When I was fourteen years old around the 20th of March 2011 (I don’t remember the exact date) I went for my weekly horse riding lesson. Little did I know that this particular lesson would change my life forever.
Long story short: I had just mounted my horse when I fell off, landed on something sharp and dislocated my right elbow. The doctors told us it was a complex dislocation and I have since been through 3 operations to “fix” my elbow. To this day my elbow gets sore when I bump it, I lift things that are heavy, it rains or is really cold. Slowly I am strengthening it and learning how to prevent pain. This is largely thanks to my wonderful Mom who would never take “There is nothing you can do for that elbow” as an answer.
Yesterday I was telling a lady that I babysit for, about my accident and showed her my scars. I am proud of those scars and yes I believe they are beautiful and add to my appearance in a unique way. Every time I see them I am reminded of how God protected me in the accident, how the trials that followed brought particularly me and my Mom but also my whole family closer together, I am reminded that I was taught patience from having to do everything 3 times slower and I was taught to be dependent and allow others to help me sometimes. I don’t know that I would give up those things in order to not have the accident, the physical pain and the scars.
I often find beauty in my physical scars and I love to put them on display. However, sometimes I have an emotional struggle as I look at my arm and just see the ugly side of the marks. I try to cover them up with makeup or a shawl, maybe change my outfit so that they can’t be seen.
It’s the same with emotional battle scars, except, depending on how good we are at acting and how public your emotional battle was, you can hide them better or more easily. Often we are trying to look “pretty” to the world and so we do our best to cover up those scars and not include them as part of who we are. I do that. I don’t want others to see that I have been vulnerable, been taught things the hard way, been through things that hurt and left me with permanent emotional scars.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3 (ESV)
Scars come after wounds. God is there to heal your wounds and he will help you through emotional trials. Afterwards you will be able to glorify Him for bringing you through your trials and changing you into the person you have become.
This picture says “Every scar tells a story, a story that says I survived.” It’s true but every scar also says that God was with you, He protected you and He healed you.
“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand'” Jeremiah 18:4, 6 (NIV)
If you think of yourself as clay going through the moulding process you’ll realise it’s going to hurt and it’s going to leave lots of scars. Think of a decorative clay vase, if you view every single scratch and line individually, they may not look so good. However, take a step back and you’ll see the whole jar and an amazing work of art. God needs you to be as soft as clay so that he can mould you and transform you into the person He wants you to be. Some of that may hurt a little, it may even hurt a lot, but it leaves you as a beautiful vessel in the end and shows your Father’s work in your life.
While your scars may appear to be ugly by themselves take a step back and look at how they make you beautiful in the bigger picture. Showing off your scars can help others to not go through the same thing, or if they are going through what you did, then they can see that someone else did survive. It can also be an incredible witness to the world that your awesome God got you through. Share your story.