One misstep. One dog. One leg. Several stiches. Two scars. Scars which are still visible thirteen years later. My nineteen-year-old self had no way of knowing those scars wouldn’t be the only ones I would acquire in South Africa. No way of knowing that those wounds would heal far faster than the deep, emotional wounds I would obtain seven years later.
When my emotional wounds, the ones resulting from a home invasion, during which I was raped and kidnapped, were only beginning to heal, I felt as though they were as visible as the scars on my leg. As though everyone who looked at me could see the hurt and the pain and the suffering.
Perhaps some did, especially those who knew me well. But the strangers at the mall, they only saw someone who looked tired and sad. However, God sees each of my wounds; He watched them form during that dark night. And I find comfort in the fact God, a good God, saw each of those terrifying seconds. I find comfort in the fact God, a loving God, knows how deep my emotional wounds are. I find hope in the fact God, a faithful God, heals my wounds and lightens my scars.
In Genesis 16, Hagar is running away. She has been living in a foreign land as a servant and has been mistreated, and as she flees, the angel of the Lord finds her and speaks to her. In verse thirteen she says, “You are the God who sees me.” Just as the Lord saw Hagar and knew her wounds, her hurt. He sees mine as well.
He knows which words and actions caused them to form, which misunderstandings deepened them. He even sees the scars I no longer notice, the ones which have become such an integral part of who I am that I have forgotten about them. He is the God who sees me. All of me.
Not only does God see my wounds and the scars they have formed, but He is also the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). He doesn’t see my scars and ignore them. He sees them and has compassion on me. When the careless word threatens to break open the scar, He shows compassion. He brings others into my life to speak truth to me, to remind me of how He has healed.
As my wounds heal and my scars fade, God provides comfort. The healing process isn’t straightforward or short, yet God gives comfort when the days are long and the emotions are intense. His Word comforts me when it feels as though no one around me understands my thoughts, my feelings, my struggles.
But His comfort isn’t simply for me to absorb myself. Instead, God’s comfort is given to me so that I can then comfort others. My scars aren’t meant to be hidden. No, they are meant to be shared.
As I have bravely shared my scars, I have found the beauty in them. Because my scars which have formed over deep emotional wounds are a beautiful gift. A gift which has taught me to listen and care for others. To empathize and relate to others in a way I never imagined. A gift which has shown me the deep joy that is found in the midst suffering. A gift which has strengthened me, changed me.
Unfortunately there is no expensive lotion that will make my emotional scars fade, and while there has been tremendous healing, the scars will not fade completely until I am in heaven. But when I look at my life and see what God has done, I am in awe of a God who makes the ugliest of scars beautiful.
How have you seen God take your deep, emotional scars and turn them into beautiful scars which point to Him?
Laura has written a stunning series on healing and how to deal with tragedy on the field. The plan is for it to become a book (eventually) and resource for churches, organizations, and individuals.