A Bruised Reed… A Smoldering Wick…
Close your eyes for a moment. Can you just picture God giddy with excitement as he was molding and shaping you in your mother’s womb. Picture Him with a twinkle in His eyes singing as he worked. And just before you were born He passed that twinkle as a special mark of his perfection on you. Imprinted on you were the words, “God’s Precious Daughter”.
As you were born, your first cry echoed the room. Although your cry was not in understandable words, it expressed from your heart, LOVE ME! ACCEPT ME! What an exciting moment it was. A miracle from the hand of God had occurred. The miracle of life!
Then life happened. As you journeyed through circumstances and relationships, experiences came into your life. Some you could control and others were out of your control. These experiences remolded and reshaped you. Many may have wounded you along the way.
Look closely at Matthew 12:20-21. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Have you ever felt like a bruised reed as you wear the plastic smile upon your face? Did you at one time stand tall, upright, and sturdy rooted in confidence? Then something happened. You were bruised by the arrows of
A spouse’s or friend’s betrayal
Your own bad decisions
The wounds pierced your heart and the light of your life became dimmer like a candle’s smoldering wick. The mark of God’s twinkle seemed to be fading and doubts about being God’s Precious Daughter entered. You wondered if God made a mistake when he designed you.
To make sure no one would notice, you applied more foundation and makeup to cover up the hurt within. You busied your day with home, church, and other activities to keep from dwelling on the pain. Maybe you dressed yourself with determination or denial as you looked for coping mechanisms.
You garnished your neck with glimmering emblems of royalty to mask the unworthiness you felt. Their brilliance drew attention away from the sadness in your eyes. Everything is fine became the proper response to those who asked.
The charade continued day after day. Numbness to feelings replaced the glow that was once visible. The tapes of what was said or done by others were set on replay. “A bruised reed . . . and a smoldering wick. . .”
Does that resonate with you? I know for many years it was a picture of me. Bent over and not able to look anyone in the eye for I bore the shame of my marriage that wasn’t working. As a Christian woman, wasn’t it my responsibility to fix it?
If someone knew the secret I kept, what would they think of me?
Did I deserve the abuse I was experiencing?
Was God displeased with me?
Did he take my imprint of God’s Precious Daughter from me?
These questions became part of a list that I carried in my mind and heart. It seemed like I added to the list on a daily basis. Slowly I adopted my husband’s perceptions of me. It was so subtle. These became labels that formed on top of God’s imprint.
For years I wandered aimlessly mechanically going through the routine of my day. Everything seemed meaningless. What purpose did I have but be subservient to my husband. A doormat. Less than. Not good enough. My self-worth plummeted and despair set in.
“A bruised reed . . . and a smoldering wick. . .”
Yes, I was a bruised reed and a smoldering wick. I became what I term as a nonperson. I had no right to feelings, opinions, thoughts, or ideas. Although I was an elementary school teacher with a master’s degree, all that was left was a shell of the person I once was.
It was amazing that in my job I was confident as I taught, yet at home I was afraid and walking on eggshells. I felt that everything was my fault. The man I loved was so well liked as a college professor, a neighbor, and a leader in our church. Something had to be wrong with me.
I spent many hours trying to figure out what the problem was. I am a person who commits and is loyal to that commitment. That can be a good trait, but it can place one in a situation that is not healthy. Instead of focusing first on God, my attention was drawn to the person who was sinning against me.
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,”
I may feel and appear like a bruised reed and a smoldering wick, but I will not be destroyed. God sees who I am, but he will not break me tossing me aside as useless and worthless nor will He blow out my inner light. Instead He will fill and nourish my soul through His Word and others. He will rekindle my flickering candle.
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”
God’s part is leading us from justice to victory. Our part is to put our hope in Him for He is the only one who can remold us into his creation.
As I travel back in time, I see the fingerprints of God all over my life. He lifted me out of the miry pit (a destructive marriage) to freedom to be who He created me to be, His Precious Beautiful Daughter. Although I rejoiced, I was scared to death. My earthly security was gone and the future was uncertain.
The transformation in me took time and the Lord’s patience. What was my purpose? I often asked. Quite honestly I was a mess. I was no longer young. My energy and strength were depleted.
God’s answer to me was to find others who were a mess and pray and encourage each other. I did not have to look far. We gathered together like quivering chicks huddling out of life’s storms. Slowly God purposed in me a ministry to help others to find hope and healing in Jesus Christ.
FOCUS Ministries was birthed when I was turning 50. Life wasn’t over. It was just beginning. The Lord was leading me from justice to victory. I had not been snuffed out or broken off. Instead I had been LOVED AND ACCEPTED. The cry we all came into this world claiming.
During the beginning of the ministry, God had to do a makeover in me. There were many layers of protection He had to peel off. He had to reveal to me that His twinkle, a mark of his perfection, was still on me. His love for me would never cease.
As I learned about boundaries and people pleasing, one by one the labels that covered the imprint of God’s Precious Daughter began to peel off. It was painful. He had to clean out the wounds I had incurred. That meant the band- aids I had placed on my heart had to be removed.
I felt like I walked through the valley of the shadow of death as Psalm 23 states. I had to die to my self-power and rely on His power within me.
This was my first step in putting my hope and trust in the Lord.
When we first decided on the name, FOCUS Ministries, we put the word FOCUS in capital letters. It is important to discover where our focus is. Is it on us and our circumstances or is it on the Lord. FOCUS also stands for Focus On Christ For Ultimate Satisfaction.
When we put our focus on the Lord, there will be an EXTREME MAKEOVER. The Lord only wants his best for us. What better hands to be in! The Lord must be our foundation from which we build our lives. If we do it without him, our lives will be a mess. We may look good on the outside, but inside our spirit is dying.
God can lead you to victory as he purifies your heart and reveals his purpose for you. The question is WILL YOU LET HIM? The choice is yours.
He has not removed the twinkle, the mark of his perfection on you. His imprint, God’s Precious Daughter, is still there. It has been covered up from the things you have experienced. The layers can come off with God’s help.
Remember: God is who He says He is. And He will do what He says He will do.
By Paula Silva
(No longer a smoldering wick!)
© 2011 FOCUS Ministries, Inc. May/June FOCUS Newsletter
That very scripture was one of those “shockmysocks!” moments for me. I was reading through Isaiah and the Psalms looking for God’s words of encouragement to survive. I felt broken and snuffed out. Realizing that God was against that gave me strength to believe Him rather than church leaders who are “breakers”. I felt sorry for the breakers.
I feel as if I just read my own story. With the exception of the careers and the positions in the church, they are practically the same. I just finished a cycle of Divorce Care and am working with my church to start a group in my home town. Before that though, my mom and some friends of mine started what is now a faith-based domestic abuse shelter. Sadly, my mom didn’t see it open, but it was named in her honor. I got involved about a month after she passed away helping to get it open and later joined the Board of Directors. I ended up staying there when I left my ex-husband, which was very humbling. Now I volunteer, am one of 2 paid staff and help lead the weekly group counseling sessions, which I will be taking over soon. I am looking through your site for material for that and I’m off to a great start! Thank you!
We are so excited to hear that you have a faith-based DV shelter. What an honor to name it in remembrance of your mom. You must miss her deeply. We have our Partners in the Journey training 3 times a year. It is a training to help those that want to start a faith based support group for women. Our next training is June 21-22. We are in the process of putting information on our website. Please contact us to let us know where your shelter is so we can refer women to you. We receive calls and emails from all across our nation and the world. Send us an email at [email protected]. May you be encouraged that you are making a difference in many lives.
The Lord gave the scripture on a ‘bruised reed’ this morning. I searched on google and your post came up. You explained exactly how I feel inside. Words I could not explain myself. A few weeks ago again in my prayer time, I had ta vision in my mind of the words ‘Focus’. The pain and hurt I hide and put on a false smile. At work I am confident but at home with my son, I shut us away, so no one can hurt, not really knowing how to get out of the rut I have found myself in. I just feel numb and have asked the Lord to help me. That is when I came across your post.
My heart goes out to you. It is difficult to get out of the rut, but it is possible. Please feel free to email us at [email protected]. We want to help.
Thank you for your post. This scripture has been on my heart for a week now. Your teaching has helped me a lot.