Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scars

Scars come in many forms.  We all have at least one kind: physical, emotional, or spiritual.  Every type hurts though.  But there is something strangely beautiful about them.  Most aren't intentional but that doesn't change the fact that they hurt and leave a reminder of how we don't add up or how we aren't the person we want or expect to be.  They don't have to be all bad though.  They can be a beautiful reminder of where you used to be and just how far God has brought you.

Not sure why, but I still remember the conversation.  I was on the phone with a friend just weeks after my car accident.  I was thankful to not only be alive but walking.  No 16 year old girl wants to be in an arm splint and a neck brace with not only broken bones but stitches galore from intense glass cuts.  Heck, no one at any age wants that.  My left arm had been cut up pretty badly but my face also had cuts from windshield glass.  The friend and I were talking about my injuries and the stitches and he said something that cut more than the glass.  He made reference to me getting plastic surgery to repair or correct my facial scars.  "You're going to want to get those scars taken care of, Jenny.  Do you really want scars on your face? "  I was shocked at the fact that he was THAT concerned about my appearance.  All I could do was tell him, "Look, I know they won't look great but it could have been much worse."  Chances are, I followed that with some snarky comment before ending the discussion.  It broke my heart because I became paranoid of how people would view my scars.  I was then thinking that they would be off putting and was afraid no man would find me attractive.  That was a lie.

Now, why did I just tell you that?   It isn't because I am angry with him for that or that I'm holding a grudge.  His opinion wasn't the kicker for me but his words left an impact that made me even more aware of my physical imperfections on my face.  Some might think I'm vain for it but when I have ever not been transparent here?  I told you that in hopes that you'll see that we all have scars.  Some are seen by the human eye and others are so deep and buried in us with the fear that someone will see them and find us hideous of foolish.  I've seen people that have been hurt by the church and those in leadership.  There are many who have been physically, verbally or sexually assaulted by someone they trusted or even someone they didn't even know. 

Personally, most of my internal scars are from choices I made in relationships that left me feeling broken and ashamed and feeling that I wouldn't add up or be good enough or whole enough.  That, in turn, led to more poor decisions in hopes that I'd fill some void that can only be fulfilled by Christ.  Most of the physical ones I have are from the accident I mentioned above but I'm thankful for them (most days).  They serve as a reminder that God is faithful and that He is who He says He is. He even used them as confirmation to Thomas.  "Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27  There was also joy within the disciples when he showed him his side and his hands in John 20:21-23.  That convicted me today when I was thinking about how much I despise my internal (& sometimes external) scars and the way I let them get to me.  Scars can be a reason to rejoice because the children of God have been redeemed.  They are the result of healing that has either happened or is happening right this very moment.  Can I get a WHAT WHAT?!?!  It's a process though, and sometimes within it we are required to tend to that "injury" by being transparent, striving to learn from mistakes and even choosing to forgive. 

When people notice my scars, I see it as an incredible opportunity to talk about God's faithfulness and how He protected me.  When I meet with the college/career ladies and we talk about life, I use the scars from my past to encourage them and hopefully set an example of just what kind of healing God brings to his children.  In the process of getting them, scars hurt like hell but what a beautiful story they can be used to tell.