20 May Showing, sharing scars with others
When it’s summertime in Arkansas you can be sure of one thing — it’s hot! That being said, my typical outfit of choice in the summer is shorts and a T-shirt. This year, sporting my summertime shorts is a bit different because I’ve officially joined the knee replacement scar club. What, you’ve never heard of this club? I mean it’s a real deal people. I don’t go anywhere in shorts that I don’t run into a fellow member of this club. It’s the two long scars down both knees that give me the exclusive membership.
Anyone who has had any experience with knee replacement instantly recognizes what I’ve had done. Even a complete stranger will give me that knowing look that says, “been there, done that.” I do the same to others; it’s like we have an instant kinship and connection. We share the hardship of the surgery and the benefits of the outcome, oftentimes without even saying a word. There is a comfortable acceptance within membership of this club.
I’m sure the same can be said for other folks who bear their physical scars outwardly. If you’ve been there, you recognize them and you have a connection. But what about those scars that aren’t visible? The emotional ones that the majority of us try to cover up and hide because we think they are just “too ugly” or no one else has them? That’s where things get a little tricky.
It’s easy to find yourself in a place that you think no one else would understand. That’s one of the enemy’s favorite strategies to make you feel alone. Satan will keep you thinking you are the only one who bears such an ugly scar. You’re the only one with marriage problems, you’re the only one struggling financially, you’re the only one with an out of control child. You learn to cover it up, smile and convince everyone around you that life is fine. The truth is the person standing beside you in the checkout line may be feeling the exact same way, hiding the exact same scar.
I can only speak so confidently on this subject because I have lived it. I have plastered that fake smile across my face and covered my emotional scars with the utmost precision. I have felt the shame of problems that I truly believed no one else could understand. I’ve looked at others’ lives and saw how perfectly they appeared and it made me feel even more alone. What changed for me? People who sparked a light in my darkness — individuals who weren’t afraid to show me their scars.
Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.” I think this is true also for those hidden scars we are afraid to show.
The more I walk with Jesus, the more I have learned that he always finds a way to turn my hurts into healing. He knows everything about me — the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve given him a hundred reasons not to love me, yet his love, grace and mercy always triumph over judgment!
There is truly nothing more freeing than finding the people who bear the same bruises and scars that you have. Just like my knees, you find yourself in an instant kinship and understanding that only someone who had been there/done that knows.
However, we can never do that for each other if we don’t even know those scars exist. We have to stop thinking we are alone and start showing and sharing our scars with others. God will never waste a hurt.
Galatians 6:2 calls us to bear one another’s burdens, to stand by that hurting person with strength to help carry the weight of the load, to stop being ashamed of that scar and start saying, “Look, me, too.” It’s in this common fellowship with other hurting people that our scars no longer represent shame, but they shout victoriously as we overcome.
Laurie is a native of Greenbrier. She is the wife of Will Green, step-mom to three adult children and their spouses, mom of two sets of teenage twins and Gram-Gram to four grandkids. You can reach Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her blog at maketodaymatter.weebly.com.