After ten years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, I have many seen and unseen scars. These scars have brought me much pain but, believe it or not, they have also brought me a sense of reassurance and purpose. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
Two of my most prominent physical scars are my deformed ears. I had very normal ears until about the age of 14. Due to constantly being punched in the head and having my ears pulled by my step-father, they became grossly deformed.
One of them was so badly deformed that several years after leaving home, my insurance company agreed to pay for reconstructive surgery. I was so excited! Finally I would have normal looking ears! Unfortunately, those series of surgeries were unsuccessful. I was left with a tiny ear lobe and continued insecurity about how I looked.
I was angry at God once again. Why would He allow the door to be opened for insurance to pay for surgery and then allow me to be left with no ear? I still had the physical deformity, the emotional pain, and now the pain and frustration of a failed surgery.
A couple of years after my failed surgery, I attended a Michael Card concert. He performed his song entitled, Known by the Scars. He shared the story of Jesus and his resurrection. Thomas did not know who Jesus was until He revealed the scars on His hands and the scar on His side. (John 20: 25-29) Jesus' scars had a purpose. There was no denying who He was and what He endured. Michael Card's words caused me to ask myself a question. “What could possibly be the purpose of my scars?” I believe God showed me that night that He had a purpose for my scars.
My scars are a testimony of the healing that God has done in my life emotionally and spiritually. I have learned so much about God's love and how much He cares for me as His own. I have learned that nothing happens by accident and that He allows all things to work for His greater purpose. He is using my past to help others who have also been abused. To me that is a treasure.
My scars have been helpful during the times I doubted my abuse. I have asked myself the questions, “Did this really happen? How could someone who was supposed to nurture you growing up be so cruel? Maybe it was all a dream.” I have had people who knew my mother and step-father say to me, “Oh, your step-father was a nice man, he would never do that.” I was thankful that I was able to touch the side of my head, feel the scars and be reassured that I was not going crazy. Scars remind us where we have been. They do not have to dictate where we are going.
"I never thought physical pain and scars could be gifts to me in my healing." Do I still struggle with emotional pain? Yes, of course, and I probably will until I go to my heavenly home. I am now beginning to re-experience physical pain where some of my other serious injuries had taken place in the past. It is not easy to deal with. One thing I try to remember is this:
When we know God is in our suffering, our wounds and scars become holy. His presence in all the various parts of my life is my treasure.