Kirsten is a normal girl on the outside, but she is slowly dying on the inside. An accident in her family has broken how she sees herself, her family, and God; and the only way she feels anything at all is by carving tiny lines into her skin. Despite the physical pain that comes from such actions, the emotional pain she is suffering far outweighs a little blood she draws from time to time. Feeling guilt from the past and thinking she can do nothing to change her life, she tries in vain to ease the pain that is threatening to overwhelm and overtake her.
Now at twenty-three years old, she still fights the demons of her past. Her boyfriend of several years provides somewhat of a crutch for her, but when she discovers he is seeing her best friend, her world comes crashing down around her. She does what she knows will ease the pain - a knife, a little line, a little blood, and a little guilt eased temporally. But this time the line isn't so little, and this time someone sees her. She lands in the psych ward because it is believed she tried to kill herself.
Knowing she has gone too far this time, Kirsten takes her pastor's suggestion to go to a sheep ranch that has a treatment program for people like her. But no matter what she does or where she goes, she cannot escape from the pain and guilt of her past. Will she ever find the redeeming grace and forgiveness everyone talks about but seems to elude her? And will she ever be able to forgive herself for what she has done?
If you have ever done anything in your past that you can't forgive yourself for, you will certainly empathize with Kirsten and understand how she got to the point of cutting herself. While this book is directed more for the YA group, I think that readers of any age (not children, of course) will benefit from reading this novel. Cutting is not something that we know a lot about as a society, and unless it affects us in some way, it's one of the issues that gets swept under the rug. Forgiveness is a simple thing, freeing and liberating in nature. But forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do sometimes, as Kirsten learns and experiences firsthand.
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue is a story of renewal. Kirsten is a women avoiding her past that has an event that changed her life and that of those around her. Unfortunately she chose the path of pain over recovery which led her to the grand stand of avoidance. Kirsten was literally just fighting to live day to day under the guise of pain over recovery. Fast forward to know and yet another life altering moment has shown itself to Kirsten and she reverts to the only coping mechanism she thinks will work for her. This time, however, it did not and got her a stint in a mental institution where she knew she did not belong. Fortunately there was a more pleasing opportunity and she took with the best overall outcome for Kirsten. This is a book that must be read, it is amazing.
When Kirsten was sixteen a tragedy happened to a family member and because of her guilt she started cutting herself to try to ease the pain inside of her.
Now she is twenty-three and is still struggling with pain deep inside her. One night, after a fight with her boyfriend, she wants to cut herself. She didn't expect her boyfriend to return at the very moment she was cutting herself, and that things could get so dangerous. She ends up in a hospital psychiatric ward, because people believe she tried to kill herself.
A pastor from church stops by and tells her about Sister Frankie, an ex-nun, who takes girls like Kirsten under her care and ministers to them, so they can find healing at her ranch.
Kirsten knows nothing about ranching or sheep, but since she has no other options she decides to hear Sister Frankie out. Frankie is not the â€˜sister' she had expected to seeâ€”wearing jeans, boots and a baseball cap. Kirsten decides to give it a chance and goes with Frankie to her ranch for 30 days.
As a fragile and skinny girl, Kirsten finds ranch work heavy, but after some time she is learning and getting stronger. She also finds new friends and favorite animals to care for.
Frankie is like a mentor to Kirsten and she encourages her to listen to God's voice. With Sister Frankie's loving care and spiritual guidance, slowly understanding the things that haunt her will dawn and healing can begin.
Even Sister Frankie's handsome nephew, Andy, seems to have ghosts from his past haunting him. A sweet friendship blooms between Andy and Kirsten and together they try to find healing from the scars of the past.
A touching story about a young woman who couldn't carry her guilt on her own. She tried to relieve some of the hurt by cutting herself, but finally found healing in the most unexpected place. The reader will often be reminded of Psalm 23 throughout the bookâ€”The Lord is my Shepherd.
The authors captured the emotional aspect of the story very well and the tough subject was also made easily comprehensible for Young Adult readers.