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.
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I am scarred all over my body, some from self abuse, some from my mother’s abuse, some because I have OCD and will pick at my skin until it bleeds sometimes leaving scars.
Some of us have more than others, but as you point out they only prove who we once were, that healing is over or still in progresss and they can be reminders of who we once were and never wish to be again.
Cassandra, I’m reaching as a woman and as a mom to wrap you close and say I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for the pain you’ve suffered at the hands of others. I’m sorry that your heart has hurt so badly that it’s led you to inflict further pain upon your self. I’m sorry that the enemy thinks he can wound you when God himself loves you greatly and calls you his. May I pray for you?
Lord, thank you for Cassandra. Thank you that you heal each of us. Thank you that these scars are a reminder of the past, but your scars are a reminder of our present and future. Continue to heal this beautiful, strong survivor. Continue to use her scars to tell a story of redemption and wholeness through you. May new chapters be written in Cassandra’s story, and may those chapter speak to others who feel that there is no hope. May Cassandra’s life be a message of hope and healing for many. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
OH Suzie! I just love this! I’m so thankful for my scars! God has molded me through them and I know I would not be who I am without them. Such a beautiful topic for #livefreeThursday! Thank you for bringing us to the table to remember WE ARE FREE! Hugs!
We are free!
Suzie, your words plow deep ground. Thank you. I heard someone ask are you claiming the scars of satan or are you championing the compassion and healing of Christ? Memorable. I wanna CHEER for Christ!
See you soon!
Have I been working too hard to cover up my scars? The real me? These are the questions your post brings to my mind. Such an important reality check for me – for all of us. I want to always remember where God brought me from, while focusing on the life He gives me each day. I don’t ever want to hide my scars. I love how yours brought conversation between you and your friend – a perfect example of how our shared experiences bring us to closer relationships with one another:)
I loved this prompt, Suzie. We all have scars. And you’re so right- they’re beautiful. Love you!
Wow! Your powerful words touch me deeply…. and I know will touch others. This line “We sit beside another women, her wounds raw, and allow her to “touch our scars” to see that Jesus is real” — brought me to tears. God makes all things beautiful. “To give unto them beauty for ashes” – Isaiah 61:3 He can turn our pain into purpose when we open our wounds, our heart, our hurts to help another new to the journey we walked. Community — He designed us for it. He marked us for it. Thank you for always being so real, raw and relevant to the hearts of women.
I love the thought of turning pain into purpose. This morning I was reading and I came across the definition the word, “Shalom.” It means “flourishing wholeness.” I almost leaped from my chair. Yes! This is what it looks like to once be wounded and to be healed. Our scars are a reminder of our flourishing wholeness!
Such a great prompt this week and your words really go deep Suzie! Thanks so much for always being real with us.
Beautiful, powerful, and WOW! This line, “We sit beside another women, her wounds raw, and allow her to “touch our scars” to see that Jesus is real.” WHOA! Hello, perspective! Love this post, Suzie… thank you for the reminder not to hide our scars in shame, but to lift them to Him and allow Him to use them for His glory! YES! #livefreeThursday
If I could describe this community of #livefree women, this is the heart of it for me. <3
Oh my goodness, YES! *chills*
Thank you for leading us to reflect on our scars – visible and invisible – today Suzie and the truth of them being a mark of God’s healing LOVE! Our scars allow us to show empathy to those around us 🙂
“Our invisible scars are a mark of how God healed us.” This is a beautiful way to give thanksgiving in all things Suzie. By the way, my appendix burst at 4 🙂
I battle scars and dealing with insecurities because of them. Double mastectomy and failed reconstruction has left scars I need to overcome. Thank you for sharing this.
Such a beautiful, visual post, Suzie. The hands, the doubts, the wounds ~ wow. Everything became three dimensional. Loved it.
Thanks for pointing out the difference when we can see how our scars can point to how God has healed or is in the process of healing us…it is all in the perspective and I’m grateful how God has been gradually changing mine…blessings 🙂
Our scars tell our story … a story of victory … the story of our Healer! Thank you, Suzie, for this powerful reminder of truth! So honored to link up here today!
Just learned about this link up, wish I had sooner. I’ve been mustering the courage to write on this subject, from the viewpoint of a bipolar Christian . Perhaps now is a good time. Thank you for this topic. And shedding light on what can be difficult for some.
Amen and amen. How wonderfully God has used and redeemed your scars.
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