Friday, April 24, 2009

Scar Stories

See that scar on my arm? Like all scars, it was caused by a wound, and with that wound came pain. It’s strange how you can receive a wound in a split second, but then spend much longer (sometimes a lifetime) trying to recover from it. Some wounds (like this one) even leave scars; and not just visible ones either. While the sting from the initial impact is gone, the memories remain; and that scar is my daily reminder.

I suppose I could live with this scar a lot better if it didn’t have a story behind it (yet, what scar doesn’t?). This scar resulted from a common wound I often get in the kitchen; more precisely, from the oven. I love to cook, and despite the precautions I take, I often end up getting injured (usually, it’s a burn). Even with oven mitts and hot pads, some area of exposed or inadequately protected piece of skin ends up getting burned! Normally, I laugh it off as another one of my clumsy mishaps. It’s happened lots of times before. However, this burn was different. When I received this one, I was pretty angry. Why? Well, it was because I really shouldn’t have been baking in the first place. If it weren’t for the “event” that I was going to (in which I was supposed to bring what I had just baked) I wouldn’t have gotten burned! Moreover, it was an event that I DIDN’T want to attend, and WOULDN’T have ordinarily attended if it weren’t for the circumstances (which I won’t get into) that got me involved with the “event” in the first place.

I took care of the burn as best I could. I put anti-biotic ointment and a band-aid on it and hoped that it would heal as well as the rest of my burns that I had gotten over the years (can’t even see remnants from those anymore). Yet, I remember someone had told me when they had seen it that it would leave a scar. I was hoping and praying that that wouldn’t be the case. Of all the burns and injuries I have ever gotten, why would THIS ONE have to be the one that left a scar??

Needless to say, the burn didn’t heal as well as I had hoped. This is what led me to scout out some Mederma at Wal-Mart a few days ago. As I was reading the package, it said that you had to apply it 2-3 times a day over a span of a few months! *GROAN* All that for a wound that took less than a second to obtain?!! Argh! Though, I guess that’s always the case isn’t it? I got to thinking about how much pain we all suffer and how we consistently have to deal with it and apply the salve to the wound if we want it to heal. If we just hope it will heal by itself and do nothing to treat it, of course it’s not going to go away and of course it won’t heal properly (or at all). If you want to heal from anything, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to heal.

With this in mind, I thought that I would give it a shot. I hate this scar with a passion because of all it symbolizes to me. It’s obvious and ugly, and it reminds me of all the emotional wounds of that “event” that hurt much worse than that stupid little burn ever did! So, if I had to make myself remember to be that diligent in putting the cream on in order to get rid of that horrible mark, I would have to do it (either that or cover it up with a tatto LOL. Yeah, not likely!). ;)

With my mind made up, I decided I would spend the ten plus bucks on a cream (and hope for the best). That is, until I felt a strange conviction from God. I started to get mad. “GOD, I DON’T WANT THIS SCAR!! I HATE IT!!!” God says to me, “I didn’t want mine either.” Dang it! Why does He have to say that?! That just makes me think of the pain He chose to endure by sending His Son to die on the cross and receive those scars in His hands for ME! THOSE were supposed to be MY SCARS! It also reminds me of how Jesus prayed in the garden before His arrest. He didn’t want His scars either, but as always, He had His Father’s will in mind and not His own. So, He took the cup that was given to Him (Luke 22:42). Ok, God, I understand what you’re telling me. Fine! I won’t buy the stuff!

However, it still didn’t make things any easier; and I was trying desperately not to cry for all to see in Wal-Mart! I wondered WHY it had to be this one and WHY He didn’t allow it to fade away from sight and memory. WHY does it have to be visible? Then, I thought of another scar I have. As ugly as it truly is, I never treated it that way because it’s my c-section scar (and no one sees it anyways). At least that scar has LIFE attached to it. From that scar, my children were brought into the world. And so, that scar I bear and its appearance doesn’t bother me much because there is a glimmer of beauty in it.

It was in thinking about my c-section scar (and Jesus’ scars) that I remembered that there is redemption in EVERY scar. I remember hearing Beth Moore say that our scars tell a story, and that’s why some of them are visible (and some of them linger/remain). The scars are there so you can have a little “show and tell” with those who desperately need someone to relate to their pain. Our “scar stories” give others hope for whatever pain they are going through. That is why God allowed me to be wounded and to have this scar; and why He hasn’t allowed it to fade yet - if ever. It’s also why God didn’t want me to heal it with an over-the-counter cream. God isn’t finished with this scar yet. Whether He chooses to let it fade or not, His purpose for allowing me to go through it is the same as His purpose for His own Son’s. The scars have a story to tell (and that‘s why I‘m telling my “scar story” now). Scars are “ugly” to us, but there IS beauty in them when we allow Jesus to redeem them!!

It’s going to take some conscious effort on my part to find the beauty in this one. I will have to apply God’s “redemption cream” to it daily for a good while before that scar will be something that I no longer look at with a heavy heart. It will take that constant application of remembering the few good things that came out of that “event” more than the many bad things. Already, it’s helping as I force myself to look at that scar every day and CHOOSE the good memories and not the bad ones. It’s a reprogramming and conditioning of my brain to focus on the positives (Philippians 4:8). One day, that scar will be nothing but beautiful to me (and God might even let it fade some more by then). Regardless, I’m glad that for even the sake of one, God has allowed me to have this scar. He knows that AT LEAST ONE person reading this desperately needed to know this message. Is it you? Are you the one he wanted me to share this story with? Are you the one He had in mind when He allowed me to bear this mark? What scars do YOU have? What’s YOUR “scar story”?

Greater than any scar that I bear, HE bore the most ugly, and yet beautiful, scars there ever was!! And yes, those were/are for YOU!!! His scars tell a remarkable story of love. It’s like the chorus from the old Ray Boltz song “Scars” (which has been playing in my head for days):

“I saw His scars. No He didn’t try to hide them. He said come and look inside them. They are a window to my heart. And don’t forget I love you, just the way you are. I knew it must be true, I saw His scars.”

I will end this blog with a song that God chose for me the other day. I was walking/jogging and my “shuffle” feature that I was using on my iPod landed on FFH’s “On My Cross.” I’m glad that I resisted the impulse to skip over it to a more “upbeat” song to keep my momentum going, because God wanted me to hear the message in it. It also put on another layer of “redemption cream” LOL. ;) I hope this song/video speaks to you like it spoke to me!

Grace and peace to all of you!! I pray that you too will find the beauty in your own scars and that you’ll allow God to heal them with His “redemption cream.” ;) If it helps, feel free to share your stories in the comments. Let us all heal together as we share our “scar stories“ and speak hope to each other!! Or, if you prefer, send me a message/e-mail. This blog is called “Scar Stories” for a reason - I’m not the only one with a scar to talk about (and we all need to talk about it!). Talking is a key ingredient in the “redemption cream” you know. ;) It goes right along with the active ingredient: Jesus. God bless you all!!

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