LaKeisha Rainey Collins: Beauty for Ashes Column
A lesson in God’s love from my battle with a chronic
inflammatory skin disease  
Blog by Lakeisha Rainey Collins
Posted September 14, 2017
Photo Credit:  Lakeisha Rainey Collins Facebook
I have a severe case of a skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It is basically a rare, chronic
inflammatory condition that causes recurrent, painful, boil-like lumps underneath the skin. There is
neither a known cause, nor a cure for it.  Over the past seven years, I have suffered greatly with pain,
countless procedures and surgeries, life-threatening infections, immobility, and overall discomfort. Not
very many of my days within the last year and a half have been pain free, but God’s super amazing
grace strengthens and sustains me as I await manifestation of complete healing.

I consider it one of those invisible illnesses, where your wounds or your pain isn’t necessarily visible to
those around you. I have severe scarring on parts of my body from multiple surgeries and constant
inflammation of my skin, but no one knows about it unless I tell them. For the most part, I am able to
keep my scars hidden. There is one person, though, that I am unsuccessfully able to hide them from,
and that is my husband. I admit that I have certainly tried to do so, though.

As confident and self-accepting as I like to believe I am, it’d be totally dishonest of me to say that the
disfiguration in certain areas of my body didn’t make me feel a bit insecure. There were times when I
would stand in the mirror staring at my scars, thinking how grossly disgusting they looked. I honestly
became self-conscious and did not want Jeremy to see me in such a way, so whenever I would get
dressed or undressed, I’d make my way to the bathroom and lock the door behind me. I even avoided
intimacy as much as I could, because I felt like my scars, that were so incredibly ugly to me, would turn
him off, and I wanted to save myself from that rejection.

One day, though, I guess he got tired of me locking myself in the bathroom to get dressed. He kicked
the door in, screaming, “Woman, what are you hiding in here?!” No, I’m kidding; he didn’t do that! He
politely unlocked the door, gently pushed it open, and just stood there staring at me. I was caught
completely off guard and my first reaction was to cover myself, but he thwarted my attempt. As his
eyes peered over my body, I felt so uncomfortable that I wanted to cry.

“Why do you do this?” he asked me.

As if I didn’t know what he was referring to, I replied “Do what?”

“I see you. You come in here to get dressed or undressed like you don’t want me to see you,” he says.

In that moment, I had to admit the truth. I told him he was right. I remember saying to him, “My scars
are so ugly; I just don’t want you to see them and look at me differently.”

What he said to me after that came straight from the script of one of those Tyler Perry scenes where
the man says the most perfect combination of words to his woman interest, and she melts in his arms.

My husband, with his gaze still fixed on me, says, “Whenever I look at you, all I ever see is that cute
girl I fell in love with years ago. You’re beautiful to me. I don’t care about your scars. I didn’t marry
your body; I married you.” Then, he kissed my scars. Literally.

If my chocolate cheeks have ever turned rosy red, they surely did that day. His words to me were
healing. The one who knows me intimately did not see me differently just because there were parts of
me that I believed were unpretty. I didn’t have to hide my wounds from him, because his love for me is
not based on the condition of my body, and my “ugly parts” do not control the compass of his heart.

Retrospectively, I feel so silly for even thinking that way, but you know how it is when us girls don’t feel
pretty, right? We tend to think we’re undesirable to everybody else, too, including God.

When experiences of your life have scarred your character, disfigured your heart, and stained your
spirit, and you feel horrible about yourself, you tend to think that God takes on those very same
feelings towards you. Or, when you’ve gotten yourself into a mess and you’re feeling guilty and
ashamed, you try to hide from God, not wanting Him to see you in the state you’re in, because you
believe He will turn His face from you. You think He’s disgusted by you, or that He no longer desires
you because of your condition. So, you stop praying. You skip church. You push your Bible aside.
You avoid intimate moments with God, because you’re trying to keep your scarring covered, hidden
from His sight.

No more than I could hide from my husband, can you hide from God. How can you ever escape His all-
seeing eye? It’s impossible, and much like my attempt to keep my scars out of my husband’s sight,
unnecessary. He knows you intimately, yet loves you unconditionally. That means, He sees every
single thing about you, yet it changes absolutely nothing about His love for you.

You are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) that says, “I see you, and I still see you.”
Although God is not oblivious to your scars, when He looks at you, He still only sees the beautiful
masterpiece He created and loved before the foundation of the world. He still only sees His daughter,
the one whom He adores, and favors, and treasures. He still only sees you as His image and likeness.
He still only sees the gifts, and talents, and special calling, and purpose He placed within and upon
you. He still only sees you whole, valuable, and priceless.

You don’t ever have to worry about anything causing the Father to alter His desire for you. You can
bare all your before Him, and His eyes will only see you clothed in His righteousness and kiss all of
your scars with His amazing love.

Read last week's blog: Your history does not dictate your destiny

LaKeisha Rainey Collins is an Mobile, Alabama-based wife, mom of three boys and one girl, Founder
of Beauty for Ashes, Inc. and author of two books --
Beautiful Me and My Baby Has Wings. Learn
more about her
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