A number of years ago, I learned about the beauty of scars. A friend of mine was diagnosed with a brain tumor and she wore her crown of scars proudly. Deep incisions marked the area where the cancerous tumor was removed. My friend wasn’t phased by her new look and instead, proudly showed each person who came to visit. I can remember sitting across from her hoping to somehow absorb even a tenth of her faith.
This story came rushing back recently as I looked out over the mountainside from my cabin. The planned vacation not only provided a respite from daily life, but also hidden lessons of faith. One particular day, while looking at the mountains, my daughter-in-law mentioned the word scars in reference to the pock-marked mountainsides. Our quick conversation made space for God to teach me more.
The Smoky Mountains suffered big losses due to a fire in November of 2016. What looked like a contained fire, quickly got out of hand and much of the beauty now has its own crown of scars. The mountainside in my view was one such place.
But the lesson doesn’t stop there.
God is teaching me about the beauty of scars – the ones on the outside that are visible to others and the ones that no one can see. Age brings with it all sorts of new beauty marks and somedays I wake up and wonder how so much seemed to change overnight. The mirror is not always my friend.
I also wear a crown of scars. Age spots show up when I least expect them. Wrinkles take me by surprise while applying mascara. But when you get to know me you will find the scars on the inside tell more of my story.
The scars you can’t see tell stories of loss, love, brave faith, fear, surrender, identity, and the list goes on.
I bear redemption scars defined by loss but redeemed by the love of my Father.
My fears of feeling not enough or unworthy now stretch faintly across my heart as the brave faith of who I am replaces the scars of the lies I always believed.
Who I am now looks like a child of God. The deep, jagged scars of my identity are healing each time I embrace the truth of who God says I am.
Scars mark our journeys of despair, hope, grief, joy, and God’s redemption by the grace of His son, Jesus. I know my unseen scars tell stories that define who I am today. My crown of scars is sweeter because of my vulnerability and willingness to share some of the broken pieces with you. My story might look similar to your story, but your crown of scars is as unique as you are.
I find safety and peace in sharing my story in a community that opens their hearts in similar ways as me. When we nod together in agreement and whisper “me too”, God reminds us He is the connection. Wearing your own crown of scars defines a part of your story, but it doesn’t end there. God takes your endings and beginnings and lovingly holds them until He is ready to set them free.
From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Galatians 6:17 NLT
May you wear your crown of scars boldly and proclaim the greatness of God with each beauty mark He has graced you with.
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