It was a day I will not soon forget. I remember the horror that rushed over me as I heard my husband’s voice on the phone. “Savanna was bitten in the face by a dog. I don’t know how bad it is.” As I frantically grabbed my son and raced over to his aunt’s house down the street, my heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my ears. What would I find when I arrived? Is she going to survive this? Would her face be mangled? How could this happen? Where were the grown-ups? Why wasn’t God protecting her? So many questions and fears plagued me; it felt like forever driving that ½ mile stretch of country road. When I arrived, there were people gathered all around her. I could hear her crying. At least she was conscious. Gavin was holding her with a towel over her face. When he moved the towel it took every ounce of strength I had not to cry. It was bad. I knew it. And I knew we needed help. I grabbed her up and we headed to the hospital…
Those first few moments were very similar to the day I discovered my husband’s sexual sin. Horror rushed over me. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears. How could this happen? Can we survive this? How could I have not seen the signs? Will our marriage be mangled beyond repair? Why wasn’t God protecting us? Questions and fears plagued me and I knew it was bad. I knew we needed help.
When we arrived at the hospital my head was spinning. I think I was still in shock. Did my daughter really get bit in the face by a dog? This can’t be real. But it was. Very real. Nurses and doctors flooded in and I was doing my best to hold it together. I wanted to be strong for Savanna but I was still so scared. She was in so much pain and I couldn’t make it go away. Then the doctor came in and told us her wounds were too serious, that she would need a skilled plastic surgeon to repair the damage. Her skin had been ripped and torn; parts of her cheek were missing. It wasn’t going to be an easy fix. I fell apart. I turned away, facing the wall, and just cried. My sweet little girl, just three years old, was so badly wounded and there was nothing I could do. I was going to have to trust her into the hands of a surgeon. As much as I wanted to scoop her in my arms and run away, I knew she needed surgery. I wasn’t capable of healing her wounds…
My reaction to Gavin’s betrayal was much the same. My head was spinning and I almost couldn’t believe it was real. All this new information about my husband came flooding in and I was in shock. He was in so much pain and I couldn’t make it go away. Then there came that moment, that moment where I realized how serious the damage was. Our marriage had been ripped and torn, parts of us were missing. And we needed the skills of the Surgeon to repair the damage that was done. As much as I wanted to take control and fix this on my own, I had to trust our marriage to Jesus. We weren’t capable of healing the wound.
Savanna was whisked away to surgery and the surgeon was able to repair the damage. He cut away the skin that had died and cleaned the wounds of germs and bacteria. He later told us that these were “dirty wounds,” one that would require close watch. A “dirty wound” is one inflicted by something unclean (like a dog or a rusty pipe) can easily become infected. So with tremendous skill and great care, he pieced her skin back together and mended her wounds. She ended up with about 50 stitches inside and out, but the damage could have been a lot worse. That first night was the worst. Savanna tried to be so brave, but we could tell she was in pain. The nurses would check her blood pressure and it would be high, from being in pain. Yet she never said anything. She still tried to smile through her pain. She still found joy in the moments surrounding her woundedness. The healing process had begun…
Our wounds were severe. And they were dirty. They had been inflicted by something unclean, something dark. But the Healer, Jesus Christ, was able to come in and repair the damage. He had to cut away the dead parts of our hearts. The parts that were in bondage to sin. For Gavin, that meant the part of his heart that was addicted to pornography and lust. The part that was angry and malicious. For me, that meant the part of my heart that was controlling and angry. The part that was prideful and bitter. He cleansed our wounds and began to piece us back together. It took tremendous skill and care, but God worked tirelessly. And although we were in pain, we were able to find joy surrounding our woundedness. We began to experience an intimacy we’d never known. Not just sexually, but emotionally and spiritually. The healing process had begun.
The first few days of recovery were rough. The surgeon instructed us to leave her wounds uncovered. So her raw, bloody wound was exposed at all times. Her stitches were seeping and we had to put a special ointment on it to help keep it from becoming infected. We also had to keep a close eye on her activity. She couldn’t do the normal activities that a 3yr. old wants to do. She needed time to heal. And there were days that this was frustrating for her. But for the most part, she understood that wounds don’t just go away overnight. They have to be treated diligently and with care…
The first few months were rough. It felt like the pain of our marriage was raw, bloody, always exposed. Everything seemed to remind me of Gavin’s choices and it was very frustrating. I wanted to do normal activities—family functions, church ministry—and to go about my day without feeling the pain, but I couldn’t. I needed time to heal. We both did. We had to bathe our hearts in prayer and God’s Word to help keep us from becoming infected. It was difficult when we realized that a wound this substantial would take diligent care and a lot of time to heal.
Savanna has undergone months of after-care treatments to help diminish the appearance of her scars, but they still remain. They’re less and less, and someday will be faded almost unnoticeably. But for now, she’s endured the scars, answered the questions, “Oh my God! What happened to your face!?” and accepted the stares with dignity. She is not ashamed of her scars and she hasn’t let them place a verdict on her life. Rather she embraced her scars, the horror of that day, and moves forward. As a princess or a super hero or an artist or a singer; her scars do not hold her back from pursuing life. She loves life, she loves God, she loves her family, and she is joyful. And through this tremendous adversity, she has become more compassionate, braver, and stronger than any little girl I’ve ever met. I am honored to be her mother.
We’ve undergone tremendous healing. Through counseling, support groups, prayer, the Word, helpful books and other resources; all these things have helped to lessen the appearance of our scars, but they still remain. We are learning to accept our scars with dignity. To embrace our suffering and not let it hinder us in our pursuit of life abundant through Christ. These scars have made us stronger and braver, have increased our compassion, and we are finding unspeakable joy. I thank God for the wound and His miraculous healing, in both me and Gavin. I am honored to be his wife and to be a part of a marriage that represents the amazing power of Jesus. There are still bumps in the road. We learn and grow as we go. And sure, these scars will never fully fade. But eventually, they will be unnoticeable. Our scars will be diminished and God’s unfailing love will be glorified.
Walking in Freedom,
Tags: wounds scars healing ""sexual betrayal"" jesus
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