Saturday, August 24, 2019


Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.

Dec 19
Mary Marr

Are you a Wounded Healer?

Posted by: Mary Marr

Tagged in: Personal Crisis


I believe it was Christian counselor and author Dr. Archibald Hart who coined the phrase the “Wounded Healer” in his well-read book by the same title. In many ways this description fits and depicts my life.

My early days were marked by physical challenges which caused me to face death squarely, yet allude it three times, before the age of nine. While my physical health eventually stabilized it was and still is an ever-encroaching issue to overcome.

During my childhood days I sought to find peace and hope in Christ, but my relationship with Him always was unclear to me as I was not taught the steps to find "peace beyond all understanding" I longed for. That confusion held, sadly, until the age of thirty.

The physical challenges would mark my life in many ways; in my life choices, my family relationships, and even the ministry God had gifted and called me to. God had spoken to my heart during those early near-death experiences that He had a plan for my life, which if followed would bring many others, who were as hurting as I was, into heaven. As a result of living for thirty years with spiritual confusion myself, my heart was and always will be deeply and profoundly moved by those who have not yet been offered the pathway to the Hope and Love I have found in Jesus Christ.

The experience of being wounded at such a young age, made an indelible imprint on His plan for my life. He showed me how crisis and tragedy are often the opportunity for others to find a personal relationship with God that will surpass the troubles of the world. Personal crisis will help you become a "wounded healer" to others as a living demonstration of turning pain into something good. That is what God means by: "He will turn all things for good, to them who are called according to His purpose." 

The wounded healer knows all too well how to minister in the midst of their own pain because they know it helps them heal. They know first hand how desperate those are without the peace of God because they have walked the walk.

As a“wounded healer” I began my ministry career in a local church in Michigan where I learned the basics of strong ministry from a wise, holy and loving senior pastor. It was only then God broadened my ministry borders by working with other churches in the area. These experiences, coupled with radio broadcasting experience, helped me form an understanding of the need for and the essential biblical principles of re-building the body of Christ, who is in crisis itself, sometimes knowingly sometimes not having a clue.

I was distinctly called to take the Church back to its foundations and re-build the walls where it had been sidetracked and broken down much like the journey of Nehemiah. All because of my own experience of brokenness. 

Working with many church leaders in the greater Detroit area I discovered that prayer gatherings were not only the biblical way to bring about biblical unity, but it was also non-threatening to a diverse Christian population. Over 400 church leaders began gathering monthly for transformational and confessional prayer. However, what I was unprepared for was the push back when the obvious next step needed to be taken, the outward manifestation of the inner transformation – working together on a citywide need. Now my leadership was being challenged by gender, race, and other cultural issues all masking the real culprit, the human drive to control God’s plan and not embrace pain as an essential ingredient to inner transformation. The Detroit Leadership Network, once a robust city movement, sadly folded when it could not "take on" its own pain to become a wounded city healer. The traces of the sad day in Christian history are evident today as just this week the Catholic Church announced they were closing 80 churches in Detroit which were used to feed, clothe and lift up the hopeless in the inner city. While the 400 leaders may not have realized it at the time, as a "wounded healer" myself, the writing was on the wall for me, more pain would come to Detroit.  

In Arizona I discovered those same culprits of ignoring the pain without God's transforming work to become a "wounded healer"in churches and cities were also at work - making biblical unity allusive again. The leaders just simply could not get beyond their prayer gatherings, to begin to earnestly care, out of their own wounded healing experience, for their city to bring the Hope of Christ in a sustainable way.

Then September 11, 2001 arrived to broaden the vision God was trying to show me as a young child, about how pain and healing go hand in hand. The crisis, when embraced with the transforming power of Jesus Christ, helps people come together! When they are painfully forced, by circumstances, into caring for survivors of crisis the things that bound them to keep distance become irrelevant. Painful heart surgery is followed by heart transformation in the process of spiritual birth.

Embracing the pain, seeking heart transformation for any person, church, or city is hard. Yet, while as difficult as it may be, Biblical unity building with transformed hearts of "wounded healers" is the foundation for the Love of the Church to bring light and hope to a city.  Jesus was a "wounded healer", can we be anything less? 

I have learned four principles that are essential for any person, church or city to move forward in their own revival and in revealing Christ to others.

They parallel the journey of Nehemiah where he first brought the identifiable leaders together, assessed the damage of the broken walls, prepared for rebuilding and then began responding together to re-build. Network, Prepare and Respond are three essential steps which build up and allow the body of Christ to shine the light of Christ in any city. Is your city ready to shine the light of Jesus?

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