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Scars and All

When I was a ten year old tomboy, I drove a four wheeler through a fence on my family farm. One moment, I was laughing and the next, the top strand of barbed wire wrapped itself around my neck. But God, my life would have ended that day. If you look closely, those scars are visible. One eventful day, an attentive doctor, and a near death experience left its marks and no amount of ointment or bandages could make them go away. It's a good story, evidence of adventure, pain, risk, and a faithful, merciful God at work in my life.

When I was a twenty-four year old mother, I sat in a blue hospital chair and rocked my baby girl. One moment, I was singing and the next, she buried her little face in my neck and breathed her last breath.  But God, my life would have ended that day, too. If you look long enough, those scars are visible, too. One eventful day, a team of attentive doctors, and a heartbreaking outcome that no earthly measures could have prevented.  It's a sacred story, evidence of faith, pain, risk, and a faithful, merciful God at work in my life.

Like anyone else, there are ugly parts of my heart and my life that I don't want exposed for all to see. For the most part, though, the Lord has called me to transparency. He blessed me with a few folks who were willing to pull back the facade and show me their survival scars when I was wondering how my gaping wound might ever heal. He's allowed me to watch the words of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 come to life too many times to ever let me wear a mask for long. Too much glory is at stake. This world is fallen and - excuse me for being morbid - but not one of us will make it out alive or without scars.

Too many people need to know they do not suffer alone.

We all have seasons that are harder to walk through than others, times when we are more pleasant to be around than others, moments when it's easier to hold that smile with no chin quivering to give us away. We do.  This world and the highlight reel that is social media leaves little room for raw and almost no room for broken. We don't even pause long enough to hear others respond when we ask how they are. I'm not convinced we really want to know. When the answer is riddled with pain, we don't know how to handle it.

 June is a hard month for me. I'm a stubborn girl and I don't like showing the world my wounds, but to deny the struggle would be to deny my girl and that is something I cannot and will not ever be able to do. As surely as her brother turns three this month, ten days later will mark Miller Grace's birthday, too. It's been eleven years since I traced her little features, held her hand, smelled her neck, and touched her thick, soft brown hair. Every hour of every day since, I have carried her with me and felt the weight of the responsibility of being her mother as clearly as I have with any of her siblings.

If there is anything I know about grief and loss, it is that we all do it differently and there are no rules. Our stories of healing are as unique as the scars inflicted from the wounds we have born.

My story as a bereaved mother is just that: my story.

For me, the worse I hurt, the quieter I am. 

So, it's a little ironic that I {perhaps foolishly} committed myself to write every day of the hardest month of the year for me. Never do I want to be quieter than I do in June. Never am I less motivated to pour out anything than I am in June. Prickly, irritable, guarded, motivated almost entirely by self-preservation while I wade through the page on the calendar that holds my own birthday, my son's birthday, Miller Grace's birthday, our anniversary, and her Heaven Day... it's hard to do warm and fuzzy and it's impossible to tie anything up with a bow.

That's just it though.

As believers, we are called to minister, to live transparent lives, to comfort others as we have been comforted. God has a purpose for every pain. Warm fuzzies and bows don't minister to anyone.   Scars have more power to help bring healing than facades ever will. Stories like the one  that filled our news feeds today are stark reminders that we all have one thing in common and that is that none of us are exempt from the war the enemy is waging on our world. No riches, no bright colors, no amount of wealth or prestige protect us from the reality of life in this fallen world where all of creation is crying out for the Creator to come and make all things new again, to defeat death once and for all.

"Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:32-33

The words our Lord offered to comfort the disciples are ours to cling to as well. We will have tribulation, but we must take heart. He has overcome the world, scars and all. 

"Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." 
Isaiah 53:4-5

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"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part: then I shall know fully, eve as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:12-13

After a couple weeks in turtlenecks and bandages, life resumed for me in fifth grade. I've rarely given a second thought to the faint, white marks on my flesh that tell the story of that day. Grief has been different. I thought for sure I would forever walk with a limp. I knew for certain I'd always smell of the smoke from that fire that nearly burned me alive. Instead, my God has been so faithful to tenderly pick every broken shard of my heart back up and create a new masterpiece in me over these last eleven years. When I have wept, He has wept with me. Though I have been wounded, no suffering I have known can ever compare with the cross. His wounds have healed mine. When I have cried out to Jesus in the dark of night, He has been my light. Though I may always be broken in part, it will forever be the cry of my heart for His light to shine through those broken places so brightly that none can deny Him or be left in darkness. 

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." 
- Hebrews 4:15-16










Comments

  1. Fellow scarred sister, thank you for your words. I'll be letting those verses from 2 Corinthians soak in today....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for being raw and vulnerable with us. It’s such a beautiful reminder that God indeed sees our brokenness, heals it, and desires to heal others’ too—giving us the courage to be bold and audacious enough to tell someone else: your brokenness is welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have such courage to share your heart this way. So many other bereaved mothers can read this and obtain a bit of healing by reading about your journey. Thank you for sharing.

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