The beauty of scars

not my knees, I'm not that brave

not my knees, I'm not that brave

My knees are full of scars and by far my least favorite part of my body.  No matter what I do my knees don’t heal right and I have lingering scars.  For example on the morning before Caedmon was born via C-section  I set out to shave my legs, because well, there would be a lot of people examining my lower half.  In my attempt to bend around my huge belly I nicked my knee something fierce.  That scar is still there, a smooth, red reminder of the day Caedmon officially joined the Penny clan, as if the C-section scar wasn’t enough.

My body is covered in scars, on my wrists from my days as a pizza maker and one on my nose from a night where my dare devil childhood met the corner of a coffee table.  My scars tell a story, but other than that I don’t see what they’re really doing for me.  To my knowledge Kel doesn’t find them sexy.

By the age of 30 we’re all bound to have some scars on our skin, but not only that, we bear scars on a deeper level.  Few people make it to 30 without going through something painful and heartbreaking.  It may be loss through death, divorce, abuse or abandonment.  These are immensely painful parts of our story.   Yet lately God has given me fresh perspective on scars.

Your scars are beautiful credentials and they point you toward something you are uniquely equipped for.  I’ve been depressed and buried both my parents, so I write about that.  I have a deep passion to speak truth and light into the lives of those who grieve and linger without hope.  My scars have given my life passion and purpose.

About a month ago I attempted to write a submission for an amazing project called “What a Woman is worth”  headed up by Támara Lunardo of Támara out Loud.   This project tells the stories of women who struggled to find their worth as a woman and it affirms their God-given value.  I went through at least 8 drafts trying to craft a submission that told my story well, but nothing came together.  I called my Aunt Betsy and asked her about my childhood and her take on my mother’s illness and how it effected my younger years.

Eventually our conversation turned to my own daughter, Noelle, and all the truth I’m endeavoring to speak into her life.  She’s forever active just like I am and was as a child.  She struggles to focus and be still, she moves from one thing to the next in rapid succession, she keeps me on my tippiest of toes from morning to night.  She stretches and challenges me and gives me stinging insight into what my Mother went through.

The difference is that I am the mentally healthy mother of a busy daughter, while my mother was occupied fighting her own inner battle.  I have a million assets she didn’t.

The words “hyper” and “busy” stung me as a child, I heard them over and over again and I always felt broken and all wrong.  This left a scar that took years to heal and caused me to look for my worth in all the wrong places.  It also left me uniquely qualified to parent my bright and beautiful Noelle.  Now, anytime someone calls her “hyper”, “too busy” or “loud” my guard goes up and I’m quick to advocate that her energy is a gift,  we are simply teaching her how to use it well.

My busyness felt like the disease of my childhood, I was forever medicated, rejected and discouraged.  Yet, now I use those scars to Noelle’s advantage, they have gone from a wound to an asset.

As I endeavored to write about what a woman is worth, I failed miserably.  Yet I did emerge with amazing perspective on validating the worth of my daughter through my scars.

That’s the thing with scars and wounds, once they heal and we make peace with them, God stands fully ready to use them for his glory.  I have a deep desire to offer up my smooth, red scars to help others on the journey.  I survived because others were willing to do this for me and it’s an understatement to say that I want to return the favor.

Physically I only have two hands and they’re often filled with the little paws of my children.  Yet spiritually I am able to reach out beyond the walls of our home and hold the hands of those struggling to heal from the same wounds that left me scarred.  And as I reach out to grasp and uplift, I am also pulled along and held by the hands of others who guide me forward.

We are all called to grasp hands and use our scars and lessons to lead and be led.  God does not send us our wounds but he will use them to bring healing and hope.

I know you have scars, we all do, all of us.  You are not alone in this, and I pray that God shows you that you are brave, that you have two hands and that he yearns to use your hands and scars for his glory.

Think upon your wounds, are the healing?  Have they healed?  You are uniquely equipped through these scars to bring heaven to earth.  Don’t wait another day, you know what to do.

  • crosscribe

    This is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. Thank you.

    It’s funny sometimes how we want all our scars to be removed, yet Jesus used His as proof of His identity as the risen Lord to the disciples (John 20:19-20, 26-27).

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamára

      Yes. Awesome.

      Good work, Leanne. God leaves nothing wasted, indeed.

      • http://jamiemcintosh.wordpress.com jamiemcintosh

        Beautiful, beautiful thoughts, Leanne.

        I sometimes think how beautiful are the scars of Jesus. They are signs of overwhelming love given for us. I think he kisses our wounds, yet sometimes allows the broken places to remain, that we might lean on him, and allow others to lean on us without complaint – only kindness, compassion and shared strength. And while our wounds and scars are sometimes self-inflicted, his were chosen in his choosing of us, over all, in the Father’s love.

        It also occurs to me, as it had occurred to others long before, that Jesus’ wounds persist beyond his death and resurrection. Perhaps in someway he wants to remember his perpetual solidarity with the broken, the weak, the sinner, the meek, the outcast, the poor, the lonely, the lowly. Perhaps he bears them with a sense of honour, and of dignity bestowed upon and restored unto his body and his bride. And perhaps, also, becoming like Christ has as much to with gathering scars in loving, compassionate, courageous service, as it does in cultivating the fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps these are interwoven, mystically intertwined.

        Just a few random thoughts I’ve been gathering along the journey of my own brokenness, walking through broken spaces and places, by God’s grace reverently touching other broken, yet beautiful, God-breathed, God-kissed, God-transfigured faces.

        Thanks for your kindness and courage to share your precious thoughts with others, and for allowing me to share a few of mine.

        • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

          Thank you Jamie I love the imagery you use here, it adds deep dimension and beauty to the idea of beautiful scars.

    • http://jamiemcintosh.wordpress.com jamiemcintosh

      Beautiful, beautiful thoughts, Leanne.

      I sometimes think how beautiful are the scars of Jesus. They are signs of overwhelming love given for us. I think he kisses our wounds, yet sometimes allows the broken places to remain, that we might lean on him, and allow others to lean on us without complaint – only kindness, compassion and shared strength. And while our wounds and scars are sometimes self-inflicted, his were chosen in his choosing of us, over all, in the Father’s love.

      It also occurs to me, as it had occurred to others long before, that Jesus’ wounds persist beyond his death and resurrection. Perhaps in someway he wants to remember his perpetual solidarity with the broken, the weak, the sinner, the meek, the outcast, the poor, the lonely, the lowly. Perhaps he bears them with a sense of honour, and of dignity bestowed upon and restored unto his body and his bride. And perhaps, also, becoming like Christ has as much to with gathering scars in loving, compassionate, courageous service, as it does in cultivating the fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps these are interwoven, mystically intertwined.

      Just a few random thoughts I’ve been gathering along the journey of my own brokenness, walking through broken spaces and places, by God’s grace reverently touching other broken, yet beautiful, God-breathed, God-kissed, God-transfigured faces.

      Thanks for your kindness and courage to share your precious thoughts with others, Leanne, and for allowing me to share a few of mine.

  • http://addingaburden.blogspot.com Jill

    Love this post. I have a big scar on my back and one on my wrist from a bone condition I had as a child. My preliminary diagnosis was bone cancer, but after two biopsies it turned out to be a much more manageable condition. My mom prayed so hard for me (I was 5) and asked God that if he made it not be cancer, she would do everything in her power to ensure that I dedicated my life to ministry. She didn’t tell me this until I had decided to go to Kuyper, but wow what a story! Prayer answered in every way. :-)

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      Jill, that is so lovely and such a strong reminder of how everything in our lives is used and woven together for his glory! Love you.