I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament…in other words, I broke my knee) in high school. As a senior, I had to go to prom and graduation hobbling around on crutches…just how I’d always dreamed.
ACL reconstructive surgery, then 6 more weeks of crutches and therapy later, I’m left with a scar. 3 scars, to be exact. They stand out on my right knee as reminders of that painful injury.
And they’ll never go away.
No matter how much I pray, how much I wish them to, or how much vitamin E oil I put on them, they’re stuck on my knee for good as a permanent testimony and constant reminder of that injury, the surgery, and the pain associated with it all.
The most embarrassing part of the scars, though, isn’t the scars themselves. It’s how I tore my ACL. But that’s another post for another day. I just keep telling myself that chicks dig scars. That’s still a thing, right?
Scars of a Different Kind
Lots of us, though, carry scars from different injuries. Scars not from a physical accident, but from pain of a different kind. Pain from broken relationships, broken dreams, unrealized potentials. Some have been the product of our own bad choices. Others have been forced on us without our consent. Our scars remind us constantly that we have been injured, marked, and forever changed. Behind the scars lie the most horrific events in our lives. The scar is the outward-facing result of pain we wish had never happened.
We try to hide those scars, but a pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt won’t do the trick. So we hide behind beautiful masks, thinking nobody will notice. But they don’t go away, do they? We begin to look at the scars not as battle wounds we can be proud of, but as a mark of disgrace that spreads to the inner fibers of who we are and of the story God has thrust upon us. A reminder that life’s not fair, not easy, and that even our own stories are broken.
A deeper reality
Do you know what scars really represent, though?
They represent that an injury is gone. You’re forever marked, but not plagued by a constantly open wound. The wound scabbed over, then scarred. It leaves you looking different, but healed.
Scars represent healing from a traumatic event. They remind us that though life was seemingly unbearable, God has mended the wound, reminding you constantly of the healing that happened.
Look at your scar as a disgrace if you’d like. As an ugly part of you that everybody stares at, questions, and judges you for.
Or embrace that as part of your story. As part of your healing and restoration. As a unique piece of your journey that God intends to use to heal others.
Scars will change your life, if you’ll let them. It’s someone Else’s scar that will bring you ultimate healing (Isaiah 53:5), and your own scar, as tarnished and sensitive as it may be, that God can use to speak hope into someone else’s. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Life leaves us with ugly scars that stand out, occasionally still hurt, and attract attention.
But scars are a symbol of healing and the restoration that only God can bring.