair blowing, my clothes glowing, and my heart pumping to the music of my childhood. Then the next moment, I hit the hard rink floor, instantly crushing both bones in my wrist. My body shook and my skin turned pale and clammy, my bone dangled as I helplessly held my deformed wrist. It was apparent that my arm was broken. I needed immediate assistance. Within seconds, I was surrounded by compassion. Within minutes, I was whisked to the emergency room, where I was treated by doctors. Within hours, I was referred to a surgeon to repair the shattered bone. There was no question. I was broken and needed to be restored.
Trauma Requires a Response
Despite the pain and the inconvenience, this break revealed a new layer of insight into trauma. In all the years I have worked in healing ministry, I had yet to grasp the disparity between the world’s response to physical brokenness and the response to wounds of the heart. My family and the staff at the skating rink would have never left me in that vulnerable state of suffering to fend for myself. This trauma required a response. If left untreated, this break would impair every activity in my daily life. I would be consumed with an effort to compensate for the pain and protect this throbbing wound from being touched, tapped, or bumped by the people in my life.
Yet so many of us are walking wounded. We try desperately to hide the pain-filled places in our hearts. Just because we cannot see the wounds does not mean that they do not exist. In truth, most of the trauma we have experienced in our lives will never be obvious to the average onlooker. Our deepest wounds often remain unknown. The places in our hearts that have been shattered by death, divorce, abuse, infidelity, violation, rejection, injustice, and suffering have been buried beneath lies that tell us that it will hurt too much to receive help and healing and we are better off hiding the pain. These deadly wounds are never dressed and healed. Instead, they remain a throbbing ache in our hearts. Like an untreated broken bone, we wince every time our tender wounds are touched. We limp along life attempting to compensate for the pain. But we can only get so far without help. Trauma requires a response. We need healing.
Christ’s Healing Mission
The whole mission and activity of the Church is fueled by the depth of the Father’s compassion for His people. Jesus cured the sick, healed the hurting, and resurrected the dead. From the unfailing love of His Sacred Heart, He encountered His people with compassion. He surrounded them, ministered to them, and healed them. He is the Divine Surgeon. Jesus then commissioned His apostles to carry out this essential mission, imploring them to heal and restore His people in His Holy Name.
As the Body of Christ, we are called to live out this mission. We are the hands, feet, and faces of compassion in a world desperate for a healer. We are called to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim liberty to the captives (Isa 61). But we cannot do this if we have not sought freedom from our own wounds first.
Dressing our Wounds
Each of us has wounds in our lives that need to be cleaned and dressed. Often we do not want anyone to see these wounds. We would rather keep them covered instead of letting them be cleaned. Some of the wounds in our hearts are more presentable and easier to treat. Other wounds are deep and festering and they require a certain amount of courage to be touched and treated. But as long as we refuse to allow our wounds to be cleansed of all the lies and subsequent sin that cause them to fester, we can’t take the next step to freedom. Often the first step to cleaning these wounds is admitting that things are messy.
Once we have acknowledged the wounds that need to be cleaned, we can begin to look for the help we need to heal. There are so many wonderful ministries that share a heart for healing and transformation in the Church. Together with the sacraments, these apostolates provide resources, conferences, retreats, and opportunities for encounters with Christ to heal and restore the gaping wounds in our lives.
Healed and Restored is conceived under this mission. We respond to the wounded women in our world. We are building a hospital on the front line of the battlefield for women’s hearts. We are responding to the trauma. We are dressing the wounds. We are offering Christ’s love to heal the hearts of the Father’s beloved daughters. Healed and Restored is building a community to help women experience deep restoration through forgiveness, compassion, community, and trust. We aim to heal the whole woman by attending to the many facets of her healing journey.
And we need your help. Your prayers, sacrifices, donations, and commitment to your own healing journey enable Healed and Restored to remain on the frontline of this battle for the feminine heart. And the battle is fierce. Every day women fall victim to sex trafficking, rape and abuse. Every day women are bleeding out from the trauma because they have no place to turn. Every day this quiet desperation leads to despair, self-abuse, eating disorders, and in some severe cases, suicide.
But it is not too late. Together we are called to engage in this battle to offer women compassion, hope, and healing. When we encounter the healing love of the Divine Physician, it is then that we can offer it to others.