If you’ve followed my site for a while, you know September 25th holds a special place in my heart. It’s the day I reached rock bottom in my life and decided to make changes necessary to move forward. After dealing with months of perpetual loss, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried out to God that day and said, “I quit!” I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I couldn’t live with the disappointment either. I was embarrassed at what had happened to me and I lacked the strength to fight anymore.
After deciding I would no longer accept moving backwards, I chose to forget that part of my life ever existed. I thought if I changed jobs, changed friends, and never spoke of it again, I could convince myself it was just a dream. A really bad dream. So I spent years never speaking of it and letting people know it was off limits. I became defensive when anyone asked about it. Instead of dealing with the pain, I covered it up.
Around ten years later, Dave Roever spoke at our church. In Vietnam, he survived a phosphorous grenade blowing up by his head. He told the story of how he was in the hospital waiting for his wife to arrive. He was afraid she would leave him because of how bad he looked. He shared the struggles he has had with the way people look at him now. When God called him to preach, he argued that no one would listen to someone who looked like him. He thought of covering up the scars, but God said, “Don’t hide your scars, for in them, others will find their healing.”
When he said those words, it was as if God was speaking directly to me. I had spent a decade hiding my scars, pretending that they weren’t there. My emotional inside looked like his physical outside. I was riddled with the scars of a divorce, a failed business, a life running from God, and sins too many to count. I knew that day that I had to pull back the layers I had placed on top of my scars so that I could find healing myself. I had to expose them to God and to others and allow them to scab over and eventually heal, leaving the scars.
The things I most wanted hidden in my life are now what God uses to speak to others. If He did that in my life, He wants to do it in yours. Your failures and pain have not disqualified you from being used by God. He can use your scars to bring healing to others, but you’re going to have to find healing for yourself first. I found mine by opening up about them and talking with others. I wrote out everything I went through so that it could be exposed. Once it was out in the open, God brought healing.
God wants to heal your emotional scars too. He wants to forgive your failures and shortcomings. He wants to put the pieces of your broken life back together. It won’t look like it did before. It will be a beautiful mosaic that points to the only Artist who can make beauty from ashes. Isaiah 61:3 best sums up what God wants to do for you. He wants “To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (AMP).
If you would like to read more of my story, I recommend reading these posts: