From Life in Season: Celebrate the Moments that fill your heart & home:
Yes son, I remember that one vividly.
“Here’s one I got when I was your age.” I pointed to my bottom lip. “I fell and bit right through it!” He was fascinated with is and wanted all of the gory details.
“…and see this one?” He excitedly pointed out to me, interrupting my own scar-riddled tale. “This one was from when I almost cut my finger off from slamming it in the door!”
Oh yes. That one I remember like yesterday.
Being an eight year old boy, he was all about one-upping, and being an eight year old boy, he had far surpassed me by now, in the scar department. He received some perverse pleasure in his scars, like they were a badge of honor from surviving his first years of life. To me, though, they represented fear. Fear and a melancholy, lingering sense of failure, as a parent. Failure that, in those moments, I hadn’t been watching quite as closely as I should have. That I hadn’t monitored these “situations” and the ending results had been many bandages and urgent care visits. They spoke to me and reminted me of my often-lingering sense of inadequateness my mothering.
At 43 years old, I carry many scars. Scars you can see and many you cannot. After losing 132 pounds a year and a half ago, my body is now covered in scars—-scars from stretching skin beyond its capacity. These scars on my body are an outward sign of the healing scars on my heart, and in my mind, as I acknowledge and continue to struggle with my idolatry of food. I have had feelings of deep shame when I see them. Shame at what I did to my body for so many years. Embarrassment that even though I am now at a healthy weight, I must continue to wear my past as a reminder of my sin.
Why is it that an eight-year-old boy can confidently point out, and be proud of his scars, when mine are hidden? To him they represent adventure and boldness, and a willingness to live life to the fullest, while mine represent secrecy and shame?
I have had so much praise and acknowledgement of my effort to find health in my life and on the surface people see a woman, confident in her “own skin.” They don’t know that, under the clothes that my skin is damaged beyond repair, forever a reminder to me of my past.
I have found comfort in reading the words of Paul as he shares his own trial with his flesh.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” 2 Corinthians 12:7
We never learn what Paul’s “thorn” was, nor do I think it is relevant. What we can learn, through Paul, is that often God allows trials to placed into our lives to remind us of our ability to conquer fleshly desires, through the grace of Christ Jesus. That through these trials, and the reminder of them, we may remain humble and mindful of all that God has helped us to overcome—- but in that overcoming often scars remain.
While Satan says that my scars are a reminder of sin and failure, Jesus says that my scars are a reminder of overcoming and triumph over sin! My scars make me a conquer and overcomer!
Jesus carried his own scars as a reminder of his victory over death. He was pierced for our sins and yet rose again, his scars as a testimony to overcoming the grave for all of eternity!
In fact, he was asked to show them as “proof” that he was the Christ, risen.
Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”
A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”
Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!” (See John 20:24-28.)
The Reverend C. H. Spurgeon said so beautifully,
“Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are his trophies—the trophies of his love. Have you never seen a soldier with a gash across his forehead or in his cheek? Why every soldier will tell you the wound in battle is no disfigurement—it is his honor. “If” said he, “I received a wound when I was retreating, a wound in the back, that were to my disgrace, If I have received a wound in a victory, then it is an honorable thing to be wounded.” Now, Jesus Christ has scars of honor in his flesh and glory in his eyes He has other trophies He has divided the spoil with the strong: he has taken the captive away from his tyrant master; he has redeemed for himself a host that no man can number, who are all the trophies of his victories: but these scars, these are the memorials of the fight, and these the trophies, too.” The Wounds of Jesus
Are we capable of seeing the scars in our lives in this way? As trophies to be shown proudly of that fight we have one. As memorials to what we have conquered in our own lives?
Can we identify with Jesus, on this Good Friday, as he held out his scarred hands, to his beloved disciples, as proof that he was ALIVE? Can we see our scars as a victory over sin and not something to be ashamed of? I pray that as you remember the wounding and death of our Savior and, three days later, his triumphant resurrection that you will also remember that he bears scars, scars that represent eternal life for you and for me!
That like Jesus, when he revealed his scars to his disciples, we can reveal our scars to those around us and point to them and say, “I am an overcomer and these scars are proof of God’s goodness and mercy in my life!”
We invite you to read more inspiring stories, like Scars, in our book…. Life in Season