Skin – Guest Post

Skin.  It protects our muscles and sinews, our veins and our arteries. Skin keeps out infections and protects us.  It holds in moisture and yet releases impurities. It even helps regulate our temperature.  It covers over all the sections of our body and helps hold in what we need to survive.  Yet, when someone is called thick skinned we know it has nothing to do with the centimeters of their dermis and everything to do with the condition of their heart.  Children are born and created to be thin skinned, open to awe and wonder, easily broken in spirit, blindly trusting and ready to conquer their world.  We start so real and raw and beautifully in tune with the melodies that God is playing for us.

As my hand slides into my baby girl’s silken curls and cups the back of her head, I am moved beyond words.  What a gift, what an amazing gift to hold her, to smell her fragrance, to comfort her.  When she stirs and her lip starts to quiver all I have to do is stroke her cheek and she melts back into sleep.  A baby’s skin is so soft and so smooth.  It has not had to build up any protection; it has not had to fight against wind, dirt, sun and other kinds of abuse.  It is not like when we grow up, is it?  The potential layers of hurt, bitterness, disappointment, emptiness, unachieved dreams that thicken our skin, so thick we hardly let anyone through.  We are not where we were created to be; in some diluted and watered down, blood spattered version of what we try to make heaven.

I remember at age 11, when I told myself I did not have to let anything get to me and I did not care anymore because no one could hurt me. Feeling numb or very distant seemed to be the only option. That is when I remember beginning to delude myself that to survive and be strong and to be in control, I had to let life roll off and not enter in.  My layers wrapped me in a blanket of comfort for many years and it was not until my children were born that I began to feel those layers gradually falling away.  God is leading my awareness that the way I was living – full of fear, anxiety and sadness hidden by a thick layer of protection – was not his purpose for me or my children.

As a parent my journey has been to constantly fight against all the layers I accumulated as an adult and peel them back to find where I have disappeared to and return to who I was created to be.  It is only by embracing the joy, the love, the sorrow and the pain and feeling it, truly feeling it, that I can move forward and find peace and healing.  Over and over again I must reconnect with God and ask for his help because I cannot do what he has intended for me with scars all over my life. I have found that if I don’t do this, I cannot connect  to my children and my husband in a true and authentic way. I don’t have it all figured out but I know my children see God and see love when my heart is open and pulsing.  I was right, as a child, that it is good to be strong but I misunderstood that strength does not come from me, it comes from God.  I also did not understand that we are stronger when we go through our lives living each moment and experiencing it no matter what occurs, than hiding from it because it may hurt less.  May each of us hear God as he whispers to us to let him peel off the layers and uncover our pounding, yearning hearts.

– Renee

Renee Patzer an R.N. writes from Spokane WA where she spends her days raising her three energetic little girls.  Reading, writing, vintage painting, and traveling anywhere with her husband are her much needed pastimes.

photo credit: Ivan Makarov via photopin cc

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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

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  1. Denise
    6 years ago

    Beautifully done, Renee. And the truth is, being ‘thick skinned’doesn’t really hurt any less, it just hurts differently…


  2. Linda
    6 years ago

    Wow! I felt those thoughts straight through to my bruised, battle-scarred heart. Thank you, Renee, for helping me to feel this morning.


    • Richie
      6 years ago

      Thanks Linda, Renee did a great job of touching something many of us feel but rarely talk about.


  3. Sharon Fergeson
    6 years ago

    Renee—-beautiful!


  4. Donna Watts
    6 years ago

    Renee, I know that you have been a blessing in many lives. I thank God that he helped you “unpeel”. God bless.


  5. Bonnie
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the reminder, Renee! Beautifully written.