I love how little boys are proud of their scars. Oh, wait, it’s not just when they are little…many little boys grown into men are still proud of their scars. It’s not unusual for them to offer up the story behind a scar, details of their exploits proudly woven into the retelling of the time they were wounded. The marks on their bodies remain a kind of badge of courage no matter the size, even those that have faded with time. The scars are a visible reminder of where they have been and what they have done and how they have survived, a beautiful (in a manly kind of way) something to be proud of.
I suppose it is our western cultural perception of beauty that teaches girls very early in life that scars are ugly. We see them as imperfections that must be perfected if possible and hidden if not. They carry the same kind of stories of childhood exploits or adult experiences, but we do not see them as a part of our beauty that we can be proud of.
It is a rare individual who bears no scars. Life has a way of leaving its mark on us. Sometimes the scars are the result of our own foolish ways or sinful choices and sometimes it is another’s choices or sin that has left us wounded and marked. Either way, we are not proud. Shame and embarrassment prompt us to keep our scars covered and our secrets hidden because they are ugly reminders of where we have been and what we have done and what has been done to us, nevermind the fact that we survived.
There was a time in my life when I was one of the walking wounded. Not realizing how deep my own wounds were, I was living in turmoil and this had a direct and greatly negative effect on the two young babies I had – I was wounding them. Afraid to tell anyone of this ugliness, I struggled in my misery until I just could not bear it any longer. I chose a well-respected woman in our church upon which I would bare my soul in the hopes of finding healing. I arrived at her home nervous and very afraid – the idea of being so open and vulnerable was literally making me shake – what if she judged me? condemned me for my thoughts and actions? What if I would be labeled an outcast, no longer welcome in our ladies group? What if God could never use me because of my mistakes?
God in His sovereignty and goodness and mercy led this woman to begin the conversation. My discomfort was evident, so as she served me a glass of water and something to eat and without knowing the reason for my pain, she began to share what her life was like when her children were small. In an easy and unashamed way, she told me of the struggles she had as a young mother – the exact same problems I was dealing with. I will never forget the blanket of love that I felt had just been lain over me as I began to weep in relief. This woman told me her story as she revealed her scars and they were beautiful to me. She bore these scars as a great woman of God and it gave me hope. She gently and boldly prayed over me that day and I was never the same.
I was reminded in study this week of what James wrote to the church…
Confess to one another therefore your faults – your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins – and pray also for one another, that you may be healed and restored to a spiritual tone of mind and heart… James 5:16a
Many that are hurting and struggling need to see our scars. They need to know that scars do not disqualify us from experiencing the greater things of God. They need to hear our stories and know that viewed through the eyes of His Spirit, our scars are beautiful, even those that are the result of our own doing. The wounded need to be enfolded in the love and compassion that comes from the healed as we pray for their healing and restoration. The rest of the verse above holds a wonderful promise…
…The earnest, heartfelt, continued prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available – dynamic in its working. James 5:16b
Tremendous, life-changing power was in the prayer of that wonderful woman who prayed over me. Had she only listened and prayed for my situation, I still believe that it would have had a positive effect on my life over time. But I truly believe that my healing came that day in that prayer because she spoke to me from personal experience before she prayed. Healing came to me through her beautiful scars.
“A scarred life” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com