Owning my scars

By Jessica Brodie

I have a small dent in my leg from where a horseshoe hit me when I was in my early twenties. No one can see it, but I can if I look hard enough.

Right below my navel I have a half-inch scar from a laparoscopic surgery I had in my late twenties to figure out why I couldn’t get pregnant—again, unnoticeable unless I’m wearing something that bares my midriff and you look closely enough.

On my back is a little hole from where I had a suspicious mole removed just in case it would prove to be cancer.

They’re little things, these marks. Some might call them “flaws,” but I see them as proof I’ve been through hardship. I’ve lived. I’ve experienced. If I had the chance to get rid of them, I wouldn’t, because they tell a story.

Some of us have larger scars—wounds from battles, injuries, major surgeries. Those tell bolder, bigger, far more dramatic stories.

Others of us (myself included) have scars that are largely invisible, and those can be the hardest. The stories they tell remain inside of us unless we wish to share them.

But we all have scars. We’ve all been through difficulties.

Sometimes we are tempted to cover over those scars, pretend they didn’t happen. We pull the proverbial rug over our pain and try to act like everything’s just fine. We keep the fears and the shame buried beneath the surface. Even as Christians, we keep everything locked up tight, not only from others but from Jesus, too. If we ignore it, it’ll go away. No one will know. Maybe it never even happened.

We forget: Jesus had scars, too.

Jesus was chased, taunted. One town tried to throw him off a cliff (Luke 4:29). One of his closest friends betrayed him, causing him to be arrested, beaten, tortured, forced to wear a crown of thorns, and ultimately pierced with nails and hung to die half-naked on a cross.

When he rose from the dead and returned to walk again among his apostles, he could have chosen any form. He could have healed his wounds and covered over the holes in his flesh with soft new skin.

Instead, he owned his scars, used them for good—as a way to prove he truly was their Lord, returned as promised. As the Gospel of John tells us, “He showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy” (John 20:20 CEB).

One disciple, Thomas, wasn’t with the others when Jesus returned, and he didn’t buy their story.

“The other disciples told him, ‘We’ve seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe’” (John 20:25).

Eight days later, Jesus again stood before them, and this time, Thomas was there. Jesus spoke to his stubborn friend.

“‘Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!’ Thomas responded to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:27-John 20:28).

Jesus owned his scars. They told his story.

It’s time for us to do the same.

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