Grace Doesn’t Always Feel Good

This month marks the 5th anniversary of a painful surgery that left an ugly scar on my abdomen and a new understanding of Grace in my heart. I thought I’d share this post, written only weeks after my surgery in 2012.

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. (Psalm 84:11 -NLT)

I was gently pressing Vitamin E oil over the bright-red scar on my abdomen. It extended for about 5 inches and it was painful. It hurt to move, to sit down and stand up, to turn around in bed and to take a deep breath. My surgery had only been ten days before and this was the first time I had seen the incision. Vanity chimed in and I frowned at the sight.

My daughters sneaked in behind me as I bathed the scar in oil. Their eyes got big when they saw the surgery site.

“Wow, mom. It’s sooooo big!” said the oldest in awe.

“Does it hurt?” asked the baby.

I looked at them and nodded. “Yes, sweetie, it’s big and it hurts.”

I’m sorry, mom,” were the next words from my sympathizing daughters.

And that’s when I heard the Spirit whisper within my soul.

I turned around and signaled them to get closer.

“You don’t have to be sorry, dear. I actually like my scar. I even gave it a name.”

“A name?” little one said. “What is it, what is it?” she urged with growing curiosity.

“Its name is Grace,” I said. “For if I did not have this scar, it would mean that the cancer would still be inside me. It was God’s grace that allowed the doctors to find it while it was still small. So now we have Grace to remind us of how good God is to our family.”

They both smiled as they looked up at me.

Big sister was the first one to say: “Hi, Grace!” Little one echoed big sister’s greeting. They turned around, skipping out of the room, happy to go back to whatever fun game they were playing.


The word is found 206 times in the King James translation of the Bible, 150 of which are in the New Testament. It has become one of the most popular subjects among Christian writers worldwide.

Grace is in the center of the gospel of salvation. The unmerited gift that was poured down at the cross to mankind is the greatest demonstration of grace ever given: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners,Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (emphasis mine.)

But grace does not end with salvation. The “graciousness” of God is renewed every day towards His children.

Truth be told, we live on grace.

We may not always see it, but we know that God is in perfect control over our destiny and orchestrates all affairs to work together for our good and His glory.

His GRACE accomplishes that.

Grace Does not Always Look Good

As I look into my past, I realize that God’s grace has often been hidden in situations that did not necessarily look or feel good.

The pain and suffering of a betrayal that crushed my heart hid the wonderful grace of God, which spared me from marrying someone who was not His best for me. Because of His grace, albeit disguised in suffering, I married the man He had chosen for me from the beginning of time.

He gave me grace and at that time, I did not know it.

The day I found out I had kidney cancer was a painful one to me.

I hurt terribly and ended up in the emergency room. Before I resigned to the fact that I needed to go, I remember praying: “Lord, please take this pain away!” and again “Lord, please heal me. I don’t want to have to go to the emergency room.” I cried out to Him, curled up on my bed and waiting for His healing to take place.

I quoted scripture. I prayed.

And as I waited, in faith, for the pain to go away, it only got worse.

I gave in and asked my husband to take me to the hospital. I remember getting really upset. “I don’t need another medical bill,” I cried. “I can’t miss work!”

And all along, I envision God looking down from Heaven and pouring down buckets of grace over my increasingly upset self.

I arrived at the hospital and found out through the scan that I had an ovarian cyst that had burst. And… a…. tumor. An asymptomatic cancerous tumor, which would not have been found, had the Lord heard my cry and relieved the pain I was suffering.

He was giving me Grace and at that time, I did not know it.

So What is your Grace Scar?   

I know you have one.

Or two. Or twenty.

If you are a child of God, He has called you to be perfected into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).

In order to do that, you need to be polished. And molded. And chiseled.

There are some things that absolutely need to come off.


He envisions what He has created you to be and will do whatever it takes to perfect you. That is, if you let Him, because you DO have the option to throw in the towel and quit.


I don’t like the pain and I won’t lie to you: I have my moments when I get restless in God’s molding room.

But as our key verse reminds me, the deliverance is His to give. My only job is to rest upon Him and not fight His ways.

I’m to be the clay that surrenders to the Potter’s strong hands.

He is molding and changing me.

And that’s all right by Me.

I have a scar to prove that His Grace does not always feel good… but it still saves.


Patricia Holbrook

Patricia Holbrook is the President of Soaring with Him Ministries, author, columnist, blogger and International speaker. Her passion is to encourage her audience to "soar above life's circumstances" by the power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit's guidance. She writes about making beauty out of brokenness, trusting God in the dark, the blessings of obedience and her love for the Savior. Among other places, you can find her writing weekly on her blog, on her weekend column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on the iDisciple app, and websites such as Internet Devotions Cafe, among others. She writes in between car lines, homeschool lessons, tears and laughter. She lives in Georgia with her husband Steve, their two daughters and their miniature Schnauzer Jingle Bells.

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  1. Never thought to name a “scar” – very interesting thought. God is indeed gracious!

    • Amen, Norma! Blessings to you!

  2. Buckets of Grace-yes! Noticing grace moments always lifts my spirit.

    • Amen, Karen! Me too! 🙂


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