Some scars are worn on our skin and we often swap stories of how we got that scratch or how many stitches we had there. We say things like, “that one really hurt” or “this one healed kind of funny”, but the stories don’t go far beyond. Others mark our hearts and these are the ones we try so very hard to hide. We don’t swap stories of heartscars…we hide them. We lock them away in the depths of our soul hoping they never find a way out and that no one ever finds a way in. We keep our relationships superficial and our conversations mundane. It is far easier to talk about the weather outside than the turmoil inside. It is often easier to pretend all is well, slap on a smile and spend our time claiming victory over our enemies and never have to face the reality that the Lord, in his wisdom, has allowed a trial to come our way that will benefit us and be an encouragement to those around us. Why would I deny the pain that could be the unfolding of a miracle – if not for me, perhaps for someone else? After all, the Bible does tell us that there is no greater love than if a man lays down his life for another. Jesus did not endure the lash and cross while denying they were happening. The only path to victory was through the pain and our need was far greater than the suffering required.
You see, scars are not solely for our benefit but also for the encouragement and strengthening of others. They are our testimony; a common ground from which to help those who may be in the midst of similar struggles. The scars we share are a light in their darkness and offer hope in their hopelessness. When all seemed lost, Thomas was confused and frightened then Jesus showed him where the nails and spear had been. Those were the scars he shared that gave Thomas a reason to believe. Beyond these and the other physical scars that Jesus bears, there are heartscars that he shares as well. He wept over Jerusalem, his friend Lazarus, and that night in the garden as his followers slept. He named those who would betray and deny him. He was enraged in the temple and kicked out of his hometown. These and many other familiar stories are heartscars that were written down and shared with us in order to give us hope and courage and show us compassion. They are meant to instill in us a belief that if he can endure these pains then, in him, we can as well…and maybe even more. To that end, I have shared some of my scars. What I have written is by no means a complete list of my wounds; there are some hurts that I haven’t yet let go of but that is another story. I am sharing what I am able to with the hope and prayer that it will help someone…maybe you.
I am the youngest of 9 children who was born to a stubborn, legalistic, sometimes abusive father and a compliant, go-along-to-get-along mother. One taught me fear, the other to have little confidence. Through them the Lord taught me the difference between a frightening fear and a reverential fear and in whom I can and should place my confidence. Being the youngest child, I was often thought of as the “baby of the family”. That phrase was sometimes meant, (most often taken), literally. I grew up believing I was smaller, weaker, dumber, and not as ‘good’ as the others. The Lord has taught me through these scars that we are all in the same place apart from him. We are all small and weak, not so smart and not so ‘good’ without him. Most importantly I’ve learned that in him, we are all equal.
I have been used, abused, taken for granted, and taken advantage of. I have been labeled unworthy of God’s favor and had the faults of a church tied to my back then sent away as a scapegoat and marked as one who had ‘fallen away’. This experience caused many scars and some served to reinforce those from childhood: “You’re not good enough”, “You’re weak”, “No one really loves you”. I learned again that apart from him we are all users, abusers, and seekers of our own advantage. We are all unworthy of his favor and have all, at one time or another in one circumstance or another, fallen away – or at the very least, taken a step back from the Lord out of fear or confusion or pride. There is not one of us who is righteous…apart from him. Most importantly, the Lord taught me that my faith is to be placed in him alone and not in any man or organization, and what may seem like ‘falling away’ to some, is often ‘falling forward’ into a greater plan he has for our lives.
Few know…in fact only 2…that I have written a book. The above is a very small portion, but gives the overall gist of what it is about. I am currently on the third revision/edit and hope to have something publishable within a year. I began this process almost a year and a half ago and recently life has gotten so very busy that this little project has just been simmering on the back burner. Sharing this is me testing the waters and turning up the heat on something that I believe has been planted in my heart…to share with others.