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.