Are you familiar with Job in the Old Testament?
Job lost everything he had – his oxen, sheep, and camels – as well as his servants and his children. At this, Job fell to the ground in worship (mind blown already!) and said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21
Do you remember what happened next? Satan said to the Lord,
“Stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 1:11
So, the Lord allowed Satan to afflict Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Job’s wife said to him,
“Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
“You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:9-10
My second son was born in March 2016. He came via emergency c-section. I remember going to the NICU to visit him with my husband and being able to hold him. He was small but so beautiful. I went to visit him again one night after my husband had gone home to spend the night with our 3-year-old. I remember waiting for the nurse to wheel me back up to my room and that is the last thing I remember.
I have been told that I crashed the next day – that I was in pain. At first, the medical staff thought it could be gas, so I was told to try to get up and walk around. After trying to walk, I collapsed. I went into septic shock and the doctors performed an emergency exploratory laparotomy to determine what was wrong.
The problem was necrotizing fasciitis caused by “flesh-eating bacteria” contracted at the site of the c-section incision. The strep A strain was spreading through my abdomen, killing soft tissue as it went. The only way to treat it was with IV antibiotics and surgeries to remove infected tissue.
Even with optimal care, the mortality rate is considered to be 1 out of 4 and many people lose limbs. I underwent six more surgeries while in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator. They were successful in stopping the spread of the infection – praise God!
I woke up after about two weeks and began putting together the pieces of what had happened. My baby had gone home from the NICU while I lay unconscious. I had an open wound on my abdomen. I had an NG tube in my nose and was being fed through an IV (I had one in my hand, groin, and neck, and a PIC line in my arm). I had pleural effusions (build-up of fluid) in both lungs, a tear in my scalp, at one point had twelve electrodes monitoring telemetry, and I had a catheter until I switched to diapers.
I was in the hospital for one month and then carried a portable wound vac and had physical therapy for two months after that until I was able to have a skin graft. I have one more surgery to go, to repair a hernia and reconstruct my abdominal wall.
The emotional struggles were more painful than the physical, though. My arms ached to hold, feed and care for my new baby and my heart stung when I thought of the beautiful moments I missed – like my three-year-old son meeting his brother for the first time.
But God never left me and was always in control.
Oh, praise His mighty healing hand! Oh, praise His steadfast love that endures forever!
Oh, the sweet gifts He gave me:
- NICU nurses who made a scrapbook page with a picture of my baby to keep in my hospital room
- my family stayed with me day and night
- brothers and sisters in Christ who prayed not foremost for healing, but foremost that His will be done!
There are so, so many blessings I’ve known that I wouldn’t have had the birth gone as I planned. My God is faithful, and He gives good gifts. He raises things to life that are dead.
There is a question, though, that has come to my mind sometimes when I think about what happened:
Why, God, are my scars invisible?
My wounds are hidden because they are all around where my c-section incision was. If you were to see me, you would not be able to tell that anything happened at all. At first, it seemed like such a good thing, that any deformity – any scar – would be hidden. But there have been several moments since 2016 that I find myself wishing others could see, and that somehow by seeing they would know me better and know me truly.
I don’t think I am alone. I think others have invisible scars, too. Maybe abuse from childhood, marriage struggles, depression, a miscarriage…a big part of us and yet unseen by those around us.
We have this desire to be truly known. And we are – praise God again! He KNOWS us. He created us. Luke 12:7 tells us He knows the number of hairs on your head – we don’t even know ourselves that well! In Hebrews God reminds us that...
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things!” Hebrews 2:14
He partook of our flesh and blood. (What a great word to ponder, Lisa – partook!) He knows what it’s like! God the Son is our high priest before God the Father because He knows us, and we are His, and He loves us. He SEES our invisible scars.
And he has scars, too. Even after He rose from the dead, His body had the marks – marks where His hands were nailed and a mark where a spear pierced His side.
A verse from a poem by Edward Shillito (1872-1948), an English minister during WWI:
“The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.”
Our God knows suffering. And if God the Father bids His own beloved Son to suffer, it is no stretch to believe that he would both love me as no one ever has or will and bid me suffer at the exact same time. I join Job in accepting this truth.
So, what of Job?
The Lord spoke to him (powerful scripture – Job 38-41!) and Job replied,
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 CSB
This is not just Job’s story or my story, but the story of every believer – that there came a time in their life that their eyes were opened, and they saw Him. May our experiences (both good and trouble), and our scars point us back to Him every time and either way.
Eyes on Jesus and shine, brothers and sisters!
~ Meet Lisa Tweedy ~
"I am married to my husband of eight years, Andrew. Together we have two sons, John (now five) and Nathan (now two). I love serving the Lord with my local body of believers in Lilburn, Georgia."
Connect with Lisa Tweedy:
or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org