J. Marshall Jenkins

Author, Therapist, Spiritual Director

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J. Marshall Jenkins, Ph.D.

Are you a wounded healer?

The answer does not depend on the severity of your suffering. Your wounds need only help you sense a common plight with others.

Wounded healers encourage faith on unmapped highways, hope amid loss and decline, and love despite conflict and isolation. Some serve in formal roles as clergy or helping professionals. Most simply care for friends, family, customers, co-workers, and strangers.

My calling as a wounded healer plays out in my work as a psychotherapist and spiritual director, but also in family, church, and community relationships.

Henri Nouwen addressed his classic book, The Wounded Healer, to “the minister,” and he used the term in its broadest sense. Whenever your faith prompts acts of kindness – as it inevitably will — you are a minister.

Even if you go about your ministry quietly and inconspicuously, you are a leader. You need only reach out in small ways to overcome alienation and cultivate shalom – the peace that goes beyond absence of conflict to presence of wholeness, connection, and justice.

Nouwen wrote,

The minister is called to recognize the sufferings of his time in his own heart and make that recognition the starting point of his service…. His service will not be recognized as authentic unless it comes from a heart wounded by the suffering about which he speaks. Thus nothing can be written about ministry without a deeper understanding of the ways in which the minister can make his own wounds available as a source of healing.[1]

In my Wounded Healer’s Blog, I offer brief meditations in which I “make [my] own wounds available as a source of healing.” The meditations emerge from an inner voice of love from within and beyond me. I hope they will address yours too with validation and encouragement.

Nouwen fans may already recognize the influence of another book: The Inner Voice of Love: a Journey through Anguish to Freedom. After a heartbreaking loss, Nouwen suffered an emotional crisis. As he received care from others, he journaled brief pastoral notes to himself. He did not intend to publish them, but close friends persuaded him to do so.

During a long season of emotional darkness and pain, I found The Inner Voice of Love powerful medicine. Even in this happier time, writing pastoral notes to myself in the Wounded Healer’s Blog helps me practice self-compassion and draw on inner resources as Nouwen’s writing did for him. I offer them with the prayer that they will help you in a similar way.

Please check out my recent posts. I publish them on Wednesday mornings, technology permitting. Comment when you resonate, need clarification, or wish to add your wisdom. If you find the posts helpful companions in your life as a wounded healer, please subscribe to my blog.

As an added benefit to subscribing, you will receive a free electronic copy of the introduction and study guide for my last book, Blessed at the Broken Places: Reclaiming Faith & Purpose with the Beatitudes (Skylight Paths, 2016). That book validates the faith of people in emotional pain through study of the Beatitudes and engagement in spiritual practices.

My Beatitudes Blog posts from July 2014 through March 2017 offer afterthoughts from writing that book, and I invite you to explore those posts through the Archives on the right side of this page. I may revert back to Beatitudes Blog posts as occasions call for it, but I will generally stick with the Wounded Healer’s Blog format discussed above.

Visit the About Me page for more information about my background and mission as a writer, along with links to the most popular Beatitudes Blog posts. To learn more about my ministries of psychotherapy and spiritual direction, visit the Counseling Services page. Visit the Speaking Events page for what I have to offer groups you lead, and, of course, do not hesitate to Contact Me.

I offer the Wounded Healers Blog and the rest of the website with a prayer that God will bless you through it. You certainly bless me by visiting.

 

[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer. (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1972), xvi.

 

Unless indicated otherwise, all scripture quotations on this web site are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.