Almost a decade ago, I attended a women’s retreat. At new events with a lot of people, I tend to lean toward introversion. But as a trained board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, I’m always observing behavior: I pay attention to what people do and what they don’t do, what they say and what they don’t say. During this retreat, there was plenty of time for women to share their hearts and to share their pain.

In conversation after conversation, I heard the shame that was attached to the wounds that caused them so much pain: infidelity, abortion, unemployment, abuse, medical diagnoses, divorce, prodigal children, incarcerated family members. Most were reticent to share their pain until they realized it was a safe environment, free from condemnation.

This experience mimicked what I observed in my private practice for over two decades: patients would come in for help, and yet be so ashamed and embarrassed about their past pain, either what was done to them or what they had done, that they were reticent to share until rapport and trust were developed, and they felt safe within the confines of my office.

During that retreat, as I prayed for the many concerns mentioned there, I sensed God drop two simple words in my spirit: sacred scars.

Understanding Sacred Scars: God Won’t Waste Your Past

I, too, have experienced physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual wounds, grief and loss that through the healing process have left scars. I recounted many of those instances of severe, debilitating pain in my book The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out To God When Pain Overwhelms. I wrote that book in the crucible of pain. I wanted to encourage you, dear reader, to continue holding onto your faith while you wait for your healing. God won’t waste your past.

Childhood illnesses, adult surgeries, and cancer have left physical scars on my body. But my heart and my mind also bear witness to invisible emotional, relational, and spiritual scars on my heart and mind. For a very long time, I looked at my scars with disgust and disdain. Until the Lord confronted me on my perception and the lies that I had believed about my condition.

Finding Purpose in Sacred Scars

Over time, God showed me how he doesn’t cause our pain and suffering, just like he didn’t cause Job’s physical, emotional, relational, financial, or spiritual pain, grief or loss, but he can and does use it for good. God won’t waste your past. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 NIV).

What I’ve come to realize is that the father of lies, the accuser of the brethren wants us to be ashamed of our scars. He wants us to believe the lie that what we’ve done in the past or what has been done to us to cause us pain disqualifies us from God’s love, mercy, grace, compassion, forgiveness, or even service to the Lord.

The exact opposite is true.

God never calls the equipped. He equips those He calls.

Our scars are considered beautiful and sacred in his sight, and are often the preparation for areas that he wants to use us to minister to others. Just like we don’t have a testimony without a test, we don’t have sacred scars without first going through painful trials. In many ways, our scars are the tapestry of the lessons we’ve learned through the painful trials of life.


Discover how your deepest wounds can reveal your greatest strengths. "Sacred Scars" reveals the divine promise of Romans 8:28, showing that God won't waste your pain but will use it for your ultimate good. Learn how to find beauty in your scars.

Healing and Redemption: The Promise of Your Scars

Romans 8:28 declares, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Friends, this includes your scars.

Within the pages of Sacred Scars: Resting in God’s Promise That Your Past Is Not Wasted, I expound on the many benefits of our scars: what they represent, what they teach us, and what we do with them.

I wrote Sacred Scars because suffering is not optional in this world, but how we respond to it is our choice, and I want to help you see that there is NOTHING in your past, no pain or woundedness, that the God of the universe cannot redeem and bring purpose to, if you will take your pain to him and let him heal your wounds and in their place, bring beautiful sacred scars in their place! Remember, God won’t waste your past!



Sacred Scars: Resting in God’s Promise that Your Pain is Not Wasted

Now Available!

Your ragged and torn past may be the key to God's future for you.


We all endure trials, pain, and hardship in this life. Too often we believe these experiences disqualify us from being useful to God. But the truth is, your past pain and brokenness serve as preparation for what God wants to do in and through you – if you will surrender to and trust him.

Just as Jesus’s scars didn’t disappear after his resurrection, our emotional or physical scars tell our story and lend credence to our testimony of God’s love and power. If you are ready to turn your past pain into present comfort and future hope, let Dr. Bengtson be your compassionate guide.

Find out more and order here: Sacred Scars


Feeling overwhelmed by past traumas and hardships? Find strength in your scars with actionable insights on how to view your emotional and physical scars as markers of strength and resilience. Learn to appreciate the beauty in life's challenges and gain a new perspective on your journey toward healing. Discover how God won't waste your past, but will use it for your growth.