Singing my heart out, holding back tears, as this seems to be what I do lately in church as I am wrestling so much with myself, with trusting and my faith journey, I had one of my first true writer moments. Smack in the middle of the song, I grabbed my bulletin and pen and wrote the title of this post and a line from the song down.

The song: Let Our Faith Be Not Alone by Robbie Seay.

The lyrics: “May our hearts be not of stone, give us souls that never close”.

heart shape (24)As a therapist I hear terrible things every day from my clients. And, it is not unusual for the thought to cross my mind that someone has every right to stay sick, to stay angry, to have hearts of stone and closed souls after what they have been through.

After infertility and the lifelong losses of three babies, I have also felt as if I have three very good enough reasons to allow my heart to become stone and my soul to close.

But I am learning, this is not meant to be the end of my story. Nor do I want it to be the end of my story; just as I help my clients every single day to make sure that their losses, traumas and tragedies are not their endings either. Because, I also get to hear amazing stories of hope and recovery every single day.

But this recovery requires the choice to choose hope and to do the work.

I will always have the soul scars of infertility and losing my babies. And if I am not careful these scars could very easily harden my heart and close my soul to the amazingness that is this life. As they are forever scars much like the four inch back surgery scar I have. Except, my soul scars are invisible to the outside world, and many times are completely misunderstood, invalidated, minimized and sometimes even ignored.

Either scar, back or soul, if ignored by me only worsens; the scar tissue building up, increasing the pain and decreasing my quality of life. For my back it is only through my physical therapy, exercise and self care that this old injury and scar tissue can be as healed as possible. Nothing I do will ever make that scar go away but I sure as hell can make sure I do what is in my power to make it as better as possible. And, almost 20 years later, I wouldn’t want that scar to go away anyways as it is a constant reminder of how much strength I truly hold.

As for my soul scars, I must do much of the same work. If I do not do the work of recovery from the trauma of infertility, the lifelong losses and costs of IVF and the ongoing work of accepting a childfree life, I will only allow the scar tissue to grow. And if I am not careful my heart and soul will scar over leaving room for only bitterness, anger and sadness.

Our trauma, tragedies and losses (infertility related or not) make us who we are. I have learned that I am a better everything because I wanted and loved those babies so much. I am also a better everything because I lost them. Sure, the losses left my heart and soul shattered at first, but now with daily work in recovery I have a scarred but healing heart and soul.

Scarred but better and complete, and most definitely open.

This openness is not possible without the daily practice of recovery, authentic living and courage. My choices in recovery, in daily practice, and my faith are what is required for me to not allow the scar tissue to close everything. And I did not survive infertility and lose my three dreams to only be left scarred, closed and hardened like stone.

I am still wholeheartedly figuring this whole thing out, awkwardly stumbling through this life in recovery. And, sometimes I am not a very pretty picture while doing it. What I think I am finally coming to terms with and learning is that I can trust that the end of my story isn’t supposed to be a heart of stone or a scarred, closed soul. That I can trust my faith, doubts and all, because within this journey I will always have Him*. And it is with His acceptance, love and help that I will continue to fight for, find and redefine my ever upward.


*For me, my faith is in God and Jesus as my savior. This is something I am newly figuring out, with a lot of doubt and struggle and questions. But it is something that is helping me, especially in my recovery. My only hope is that we can all find something to have faith in.

*This post submitted to the Tuesday Infertility Link Up on Amateur Nester.

43 thoughts on “Scarred But Never Closed

  1. Tricia C says:

    This post really hit home for me. Even though I don’t consider myself a religious person I have felt the sense of a higher power helping me through our struggles with infertility. We too are coming to terms with living a child free life after infertility and I’m in the very beginning stages of recovery. I love the analogy you made between your back scar and your soul scar. I’ve always thought of scars as a reminder of something that has happened in the past, sometimes a reminder of a funny story but more than likely a reminder of difficult time. They remind us of were we were and how we have changed since. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo as a way to create a scar for my struggle with infertility…just haven’t decided on what image or where. Thank you so much for this blog and being brave. It has really been helpful for me as I move forward in this journey called life:)


    1. Tricia,
      Thank you so much for your read, comments and words. I am so glad you are finding Ever Upward helpful. Funny you say that about a tattoo… I have had one since I was 19 and I am a dork and have a small requirement of myself. If I want the same thing in the same spot after 6 months then I can go for it and get it. After the fight of recovery, I did just that. To mark the last first birthday I got the words ever upward (in my own hand writing) on my left wrist facing me (which according to the tattoo artist was upside down but I told him I wanted and needed to read the words as they were for me not anyone else). My reminder to always fight, to always find my ever upward. Thanks again! Much love and ever upward light, Justine


  2. Great post!
    I’m not a religious person (more on that another day I’m sure), but I appreciate the discussion on the soul scars that this causes the path to moving forward with a open heart. We are not at the point where we have figured out the end to our future family (maybe adoption, childfree, or a biological child), but I know that regardless of what happens next, we will have to heal the soul scars left behind by 4 lost babies. This has been and will continue to be a process.


    1. It is definitely a process. I am so glad you enjoyed this post and got something out of it! Thank you so much!


      1. I always enjoy your posts 🙂


  3. Jane says:

    I struggle with staying open. I suppose that is the ongoing fight for my ever upward. I know that facing the pain and the reality of the scars is what brings clarity and strength to keep fighting. Justine, I just do not have the words to say what your openness and courage has done to bring light into my journey. I thank God that He led me to you.


    1. Jane,
      Thank you so much for your amazing words, they mean more than you could know! There are definitely days I am still fighting the good fight of my scarring over and finding my ever upward. It does get better, and on some days easier, talking (and writing) helps the most, at least for me! Sending you love and strength! Justine


  4. Lisa says:

    Justine, thanks so much for linking this post on my link-up. I hope my readers will read it because it’s so beautiful and contains tremendous truth. Many blessings to you…


    1. Lisa, Thank you so much for your words and for this amazing opportunity for the link up, I love it and I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect with others. J


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