Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beautiful Scars

I wanted to share something that encouraged me this weekend. I was just reading and came across this and it stopped me in my tracks.

For several years as I began to deal with the aftermath of abuse, I had one prayer - "no scars". I wanted God to so heal me that there would be no scars left.

He is capable of it.

The difficult thing for us as His children is reconciling what God is capable of and what He choses to do. We all have our questions from times that God did not answer in a way He could have.

I had some of these questions when my daughter died before she was born...

My prayer was always, "no scars". Showing faith. I firmly believed that God could heal so I would not be a "damaged person". I still believe it. In fact, I still hold God to it. But something happened that changed my prayer.

I was away at a conference last year, doing very well, and very happy. Then one thing happened, someone gave me a book. I was happy to get the book. I had wanted it. But to see the title and know it was about abuse send me into a temporary down. I had to fight some tough feelings on my way to my room to put away the book, and on the way back, I argued with God, pleaded, begged Him to heal me to the point of no scars - so that I can be effective and that one small thing can not bring back waves of pain.

I continued on to the meeting where I heard something which stopped me in my tracks. The speaker was not even close to this subject. He was speaking about explaining Christ to one certain religious group. He had just said, "When people say to me, 'well, Jesus never died on the cross; He was switched with Judas at the last moment'.", then I can say, "Look at His scars. They are still in His hands today, and I know when I get to heaven, His hands will still bear those scars."

Screech...... life just did one of those screeching halts to a quiet pause...

Jesus bears scars. He does it as a testimony to what happened, to what He has done...

I stopped asking for "no scars" last year. I'd like to be this wonderful, whole, beautiful person with no scarring at all. But... What is the first reaction you have when you see a scar? Mine is to ask what happened. What happened?

Scars, healed scars, even healing scars, testify to the power of God to work in our lives. My new prayer has been "make my scars beautiful". Take this mess and make me beautiful. Make the scars bring questions and Your healing power be shown through me.

This weekend, I read this and stopped in my tracks again... I had been praying for our marriage and feeling useless and disqualified and sad about my mess. Since then, I've sat more quietly at God's feet. I really don't want more scars in my life, not really, not at all.... but if they come, make them beautiful.

This was from Nate Saint:

"If people come with no scars, we don’t want to listen to them. We listen to someone who’s been there. If we want to reach the world, they need to see that God meets us in our darkest hour. They need to see a God who’s worth taking a beating for, a God who sent His own personal family to be a Savior for us. When we take that kind of God into the world, we don’t show our muscle, we show our scars"

I've got a lot of wounds healing up right now, and I am still embarrassed at the scarring, but let it be. I need God. I also know that He can heal. I've seen Him do it before and I am confident in that.


Anonymous said...

Great post. There is a song out by the group Point of Grace's latest album "How you live" called "Heal the wound". The main line is "heal the wound but leave the scar, to remind me of how merciful you are." Your post reminded me of this song. This album is awesome, I'd totally recommend it. God is the Healer! And still the Great Physician. Lean into Him and let him remind you how merciful He is. Blessings!

Becky Aguirre said...

Okay, fine, make me cry today! Something about this really is evoking strong emotion today...not sure what, but wow...I am so glad that God is comforting you these days. I continue to think of you often and pray for wisdom and healing...even if it does leave some scars...

jpierce said...

I am following your journey. I think scars are good reminders of how God has kept us and that healing does happen. No one wants to suffer, but when the hard times come the scars are a reminder that God cares and He'll heal. AND most of the time we don't even notice a scar, it's just there and we go on about our lives. Hang in there and keep looking for the beauty! JP One Handful of Rice

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts. Thank you for sharing them. I too have my (non-physical) scars and don't always like having them, having to live with them. Once in a while I need to remind myself that I can only help others in situations that I have gone through myself. (Comfort them with the comfort I have received. 2 Corinthians.)
On second thought, it reminds me how different cultures deal differently with physical scars. I was very puzzled by the way American Christians prayed for "no scars" in a physical sense for a child after a small accident. There were other similar situations that I observed. There was nearly a sense of panic that this child could have scars for the rest of its life. True, it's not nice to have scars, but for me (as non-American) no reason for panic. I have several physical scars from childhood and nobody in my country thought twice about it. They are part of childhood. No panic that I could be disfigured and not a perfect beauty. No prayer for complete healing without scars.
Could it be that people in the US (more than in other countries) believe that you can only be effective without scars (physical and emotional), that you need perfect beauty to be successful, enjoy life, find the right spouse, etc.?
Just wondering.

Ellie said...

I am both American as well as a citizen of another country. I have lived in South America, Europe, Asia, and North America for several years in each place. I haven't seen a greater dislike of physical scars in Americans than others. I think many factors could be in play in what you heard. Different cultures in America (there are dramatically different cultures within the bigger US) may see scars differently. In the southeast, there is a greater emphasis on appearance in general than perhaps in the northwest or in the central areas. It would all depend.

Some countries in Europe would also be more likely to be concerned about scars than others, I would suspect, too.

I think, in my life, I would have been much happier with bearing physical scars than emotional ones or "labels" people put on others.

I wouldn't say I think you have to be "perfect" to minister to others, but it is difficult to live in a society where many people think that kids who have lived through some types of abuse will "never be normal". No matter what I do, I am labeled if people know. They say, "oh, yes, those people will always struggle with....." or "they will not ever be able to...."

It was this I wanted to get over. I wanted God to heal me to a point where people would no longer look at me and say to themselves that "yup, look at the damage". I wanted to look in a mirror and not see what people would call "damaged goods". It was like living in a life where you know you are permanently warped without chance of healing.

I still ask God to heal me beyond what people can believe, but I've given up asking for total healing without scars. I had surgery once, and occasionally the scar tissue still pulls and causes mild pain. It is enough to remind me of pain, to let me remember. I don't want to be healed so much that I can not hurt with others. It would be nice to not be able to be plunged into sharp, deep pain, but I don't want it anymore. I want to be able to feel pain, so my heart is more sensitive to others and more willing to reach out to them.

I think that is what I am trying to say.