Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words that Wound: Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break my bones
but names will never hurt me.

As a child, do you remember chanting this in self-defense?
I do and I need to tell you, it’s a lie!

For years I struggled with insecurity—feeling ugly and awkward because I wore eyeglasses as a little girl. That may sound like an exaggeration now, but when fueled by other’s words it wasn’t then. I learned all about sticks and stones and experienced the hidden wounds they caused.

I began wearing glasses as a nine-year old and had a gym teacher who called me unkind names like, four-eyed-monkey-face. In junior-high my science teacher announced to the class that girls with glasses don’t get asked out on dates.

I know; I’d like to give them a piece of my mind too!

Every little girl struggles with self-image and these callous comments only solidified the truth I saw when I looked in the mirror. I never seemed to measure up to the beauty I saw in others.

Years later as a young mother, I grew in my faith and relationship with God. During my prayer time one afternoon I sensed Him say, I love you and you’re beautifuleven your glasses. I have no idea where this came from, but as His words washed over my heart I began to sob. Then a peace I can’t explain filled me as I sat in His presence.

God is such a gracious Father. I experienced healing that day and began a journey of seeing myself through God’s eyes rather than the eyes of others—a journey that continues to this day.

The older I get my past becomes clearer. The healing of my hurtful memories is part of learning who I am as a child of God.  As I discover more about Him, He shows me more about myself and other areas that need His healing touch.

We all have events in our past that have roots to our present struggles. As we spend time in God’s presence, praying and listening, seeking Him through His word, the He uncovers hidden things and brings our brokenness into the light. Healing is the result.

As we share our story, others are encouraged and God is glorified. Romans 8:28’s truth of all things working for our good becomes a reality. Instead of the hurts being for harm, they become redemptive through the healing ways of God.

Everything that God has done for me gives hope to share with another person who struggles with a similar hurt. When I’m willing to share my brokenness, I’ll see His redemptive results. As I walk the path toward Christ-likeness, transparent about where I have come from, others will see an imperfect vessel touched by the Spirit of God.

Only Jesus Christ can heal and bring wholeness to our past. His desire is for our best and to take the areas of weakness and give us His strength. In our broken world Jesus offers healing for our heart through His Spirit who makes all things new.  

Sticks and stones made their mark but the healing we find in Christ is transformative because of the wounds He bore on our behalf. The hurt doesn’t need to define us—it frees us to become all He has for us through the redemptive power of His life broken for us.

How has Jesus ministered to your broken places?
Share your thoughts and join the conversation,

Tweetable: Sticks and Stones may break bones but names will never hurt me
Tweetable: Every little girl struggles with self-image

Max Lucado's book, You are Special:


  1. Beautiful reminder, Jeanne! It's hard to imagine adults being so thoughtless.

    But praise God, as I get older I grow to accept who I am more each day. He made me just like I am. He must have thought it was good enough...and I should, too!

    Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Vonda. His view of us isn't skewed :) Praise His name!

  3. Jeanne - you brought back vivid memories of some of those hurtful words in my own childhood and how God has healed and restored. And often He uses us in the lives of others - His children whether small or big - to bring that healing word and balm - thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Sue. I agree; words are powerful. How important that it is to have the mind of Christ to be able to hear His words about all others. O, that we could all se ourselves through His eyes.

  5. Dear Jeanne ~ So beautifully expressed, my beautiful friend. Love you!

  6. Thank you, Jeanne for sharing this profound truth. In His eyes, in His love, that is our place of rest and restoration.

  7. It's surprising a teacher could get away with calling a student names. I witnessed a couple of supervisors do this at a company I was at last year. I was appalled when I tried to complain that I was told these were private jokes between them. Jokes??
    How appalling.

  8. Jeanne, I believe your words touch every young girl who in some way never considered herself "good enough." The sad part is not much has changed as the images young girls and women see throughout their lives are unrealistic reflections that they are told they must live up to. Regarding the sticks and stones, it is ironic that the same imagery comes out of the pages of the gospel. Jesus was nailed to a cross of wood (sticks) and often threatened with stoning. His bones were not broken but could have been from the severe beatings. Moreover, He knows what it's like to be called horrible names. Praise God for a Savior that indeed understands our hurts and brings hope and healing!

  9. My apologies to everyone about my lag in getting comments posted. We are in our seventh day without any internet. I am sitting in a parking lot to access a different tower for a signal. For some reason our local tower has not worked at all.

  10. Emily, thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. You are beautiful too--inside and out.

  11. His healing is wonderful, Margie. For years I saw myself through the filter of others. I still struggle at times, yet know His eyes see the truth.

  12. Maureen,

    Bullying is an old sin. It still goes on today even with all of the anti-bullying seminars and focus. But, you are right; a teacher SHOULD know better and set a standard for students to model. Thanks for your thoughts on this.


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