Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the news coverage this past week of Emily Doe revealing her true identity as Chanel Miller. Chanel was raped by Brock Turner while unconscious in 2015. I’m so damn proud of this girl. All the photos I’ve seen of her, she communicates defiance, beauty, and courage. And now she’s publishing a memoir about her experience. The book cover is of kintsugi, the Japanese art of “golden repair” where the artist uses gold dust and lacquer to mend broken pottery pieces creating something new and even more beautiful from the brokenness.
Chanel’s courage is the embodiment of Gen 50:20 ESV “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” After being raped, she had to endure her rapist being slapped on the wrist with a mere six months in jail with the judge commenting at sentencing that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on Turner.” Judge Aaron Persky was later recalled (translation: fired) after the backlash became deafening. Four years ago, Chanel lay broken behind a dumpster. She’ll carry scars from that night for the rest of her life. But now they’re beautifully gilded in gold and displayed in love for the world to see that she is a new creation with a powerful mission.
I know you have scars too. I do too.
Scars from an abusive home life. Scars from your toxic work environment. Scars from the break-up that almost killed you. Scars from the “Christians” that completely judged and rejected you when you expressed your struggle. Scars from your own experience with sexual assault.
You have forgiven 70 x 7 times (Matt 18:22), but the bad feelings don’t ever completely go away. You cling to God’s promise that you’ll receive peace (Phil 4:6-7), and you fight every day to take back the self-worth they stole from you. God’s word says He built you to be powerful, but sometimes it feels like a cruel joke. What power?
But there are other scars. The scars on Jesus’ hands and feet saved humanity. They saved YOU, because you are loved. Even Doubting Thomas said he wouldn’t believe Jesus had been resurrected until he put his finger where the nails had been (John 20:25). The scars were necessary so that no one could argue that Jesus had been raised from the dead. And Jesus put them on display (John 20:27) – He didn’t wish they would go away or hide them, but used them instead to defeat evil. Chanel has revealed hers to the world simply by saying, “I am Emily Doe. My name is Chanel Miller. This is my story.” She is beautifully and powerfully just being.
I don’t know how or when God is going to call you to put your scars on display. Maybe He already has or maybe He’s still lovingly working his lacquer-and-gold-powder magic on the new masterpiece you are becoming. Trust that when the time comes, the light that reflects off the beautiful creation you are is going to absolutely terrify the dark.
Your light will terrify the dark
I call upon the name
That tears the night apart
My doubt will answer to your scars
And fear will have no place
No hold upon my heart
Your light will terrify the dark
Skillet “Terrify the Dark”
If you could shift your perspective around your scars from one of defeat/shame to one where you fully believed God would do something powerful through the scars, what would that look like?
If your best friend was feeling the exact same thing you’re experiencing and shared their hurt with you, what would you say? Now say it to yourself.
If there was absolutely nothing standing in your way, what action(s) would you take to help and encourage others whose hurt is new?
How can I pray for you today?