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Love is a cure for skinned knees—and skinned spirits

The weather can be quite confusing these days. One day it is cold and two days later the temperature is in the 80s. One day the children on our campus are wearing coats and jackets and the next day they are begging their cottage parents to wear shorts and go barefooted. It’s tempting to believe that summer is here, only to wake up the next morning to frost. I recently spoke at Community Center Baptist Church in Halifax. They were all talking about the possibility they had planted too soon and were having to cover their tomatoes and other plants with jars to protect them from frost. It had been a long time since I had heard people talk about covering their plants with jars. It reminded me of my childhood. The memory of the coolness of spring giving way to summer flooded my mind and took me back to those earlier days.

Summer was a time filled with lots of fun activities. Flying kites, fishing, swimming, playing in a strategically placed sprinkler, riding bicycles, playing baseball, eating homemade ice cream, attending family reunions and summer camp, taking trips to the beach and to the mountains, and, of course, enjoying Vacation Bible School (sometimes more than one VBS) were all among my favorite things. Do you remember these wonderful activities enjoyed as a child? To this day homemade ice cream remains at the top of my list!

There is another thing that goes along with these activities. You might not think of it at first, but when I remind you, you will have an immediate recollection— skinned knees and elbows.

During summers, I often visited my cousins who lived in Galatia near Seaboard. My Uncle Leroy was a farmer. There was always work to be done, lots of good food prepared by Aunt Eloise, and fun to be had.

One visit, my cousins decided to teach me how to ride a bicycle. I eagerly climbed on the bike. With one cousin on each side guiding me, we took off. After running with me a short distance, they let go. I quickly realized they forgot one important lesson—they did not teach me how to stop. But too late, I rode the bike into the farm truck resulting in a nasty cut on the chin which required a number of stitches. I still have the scar to prove it. I’m sure you have a similar story. If you were a young child, you ran to your mom or dad for a hug, a band-aid, and tender assurance. Then returning to whatever you were doing, you hardly gave it another thought. A mother’s or father’s hug and a band-aid works wonders.

The visible cuts and scrapes of childhood are easy to see and respond to with a little TLC. However, emotional “scrapes” are harder to see. While the summer may be the season of physical scrapes and bruises, emotional hurts occur year round—day and night. Emotional wounds are often unnoticed or even ignored. While physical wounds may come from riding bicycles or playing baseball, emotional wounds are inflicted by those often entrusted to provide loving care. One of the most common, most hurtful, and the easiest to prevent, are wounds caused by words. Mean words belittle, discount, and leave deep wounds that remain for years. When children are shamed, their spirits are wounded—although no one around may notice. Emotional wounds hurt, but the good news is that they can also heal.

Children are emotionally wounded and “skinned up” by events that they do not control or understand. It is not unusual for children to blame themselves for bad things that happen.

Children can be wounded by neglect. Parents who are depressed, addicted to destructive substances, or lost in selfish habits have little to give in the way of tenderness, reassurance, and support. Neglect wounds just as deeply as physical abuse. It creates feelings of worthlessness and helplessness that follows a child for years.

I wish healing could be instantaneous. I wish a band-aid could heal all wounds. However, like my chin after my run in with the farm truck, it can often take more than stitches and a few weeks to heal. The strong “love” stitches at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) come in the form of wonderful cottage parents, foster parents, case managers, and many other Christian staff that are there each day when the unseen scrapes and bruises from the past become too much to bear.

It is amazing what this love can do. Never underestimate the power of love to heal emotional wounds. Maybe it is a mothers’ touch, a cottage parent’s patience, a foster parent’s kind words. It could be a neighbor, a Sunday School teacher, an aunt, or “you” who recognizes an emotional hurt and remember your own experience of being loved into wellness and healing.

Have a great summer and watch out for those opportunities to help out with “skinned knees” and “skinned spirits.” Remember our children are counting on you to be there to pick them up when they fall down, both physically and spiritually. Thank you for the difference you make!

Summer can be a time when our donations go down and our expenses go up. Your help is critical at this time. With VBS just around the corner, it is a great time to teach your children the importance of helping other children. We would love to send a mission speaker to share our story with the children attending your VBS. Call now to schedule your BCH mission speaker and learn how the children in your church can be a part of changing the lives of other children whose lives have been so impacted by “skinned knees” and “skinned spirits.”

Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you soon! You can email me at or call me on my cell at 336-689-4442.

Written by Brenda B. Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications

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