“Stop hiding your scars and your wounds. They’re your trophies. You went through that thing and still survived.”—Bishop T.D. Jakes
I heard these words as I was listening to a sermon as part of my daily devotions a week or so ago. For many years, I’ve been that person who has hidden my scars and my wounds. I realized in order to experience the healing that Jesus so desperately wants me to have, I have to be willing to let those wounds out. I have to allow this to be a trophy.
My mindset changed that day. I’ve believed for a long time that all of those wounds would make me seem less credible. The last 20 years of my career, I’ve been surrounded by a group of women who see me in a leadership role, fiercely fighting for what’s right, both for each of them and the organization. What strong female leader would allow herself to live in a situation where psychological abuse and physical violence at home was okay? I was certain that there was no one else who lived like that. I just buried the wounds and lived two completely different lives for about 14 years…life at home, and life at work. In 2012, God delivered me from that situation, but until this minute when I’m putting it in print, there aren’t many people who know what I lived through. The scar tissue layered up inside me, and I truly believe that Jesus is still working today to remove the layers a little at a time—and show me that they are trophies.
In my most recent job, I spent a little over four years with about 35 female subordinates. None of them knew my personal “history,” and I was pretty content that way. As I look back, though, I see that God was allowing me to experience healing, but I didn’t accept it. I was determined to do things myself. #stubbornscottishroots! I was so focused on “fixing” situations for others that I didn’t allow my trophies to be visible.
Over a 52-month period working there, God placed two women in my employ who experienced unimaginable domestic situations, much worse than anything I had lived through. I never let these two women know why I was so passionate about finding them help, I just did everything I could to make them safe and let them know I supported them. I wonder now about the healing I missed out on. Instead of reaching out for the healing God was trying to give me, I replaced that with past feelings, and anger and bitterness toward my experience. All the while, God was trying to tell me that this was yet another way He worked all things out for my good (Romans 8:28).
Isn’t hindsight interesting? God continues to use our hurts to help others, even when we aren’t consciously trying. I learned from that experience that in the future, I would somehow find a way to use the crummy situations in life as a positive. Today, I’ve started calling those situations “trophies.” I’ve got others now, and I’m sure you’ve had your share. Hold your trophies high. Allow God to heal you, and experience the fullness He has for you.
Regardless of who you are, your perceived social or career status, your position in or out of the church, please learn from me. If you are in a lousy situation, give it to God. Seek His wisdom and ask Him to give you the courage to talk to someone. God loves you. You were made to live as His child, not a child of fear and circumstance. Allow yourself to be all He has for you!