Collateral Damage


Collateral Damage
Suzie Eller

“He heals the brokenhearted and
binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

My house has a crack. Just over
the doorframe, creeping to the ceiling. It catches my eye every time I sit on my
couch in my living rom. My house isn’t that old, so when I asked how this
happened, the answer was, “collateral damage.”

Collateral damage is
defined as damage to things that are incidental to the intended target. Who knew
that the sunny rays outside could fracture the wall of my nicely air conditioned
home? But it happened.

Last year we had one of the hottest summers on
record and the parched ground around the foundation strained the frame, which
put pressure on the walls, and eventually a crack appeared.

Collateral
damage can also take place within our family when we’ve been hurt by something
or someone else, no matter how long ago.

Because a parent made you feel
unworthy of love, you lash out when your child doesn’t eat the meal you lovingly
prepared.

Because your trust was shattered by another, your loyal husband
pays the price as his faithfulness is questioned again and again.

Because
of negative words poured over your tender heart, you struggle to believe your
value to God.

Collateral damage. All of it.

Years ago I struggled
with collateral damage. Because of my own past hurts, sometimes I lashed out, or
withdrew from a loved one. Sometimes I worked way too hard to be accepted by a
God who loved me right where I was.

Psalm 147:3 promises God can fix
these broken parts. As He began to heal my heart, He showed me the cracks
weren’t the source of the problem. My behavior, my inadequacies, even my
struggle to feel grace … these were superficial issues.

The
foundational issue was there from the time when a little girl tried hard to stay
out of trouble, to make peace, and yet nothing I did worked. So I learned how to
hide, how to defend myself, and a few other unhealthy behaviors along the way.
Do you relate?

By taking my eyes off the cracks and opening my heart to
God, the original source of damage was in plain sight … where it could be
addressed and healed. The more I soaked those wounds in God’s truth, the more I
began to recognize the cracks and see them in an entirely different Light. The
more He healed me.

The fact that a child didn’t eat a meal so lovingly
prepared has nothing to do with a woman’s value; it’s just one of the many
mom-things we get to tackle.

The fact that your trust was shattered by
another just makes the gift of a loyal husband that much more sweet.

The
fact that negative words were poured over your tender heart means the thousands
of words etched in Scripture are that much more powerful because they redefine
you, as seen and loved by your Heavenly Father.

The crack in my living
room is slated to be fixed. And next summer I’ll be sure to water my foundation
in the fierce heat. But as for me, my heart is bound and secure, and that
foundation has become a source of collateral gifts in my marriage, with my
children and grandbabies, and in my relationship with my God.

Dear Jesus,
before today I pointed out the cracks, those superficial acts and behaviors that
I’ve tried to patch over. But today I hold up my heart. You see the foundation
of my brokenness. Thank You for binding up my wounds, for healing, and for my
new journey to wholeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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