“A scar is never ugly. The scar makers want us to think they make us defective. We must see all scars as beauty….A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”
When events in my life keep happening over and over again. I begin to question my heart. I not only questioned it – I begin to despise it. Why did I love again? Why did I take that risk? Will I never learn? What is wrong with me?
I remember the day I realized my heart was wounded. It was the day it stopped hurting. I was driving along the highway and was reflecting on the days events. Suddenly I grabbed my chest because for the first time in years there was no pain. I had grown so used to the pain that I didn’t even notice it anymore. I had asked God to heal me, but I never believed He would do it. My wounds had become a part of me. My pain was who I was.
The day I was released from it. I felt free. But I also felt naked. I had spent so many years focussed on the pain that when it was gone I was confused and disoriented. Now where should my focus be. Who was I? I felt like I needed a new identity.
I wanted to protect my heart because it felt so soft – so vulnerable. I didn’t recognize myself. Instead of looking at my heart, I turned my focus to others. I didn’t understand my own wounds enough to help others. I just wanted to fix the people who came across my path. Somehow I thought if I could fix them, I won’t have to acknowledge my scars.
When I went for my Masters in Counselling, I tried to learn the language and posture of counsellors. I said “It sounds like you are saying…..” I watched the body language of the other counsellors. I sat forward in my chair with my legs crossed looking straight at my client. But that didn’t fit who I was. There were some people whom I could not relate to. Not all scars form in the same way, and therefore, the treatment for each scar is specific. I recognized pain but I couldn’t see the details.
I was a trustworthy person. I was loyal. I was always there, but never too close. I saw God work in others lives, but I couldn’t see His hand in mine. I prayed for other people often. I even became an answer to those prayers. I was terrified to pray for myself. I knew I had scars, but I was ashamed of them. The people who were put in my path were important to God. I kept them at arms distance because I felt their pain and I didn’t always know where mine ended and theirs started. I didn’t hear them because I was putting too much energy into trying to cover my own imperfections. I didn’t want to be reminded of the pain that created the cuts and bruises on my soul.
The formation of a scar is a natural healing process and every scar has a story to tell, particularly those severe ones which require time to heal. I longed for intimacy but was terrified of it. My blemishes were my secret. My imperfections became who I was behind the facade of counsellor and teacher. Behind the protective image of counsellor, I never let the tenderness of my heart become exposed.
I knew the brokenness of my heart was healing but I couldn’t get used to the change. The closer I came to wholeness, the more exposed my scars became. I didn’t want to be known as the broken survivor.
I have always been ashamed to admit that I was damaged. I was hurt. I was weak. I wanted to feel whole but it was the strength of the scars that held my heart together. I began to really see Jesus.
As the filter was lifted from my eyes and I began to see my journey to wholeness as opportunity to connect with those who were hurting. I saw my scars as channels of hope. My scars are my strength. My scars are not who I am. They are the tool that shaped me into who I am. They are the reason I found life and purpose.
Jesus’ scars give purpose to my life. This Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful for the pain that caused the scars because they lead me to seek Jesus and find my strength and identity in Him.
But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole