We all have scars. I think it’s probably safe to say that all of us have experienced hurts and pain that have left their mark in some way. Some scars are physical in nature and very visible for all to see. Other scars are internal and find their home deep in our hearts. Regardless of what our scars look like, they are a part of life.
When I think about my own scars I am reminded of the nine separate markings that were left on my body after my double mastectomy and biopsies. I remember when my port-a-cath was inserted in my neck and upper chest, preparing the way for chemotherapy treatments, I actually asked the doctor as he was prepping for the procedure if the scar would be very visible. My first, very prideful, thought was about the appearance of the scar. The thought of having a very obvious “blemish” on my neck was a bit disconcerting at the time.
How naive I was. Little did I know that as time went on, I would become very proud of those scars. Proud, say what?! You’re probably thinking that even after all these years my brain hasn’t quite recovered from the anesthesia and I’m officially off my rocker. “Proud” probably sounds a bit harsh or completely unrealistic to you.
But yes, I am proud of those scars and I’ll tell you why. First, I want to share a quick story.
I recently had a text conversation with a friend that had just undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and she was in the hospital. She had sent me a photo of her scar which was extensive and in a very visible place on her body. My immediate response to the picture was, “Girlfriend, now that’s a scar you can be proud of!” But after I sent that message, I immediately felt regret and major conviction. Here is a woman going through a tremendously difficult time in her life, and I am flippantly telling her to be proud of this very visible scar.
I felt so horrible about what I had said, that I reached back out to her to apologize. The last thing I wanted was for her to take it the wrong way, or even worse, be offended. I quickly explained the meaning behind my comment, and thankfully she was neither taken back by it or offended.
The reason why I so quickly responded in the way that I did was because my mindset on scars has completely changed. Years ago my idea of a scar was something that was ugly or undesirable. Gosh, even kids are taught to fear scars. Isn’t the bad guy in the animated movie, Lion King, named Scar? But I want to challenge you to think about scars in a different light.
Scars are proof that we have gone through battle and have overcome. They are reminders that life can be hard sometimes, and we often get kicked around, knocked down, and beaten up in the process. However, those wounds that we experience eventually close up. Some are barely visible and others are screaming reminders of a very difficult time in our lives. But remember, if you have scars, that means you are still living and have persevered. Your body has healed and you are in, or entering, a new chapter of your life.
I know that emotional scars often don’t heal as easily or as quickly as physical scars, but so much can be learned by those wounds if you allow yourself to acknowledge them, learn to forgive, and work through that pain with God’s help.
I think it’s very timely that this concept has been bubbling in my heart this morning because it happens to be Easter weekend. The time that we as a family celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here is a man who suffered a horrific death to give us life and He had the scars to prove it. He had nails driven into his hands, and feet, and a sword pierced side. On the third day He rose again and appeared to the disciples. They were afraid and initially doubted that who they were seeing was truly Jesus, so to prove His identity He showed them…..
Luke 24:37-38 says, They were startled and frightened thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!…”
John 20:19-20 says, …. “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
Jesus was proud of His scars. They were not only reminders of His pain and suffering, but more importantly, proof of His victory over death. They were a part of His story and a very important part.
If you have scars, I am truly sorry for the pain you have experienced, and I feel that acknowledging that pain is an important part of the healing process. I hope that you too can be proud of your scars and show them freely. (I can’t show the majority of mine or I might be arrested. Ha!) But I will always gladly display the ones I can because of the deeper meaning they will always have for me.
My prayer is that you can look at your scars and not see a flawed human being, but instead see a beautiful and loved,