We were rooming together in Ecuador.
My friend, Shawna with Compassion International pointed out a scar on my shoulder.
“You’ve been marked,” she said, pulling up her sleeve. “We both have.”
She once battled melanoma. I once battled skin cancer. We both survived and our scars tell the story.
I have several scars, most of them hidden. I have a significant scar where surgeons removed breast cancer at the age of 32. I have stretch marks from carrying my babies. There’s a scar across my stomach where my appendix burst when I was five years old.
We’re all marked.
Life does that. It leaves scars and marks that eventually fade but don’t completely go away.
Not too long ago I thought about my own story.
For the very first time I thanked God for the scars of my childhood. It’s easy to thank Him for the stretchmarks that represent my children, or the scars that shout out to the world that I’m a survivor of cancer.
But these scars? I hadn’t considered thanking God for them. Is is it possible to thank God for scars you didn’t ask for, or that were inflicted by another person?
Our invisible scars are a mark of how God has healed us.
They reveal where Jesus’ tender touch found the wounds and made them whole. They mark a timeline that describes who you once were, what you once went through, but who you are today.
One of the most beautiful passages in scripture is when Jesus stands before Thomas and holds out his hands.
But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”
But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”
Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” John 20:24-27 (MSG)
Too many times we make it to the end of our lives having cursed our scars and those who made them. I understand the emotion behind that. It hurt. It shouldn’t have happened.
But it did and we can’t change that.
Yet if God healed us or is in the process of healing our heart, those scars mean that we are no longer that young child or that broken woman.
We are free.
We come alongside others and walk with them as they find healing too for we are marked, marked, marked.
By His love.
By His power.
By His healing touch.
Being marked is different than being scarred.
We stop cursing our scars and those who made them and hold them up to Jesus to receive all he offers.
We sit beside another women, her wounds raw, and allow her to “touch our scars” to see that Jesus is real.
My scars are beautiful.
Your scars are beautiful.
His scars are beautiful.