Self Inflicted

She speaks too quickly, before she has time to remember my story, and the words that come out, they catch me off guard and I reel.  I mumble a soft reminder of who I am and I think she almost understands.  But it doesn't matter because the damage is already done and I'm just holding my heart together until I can find my way home again.

It's later when I'm trying to forget and I can't shake the hurt.  I tell myself she doesn't know me very well and there are a hundred reasons why she might've said those words.  Maybe it all makes perfect sense, but I can't let it go.  There's a sick feeling in my stomach, or maybe just my heart, and I don't understand why small words have lodged this deep.

I'm thinking it over while tears make silent tracks and it's not long before I start to see what's going on.  And I breathe a little faster when I realize why I'm struggling to let go.  Because it isn't her I need to forgive.  It's me.

Harsh words cut deepest when they echo what we already believe about ourselves.

She spoke without thinking and she forgot who I really am and maybe she'd have found a different way to answer the hard questions if she'd only taken a moment to remember.  But me?  I know my own story like I know my own skin.  This story, it's in every fiber of my being and I can't forget even when I try.  Yet still I've hurled accusations at this body of mine and I've whispered the things I fear the most.

Because I might finally carry a diagnosis and I might finally be on the long road to healing, but this one year of slow and painful progress, it hasn't erased the eight that came before.  And I might've spent those years fighting against everyone who didn't believe, but underneath all my brave resistance, I suspected they were right and I was just this foolish girl trying to believe the impossible.

Yes, harsh words cut deepest when they echo what we already believe about ourselves.

Maybe I've dropped the biggest rock into the ocean, buried soul-wounding words in the Grace Waters of my Healer, and maybe I finally believe that this woman I am is worth something after all.  But maybe it takes a lifetime to undo all the lies we've spent our years believing and it's a long, slow climb to discover all the ways we've done the wounding to ourselves.

It's not hard to forgive careless words when we realize it isn't they who've done the wounding.  No, they've only uncovered the places we're already broken and isn't it really a gift to find a place in need of healing?  Because God, He binds up the broken and He comforts those in mourning, but He'll leave our wounded places alone until we realize it's Him we need to heal them.

Yes, I'll count her words a gift.  Because I see it now, how I'll never be strong again if I spend my days believing the worst about myself.  Forgiving myself might be the hardest thing of all, but it's time to stop inflicting wounds and start believing the One Who only speaks the truth.

I might live my story in a body laced with illness and I might wonder if what I've got is enough to make a life.  But He's the One Who's doing the writing and He says it's enough.

Now I have a choice.  And I choose Him.


  1. Courtney,

    I've been on the journey you are on, and I just want to say thank you for courageously and honestly stating the journey that many of us are going through. He is the writer and He is writing the most amazing love story I can imagine in your life, in my life, and in the lives of many others like us who deal with brokenness and pain. Once again, thank you SO much for expressing what many of us feel.

    In The Love of Christ,


  2. @Daniel Farrow: Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in this journey and that my openness here is a blessing to others. Sometimes I worry that my honesty about all this brokenness will scare people away. And maybe it does scare some people, but if I heal and help others heal in the process, then it is worth the risk. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to respond.

  3. @Clumsy GirlAnd I love you back, dearest friend. May He find you in your grief even when you don't want to be found.

  4. Good Lord! I am sobbing!!! all I had to do is substitute her words with my husbands words and then, just thank him for just uncovering the wounds. Holly cow, thank you so much for sharing this. Its so beautiful and encouraging! How do you write like this? how are this words come out of you so beautifully and yet so accurate!!! You are amazing!!!

  5. @Anonymous: You have no idea how much your response means to me. After writing this post, I received some feedback that made me wonder if my message hadn't been clear, or if what I was trying to say was not something worth celebrating. Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling me otherwise. And I am so glad it helped you to let go of things that were said to you and instead focus on healing old wounds. Much grace to you, Friend.


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