When I first heard the song “Scars,” I was absolutely blown away! Could there be a more accurate theme song to represent my life?! I may have cried a bit when I first heard it, but I still had a huge smile on my face as I let the words sink in! These lyrics hold a ridiculous amount of weight and meaning in my life! Here are some of the lyrics in case you haven’t heard this song:
“Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
‘Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use
So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars
I can see, I can see
How you delivered me
In Your hands, in Your feet
I found my victory
I can see, I can see
How You delivered me
In Your hands, in Your feet
I found my victory
I’m thankful for Your scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful
I’m thankful for the scars”
Scars – I Am They
When I raise my hands to tell Jesus that I’m thankful for the scars, there are so many meanings behind those words! I have literal scars represented, and some emotional scars as well… These scars will always serve as a reminder of the love and power of Christ! But the most wonderful of all are HIS life-giving, chain-breaking, death-defeating scars!!! 🙌🙌🙌
I don’t tell my story very often, and it is 100% due to fear and pride. I don’t want people to see the messy side of my life. I just want them to see the “put-together” parts of me. But what kind of reality is that to live in? Especially when I (quite literally) wear the scars of my past on my sleeve? And how does staying silent about what Jesus did for me, bring God the glory He deserves? So here’s to the messy broken side of life that Jesus came to make beautiful!
All right y’all, hold on ’cause it’s about to be a loooong ride! 😂 But, since we’re talking about scars here, it’s time I shared my story.
I grew up in a Christian home, and was raised in a Baptist church in Orlando, Florida. I still remember praying when I was 9 years old to accept Jesus into my heart, but I think for me it was just “the thing to do,” and not so much an understanding of my brokenness and need for a Savior. I had lived in the same house, and went to the same church from the time I was born. I even went to a Christian school where that church and the school buildings were literally all connected. All I knew was my small little bubble of family and friends (can you say comfortable?)
When I was fifteen, my parents told me that we were moving to Greenville, SC, and I was absolutely devastated! I didn’t understand how God could possibly have a plan that would mean my family leaving everyone and everything that we knew and loved! After the initial shock and sadness wore off, I was really angry… Angry with my parents for making the decision to move us, but mostly I was angry with God. After we moved here, I attended Hampton Park Christian School for my Junior year of high school, and I made some really good friends. I got involved in my youth group at church, and I was doing a Bible study with some classmates. The anger of being uprooted soon dissipated, but I still felt pretty down all the time. I knew that my relationship with God was seriously lacking. I was trying to force something to be there, that just wasn’t there. My heart wasn’t in it…
A month into my Senior year at Hampton Park, my brother-in-law was killed in a motorcycle accident. This event in my life was a drastic turning point. I had a choice. I could choose to believe that God was good and in control, and that He had a plan through all of it, or I could choose not to believe Him, and to go my own way… I didn’t make the right choice. I turned away from God and ran. I ran full speed in the opposite direction. I just couldn’t understand how a good God could allow something like that to happen.
I was sick of being unhappy and feeling like God wasn’t listening… or there.. or even real. I had never experienced a death of someone close to me. I was terrified, and not at all sure of eternity! Was Heaven real? Was Hell real? Was there anything after this life? If there was, then what did it hold for me?? In the next couple of months after his death, the depression that overwhelmed me became unbearable. Before I knew it, I had turned to some seriously dangerous methods of “coping.” I was struggling with an eating disorder, I started cutting myself, and I was on the verge of suicide. I just wanted to be in control of one area of my life! But I was spiraling, and soon those things that I had grasped on to for control, had completely taken over control of me instead.
So this is where some of the literal scars come into play. I don’t talk about these scars very often, because first of all, how do you approach the beginning of that conversation? “Hey, have you ever wondered about these scars that cover my arm? Want to hear about them??” Okay I’m being a bit facetious… I could find a much more tactful approach. But secondly, and honestly the real reason, is once again that my heart is sinful, and I really have allowed my fear and pride to get in the way. I’m ashamed to say this has kept me from sharing the proof that when I try to do my own thing apart from God, it doesn’t turn out so well…
Less than a year after Troy’s accident, I started to drink. Just a little with my friends here and there, but again that just wasn’t enough to satisfy the gaping hole in my chest. I thought maybe if I fell in love, or at least found someone to love me and who would understand what I was feeling, surely that would make me happy! (FYI, it didn’t. It doesn’t. It won’t.) I started dating a guy that my friends introduced me to at a party. We dated for a little while, and even though practically every area of my life was inundated with sin, I wouldn’t sleep with him. I told my boyfriend that I wanted to save myself for marriage, but if I’m being honest, I think it was just another area where I craved being in control.
Before I knew it, I was partying and drinking a lot… Like all the time. If I wasn’t drunk, I wanted to be. Anything to not have to face reality… I was putting myself in unwise and sometimes even dangerous situations. In one of those situations, I ended up being raped by someone who took avatantage of how much I had been drinking. Well that made the depression about a billion times worse. The cutting got out of control, and at that point I really had no desire to live, so I was being even more careless and reckless than before.
I just wanted to feel something besides the overwhelming pain and depression that was constantly weighing on me, so I started sleeping around. I was convinced that since saving myself wasn’t an option any more, it really didn’t matter. (That was a lie by the way…) I just so desperately wanted to be happy, or at the very least, to find something that would numb the pain. New scars were added right on top of the other scars…
I was still in church, and I was attending Bob Jones University, so I was being bombarded with God’s word constantly, but honestly I think that slowly made it easier to listen to preaching without feeling any guilt at all. I wrote two poems during this time, and they both show how I was hearing everything God was saying to me, but I wasn’t actually listening… I wrote the first one while sitting in Bob Jones chapel, fighting with The Holy Spirit, so that I could hold on to the things that I was absolutely sure would make me happy. And the second one literally shows that I knew the answer to my problems, but that I was just too stubborn to simply let go.
Created From the Dust
I look myself in the mirror
And feel nothing but disgust
I see every flaw and failure
And feel as worthless as the dust
I guess it’s true that God used dust
To create a perfect man
So if He could create Adam
Well then I guess He can
Recreate this fallen dirt bag
Into something beautiful
But first I’d have to give Him
What’s sad is that I can’t seem
To choose His loving care
Instead I am content with
The slime that’s standing there
Staring intently at me
Saying, “You will never change!
You’ll look like dirt forever,
But at least you’ll have your way…”
And the smile in the mirror
Is twisted, sick, and vile
My throat constricts as I’m trying
To swallow back the bile
My flesh hold me in bondage
And I believe her captivating lie
That my sin will make me happy
Until the day I die
But there’s still that lingering desire
To finally be set free
And have a newfound beauty
From the Savior cleansing me…
**Praise God that now I can say I HAVE been set free!**
Is There No Escape?
Is there no escape
A shelter from the pain
Where my memory’s been erased
And I can start with a blank slate
I want to run ahead full speed
Forget my pain, my wants, my needs
On my knees I beg and plead
‘Cause I can’t face my wretched deeds
Like a child in a corner I cower
As my anguished cries grow louder
I’m a dead and wilted flower
In dire need of heaven’s showers
To wash away my filthy stains
And take away my shame, my pain
I know I failed… I take the blame
All I need is Your cleansing rain
Only You can turn my life around
Pick me up off this muddy ground
Break the chains in which I’m bound
If I would run to You, where hope is found
I mean I literally preached myself a little sermon, but I just wasn’t at a place where I was ready to let go and fully surrender.
Because I was being selfish and living my life for me, and because I wanted nothing to do with God, I begged my parents to let me leave Bob Jones to go somewhere else. When we found Anderson University, I was so excited! It was a Christian university, so my parents were satisfied, but the rules were so much more lenient, so of course I was happy too. (Little did I know that God was going to use my new location and my newfound freedom to bring me to Himself.) Hang on y’all, because the best part is coming!!!
Soon I had met a new group of friends that were EXACTLY like me. They had all grown up in Christian homes, and they were all living their lives just like I was. Some of them had been through similar traumas, so we all connected right away. We were being completely irresponsible and crazy! Drinking all the time and experimenting with all kinds of dangerous drugs. (Again, it’s an unbelievable testament to God’s grace that I’m still here, because I almost overdosed on more than one occasion….) I just wanted to feel something… Anything! And sure, it was fun… For a time. But I would have my super high “ups,” and then come crashing down to the lowest of “lows” with that overwhelming feeling of depression and hopelessness. More scars on top of barely healing scar tissue…
I became really close with one of the guys in the group. We were best friends and practically inseparable, and I ended up falling for him. One day, kind of out of nowhere, he told me that he could see himself marrying me. I had never been able to picture the guy who would be standing at the altar waiting for me, but for the first time, I could totally see it! We started dating shortly after that conversation, but the relationship honestly didn’t last very long. I came home one day, and all of his stuff was gone. I totally lost it. I was so sure that he was my last shot at happiness. That was it, that was my future, and it was gone! That was probably the closest I had ever come to committing suicide. I had the pills poured out into one hand, and a glass of water in the other. I was ready… Once again, it was only by the grace of God, that the same friend came back home to talk with me, and he caught me in the middle of popping that handful of pills. He was absolutely livid with me, (and rightly so) but at one point in the midst of the scolding he just said, “That’s it, I’m taking you to church.” 🤷♀️
So, he did… He took me to church! 😂 That night we went to church at the Anderson campus of Newspring, and only God could have planned out the way it all transpired!!! Pastor Perry’s sermon was about his story of his battle with depression! One thing he said he finally realized that made all the difference in the world for him, was that he realized it was okay, to not be okay, but it wasn’t okay to stay that way. He said that you could come to Jesus as you are, in your brokenness, and He would accept you, but he wouldn’t let you stay the way you came. That totally shocked me. Wasn’t I too far gone? Wasn’t I too “not okay?” I still had the mindset that I had to clean myself up completely, before I could ever come to Jesus. And I knew that I could never do that on my own… I also thought as a Christian, it was never okay, to not be okay!
At the end of his sermon, in the middle of the invitation as people were responding, he said, “You may be here and you’re overwhelmed. You may have considered taking your own life. Listen, you don’t have to do that.”
Ummm, hello! 👋👋👋 He’s talking to you Kaytie… My friend was nudging me at this point, trying to get me to go talk to someone. I foolishly and stubbornly crossed my arms tighter across my chest, and slid further down in my seat. The pastor continued inviting, and I continued attempting to ignore… Then he said it… He called me out without even knowing it. Pastor Perry said, “I just really feel impressed to say this. I have not said this all day. But right now, there is a young lady either here or at the Columbia campus. You’re dealing with a sexual abuse issue in your life. You’ve never told anyone. You feel dirty. You feel ashamed. You feel used. And I really feel with all my heart, that God wants you to know that He loves you. And you don’t have to live with that guilt anymore.”
**Cue wide eyes and literal jaw drop.**
SAY WHAT?!? I just sat there absolutely and utterly dumbfounded!!! My stone cold facade faltered a bit, and a few tears even escaped. Did God really speak that clearly??? (He does 😉) And could He possibly… really… truly… love ME?? (HE DOES!!!)
Now I wish I could say that I got up right that second, and booked it to the back door to talk with someone, but boy, was I fighting it… I went home and talked with my brother later that night. We talked for hours about God and the Bible, and for the first time in my life, it all made sense. God was real, Jesus was real, my sin was real, all of this was REAL! The Holy Spirit wasn’t letting me go that night! And on February 19, 2012, I prayed and asked God to forgive me for running, and for trying to find happiness apart from Him. I wept over my sin, and thanked Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross. I asked Him to live inside me, and y’all… HE TOOK UP RESIDENCE HERE!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
Now here’s BY FAR the BEST part of the whole story! HIS SCARS!!! The scars on His hands, His feet, His side…. Those scars completely covered mine!!! He took every one of my scars on Himself that day on Calvary! Now when I see the physical scars on my arms, I can look at them and remember what Jesus saved me from! I can remember the darkness that He reached down into with His nail-scarred hands, and how He pulled me into the light! He reached down into death for me, and pulled me into new life with Him!!! Both sets of scars, mine and His, serve as the most beautiful and precious reminder of the heart of Jesus!!!
Thank You Jesus for my scars that remind me of everything You have saved me from! Every chain You broke, every ounce of freedom You won for me! And thank You so much for Your scars that cover my own! Jesus, Your blood has made it so that when God looks at me, He doesn’t see my mess or my scars anymore, He sees YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!!! Thank You for telling me how much You love me, and thank You for being a GOOD GOOD Father! You are WORTHY of all glory and blessing and honor!!! God, Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever! Amen!!