The surgeries started in her early 20s, and for the next 10 years, 12 would follow. The scars on her abdomen ran from a few inches above her belly button to pelvic bone and from hip to hip. She often joked that it looked like a ship’s anchor.
The surgeries had taken away her most precious dream, having a baby, and it left her confused about her future and purpose.
Some 20 years later, another surgery. This time leaving scars that traced the outline of her breastbone and two, one that resembled a cross and the other appeared as a lopsided “X” just below her left rib cage.
The scars from her past and these new additions were separated by a three-inch gap. A gap that represented a break in the pain, disappointment, and fear that occupied her life.
Her scars reflected the war that had waged between her and God.
First assault, would she trust Him in the midst of infertility and a failed adoption?
Next bomb to drop, would she trust God when health failed, careers changed, and dreams burst?
Final blow, would she trust Him completely, surrender, and let go?
God doesn’t reside only in our gaps. Those in-between places where we can catch our breath and experience a brief reprieve before the next illness, the next loss, the next…
God lives in the hard and holy places that come with being human.
He uses our broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken spirits to grow us, mature us, transform us, and then He releases us to a world filled with other broken people who need the hope we can bring.
Have you faced the death of a loved one, divorce, or betrayal and come through the pain? Share your experience with those working through the same.
The hard and holy is not just for our growth, but it is for God’s glory. We are visible witnesses to: His grace, His love, and His mercy.
In 1 Peter 1:6-9 we read:
(6) So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here. (7) These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return. (8) You love him even though you have never seen him; though not seeing him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself. (9) And your further reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
The gap, that place of reprieve, that time we breathe deeply and know there is hope, is always wedged between the challenges created by the scars of a broken and fallen world. We will not escape the hard and should not waste too much time in the gap.
Annie Downs in her book Remember God shares, “The journey of life is not a matter of finding our way out of the wilderness, out of the hard and holy, but finding the manna inside the wilderness.”
God has a plan; He has a purpose for each life.
There are no accidents, no surprises; there are no mistakes with God. There are just opportunities to be courageous and trust that He loves us more than we can comprehend, more than we will ever deserve, and more than we can ever reciprocate.
Please don’t become stuck in the gaps in your life. You can linger, we all need a break, but don’t cling to the in-between.
And, please don’t become bitter because of your scars.
Cling to God instead and face the hard and holy moments. Embrace those times because they are what will move you closer to alignment with God’s purpose for you. His good and perfect will.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
For more articles on being a woman with strong faith, start here:
Words of Encouragement From a Cancer Survivor
Why I Share My Story of Healing After Domestic Abuse
What Happens When You Welcome God Into Your Recovery
Battered Faith: Holding on to Hope Even When You Struggle
Bible Verses From the Grit and Grace Team on Peace
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