The Marks of Life {Our Stories Matter}

I came home after tending to a foster/adoptive parent recruitment booth at a local church’s celebration of Orphan Sunday, and found my husband squirting something around our wooden dining room table.  I paused for a moment and said, “Um…is that toothpaste?”

20151108_185122Before he could answer, I saw what was under the paste.  Our 3-yr-old apparently decided that the table needed a little “design” to it, and decided to draw swirly marks up and down the entire table with a black, permanent magic marker.

My husband was furiously scrubbing the paste into the wood in hopes that the ink would lift.  The paste lifted the ink a bit, but you can still see the markings.

Surprisingly, I really was not that upset about it.  Even now as I stare at the table, I kind of think the marks give it character, and adds to stories I can tell in later years about the antics of our children.

I cannot help but to think about the comparison of our marked up, slightly battered, but full-of-character dinner table to our own stories as human beings.  There are days when all is well.  Not a mark is left on us, and we rest our heads in peace. There are other days when we stumble into the paths of others whose intent is to hurt us, thus leaving marks on our hearts.  We revel in good health, and wonderful relationships, and then suddenly the good health and the people we love leave.

Although healing does come, scars have been left on our lives.  The pain fades, but there is still that twinge of remembrance that is left on our souls.  Our stories involve so many moments where our lives have been interrupted by trauma, hurt, sickness, loneliness, and despair.  However, our stories also embrace moments of laughter, kindness, courage, love, and hope.

Within each of our stories are moments that completely capture the essence of what it is to be human.  This, my friends, is what I see as the beauty of life.  Like the markings on my table that might never fully go away, the nicks on our lives also may never leave us, but they definitely enrich us.

Do not be afraid of your marks.  Share your stories with others.  Celebrate your ability to overcome and endure.  Do not be ashamed.  The scars of your lives might just carry the determination that others desperately need.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:35

my scar, His Scars

Hey, scar on my belly, you do not represent me.  A doctor called you a “horror show” one time, but his words do not describe me.  You are long and just plain ugly, but you do not characterize me.

You are a visual reminder of the war waged on me in my youth, but you do not represent me.  You are simply flesh ripped apart and sewn back together by human hands.  You depict a battle for my life, but I won. You are just one part of my infertility, but not the most important.

You have been with me nearly as long as I can remember, but you do not define me.  I have been embarrassed of you.  I have wished you away.  You have reminded me of all of the pain I have been through, but you do not speak for me.

Your outward appearance does not hint to the inward conflict that has taken place physically, spiritually, and emotionally through the years.  You do not speak, you do not breathe, and you do not love.  You are just a symbol of a fateful moment in time long ago; a physical remnant of my life-changing event.

Hey, scars on His wrist, you represent me.  Hey, wounds on His feet, you are because of me.  The pain inflicted on Him should have been mine.  He was scoffed at, called names, and torn apart by a battle not of His own. I have wished Him away, not trusted Him, and raged at Him; but still, His heart welcomes me.

Hey, scars on His wrist, you embody the physical, emotional, and spiritual freeing of me.  His scars delineate a world not deserving of His grace.  The ugliness of His death portrays the beauty of His forgiveness.  His wounds speak of great passion, and His pain screams mercy.

He is the past, present, and future.  He is the most important moment in time.  His words were of compassion, and His breath of love.

His Love,

His Life,

His Scars,

His Sacrifice,

His Forgiveness,

His Resurrection,

my gain.