Sacred Scars

In the church we LOVE a good testimony:

“Jesus saved me from a life of drugs and alcohol abuse!” 

“The Lord healed my marriage and now we are best friends and ministry partners!” 

“God gave me a child after a decade of infertility!”

But you know what we DON’T love? 

We don’t love broken stories that can’t be tied up in strings of victory. 

We rarely love the walking wounded.

its hurting again

Why?  Probably because we really, really want to believe that Jesus+time+counseling+the right attitude fixes everything.

But it doesn’t.  There are some things that will not be “fixed” this side of heaven.

There are some among us who bear sacred scars.

Not all scars ARE sacred.  But if the person whose body and heart are wounded has offered up those wounds to Jesus as an act of praise and sacrifice they are sacred, holy, set apart for His use and His glory.

And we need to make space within His Body to bear witness to these also. 

We need to honor the heart that has said, “I will not turn back even though the road is long and hard and has no rainbow at the end.”

courage and perseverance

When Thomas doubted the disciples’ claims of having seen a resurrected Jesus, he wanted the wounds as proof.

Jesus appeared and complied-allowing the doubting one to see that He had, indeed, risen.

 He drew close to Thomas.

Jesus: Reach out and touch Me. See the punctures in My hands; reach out your hand, and put it to My side; leave behind your faithlessness, and believe.

Thomas (filled with emotion): You are the one True God and Lord of my life.

John 20:27-28 VOICE

John describes Jesus in Revelation:

And there between the throne (with the four living creatures) and among the elders I saw a Lamb (Christ) standing, [bearing scars and wounds] as though it had been slain

Revelation 5:6a AMP

Wounds are not shameful. 

They are often the mark of endurance under trial.  

If the Lord Himself is bearing witness to His suffering for all eternity by displaying the scars from His wounds, then should we not also welcome others to do the same?

When we receive with gladness those who bear sacred scars we honor the life of Christ in them.  We bear witness to the power of His love to supply strength and passion to persevere. 

We are raising up a testimony to the world that says, “He really IS enough!”

my grace is sufficient

 

 

 

Time Alone Does NOT Heal

time does not heal its a lie Time, by itself, does not heal the pain of child loss.

But time, plus the work grief requires, plus God’s grace poured out on my heart and in my life, does bring a measure of healing.

heals the broken hearted

I did not believe that in the first months or even years. But I can testify to that truth today.  It has been a slow and very painful process full of stops and starts, one step forward, two steps back.  

Am I still very broken?

Absolutely!

Am I still limping?

YES!

Until the day I die I will never be the same.

But I have grown stronger and better able to carry this load of sorrow and God is helping me turn the ashes into something beautiful.

beauty-from-ashes-clothespinThat something bears witness to my son, to my pain and to the truth that, with God’s help, I can endure faithfully to the end.

 

And God is no respecter of persons-He has not given me anything He will not pour out on every single heart that asks.  

My prayer for each wounded reader is that you will feel the Father’s loving arms around you and that He will flood your broken heart with His grace, mercy and comfort.   

 

close to the brokenhearted

What if My Testimony is Endurance?

Clearly marked boundaries, categories and rules make things easier.

But life rarely fits in the tidy boxes I like to create.

And when it doesn’t I’m tempted to ignore the parts that don’t fit-tempted to pretend they don’t exist-so I can maintain the world I’ve created for myself. I would rather march on in ignorance than drag out my underlying assumptions to figure out if they are true or false.

That takes a lot of work.

In the church we like to line up the “Overcomers” to give testimony of how faith in Christ has turned their life around.

And He absolutely does that.

Some are delivered from addiction, sin and abuse.  Some receive healing-none the less miraculous if it comes through the hands of skilled physicians.  Some enjoy restored relationships.

But not everyone gets what they long for.  Not every loss can be undone.

imagine child lossAnd those left to live their lives hoping but not healed can be labeled “losers”.  We can be marginalized because our story is messy and can’t be tied up in a neat spiritual package.

It MATTERS how we frame the very personal tragedies that people around us experience.

My friend and fellow loss mom, Janet Boxx,  has written a beautiful post that exposes one of the ways life doesn’t fit the neat categories we like to use.

Please take a moment to read her post It’s Personal .

its-personal-pt1-tm

Sometimes people outside our experience toss Scripture at us who are suffering like confetti in a parade-as if we are heroes who only have yet to take the podium and declare the victory.

But what if  there IS no victory in this life for some of us?

What if there is only endurancewhich is a sort of victory but one not highly valued?

Paul never declared a final victory over his thorn in the flesh.  He characterized his life as one “poured out like a drink offering”.  He said he “groaned” in his earthly tent and “longed” to be clothed with the heavenly.

I am living.  I don’t spend my days curled up in a ball (even when I want to).

But I groanI groan for the time when what the enemy has stolen will be restored.

Until then, even if I have to crawl, battered and bruised:

“I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.” (Philippians 3:14 NIRV)

keep-pressing-on

The final destruction of death is still in the future. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Not only will I see Lenya again, but I will hold the same body I held here, only better, because what the thief has stolen will be restored sevenfold (Proverbs 6:31)!
This is why it’s crucial for you to see that we don’t need to put a nice face on our pain or hurry people through a process that can’t be rushed; the fact that our sadness doesn’t go away makes our triumph even more powerful. Our faith works in the fire, and not just when life is fun. We can be hard-pressed and yet not crushed, struck down and yet not destroyed — not because we know general facts about the resurrection or that there is a heaven, but because we trust in the one who said that he is the resurrection and the life, who took the keys from death and hell, was dead, and lives forever. His name is Jesus, and he always leads us in triumph!
~Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of a Lion

 

Testimony of Hope

No way around it–this goat is ugly.  He was born a runt and never outgrew it.

But he’s my favorite.

Several years ago he was attacked by dogs.  One had him by the ear (thus his missing ear) and one had him by the hindquarters. Only my youngest son’s swift barefoot run through the woods saved him from being killed. Julian carried him out, mangled and bloody.

We spent weeks cleaning and treating his wounds and months nursing him back to health.

He has no monetary value–in fact he’s cost me a good deal.  But I love him because he is a testimony of hope.  

He lives in spite of his scars.

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I’m meeting others who have buried their children too.

And it is so, so hard.

But these mamas are so, so brave.

And they are clinging with all their might to the hand of the One Who has promised to redeem this pain and these wounds.

I can’t tell you that anything “good” has come from my son’s death–at least nothing that couldn’t have come from his life.

But I can tell you that what the enemy intended to use to destroy me and my family has not done that.

I am hurt and I bear scars.

But the Shepherd of my soul has carried me and is carrying me.

I will continue to trust in Him and offer my life as a testimony of hope.

 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 NIV