Beautiful Scars – Princess Abi’s Faith

Today’s Guest Post came in this week from Laurie Wilks and I knew I had to bump my Friday posting plans to share it with you.  

Laurie is a new friend, mother, teacher and fellow Asbury-ite.  I promise you’ll walk away in love with her beautiful and brave daughter Abi, as I did.  Abi’s perspective on God, Faith and Scars is something that we could all take notes on.  ~ Leanne

A big chunk of our family time happens on-the-go, running errands in our sage green mini-van.

It was the week before Thanksgiving and we had several destinations to check off that afternoon.

We had reached the point in the day when sweet treats beckon, but dinner seems far off. The bickering from the older kids in the back seat was noticeably absent. On a whim, we pulled into the drive-thru and ordered two kid sized hot chocolates and a juice box.  Cheers and laughter erupted from the back seat.  Sweets! With Whipped Cream! Happy day!  John and Laurie Wilks: Parents of the Year!

We waited, as patiently as possible.  Soon enough, an awkward teenager handed us our steamy liquid goodness.  We thanked her and I passed them back to the worlds happiest 8 and 4 year-old kids.  They were so grateful, it melted my heart.  I hollered a warning that their drinks were hot; and glance back at their smiling faces as John pulled back on to the highway.

I wish I could have frozen this moment and savored it.

Suddenly, I heard an ear piercing, terrified scream from my 4 yr old daughter.  She just kept screaming, and crying.  Traffic prevented us from turning around or pulling over. Continue reading

Beautiful Scars- And Then The Morning Comes

I’m in awe of the strength and stories of the women who have submitted pieces for the beautiful scars series and Jennifer Little is no exception.  I’m humbled and honored to be a part of sharing her story with you and to be a small piece of her healing.  There is no story that God won’t redeem, but this one is especially dear to my heart.

~Leanne

And Then The Morning Comes

It’s easy for me to say I was molested for the first time as a nine-year old. It’s not, however, easy to sift through and relive all those years (27 to be exact), since I was visited in the darkness. That was when the safety of my pale pink bedroom shattered into millions of tiny pieces that would later cut deep like glass.

When I first began writing this, I fooled myself into thinking I could whip up an account that has, by the way, blossomed into one of hope and love and forgiveness. The truth is, though, there is no way for me to share the light without first revisiting the dark—the secret, the fear, the loneliness and wild anger. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, thank God.

Thank you, God. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there.

One might think my childhood was a dark stain on my life. After all, the secret of sexual abuse is so devastating, it can set children up for a future of rejection and failure in every possible way. But I know my parents and step-parents loved me as much as they were able, and there were plenty of happy times and fun memories. Continue reading

Beautiful Scars- The Year of my Drinking

I’m so excited to be sharing a real and lovely post from my friend Addie Zierman who does most of her writing over at her blog “How to Talk Evangelical.”

Addie has a way of taking your soul and putting it into words, so I implore you to follow her blog immediately if you know what’s good for you.  Addie is sharing her voice for my “Beautiful Scars” Series, and if you’re interested in doing the same I would love that, click here for more info.

Beautiful Scars- The Year of my Drinking by Addie Zierman

That was the year that I was very sad. The year that I was drinking to get happy. Drinking to forget and remember and feel something all at once.

Before that point, my relationship to alcohol had been downright ambivalent. As an on-fire-for-Jesus high school student, I had thought drinking was a sin. As a college student at a conservative Christian college, I adhered to a strict Lifestyle Statement that banned it altogether.

But in 2007, I discovered my own bottomless, inexplicable sadness. And I discovered Starling Castle Riesling…a sweet, mellow wine that I could drink in great gulps.

After the first glass, I felt happy and buoyant. After the second, honest and authentic. Somewhere in the middle of the third glass, I felt myself float away like a balloon, and all of the pain looked tiny and surreal so far beneath me like that.

The Depression, of course, had to do with biology and with old wounds, never really healed. In this place of darkness, you encounter something normal like loneliness, and you cannot handle it. In this place, some church person that you barely know says some well-intentioned something, and it breaks you in half because you have become so brittle in your pain.

And what I want to say is that yes. I have been wounded.

Many of the wounds came from the high-mobility, high-passion evangelical teen culture of my youth.  There was a high school boyfriend who, in his scrambling to be “passionate for God,” broke my heart brutally again and again. There was a fervent, teen missions organization that set impossible standards and then made me feel less-godly, less-beloved and less-chosen when I couldn’t meet them.

My wounds came from unexpected places, places that I thought were safe, people who I thought were speaking the Word of God, and they cut deep. I was wounded and it was cruel and unfair and painful. I was wounded, and it matters.

But the thing about wounds is that they will heal if you let them, if you tend them, if you take care of them. But we are terrible at this. I am terrible at this.

Ever since the Garden, we have had this compulsion for covering. We cover the pain with silence or with excuses or with simplified Christian answers or with Starling Castle Riesling.

We walk around this world infected with anger and bitterness that we do not understand, and we just keep throwing stuff on it, expecting that we eventually, we will bury it deep enough that it will just decompose like an old piece of bread.

But this is not how it works. By covering my wounds, I only compounded them. In my desperation to numb the pain, I made it worse.

I drank and drank and raged. I flirted with temptation and peered into the cavern of my own darkness, and then, one day, I reached the bottom of myself. I reached that desperate place where I had to change or fall into the abyss.

Here is why my scars are beautiful: because they represent the work I have done to become whole.

My scars are beautiful not because they are wounds but because one day, I stopped pouring the Riesling overtop them. Because I went once a week to a sweet, serious therapist who made me talk through the ache. A therapist who helped me find them, clean them, sew them back together one brutal stitch at a time.

Scarring is that beautiful thing that happens when you hold out the painful thing and let the healing in. Let God in.

It’s that thing that happens when we uncurl from around those tender places and expose them to that startling, searing, beautiful Light.

Addie Zierman (@addiezierman) is a writer, mom, and Diet Coke enthusiast. She blogs twice a week at How to Talk Evangelical, where she’s working to redefine faith one cliche at a time.

Beautiful Scars- When I was a Christian

For a long time God has been nudging me about the need to be part of a community that not only shares their story, but speaks of redemption.  An honest connection for sharing how God has used our scars as unique qualifications to bring his light to the dark spaces.  

It all started with trying to write about my own story and being smacked in the face over how my childhood wounds make me the perfect mother for my own daughter.  And how my grief and loss has enabled me to talk about hope and tenacity in the valley.  

So I’m starting a series of sorts here on the blog where I’ll host and create space for other people to share their beautiful scars and painful yet unique qualifications.  A space for sharing our stories, even the most painful parts all for the purpose of glorifying a God who wastes nothing and is open to redeeming it all.  

If you have a story of beautiful scars and would be willing to share it here please contact me and we’ll chat about it.  

Today I am humbled to give blog space to my friend Joy Cannis as she shares her raw and honest story of loss and restoration.  I’ve known Joy for a while online now and I’m blessed to be in connection with her, hoping you feel the same:

I grew up in a loving home surrounded by “God-fearing” parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors. My mom says that I prayed to receive Christ at age two. Though she was unable to decipher my words, she’s certain that’s what I did.

I distinctly remember at age seven, sitting at the kitchen counter, across from my mom, when my dad called to say that my grandfather’s long and painful battle with cancer was over. And just like that I learned of mortality.

I was never afraid of death before having someone that I knew and loved pass away. It made it so real. When my grandmother died many years later, I can remember looking at her body in the casket. Her hands were pale and shriveled.

“Why do her hands look that way?” I asked my uncle.

He replied with a look of disdain, “There’s no blood in her body! They have to drain it all out! Didn’t you know that?!”

I didn’t know that, but I would never forget it after that moment.

Continue reading