From Life in Season: Celebrate the Moments that fill your heart & home:
He painstakingly pointed out all of his scars to me. “See this one mommy? I got this one when I made the contraption out of your old vacuum cleaner and cut my head on the metal tube!”
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
Lovely and touching story, thank you for sharing. A reminder for us all. Happy Easter!
Rhonda S. says
Just perfect analogies Heather! I never looked at it that way….thank you so much for this post! Have a wonderful Resurrection Day as we remember His scars showing His love for us.
What a perfect way to remember Good Friday.
Heide V says
Badges of the overcomer…thank you for this 🙂
I understand your feelings when you see yourself in a mirror…I have them too….but I am not ashamed anymore…now it’s a reminder of where I DO NOT EVER want to be again…….I lost 80 pounds in 2009….so far I have gained back 5….I overate last year due to “stuff”….and now with the Grace Of GOD I am back on track….so I hear you….but I am now past that point….I do always have the underlying fear of gaining it all back and more….but every day it’s choices…..those who haven’t lost larger amounts don’t get that part….but it’s REAL….lol…so GOOD JOB….and keep moving forward…
Marks of a mission! Happy Resurrection Day to you and your family.
Beautifully written! Thank you for this. I am going to try and get your book, it sounds wonderful!
I lost 100 lbs. in 2007 and have kept off most of it.. It creeps back on every now and then making me work harder at keeping me healthy. My husband calls my scars my Tiger stripes. He saw what a struggle and how hard it was to shed that weight. He tells me that I am strong like a Tiger. We all are flawed, keep saying that.. ALL of us have something. God thru his grace understands this. You should always remember, you did something a lot of people are unable to find the strength to do or have medical problems and cant do.. Praise God for his wisdom and love.
Heather, thanks so much for sharing your personal story. Since I have stumbled and fallen before, I can definitely apply this to my life. I wish you a Happy and Blessed Easter. He is risen Indeed!
Cindy Brown says
I completely understand, after losing and regaining and losing and regaining, I am so disgusted with myself and have so much self-loathing. Thank you for your words. I needed them.
Anne Robinson says
A very beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing and also for including your shares about yourself and your son. I am very happy I stopped by. May you and yours have a beautiful Easter SONday and a lovely Happy Pink Saturday too.
Thank you, friend, for this testimony, and for sharing your journey that has helped so many, including me! I am forever grateful!
MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says
Heather, bless you for sharing your scars on your journey through life. Thanks, too, for sharing about the scars that our Lord went through in dying on the cross for each one of us! Each Easter is so precious to each of us that has put our trust in Him.
Just pray that you and your dear family will have a blessed Easter Sunday! How wonderful to know that we serve a risen Savior! How we thank Him for all that He has done for us — and continues to do for us with each new day.
Michele (Finch Rest) says
Bless your heart.
Easter joy to you both, always.
Carol Reddin says
So beautiful, Heather! Thank you for sharing this.
What a beautiful testimony. We are more than conquerors through the Lord Jesus Christ! Romans 8:35-37 Thank you for your humble, courageous sharing.
Diane Lawrence says
Thank you for sharing, Heather.
valarie sanford says
Beautiful, thank you.