Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beautiful Scars

“Nobody escapes being wounded.  We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.   The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?”  When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers." - Henri Nouwen

Hear that? NO ONE escapes being need to live in shame or to live the rest of your days feeling broken....Jesus is there, in the dirt, asking if He can heal you, asking if He can hold you in your pain, asking if you'd like for Him to use this pain for good.

For some, that may sound crazy and that's ok. I know what that feels like. I know what it's like to feel so broken that you don't think you'll ever feel whole again. I know what it is to go into those deep places and there to realize that you're even more broken than you first thought! I know the overwhelming feeling that accompanies that realization. I know what it's like to say to a counselor "is it really that bad? Do other people have this amount of trauma? Was I really violated that much? This's not just in my head, huh? It's really kind of a big deal" and have her with tears in her eyes say "yes. it is. I am sorry. But I promise to walk with you to healing." For a long time I thought healing wasn't totally possible. And even if it was....I couldn't imagine others loving me if they really knew how broken I was. I felt I would live with the scars forever.

But then I read about a woman in India who was a part of the horrendous act of "bride burnings" and had scars all over her body after nearly being burned alive. She is now a specialist treating burn victims. The writer talked about watching her work and talk and touch the women who had suffered like she had and being in awe of her....and her scars. How those scars were beautiful. I also think about the coolest, not the football heroes you may think of....the XGames stars :) the ones who do the coolest stunts. And ya know what? They have scars too. Many great adventures come with scars.

I can honestly say, after all that I've been through, that I don't regret any of my wounds. I used to read Genesis 50.... after horrific abuse and maltreatment.... 19" But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."  I used to be afraid of that verse. I couldn't read it without bawling. I couldn't believe I'd EVER get to the place where this level of pain could be "brushed aside" like that. Yes, I wanted to forgive. Yes, I wanted God to use it. But to say those words? unthinkable.  But now, I think I can say that. What others (or the enemy....I don't think everyone who hurt me actually intended to wound) meant for evil....God used for good. 

I can see already how He has begun to use my wounds, to use my scars for good. Really amazing, actually. The question is....will you let Him hold you? I used to think that change and healing like this took a lot of work - but what Jesus told me was that it was ok to hurt, ok to lay in the dirt and cry. In fact, He would lay in that dirt with me and hold me. And gently, so very gently, He began to lift me out of the dirt, tend to my wounds and heal my broken places. He gave me beautiful scars where there were once just open wounds. I promise that He will do the same for you. I pray that is what He will do for the women in Uganda in a few weeks. That will be the crux of what we are talking about....asking Jesus to bring beauty from broken places. Pray with me for them? And I'll be praying for you too.

PS: If you want to help some hurting Ugandan women attend our conference, you can click here to give. $1.25 provides for one Ugandan woman to attend.

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