Like the one on my right arm, wrist, and hand where I fell out of a tree one summer while at the baby sitter's. The mean baby sitter's. The one who would make us stay outside during August, smoldering in the summer heat. The one who tried to force us to eat hominy (which I still won't touch to this day) in exchange for dessert. The one who yelled at me instead of comforted me when I fell out of the tree. And although they're barely visible now, I bare the scars.
How about the one on my left thigh, also barely visible, where after my brother had gone motorcycle riding and went inside, I decided I would try to climb up on it and explore. And being 5 years younger than him meant I wasn't capable of doing that by myself, which turned into my thigh touching the burning hot motor and ripping the skin off my thigh. I have the scar.
Or the time I stepped on one of my dad's tools on the porch and sliced my pinkie toe open. The scar remains.
Or my more recent ones from having Anna and Eli via c-section, from my appendix rupturing and having an emergency appendectomy, and from having my gal bladder removed (it had 30+ stones in it). They remain and they're not at all invisible. They are blatant reminders that I have scars. As are the stretch marks I have from carrying our children.
Yet there are more than physical scars that I carry. I carry the scars of emotional losses and trying times in my life, the regrets and bad choices.
Oddly enough I still remember sitting in 11th grade Chemistry class being asked what I made on our latest test. When it was discovered I was who set the bar, rendering no curve because I did so well, I remember a boy turning to me and saying "Did you know you're an ugly witch." Although the word he used wasn't witch but it did rhyme with it. I carry that memory with me. I'm not sure why. But it remains.
I carry the scars of losing all of my grandparents.
I carry the scars of losing our babies after years of trying for them.
I carry the scars of watching my best friend love her baby a lifetime in the 34 short days she had him. I was blessed to see him, hold his hand and touch his tiny little feet. And I was there watching her honor him and lay him to rest. Oh how my heart has ached for her, wishing her never to experience the pain of losing a child, knowing full and well her pain is so much deeper than mine has ever been, and that brings me to my knees on her behalf.
There are scars. And I'm willing to bet you carry some too.
But one thing you might not know is that I carry mine proudly.
Well, most of the time anyway.
Each scar tells a story. Each scar has shaped me into who I am today, be it in a small way of learning to stay out of trees or not get near hot objects... to learn from my mistakes. Or they've shaped me in a larger way of showing me that in my deepest, darkest, most trying times that He is always faithful. They have shaped and formed me into who I am today.
Scars are seen as undesirable. Associated with ugliness, with pain.
But aren't they beautiful too? The scars on my arm remind me of a babysitter none of us much liked, yet of funny stories of my sister shoveling her mouth full of hominy and running to the bathroom to spit it out and flush it down the toilet, only to get caught and lose her dessert.
The scar on my leg reminds me of the old house we grew up in, the dirt mound next to it that my dad and brother would ride their motorcycles on. All the good times we had there.
The one on my toe reminds me of how much of a daddy's girl I've always been. It didn't matter if he was working on a car or something else, I wanted to be there, even if it meant a sliced toe.
The scars from my appendectomy remind me of God's faithfulness. That we caught it early enough that it didn't have time to fully rupture. That the surgery was successful and that I'm still here.
The scars from my gal bladder remind me of how thankful I am for modern medicine and the relief I've felt since having it removed.
And my scar from my c-sections and all the accompanying stretch marks? Well, those are the ones I carry with the most joy. Do I like stretch marks? Uh, no. But am I thankful that God has made me a mother 5 times over? Absolutely! And while these hands have never held 2 of them and while they're waiting to hold the one I'm currently carrying, I rejoice that God gave me the privilege of carrying each of them. Stretch marks and all.
Do I want my babies back? Yes. I would be lying to say otherwise. I have unanswered questions. I have scars from the cruel things people have said and done. From being in the pit of despair and from watching those close to me suffer.
But those scars... they are some of the most precious to me. Because it's been in those moments that I've grown the most. That God has drawn me close to Him. That He's shown me that I don't have to understand to trust Him. That He's ever present, even with me as I sit in the bottom of the shower crying out to Him for help. He's been there. Going behind, before, and staying beside, hemming me in, showing me how He carries those who are hurting.
And that's beautiful.
Instead of scars reminding us of all that we despise and dislike, what if they reminded us of His love and provision through it all?
Because, you know, He carries scars too. The hurt of all the ridicule and rejection. Being spat upon. Beaten. Stabbed.
He bares the scars in his hands and feet.
And they're beautiful. Oh so beautiful, friends.
They remind me of His immense love for us. The sacrifice He was willing to pay for us even as we were still in our sin.
I love Colton Dixon's song, Scars, and the line that says "Your scars remind us of who we are." Because it's because of the holes in his hands and feet that we can relinquish our scars and rest in who we are in Him.
Scars are beautiful.
Let's all remind ourselves of that and of who we are because of the scars He carries.