Sacred Scars

Resting in God’s Promise That Your Past Is Not Wasted

Cover Art

Where to Purchase

More Options


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. In Sacred Scars, neuropsychologist and fellow sufferer Dr. Michelle Bengtson helps you

· understand suffering from a biblical perspective
· discover how the trials of your life serve a purpose
· reflect on the healing that God has accomplished
· comfort others with the comfort God has given you

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.

"If you or someone you know is experiencing physical, emotional, or psychological pain, this book is for you. It will answer your questions, acknowledge your anguish, deepen your walk with God, assist in understanding the power of scars, and place you on a path of acceptance and healing."--Carol Kent, executive director of Speak Up Ministries, speaker, and author of When I Lay My Isaac Down

"While we wish for a pain-free life, the dark seasons are where God invites us into the most growth. In the pages of this book, you will come to understand how God uses pain in powerful ways. If you're human, you need this book."--Jill Savage, host of the No More Perfect Podcast and author of No More Perfect Marriages


"Difficult. Impossible. Agonizing. All-consuming. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical, emotional, or psychological pain, this book is for you. It will answer your questions, acknowledge your anguish, deepen your walk with God, assist in understanding the power of scars, and place you on a path of acceptance and healing. In Dr. Michelle Bengtson's book Sacred Scars, you'll find comfort and encouragement for your hard journey. This is also a book you will want to purchase for friends who need hope."

Carol Kent, executive director of Speak Up Ministries, speaker, and author of When I Lay My Isaac Down

"Pain. We all experience it emotionally, physically, relationally, and even spiritually. While we wish for a pain-free life, the dark seasons are where God invites us into the most growth. In the pages of this book, you will come to understand how God uses pain in powerful ways. If you're human, you need this book."

Jill Savage, host of the No More Perfect Podcast and author of No More Perfect Marriages

"If you've been wounded and need a reminder that you're not disqualified because of your pain, this book is for you. In Sacred Scars, Dr. Bengtson combines her expertise in relationships with her knowledge of the Word of God to offer encouragement and hope. The scars that trigger pain can be reframed to reveal something sacred."

Ashley Elliott, MS, LMHCA, counselor, speaker, and coauthor of I Used to Be ___

"Since meeting Dr. Michelle Bengtson, I knew I had to go and devour her work. She carries a mighty stick of dynamite-packaged knowledge and truth through her books, and Sacred Scars is no different. It ministered to me in the deepest parts of my soul. I would very much like to sit with my younger self and read Sacred Scars to little Rachel. I would tell her that her scars will not be in vain, that God will make something beautiful out of them. This book helped me in my continual journey to shed and ward off shame. Oh, how this world and the enemy will use shame to strip us of who God intended us to be. Run, do not walk, to devour this book. Hold it tight; let Dr. Bengtson, and God, speak life into you through this encouraging book. I am praying for your healing and restoration!"

Rachel Joy Baribeau, author of Relentless Joy, former national sportscaster, and founder of #ImChangingtheNarrative

"We all have them--scars, that is--but few of us realize that these scars might just represent our finest hour. Dr. Michelle Bengtson teaches us to display our scars for God's glory rather than hide them, ignore them, or feel shame because of them. I read every word of Sacred Scars and felt hope return to my weary soul because I have scars too, and yet I haven't always known what to do with them. Now, because of Michelle's perspective, I will view my scars as the vehicle through which I am invited into his presence, where there is always fullness of joy."

Carol McLeod, speaker, bestselling author of Rooms of a Mother's Heart and Meanwhile, and host of the Significant Women podcast

"It's so easy to get stuck in the pain of our past . . . all the would haves, could haves, and should haves that bring guilt, shame, and/or regret. Dr. Michelle combines her contagious encouragement with years of professional experience as a neuropsychologist to help you move forward to see God's redemptive hand in your painful past. She hands you a dose of hope to see a bright future. If you are carrying a heavy past, unsure of what your next steps should be, or struggling to understand why things have happened the way they have, don't miss this book! And get one for your friend, too, because we all need to see our scars as something sacred."

Erica Wiggenhorn, national speaker with Aspire Women's Events and author of An Unexpected Revival

"We all have scars. Some are visible, but many are hidden beneath layers of emotional, relational, or even spiritual harm. The trials that cause these scars can lead us to wrestle with God and ask him hard questions, regardless of how strong our faith is. Using equal parts empathy, vulnerability, and intellect, board-certified clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Bengtson is the friend you want to help you navigate your pain and shame. And of course, her message is covered in her steadfast faith in Jesus. Sacred Scars is for anyone bearing scars--no matter how old--who is seeking purpose, understanding, and perspective in them. Using personal stories from both herself and others, Dr. Michelle comes alongside those who are suffering to offer empathy, encouragement, and the hope of Jesus. You are not alone."

Amy Connell, Graced Health podcast host and author of Your Worthy Body and Your CORE Strength

"With wisdom, love, and compassion, Dr. Michelle Bengtson encourages us to embrace God's unwavering love, which will empower us to rise above our pain and suffering and embrace blessings that emerge from our brokenness. God never forsakes us, especially during our most challenging times. You will find grace, peace, and promise through the intimate stories of those who have endured unimaginable suffering--emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This book is a compelling tribute to the human spirit and God's unfailing love."

Lee Ann Mancini, adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary, founder of the Raising Christian Kids nonprofit organization, and author and executive producer of the Sea Kids series

"Don't suffer alone, my friend. This book by Dr. Michelle Bengtson is the companion you need to heal your battle wounds and embrace your holy, sacred scars. Whether you've experienced an unexpected diagnosis, wounds at the hand of another, or consequences of your own mistakes, Sacred Scars offers real help and hope. This inspiring and easy-to-read resource reminds you that no pain is wasted in the hands of your loving Father. From her own sacred journey, Dr. Michelle shares practical ways to recognize 'the melody of love that God sings over us.' Through the pages you'll find courage amid the storm, determination to rely on Jesus when life doesn't make sense, and hope to face your redeemed future through the eyes of your heavenly Father, who makes all things new. One of my favorite quotes from this book: 'Some of our greatest growth opportunities come after the wrestle with pain and suffering.' May it be true for you as well."

Rhonda Stoppe, the No Regrets Woman, Christian speaker, bestselling author of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, and host of the Old Ladies Know Stuff podcast

"I've been writing for a long time, but the hardest thing I've ever done was share my personal story and scars in my most recent book. Dr. Michelle Bengtson does just this in her beautiful book Sacred Scars. I appreciate and applaud her bravery, and I guarantee that you, like me, will be inspired, encouraged, and blessed by her story. We all have scars. They make us who we are, but not everyone does the work to learn from them and realize the power of sharing them. As Michelle prays, 'Father . . . help them to trust you in the waiting as you heal their wounds and bring beauty from their ashes in the form of sacred scars.' And I as like to say, 'God never wastes our pain.' I pray for you what this book echoes: May God bring purpose from your past into your future, and from this day on, may you realize how powerful your testimony is and how many lives can be changed by sharing it with others."

Greg Atkinson, author, speaker, founder of the First Impressions Conference and the Entrepreneurial Church Conference

"When I consider my physical body, the visible scars are obvious. It is my scarred emotional and spiritual state that remains hidden to the naked eye. The cavern of those sacred scars is dark, deep, and often disturbing. Posts about long nights of pain, agony, and anguish won't appear on my social media feed. I hide the hard and share the sensational. Who wants to hear about my suffering? Thankfully, in Sacred Scars, Dr. Michelle Bengtson does share her suffering with us. Writing a book about sacred scars means she has them. The truth within her words is palpable. Her honesty assures me that I can make it through my own journey. She writes, 'We may feel anonymous, unnamed, or unknown . . . pained, scarred, and discarded, and yet God calls us his own.' The juxtaposition of being scarred and being known as God's own can be a tough concept to grasp, but as Dr. Michelle promises in the beginning, '[our scars] always serve a purpose and impact us if we'll let them, because God never wastes our pain.'"

Janell Rardon, author, podcaster, board-certified life coach

"It is rare for me to find a book written by someone who not only writes experientially but also from a clinical as well as biblical perspective. Chapter 8 especially aligns with the core of my ministry, and Dr. Michelle has captured the heart of the matter in overcoming painful challenges: 'Perhaps overcoming isn't living a pain-free existence, but it's putting one foot in front of the other when everything within you begs you to quit.' If all a person derived from this book were to understand the truth of that one statement, it would be worth the read, but every page is filled with wisdom. I will be incorporating this into my recommended reading list for the clients I work with."

Dr. Mel Tavares, DMin in pastoral care and counseling, certified mental health coach, and life coach

"Dr. Michelle Bengtson's new book, Sacred Scars, captivated me. I found my personal life totally turned upside down in June 2023, when a stroke almost took me out of this world. Pain leaves profound footprints in our personal lives. How we respond to it can bring either healing or further trauma that can compound over time. Dr. Michelle walked with me personally, as well as in my profession, through the very dark days of my recovery. When I was given the honor of reading Sacred Scars, I again found a healing that enabled me to continue my path of recovery. I am personally and professionally indebted to Dr. Michelle Bengtson for her grace-filled, hope-filled, and hands-on care. As a certified professional life coach, I will continue to read and reread this book for myself and encourage all my clients to read it as an aid in their pursuit of physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual healing of past pain."

Carolyn Freeman, counselor, certified professional life coach, and founder and president of Impact Coaching Ministries

"As a survivor of domestic abuse, I was terrified at the thought of God using my scars to help others. The scars were a constant reminder of the abuse I'd endured. I either tried to cover them and pretend they didn't exist, or I wore them as a badge of honor, like a child showing off their skinned knee. Sacred Scars is a book that would have helped me on my journey to healing. But it will take you on a journey to deeper healing to release the trauma and shame without spiritualizing your pain. God turns the ugliness of your pain into good, wasting nothing, when you face your pain with boldness and courage, which isn't easy. Michelle doesn't just use her story; she uses the stories of others who discovered God in their pain and now choose to use their pain to help others."

Karen DeArmond Gardner, author of Hope for Healing from Domestic Abuse, trauma advocate for women in or out of domestic abuse, and founder of Another One Free

"Sacred Scars is an essential and uncomplicated exploration of the suffering and resulting scars in our lives. Dr. Bengtson pairs biblical wisdom with real-life experience as she draws her readers always toward hope. 'God doesn't call all of us who have endured great pain and loss to lead Bible studies, write books, start ministries, or speak from stages,' writes Michelle. 'But he never wastes our pain, and he partners with those who are willing and surrendered to share out of the overflow of their heart after he has brought healing to them as well as sacred scars to honor the battle they've fought.' A compelling and meaningful reference."

Cindee Snider Re, author and cofounder of Chronic Joy

"Michelle Bengtson's Sacred Scars layers understanding and encouragement with biblical teaching on the aftermath of pain--whether that's emotional or physical. She provides sound counsel about how not to let a painful past dominate our present life or occlude our future. She tackles tough subjects such as woundedness and shame, providing direction on how to find a new identity that is stronger, more informed, and more compassionate toward ourselves and others. As someone who has experienced injustice, loss, and heartache, I found a friend in the pages of this book. I recommend it highly without reservation."

Janet Holm McHenry, national speaker and author of numerous books on prayer, including The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus

"As someone who used to believe God could never use the painful parts of my story, I found Sacred Scars to be a healing balm that reassures us how dearly loved we are because our Savior bears scars, too, which highlight our redemption. Dr. Michelle Bengtson does a beautiful job covering us in truth and reminding us how our scars should not point toward shame but toward strength in Christ! Our past doesn't disqualify us. It demonstrates the power of a God who restores, mends, and makes all things new. This message is one all our hearts need."

Becky Beresford, speaker, coach, and author of She Believed HE Could, So She Did

The Author

  1. Dr. Michelle Bengtson
    Welcome Grace Photography

    Dr. Michelle Bengtson

    Dr. Michelle Bengtson is an international speaker, a national and international media resource on mental health, and the bestselling, award-winning author of Hope Prevails, the Hope Prevails Bible Study, Today Is Going to Be a Good Day,...

    Continue reading about Dr. Michelle Bengtson