[10-Year Anniversary of this piece • Written 2013–Updated 2023]

I think before I got sick, I didn't realize how often God actually allows us to endure the heat of the battle. I also didn't know how many battle scars come with that, but I can better see now how valuable those scars really are. 

I see how these scars, in the hands of our nail-scarred Savior, can be used for the purposes of His Kingdom and to help others who are going through things we already have or are still in the process of. 

I can see how our scars speak to where we've been, what we've been through, and the depth of our healing journeys; it is all painful but precious in His hands.

I heard Pastor Rick Warren say after the death of his son that we need more "wounded healers." I totally get that, and I totally agree. 

Somebody whose been-there-and-done-that has credibility like nobody else, and we can deeply relate to them. 

Those somebodies who have kept on keeping on and persevered despite immense suffering, those somebodies who’ve continued to walk the long, arduous walk despite the agonizing setbacks, detours, and obstacles, those somebodies who've been in the jagged places, hellish places, lonely places, trying places, and desert places, those somebodies who aren’t afraid to acknowledge the truth of their struggle or how hard it's been, those somebodies who've been in the dirt and the trenches, all the somebodies who are real and genuine.

Yes, them; I want to hear from these people.

I want to hear from those who've been on the front lines of the battle and are banged up, bruised up, and scarred up but haven't given up. I want to hear from the ones who've lost a lot but still dare to hold onto hope. Those who've been hurt much yet still love more. Those who've been knocked down time and time again but still manage to get up over and over and over.

These people have keen wisdom and insight, not only because of all they've endured (things most people will never fully know about) but also because they've allowed the Lord to work deeply in them and through their whole painful, ugly mess. 

They know suffering, they know hardship, they know brokenness, and they know God. They know how to lean on Him in hard times; they know how to trust Him and dig in for the long haul.


These are the ones who will emerge from the smoky haze of battle, scars and all, as the real warriors this world truly needs. They might come out limping, or they might come out crawling, but they come out nonetheless, and they often help bring others out with them. 

They carry the true nature of an overcomer. They don't pretend to have all the answers or make light of the battle. Instead, they're humble, compassionate, committed, rock solid, and steady. They've developed tough skin and a tender heart—a servant's heart. 

These are the people who will birth something beautiful from their messes. And a beautiful mess cannot be born apart from God. He's the only one who knows how to birth beauty from pain and ashes. And He is the one who's birthing these battle-scarred heroes this generation needs. 

Perhaps you're one of them. Maybe God is in the process of birthing something uniquely beautiful in you and through you, something only you can give. 

He won't waste anything you're going through, so please don't quit now. Do not give up, friend. I know it hurts, and I know it's crazy hard. I know you can't fully see where this is going but hold onto the one who does—hold onto Jesus (Yeshua) and keep trusting Him.

He's working deep and preparing you to live out your purpose. He's preparing you to administer healing and restoration to broken hearts, broken souls, and broken bodies. He is preparing you to tell your story, and some people will desperately need to hear it because it will give them hope and inspire them to go on.  

So when the time is right, share your scars well; they're the proof of what you've been through and uniquely tell your story.

And know this: your scars will one day encourage someone who is in the fight of their life—just like you are now.

Michelle Holderman 

Copyright ©️ 2023 

P.S. Dear friends who are walking through great hardships: 

After living with a life-altering chronic illness for three decades now, and continuing to, what He and I call, live in the meantime of His all-sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) while I’m still waiting and trusting myself, I felt moved to share something with you that I’ve learned. 

We often want out of our circumstances so we can “move on” when God is actually using them to take us where He wants us to go. We can genuinely believe and hold onto His promises without realizing how He has chosen to fulfill them. In other words, our preparation is often happening through our process—it's happening in the meantime. 

This is the place we must be careful not to despise (or grow to) because it is often the very place where He teaches, trains, matures, and readies us for our Kingdom purpose, which is what this whole post is all about. 

I’m not saying it’s easy; it seldom is. I’m saying in His infinite wisdom, He knows what we don’t. Basically, He sees the big picture, and mostly, we do not. This is where trusting Him is most important, and truthfully, it's the most costly. It is an investment in the future, although we don't usually understand that at the time. 

Honestly, there are just some parts of Jesus we will never get to know except through suffering. That might not make sense to you now, but I can attest that it’s true, and so will the Holy Spirit. 

Remember, as believers, we walk by faith and not sight, even when it’s hard, especially then. And since Jesus is the author and perfecter of that faith, it only makes sense to lean into Him because He is already leaning into you.

Essentially, I’m encouraging you to trust Him despite it all. And choosing to trust the Lord is more of a learned thing through personal experience; it is what will ultimately bring you through. 

I’ve said all of that to say this—your life matters to Him more than you know, and so do the lives of all the people He will reach through you. He will use your scars and story to tell others about His. ❤️

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