Showing Our Scars: The Post I Never Dreamed I’d Be Writing

39 Comments

About this time last year, David and I sat in a nice restaurant and enjoyed one of our favorite traditions as we waited for our meals.  Typically when we celebrate our birthdays, we ask each other questions like, “What was your favorite part of last year?” and “What did you learn since your last birthday?”

I didn’t think twice when he asked me, “What are you most looking forward to about next year?”  Without hesitation I answered, “Having a baby”.  It felt surreal to say the words, especially since the journey to both of us being “ready” had its fair share of twists and turns.  As we sat in anticipation together on my twenty-sixth birthday, it never dawned on me that I’d be approaching twenty-seven without a baby in my arms.

Dr. Brené Brown made the astute observation that “scars are easier to talk about than they are to show.”  She added, “Rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing.”  On the rare occasion that an open wound is uncovered, it tends to be met with either tactless intrigue or unapologetic disgust.  We stare too long or we can’t look at all.  I’m usually in the second category.

Since the beginning of our struggle fifteen months ago, I’ve mostly kept my wounds covered.  I feared the stares, and I dreaded the turned heads.  I wanted to protect our privacy.  I didn’t want others to feel uncomfortable.  I was waiting for our story to have a happy ending before it was told.

My tune has changed in recent days, thanks in part to Dr. Brown’s insight.  Her writing brought to mind the apostle Paul’s well-known words: “[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Like Dr. Brown wrote, it’s not always easy to show our scars, much less our open wounds.  Sometimes, though, it’s worth giving others a glimpse of our brokenness “for the sake of Christ”.

A year and a half ago I read a tweet by Sara Hagerty, and at the time I didn’t imagine my experience would resemble hers in any fashion.  Although life has taken an unexpected turn, I haven’t forgotten what she wrote: “If knowing Him more intimately is my end goal, there’s not one single thing I will face today that can’t serve to draw me into this.”

Walking through what the doctors have labeled as “unexplained infertility” has allowed me to see God from a different angle and know Him more intimately as a result.  Some of you may be able to recount God’s faithfulness from a similar vantage point.  In fact, many have gazed at God from this perspective far longer than I have.  Others of you have watched God prove His faithfulness from a totally different set of circumstances.  Regardless of the specifics, every single situation we face is brimming with opportunity to know Him better.

When we open up about our lives and choose to show our scars – with wisdom and discernment, of course – we give others a snapshot of God’s character displayed in ways they may not have seen otherwise.  And in so doing, we extend an invitation for them to know Him more intimately too.

Five words are at the forefront of my mind as I share our story – for the sake of Christ.  Sure, we could wait around for the plot twist we hope is coming.  Yes, we could keep quiet until we have a clearer picture of God’s plans for our family.  But for the sake of Christ, we don’t want to wait anymore.  And whatever your tendency – whether you’re prone to gawk or turn away – rest assured I’m not looking to get something from you, but to give something to you.  I want to tell you what I’ve seen.

My circumstances have magnified God’s grace, goodness, loveliness, and sovereignty.  My heart has caught a glimpse of the occupied throne of heaven, and because the One who sits on it does all things well, I’ve experienced a peace of mind I didn’t know was possible.  Every morning has brought new mercies.  I’ve tasted the love that’s better than anything this world has to offer.  And the Word of God?  It’s more powerful and more life-giving than I thought it was.

Don’t let me fool you.  My view isn’t crystal clear.  It continues to be blurred by tears, clouded by questions, and limited this side of heaven.  But when I really look – even through the tears – this is what I see.  “My ears had heard of you,” wrote Job, “but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).

I don’t know what you’ve experienced in the past or what you face today, but I do know your Father never turns a blind eye – whether your scars have healed or your wounds are fresh.  “I will rejoice in your steadfast love,” David explained, “because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul” (Psalm 31:7).

We aren’t guaranteed the ability to reproduce or cancer-free lives or full bank accounts, but we can live with the assurance that He sees, He knows, and He truly does care (1 Peter 5:7).

And that, my friends, really is enough.

39 Comments on “Showing Our Scars: The Post I Never Dreamed I’d Be Writing”

  1. This is so moving Abbey. I really needed to see this today. Just today I shared an honest struggle and the Lord showed me that I need to extend grace even when others don’t or can’t understand. Even in the midst of not keeping quiet, there is still pain. Thanks for sharing and being so honest.

    1. It really is hard to be gracious when we’re hurting, but you’re right, it really is so important. Praying for your struggle right now.

  2. Beautifully written sweet Abbey. Thank you for sharing this, so many will benefit from your wise words. May God bless you and David with peace that passes all understanding… as well as joy.

  3. Abbey, I always look forward to your weekly blog. You are an excellent writer. Thank you for sharing and particularly this week’s topic.

  4. Abbey, the notes in my study Bible on II Corinthians say that our weaknesses are God’s powerful platform for the Gospel. It will be so in your life, too.

  5. I’m sorry to hear for you and David; I wish I could hug you and thank you for your honesty all at the same time!! Praying for you both, and praising God for your Christ like integrity!!

  6. Abbey, David and I struggled with infertility for several years. Several miscarriages, surgeries, and fertility treatments later, we now have our adopted girl, Abby, and two biological sons. We are in the process of adopting a 6 year old boy from China, too. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. My faith, trust, and love for Christ grew so much during those years as we saw His plan unfold for our family. God is faithful. Jeremiah 29:11 became my favorite verse that I would say over and over during my times of sadness. Praying for you. Thank you for writing these beautiful words.

    1. This is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve seen Facebook updates about your current adoption journey, and I’m thrilled for your family!

  7. I don’t believe my first comments came through so here goes again. Abbey, thank you for sharing this so I can pray specifically for you. I want you to know that I was thirty before I had Lydia. Then we lost a precious baby about a year later. It was another year before I got pregnant with Jessi whose middle name is aptly “Faith.” I am so sorry you are going through such a diffult time. God’s timing is not always what we would pick, but it is always because He loves us. I feel sure that He is and will continue to bless you in tremendous ways. Love to you. Kathi

    1. Thanks, Kathi. This has definitely opened my eyes to the similar struggles so many people have faced. I appreciate the encouragement and prayers.

  8. Thank you for sharing your struggles . I’m sure your account of what you and David are going through will help many couples facing similar obstacles . Please know that I will be praying for you both .

  9. Oh Abbey…I wish I could wrap my arms around you right now and pray that the strength of your heart would be grounded in His glory. I find it so breathtakingly beautiful that the “theme” of your wedding was “for the praise of His glory”…and so it has been and so it shall be. No matter what. And He will be with you always. I love you my friend and I am praying in very specific ways for you now.

    1. Thank you so much for praying and for the reminder of our wedding theme. Since day one we’ve prayed that our marriage would be “for the praise of His glory”, and that continues to be our desire. Love and miss you!

  10. Abbey,

    Being the first guy to comment on this, I will also say thank you for sharing your heart. It truly is through our vulnerabilities and weaknesses that God demonstrates His fullest glory. I’m glad that you’ve learned this in the midst of your pain. Emma and I are praying for you in the days ahead. I’m very thankful that Emma has a godly friend like you that understands grief, weakness, and God’s love through it all.

    1. Thanks so much for your prayers, Jason. I’m grateful for you and Emma and for what she has taught me about knowing God better in the midst of difficulties.

  11. Abbey, I read this with tears and thanked God for your transparency. I’m praying so hard for you and David right now. Your writing doesn’t just bring those feel good sensations, but deep conviction and reflection. I’m so thankful for the heart that you have for speaking truth and bringing praise and glory to God.

  12. Abbey,

    This is such a beautifully written and honest post. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of the journey you’re walking. My heart goes out to you and your husband. I admire your commitment to walk through life’s hard for the sake of Christ!

  13. Hi Abbey,
    Stumbled across your blog after a mutual friend of ours shared it on Facebook. I wanted to tell you I will be praying for you and David. It wasn’t that long ago that I had a similar conversation with my OB about how it would be difficult to conceive. We struggled with infertility in the beginning, but there’s hope! I look at my family now and I have three beautiful children here on earth and one in Heaven. With God anything is possible. If you ever want to talk, I’d love to hear your story. I’m only a few doors down at 211. Take care.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Laura. It’s encouraging to know we’re not alone in this. We appreciate the prayers so much, and it means a lot that others are willing to share their stories with us. I’d love to talk sometime, so I just may knock on your door one of these days.

  14. Dear Abbey,
    Thank you for opening your heart. I had no idea you were in pain. I will know how to pray for you and David. You are so quiet, I never know what to say except Good Morning on Sunday’s . I know, as. Minister, how difficult it is to let people “in”. Thank you for letting me “in” . God has a new season for you in this next year.
    Blessings and peace,
    Susan

  15. Abbey, I’ve known David’s family from when they lived overseas. My husband and I have walked a road similar to yours (I say similar because each couple’s journey is unique to them). Being 45 now, I look back and see a few things I might have done differently, but I know God has worked all things together for good. We have one precious lamb, a young lady we adopted at age 10 from foster care. She is now 17. You will find that sharing your heart openly tends to bring people with similar struggles out of the woodwork. 🙂 If you guys are ever down to visit David’s parents and you or you and David would like to have coffee, I / we would be happy to share about our journey so that you can benefit from what we have learned. God is good all the time and as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, He comforts us in our troubles or afflictions so that we can also comfort others. I am on Carin’s list of FB friends or you can email me. God bless and keep you!

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Jan. You’re right – I had no idea how many people currently have or once had similar struggles until we decided to share our story. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world and for sharing some words of encouragement. We were just in Orlando for Thanksgiving, but next time we’re down there we’d love to get together.

  16. Sounds great. 🙂 Or we could email. I just know sometimes these things are more easily discussed face to face. We’ll see what God puts together.

  17. Pingback: If Not for the Lord | Abbey Le Roy

  18. I love Brene Brown and Sara Hagerty! Your bravery with this post is outstanding Abbey! You are such a treasure to our community.

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