Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wounded or Scarred?

It's bathing suit season.  I know, I'm not the only woman in the world to have issues with bathing suit season.   Tall and lanky isn't what most people think of when they think of bikini beauty.  But my scars make bathing suit season even more complicated.

I have a big scar from my open heart surgery.  As far as scars go, everyone tells me it's not too bad.  It healed nicely, especially when you consider that this scar was spread open during 16 hours of emergency surgery.  But it still is a big scar.  It extends from just below my collar bones to about 4 inches above my belly button, right down the center (as an interesting aside, I have an issue with v neck shirts because I always want the scar perfectly centered in the middle of the v).  The scar comes with 3 friends; 2 puncture scars from the chest tubes sit to the right and the left and about 2 inches down from the big scar, and a 5 or 6 inch scar on my right upper thigh is from the bypass tube they put in my femoral artery.  The truth is that I am embarrassed by the imperfection these scars represent.  I'm embarrassed by the reality that I needed to be fixed.  I'm embarrassed by the evidence that I am seriously flawed.

But after 16 years, I'm pretty used to the scars and sometimes I even forget that they're there.  A few years ago a store clerk said, "you had heart surgery." I was surprised and wondered how she knew--then I remembered the scar showed.   Most of the time, they're no big deal.

Sometimes I want to hide them though.  When teen girls at the beach said, "nasty, did you see her scar?"  I wanted to cover up again, pretend that I was flawless.  I think we do the same thing with our emotional scars.  We pretend they aren't there.  We hide them, we cover them, we are ashamed of the evidence of our weakness and injury.  Our society talks about being "scarred" as if it's a horrible thing.  But scars aren't the same as wounds.  A wound is fresh, easily opened, easily re-injured. Wounds need protecting and special care. A scar is a sign of healing.   It is evidence that there was a wound but it has now healed.   My scar will forever be different from the surrounding skin.  It will forever be evidence of my brokenness, but it is a brokenness that God's fingerprints are all over because he made it new.  He designed my body to grow new skin, to knit together the area that was cut open and damaged.

When we let him, he will do the same with our emotional wounds.  We don't have to be forever broken.  God can reach in and redeem even the most "nasty" things.  He can knit together torn and shattered pieces of our lives and make them new.  He needs our cooperation.  If I had just gone right back to life as usual after my surgery, I wouldn't have healed well.  It took months of special care to get to a new normal.   When I've had emotional wounds, I've needed to do the same thing.  I've needed to allow God into the pain and acknowledge that it was really there and I was actually messed up by it.  But with his special care, (and sometimes God uses a professional to help us heal) healing is a possibility. My life may not look or feel the same as it would have if the wound hadn't ever happened, but it still has healed.

How about you?  Do you have hidden wounds you need to bare before God so they can heal?   Do you have scars that are evidence of what God has brought you through?  

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