Going beyond embracing scars

cropped-12218775_10207748809941398_1556125793_o.jpgI had the blessing of being asked to given the devotion at our ladies fellowship at church.  What topic would I speak on?  Immediately began praying, “Lord, what message will glorify you?”  Y’all know that for some time, God had been giving me the word “Abide”.  We’ve talked about steeping in Christ.  I even hosted a ladies tea with the “Abide” theme where we went even further into the concept of abiding in Christ.  So,I assumed that abide would be the theme for the night. I was wrong.

God kept giving me a word over and over again.  Certainly that couldn’t be what you want me to speak on at a Christmas function Lord.  He continued to put that same strange word in front of me.  Scars?  Scars!  Lord, are you sure You desire I speak about scars?  I mean, I’ve been reading on the subject, and even blogged recently about it.  Why now Lord?  He never let that word leave my heart.  Each time I tried to begin to prepare the devotion on abiding, He caused my mind to drift to scars.  Certainly Lord, that can’t be a Christmas theme.  No matter how doubtful I continued to be, I began to write what the Lord gave me.  I prayed and promised Him that whether it sounded like a Christmas devotion or not, once complete, my only goal was that He was glorified.  Dear sister, I pray that once we finish here, you too will having something new to celebrate this Christmas.  

I was a nervous wreck all afternoon as I fixed my hair, applied my makeup, and prayed for the Lord to direct my words.  As a dear sister in Christ introduced me to a room full of ladies, with their eyes watching my every movement, I knew I had to break the ice.  For them, like you, I gave the introduction about how the Lord had placed the topic for the night on my heart.  Then, I invited them to feel free to give me the look like I obviously have no Christmas spirit, and roll their eyes with the lady sitting beside them.  I know the look y’all!  I’ve given that look before, and now I was going to be the crazy chick on the receiving end.  Yep! I’d be giving that look to the sisters next to me if I heard “scars” at Christmas time.  However, the Lord said this is where we were going, and so hold onto your hats!  We are going there.

imageHere we are approaching Christmas, only 9 shopping days left!  How many of us have been trying to find the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person?  What about those of us trying to stretch a dollar so tight it nearly snaps?  Will Momma like it?  It is the right size?  The right color?  Which Star Wars character did the boy want?  If you’ve been hiding under a rock, it’s a very Star Wars Christmas in the commercial world.  Which baby doll did little Cindy ask for?   I always wanted Baby Alive myself.  She filled her diaper just like a real baby!  Thus, why my mother never indulged me.  I never did experience Baby Alive until my son was born.  I had plenty of filled diapers and projectile vomiting to fill my Christmas’s for many, many years to come!  More questions abound.  Is my house decorated beautifully enough?  What about the tree?  Is it big enough?  Pretty enough?  Decorated perfectly?  What will we eat?  Is it the perfect menu?  

Perfect.  That word…we use it so commonly.  I know I certainly do.  Who doesn’t?  Then, God put this gem on my heart as a jumping off point for our discussion tonight:  Stay with me sister, don’t miss this:  God doesn’t want you to give the perfect present this Christmas.  He wants you to be present with Him.  

Be present…ouch.  Have you been present with Christ leading up to Christmas?  Or have you been caught up in the world’s commercially created chaos of unreasonable and unreachable expectations? Where have I been?  Even getting ready to minister to women in the name of the Lord, I haven’t always been focused on being in Christ.  Yet,  God’s only request is that we BE present with Him.  BE concentrating on Him, be in prayer WITH Him, be in His word, be in His will, and allow Him to lead us in the direction for our lives.  Here we are ready to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the entire world.  So how is it that at Christmas, it is so difficult to be present in Christ?  Sometimes that difficulty comes from scars.  Trying to hide from them and behind them.  I’m not talking about those visible scars from falling off of your bike as a kid, or cutting a finger while cooking.  Nope!  I’m talking about those scars that comes from hurts, losses, disappointments, fears, heartbreak…those wounds that cut clear to our very souls.  Those horrible wounds that eventually became scars so thick that we could hide behind them.  Y’all, I have them too.  I have those ugly, embarrassing, “we don’t talk about those things” scars just like you.  I hid behind them for decades after decade.  Then, I met Jesus.  

Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”  When Jesus saved me, He told me that I would use my scars to bring glory to Him, and so I have to tell the story.  Starting with the desire to give that perfect gift.  If you are redeemed in Christ dear sister, God desires tell your story as well.  Why?  Because it will bring glory to Him!  But what about the problem with perfection we discussed earlier?

Perfect is a word that, while we all use it regularly, there are times it still catches me off guard and makes me shiver.  I grew up in a home filled with “perfect gifts” at Christmas time.  The perfect tree, decorated with the perfect ornaments, with perfectly wrapped presents under the tree.  Then Christmas morning would come, and we would open our perfect presents.  Then cover up our perfectly hurt and crying hearts with our perfect new clothes, and head out to visit our perfectly scarred family members.  Christmas was supposed to be the perfect day to pretend that all of the hurt…the wounds…that had been doled out all year-long had suddenly disappeared.  

As I got older, my perfect wounds were wider and deeper.  They caused me to consider running away, taking my life, and trying to find my worth in relationships.  Perfect right?  Those wounds from deep emotional hurts were worse than any that you could ever see.  Those scars, not the ones on my flesh, were the ones that made me believe I was unloveable, unworthy, unuseable, and the assortment of other uns we’ve talked about as you’ve joined me in this journey.  Those scars are the ones that makeup, perfect clothes, sassy socks and long pants could never cover.  Those were the scars that would make it nearly impossible to ever be fully intention in being IN Christ during Christmas…until I met Jesus.

So about 10 years ago, I had an amazing experience.  I went from fire insurance to actually meeting Jesus!  My life changed!  My world changed!  But my scars…they didn’t change.  I was still struggling with the un’s in my life.  And the not enoughs.  The Lord showed me that scars were not to be covered up, they were to be embraced. Spending time in Christ, and meeting face to face with Jesus showed me that God’s perfect gift is what made my scars a perfect testimony to His perfect grace and mercy.  

Follow me sister, our scars…yours and mine, are proof of life and proof of healing.   The only way our life can have scars in it, is if our wounds healed.  The only way our wounds could heal was through the grace and mercy of God.  God’s word says, In 1 Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  That suffering…Those scars etched our souls.  They make us beautiful and perfect in God’s image…today. They identify me.  They identify you.  They show where I once was, and how far God has allowed me to come through His healing, restoration, and strengthening. Those scars allow God to use me…those scars that you carry…etched in your very soul…God provided that healing for you, and He can use you…and your scars!

Oh dear sister, Jesus had scars on his hands, feet, and side from when gave His life for us on that cross.  It was those very scars that were used to identify Him as the son of God.  When He walked out of that tomb…alive, Jesus could have been completely without blemish.  It’s in God’s power to do anything, He parted the Red Sea, He Raised Lazarus from the dead. Y’all, Lazarus was so dead he was smelling bad.  Now that’s dead…and Jesus raised him to life!!  It would have been nothing for Jesus to come from that tomb without a scar on him.  So why did His scars remain?  

For identification.  In John 20:19-20, Jesus showed His scars to the disciples as identification. “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”  Jesus’s scars identified Him to the disciples.  

Then, in John 20:24-28, Jesus again used His scars as identification.“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin,[a] was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Thomas only believed that the Jesus was truly his Lord once he saw the scars.  Those very scars were on that poor broken body that was wrapped in grave-clothes, and buried in a borrowed tomb.  Y’all…those scars changed lives.  They were and are today a testimony to the goodness of God.  Those scars prove the faithfulness of God.  Dear Sister…our scars…yours and mine prove the faithfulness of God!  Stop trying to cover them up, and embrace them!  Let God work through them.  Let your story of His grace, and mercy…His healing and redemption in your life be told through your scars.

I recently began reading a book by Sharon Jaynes called, “Your Scars are Beautiful to God.”  Sharon says, “I believe that scars are not something we need to hide or be ashamed of, but rather an invitation to share the healing power of Jesus Christ with a hurting world.  For a scar by its very definition implies healing.”  I believe it dear sister!  Want to know why?  My willingness to share my scars rather than hide them, has led to a ministry for women like you.  We can together see the beauty of God through the suffering and challenges as we share our scars.  

Y’all, if I had kept my scars hidden, I would have kept myself from being fully available to God for His work.  Are you available to God for the work He wants to do in your life, and through your life?  Dear sweet sister, don’t cover up your scars, they make you who you are.  They show proof of God’s promises and healing in your life.  They are perfectly beautiful, and they brings glory to God.  

imageDear sister, if you’re not ready to share your scar, I understand.  Maybe it’s still a wound…raw and sore.  I pray that you will receive healing for it.  Some of my wounds took more than 40 years to heal, but they did just that, they healed.  Trust God to heal you.  Believe that the Great Physician will provide just what you need when you need it.  He has an amazing plan for your life!  

And then, when those wounds become scars, and the pain isn’t so new…use them in a mighty way to show the story of how God provided the perfect gift…that little baby boy…His only son, born on Christmas Day more than 2000 years ago.  That perfect Gift changed my life, and I pray that He changes yours.  

If you know Christ as your Savior, stop shopping…you already have the perfect gift.  You can give that perfect gift this Christmas by sharing Him with others.  If you’ve been thinking about getting to know the Lord…you know, putting Him on your wish list for later?  Stop window shopping, and give yourself the perfect gift.  A relationship with Him.

Lord, I am so thankful that you…The Great I AM, know exactly who I am.  Thank you for healing, for scars, for grace and for mercy.  Merry Christmas dear sister…Merry Christmas.


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