So, for about a month, I have noticed that everyone is having the same reaction to Mei Sims.... they are in awe and amazement at what a different child she is. Even my coffee gals have said she was the most drastic change in the group from the beginning to now. My social worker was floored when she saw her recently.... she said that MS more than some others showed such physical signs of trauma and stress at the beginning.... and now? She can take your breath away with how amazing she is.....
The natural question I am getting from folks in reaction to the change they see is "Can you even believe this is the same child? Does that "hard" seem so long ago? Can you even remember it?" My usual response is "Yes, she is amazing." and then I usually add a sarcastic quip... " But she has scarred me for life!" in reference to what it took to get there.
I say it jokingly but I actually mean what I say..... however, rather than being traumatized or bitter at the "scars", I wear them proudly. Like a battle wound.... because when I look at these scars they remind me not only of where we have been but also of how we got through it all.... they remind me of the heart of God.... who was so faithful to sustain us, carry us and equip us. I can remember as a kid wishing that I had a big old scar to tell a really cool story about.... so that other kids would gather around and I could show it to them.....telling them a tale of how it came to be... and I'm sure embellishing a bit here and there to make it even more exciting.
All these years later, I'm realizing He has answered me. Granted my "scars" were emotional and mental rather than something to behold with our eyes.... but I still have that story to tell of how it came to be and how it was healed. It struck me recently that even Jesus saw the value in scars as He showed Thomas his nail-pierced hands. Jesus was raised from the dead... he certainly could have done a little cosmetic treatment on his hands to get them smooth and perfect again. But He chose not to. Why? From His encounter with Thomas, my guess is that He knew so deeply the heart and mind of that one man (and really of each of us).... He knew that someone would need to see the scars in order to truly believe and understand.... His scars told a story.... a story of who He was and what He had done. As a kid I always thought negatively of "doubting thomas".... why didn't he have enough faith to just believe without making Jesus show his hands... and yet I know I can be just like him.... I need to really see Jesus at times as a reminder that He is still there, He is still in control.... even when I know in my head He is.... sometimes my eyes need to behold Him.
As I was chewing on this idea of "scars" it occurred to me that Jesus chose to keep those marks not only to minister to a doubting disciple but also as a model to us.... of how beautiful our wounds can become. Of course "scarring moments" leave us altered forever and we will look, act or feel differently than before.... but there is no longer a painful gaping wound. Scars suggest a healing has taken place.....and what was once a wound can be used for His glory..... a display of His power... a concrete example that we can see in this life of His moving on our behalf and it becomes an avenue to draw others to Him.... but in order for them to "work their magic" they have to be exposed for others to see. Jesus's hands were not hidden and simply for his own knowledge.... they were there for others. What am I going to do with my scars..... hide them? Grow bitter about whatever made them happen? Or use mine in the same way my savior did?
All that to say that when I say that MS scarred me for life.... I praise God that she did. I praise him that she came in & shook things up in our house and in my heart. I praise Him that I cried more, doubted His plans more, slept much less, and struggled more this past year than I had at any other time in my life. I'd rather go to heaven one day all scarred up from attempting to live for him rather than arriving in pristine condition and knowing nothing of His power to heal my hurts and transform my life.
And as Christmas draws near.... I hope we will all have time to wonder anew at the birth of Jesus.... which was really the beginning of His journey here on earth to be scarred by us and for us. And oh how thankful I am for His birth even more this christmas.... as I look at all the tragedies in the world that surround us..... I'm reminded that I not only need a savior but that I have a savior..... I'm reminded that this is not my home.... that one day there will be peace in a place where wounds and hurts will be no more.... until that day... Merry Christmas.
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee....