People stare at me. Some drop my change in horror and others pity me. But the rude questions and comments are by far the hardest to endure. One person asked me how I could love a God that had done this to me. A stranger told me that if her baby was like me and had Amniotic Band Syndrome, she would abort it. Moments like these are hard to endure. I’ve lashed out with anger, and shot daggers out my eyes. I’ve had my heart blessed numerous times, and cried many tears because of the cruelty of others. But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. It’s how I view myself that matters.
For so many years, I hid my scars. I didn’t want anyone to stare at me, question me, or even know about my differences. Somewhere along the way, a sense of shame had overcome me. When I looked in the mirror, all I could see was scars. I expected people to stare at me and I watched for those stares. Then the most amazing thing happened to me.
God helped me to overcome my scars. Accept them. Love them. And, finally, embrace them.
It happened the moment I realized that I could have died. Some babies don’t survive the attack of the amniotic bands. But I was spared for a reason. God gave me my scars for a purpose. Acceptance is a powerful gift. Now my scars no longer have the ability to hurt me.
People are always going to stare at me, but I’ve stopped looking for those stares. It doesn’t matter to me. Let them stare. I truly hope, while I have their undivided attention that I can give them a glimpse of my Lord. When people ask me numerous questions, I desire to tell them about my wonderful God and how good He is to me. When strangers approach me, I hope that I can give them a glimpse of the person underneath the scars. In God’s eyes we are all the same, and He loves us.
I can’t change the behavior of others. Regardless of what I do, I can’t stop someone was staring at me or lashing out with cruel words. I can, however, choose how I react to it. Kindness is a universal language. Perhaps it will have no influence on the person treating me badly, but it will have a profound effect on me.
We should all learn to accept and embrace our own differences and uniqueness as a gift from God. Outwardly we might have a different appearance, or different gifts, but our spirit is the same. We are like God because He lives in us. And we need to love ourselves—always.
We need to treat others the way we want to be treated. I’ve had people call me disabled to my face and say things like, ‘It’s really great that you can do that with your disability’. At first it was extremely hard for me. Now I know if someone treats me badly, it is a reflection of them not me. And instead of getting mad at them, I should pray for them.
So how do I wish people would treat me? What do I want them to know about living with scars caused by Amniotic Band Syndrome?
Honestly, I wish that more people would look beyond my scars and see me. Underneath the scars is someone who loves God, family, friends, and life. My life has been filled with pain, but also the overcoming of it. I am not a victim, but an overcomer. Some days I feel overwhelmed by trying to adapt to this world, but so grateful for my beautiful life. Sometimes I cry through my workouts, but I don’t complain. I pray every day because I couldn’t make it without my Lord, and I want to thank Him for always helping me. Given the choice, I wouldn’t trade my scars for anything in this world. They have taught me through my weakness that God is my strength. Regardless of the battle, giving up is never an option. I am capable of so much more than I ever realized. Being scarred has taught me about kindness and compassion, and how to treat other people.
When people look at me, I hope that they see a window to God. Through my life, overcoming the struggles and pain, I hope to shine a light to Him. I desire to reflect His goodness and help others who are struggling. In all reality, I am an ambassador for God. Through my life, hope, and faith, I desire to give others a glimpse of my wonderful God. And maybe, just maybe they will give their heart to Him as well.
When I reflect on all He has blessed me to overcome and all of the amazing blessings He has given me, I know that there is absolutely nothing missing in my life. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. God formed me exactly how He wanted me to be, and I am satisfied with being me. My friends, I pray that you will accept your own scars, love them, and embrace them. Without my scars, none of these wonderful opportunities would have been possible.
May God bless you,