Friday, June 3, 2011

beautiful scars

I have a hairline scar that traces down the left side of my face. It is hardly visible. But, it was anything but inconspicuous when I learned that I had skin cancer. The minor sign of defect that appeared, {I was so young I can't even remember when}, had become a part of me. I almost never noticed it when I looked in the mirror, so I left it alone. I grew quite used to the mysterious mark, not knowing what it was or recalling where it came from, which I thought was some sort of scar. I chose to ignore it. As I got older, the "scar" subtly grew bigger too.  It wasn't until a few years ago I decided to have it checked out. The "scar" was cancer--left alone for 32 years. The doctor cut deep and wide to remove every last trace of disease that had been growing in my cheek for decades.

I have another scar on my right side where my appendix was removed. Poison hiding in darkness on the verge of rupture, I was admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery. The pain was unbearable. I was at the mercy of the doctor. And, so was my daughter. 
I was 5 months pregnant.

I also have other scars, feathery faint, of skin stretch wide over womb. As life grew inside, my body made room. The slow stretch of baby armor expanded to accommodate her home. She survived the appendectomy and I survived the pregnancy. Pain and cuts, scars and all.

Trademark remains of wound repair cause me to think about scars in general.

What they represent.
The stories they tell.

Some distressing, some daunting, some simply a beautiful reminder of a life giving, life changing event. Nevertheless, they all speak of damage. Thick collagen growth--nature's duty of healing.

I have other scars that tell stories. Ones I can't see.

Branded places on my heart.

The stories these marks tell, from more painful, devastating, deeper cuts, burrow in the depths of my heart. Just like cancer, self inflicted sin disease and enemy offenses spread margin wide, chasing death when left alone. They tell stories of life long affliction and invisible transgressions uncovered by Truth eyes light, covered over by red.

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:8

I haven't always been willing to allow God to tunnel deep, to turn up callous rock in the stony places of my heart; I admit, I am not always that brave now. Or willing. I despise the excavation of my private wounds--anger and pride and the jealousy--the hate. Buried sin wounds He exposes in dark forgotten places, as He invites me to be vulnerable, to trust, and to risk; to be healed, to be free, to live. God words speak power to free me of death's stronghold. 

Why do I ignore them? 
Why do I hold on?

The Sovereign Lord says, 

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26 

Scars of sorrow wounds are most beautiful of all; healed not of nature's duty, but the duty of supernatural province.

Mercy scars.
Grace scars.

The beautiful echo of the Cross.

Beautiful scars.
Scars that tell stories.

Of forgiveness.
Of freedom.
Of peace.
Of extravagant love.

"He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

The sins which men commit make little impression on their minds, they are all so graven upon the table of the heart, that they will all be remembered by the conscience. That which is graven in the heart will become plain in the life; men's actions show the desires and purposes of their hearts. What need we have to humble ourselves before God, who are so vile in his sight! How should we depend on his mercy and grace, begging of God to search and prove us; not to suffer us to be deceived by our own hearts, but to create in us a clean and holy nature by his Spirit! {Matthew Henry}

And He never makes a wound too great, too deep for His own cure. {J. Wesley}

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