WARNING: This post contains graphic content… If you struggle with cutting, or are sensitive to the graphic description of cutting, do not read this post. The intent is to create awareness in the body of Christ, of a struggle that is relatively common, and tragically hidden, because of fear of judgement. Healing comes when silence is broken.
The day Abigail gave me her blades, she gave me something else. Her trust. And the trust went much deeper than handing me the blades. There was trust in that, without a doubt, but she gave me an even more personal trust.
“Abigail, has anyone ever seen your cuts, your scars?” I asked.
“No,” she said.
“Where are they?” I asked.
Abigail pointed out several areas on her legs and body, where she had cut. “One word will always be there. The scar is bad. It will never go away,” she told me.
“What’s the word?” I asked.
“Die,” Abigail said.
“It expresses what you felt at that moment, doesn’t it?” I asked the obvious question. I paused a moment, then continued, “Would you let me see your scars?”
Knowing where the scars were located, I knew I could ask without feeling inappropriate. I handed her a blanket, and told her it was to cover up the rest of her legs, if she decided it would be okay for me to see her scars. She hesitated.
“What are you most afraid of?” I asked. “Are you afraid that if I see your scars–if anyone sees your scars–that I won’t love you any more, that I won’t see you the same way again? Are you afraid of rejection… of being judged?”
Abigail nodded. Fear. Pain. Angst. Shame. Impending judgement. So many things you feel when you contemplate revealing the inner, hidden parts of your heart.
“Abigail, I promise you that I will see you no differently.The only advantage to letting someone see your scars, is so they no longer have the same power over you,” I explained.
Anything we carry alone, as our little secret, has power over us. When we let someone who cares into that secret, the power is broken.
Abigail spread the blanket over her legs, then raised her skirt just above her knees, revealing a patch of skin with letters boldly carved into into her body, three inches tall. DIE it read, just as she said.
I had never seen with my eyes before, words boldly scarred into flesh, that way, and my heart felt sad for Abigail. Not because of the scars, really. But the pain those scars bore testament to. It’s okay to grieve the sorrow and trauma of another, and in that moment my heart felt her pain. But more powerful than her pain, I felt the deep conviction that Jesus is more. He is more in every way, and more than enough for her pain.
Our eyes met. “I don’t see you any differently, Abigail,” I said. I reminded her that Jesus died for her scars. That her scars, rather than reminding her, and the world, of her pain, have the potential to be a testimony to the grace and goodness of God through Jesus, if she will continue to give it all to Him, and let Him redeem those scars.
Her scars, I told her, have the potential to inspire praise. If she looks at them and remembers what God has done for her, and redeemed her from…
We think of wounds as unsightly, and scars as a reminder of darkness, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When I stand in front of Jesus, one day, I hope I will have a moment alone with Him to kneel down in front of Him, to hold His hands, and kiss the scars the paid the price for my freedom. I want to touch His pierced side and see the wounds that gave me life, and healed my bleeding heart.
And because of those beautiful wounds, and redeeming scars, I can look at the words carved on Abigail’s leg, and see beauty, hope and grace, because God will use her life–and, in fact, is using her life already–to reach others. Hundreds of people are reading her story, here, and are touched. Your messages tell me that her pain has purpose…
Purpose that is being realized in your hearts, as you find permission to open up your own pain to Jesus, so that He can take your wounds and scars, and make them beautiful, and bring redemption. Purpose in the ways her story is preparing you for that young man, or young woman, whom you will meet soon, who struggles with feeling worthless, and maybe even cuts, like Abigail.
And as we stand in the gap for others, and bring Jesus to them, we experience church–the Body of the Christ–as it is supposed to be. A place where wounds and scars are exposed, and the love of Jesus transforms them into life-giving testimonies. And we extend grace for the rise and fall of that battle, so that we don’t destroy or shut down hearts in that battle.
Abigail’s battle is far from over, Any expectation of perfection, any expectation that her psychological scars, and the spiritual battle, would miraculously end, would have served only to push her into hopelessness. But in turning her heart gently toward Jesus, she found the courage to take one step into freedom….
And then another…
But with the steps into freedom came vicious attacks from the enemy, and a divine visitation from God, through Jesus, in a dream.
To Be Continued…
© Trudy Metzger
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