I have scars.
I got one recently after I cooked lunch for some friends. In the rush to have everything on the table at the same time, I burned my hand as I took bread out of the oven. It didnâ€™t hurt until the next day. A puffy little blister, sore to the touch; I knew it would leave a mark.
Thereâ€™s more. If you look closely, you can still see the faded triangle between my left calf and shin from the fifth grade when I tried to officiate a fight between two German Shepherds. On my other shin, thereâ€™s a scar from when I slid down a concrete bench in the 11th grade. I can still see where I got cut with a piece of glass on my right hand from who knows when.
What about the other scars? The ones that go deeper than dogs and bread?
Itâ€™s safe to say we all make a mess in life. Itâ€™s only when we refuse to clean up that mess, to deal with our wound, that things get ugly. I learned early on how to conceal what was inside by looking good on the outside. Do you know the smile Iâ€™m talking about? Thought so.
So instead of asking for help, the wound in me went unattended and infection set in. Gross and blistery, oozing with nastiness. No band-aid is large enough to cover guilt and shame forever. There I was, going to Bible study on Tuesday and bringing peanut butter cookies to the potluck, with that smile you know so well. Though I was in desperate need of some ointment, I was too worried what someone would think if I showed them how deep the wound went.
Just like itâ€™s NOT normal for a person to show up at the ER smiling while bleeding profusely, itâ€™s not acceptable to walk through life crippled because weâ€™re afraid to seek help. Do you tell yourself, “Just keep smiling…no one will recognize I’m on crutches?!”
Reality is often ugly. Unfortunately the people we welcome into our lives donâ€™t want to know WHERE weâ€™ve come from, just that we arrived safely. Itâ€™s the equivalent of taking on this sort of Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell gospel!
Iâ€™ll never forget going to a Bible study at one of the first churches we attended after moving to Nashville. We met in what seemed to be the busiest hallway on that Wednesday evening. It was, you know, one of those classes. The kind where the curious mill around the hallway just so they can see who walks through the doorâ€”unable to grasp the idea that imperfect people attend their church. Anyway, imagine my shock when my good friend walked in after me. I love this friend dearly and could never have imagined that we were on the same journey. Until then, she had never showed me her wound, I had never showed her mine.
Healing often begins when we realize we are not alone.
After I dealt with my pain, I began sharing my story with others. People would walk up to me and whisper that theyâ€™d been through the same thing. I could see the weight being lifted off their back because they found someone who had walked where they walked. Iâ€™m not saying everyone has to make a public proclamation of their experience. I just think that too many people allow shame, embarrassment, and guilt, and friends, and family, and churchâ€¦to erase their story.
What does the Bible have to say about scars?
It says that when Jesus appeared to His apostles after the resurrection, â€œHe showed them His hands and His side.â€ If youâ€™ve read the account, or seen it acted out on any given Easter Sunday, you know Jesus didnâ€™t show them gaping holes with bloody pieces of mangled skin still in tact. No. He showed them wounds that had been healed by His Father; and those very scars were how his friends knew it was truly Him! See the purpose of His scars?
Can you grasp the difference between scars and wounds? Scars come with a story of redemption. Wounds are still in the middle of trying to figure out their story.
I wish you could see my inbox. I often get private messages from people who are right in the middle of a gaping wound. Itâ€™s like theyâ€™re limping their way to the cross, and no one even notices. Here I am, miles away and connected only through the internet, and I wonder why theyâ€™re telling me? Is there no one around them to notice their wound?
Imagine how different the path to the cross would look if we were brave enough to lock arms with our friends who canâ€™t make it on their own.
Today I want to challenge you. Yes, you, the person reading this post. YOU, the person who was wounded but found healing. You have a storyâ€¦you know you do. Iâ€™m simply asking you to become more aware of the people around you that are lame, abused, and hobbling to the water cooler.
Donâ€™t be afraid to ask, â€œWhatâ€™s wrong?â€ So that at the right time you can say, â€œI have one of those scars too.â€
You may be just the person to rip that Band-Aid off their wound and expose them to the greatest Healer ever.
With tears in my eyes and late to class, I must take a moment to respond. You have beautifully summed up, ever so eloquently, some thoughts and beliefs I’ve been sharing with some others in my immediate grasp.
Revelations 12:11, “They overcame through the blood of the Lamb and by the power of their testimony.”
I just finished writing this in our mission statement for the non-profit the children and I are in the process of starting. God gets all the glory for the victory and in the process we continuously bring healing to ourselves and healing and hope to others.
You are a beautiful testimony and living masterpiece. Thank you for sharing your heart. BIG ((HUGS))!!!
Penny, you are so beautiful in your comments. I know you have come through so much as well; we must find the courage to share our stories so that others can find their way to healing through God as well. I pray you and your dreams are touched by the hand of God in the days ahead. Great things are on your horizon. Thank you for your friendship.
Kim, You write very beautifully, so movingly. Keep it up. Jim Jackson
Thanks, Jim! I think I’ve stumbled upon my greatest therapy (it took me this long!).
You know what struck me reading this? Jesus had scars in three days! 3!!!! How long does it take you to heal? ‘Cuz it takes me longer than 3 days. I need to learn to go to the Father better for my healing. Three days sounds so much better than the year it’s taken me to move from gaping hole to being whole! How many more could we help if we allowed God to truly heal us that fast? Thanks for a great lesson!!!
I agree, Beth. I wish healing only took three days! I realize that we have to stay strong in the Word because it’s when we’re there we find rest and healing and wholeness. But it’s in that healing time that God is crafting a story that only we can tell so I guess it takes longer for some of us than others. xox
Hi Kim, I sent information about your blog to a friend in Arkansas who lost her husband and she loved this story. Your writing is so wonderful, you are helping people. Kay Adrid
Kay, I don’t have the appropriate words for you right now because I am so touched and humbled by you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing enough to share my writing with your friends. Many many blessings on you today.
I’m Kays friend from Arkansas that lost my husband. Loved reading this post. I’m blessed that everyday in my line of work I listen to others stories and get to share mine. So very healing for all of us to take the time to share and heal.
Thank you Cynthia for taking the time to read my blog. I’m so sorry for your loss; I can’t even begin to comprehend what a heart feels like after such tragedy. However, what healing you must feel every time you share your story and help someone through their loss. It must be difficult to grasp how this was ever God’s plan, yet some how, you must lay your head on the pillow at night and realize how He has guided you every step of the way and is using you in a great way. Keep sharing my friend!