Today I have a very special guest post by one of my good friends, Lydia. Lydia has been writing devotionals for quite a while and I’m excited to be able to share one of them with you!
And now, please welcome, LYDIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*insert applause here*
“The things that made you cry can help others connect.”
I have scars.
Those three words aren’t easy words to type down, because, well, I know people will read them. And then they’ll know something about me that I don’t exactly like people to know.
But it’s true. They’re on both of my legs, there’s a couple on my ankle, a couple on each of my hands, a few on my arms . . . I have scars.
When I was younger, I almost always had a scrape or a bruise somewhere on my body. I guess that’s what happens where you’re an adventurer. Well, even now I still get lots of scrapes and bruises! When you try (notice the word try) to ride your bike down the driveway without using your hands or feet (yes, I tried that), you’re gonna get scraped up. When you spend a couple hours in the woods, you get a scrape or two. When you ride down the hill in your front yard in a wagon (yes, I tried that too), you’re lucky if you don’t have a bruise! But the thing is, once I had a scrape, I just wouldn’t leave it alone. Just when it’d start healing, I’d mess with it. Over and over. I’d scratch, I’d pick, I’d rub. I had a tendency to pick at them when I was nervous, scared, frustrated, bored, or fidgety. My fingers would always find the newest scrape that was beginning to heal, and mess everything up. And if you don’t let wounds heal, they leave scars. And since I’d do this with almost every scrape I’d get, I now have lots of scars. Some you can see well, others are less visible. But they’re there.
I honestly wish I had had more self discipline to stop myself from scratching. I wish I had listened to the people who’d say, “Lydia! Let ’em heal!” I wish I had learned my lesson a lot sooner. I wish I could go back and do something to make sure I didn’t have any scars.
But I can’t. So . . . they’ll always be a part of me. When I had (finally!) learned my lesson, I became very self-conscious about my scars. I was very much aware that they were there, and that they weren’t going away. I always viewed them in a negative light, reminding myself that it was my fault that they were there. I hated my scars.
I didn’t really want anyone to know about them, and whenever someone would bring them up, I would cringe. I wanted to hide, try to forget that they were there. I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears, and say, “I can’t hear you!” I felt so imperfect and . . . well, scarred. I felt so out of place, thinking I was the only scarred person in the world. My scars have always made me feel vulnerable.
I’m not proud of them.
Then a while back, I met a girl who also has scars. While she isn’t proud of them or how she got them, she told me about them. She told me how she feels about them. I hadn’t even told her I have scars, she just opened up to me about them. It wasn’t easy for her to do, but she told me about them because she knew that in some way, God could use her scars to do something good.
I was on the verge of tears as I realized something. God can always take something negative in our lives, and use it in so many positive ways.
He can use my scars to help others. To encourage others. To connect people, and help me relate to others.
My scars came from a mistake that I made over and over, so I’m not excusing what I did. But they’re there, and they’re not going away. And if God can use them for good, then I’m placing my scars in His scarred hands.
I think we all have scars. Whether they’re physical ones, or emotional ones, etc. They could have come from a mistake you repeatedly made, like me. They could have come from losing a loved one, or having to walk through a hard illness. They could have come from a deep hurt or from an event that changed everything for you. They could have come from your parents’ failing marriage, or from an ongoing problem that you didn’t know how to escape or fix. While you may have moved past the pain, or forgiven someone, it still left a scar.
Just like me, we all try to hide our scars. We get it in our heads that we just can’t let people see that we’re broken. We hide all our scars behind a pleasant smile, and a good hand shake. We always answer, “Great!” when asked how we’re doing. We avoid conversations that are similar to what we’re going through, because if we join and seek advice, then people will see that we’re “messed up.”
And it works because not a lot of people look beyond the smiles and the hand shakes.
There’s two things I want to tell you, and the first one is to not hide your scars. God can and will use something bad that happened in your life for good. He can use it to encourage and help people. He can use it and give you opportunities to connect with people, and walk with them through something hard that they’re going through. You never know what God can do if you place your scars in His hands.
And the second thing is to try to look behind the smiles of others. One of my best friends, whenever she asks how I’m doing, always says, “How are you doing? Honestly?” And even if you are doing okay and tell her that, she’ll always ask, “Really?” Or, “How can I be praying for you?” And I think that’s awesome. A lot of people ask how you’re doing just because it seems like the appropriate thing to ask. And once they get a, “Fine” or “Okay” or “Good”, they move on to other topics. But what if when we asked someone how they’re doing, we ask them how my friend asks me? Ask them how they’re doing honestly, and ask them how we can be praying for them. Remember that they have wounds that are healing, or scars that they’re hiding. Maybe they need to know that there is someone who cares about them, and is praying for them.
This wasn’t an easy post for me to do, because I felt vulnerable typing down the words. Sometimes sharing your scars isn’t easy, but God never promised it would be. It is worth it though, and if you allow Him, He can use your scars to do something extraordinary in other people’s lives . . . and yours. What we’re insecure about can help others feel secure.
I don’t know what you’ve been through, what you’ve been told, what you’ve seen, what you’ve believed, what’s happened in your life . . . but I do know that we serve an amazing God, Who can take anything bad and turn it into something good. I do know that He is holding onto us. I do know that He loves us, is protecting us, and has a plan, even in the pain. And I do know that He isn’t finished with you. There’s more to your story. Your scars are part of your story. He’s still working on you (Philippians 1:6). That’s what Aole Pau means is “Unfinished.” Trust God, and watch to see what He will do with you. And your scars.
So place all your scars in His mighty, scarred hands.
Thank you so much, Lydia, for sharing that! If any of you would like to know more about her devotionals, or sign up for them, you can do that by contacting me on my contact page here.
Have a wonderful day, guys!