I burned my hand the first Sunday in February on a cast iron skillet. I’ve been cooking with cast iron for a few years now but this burn was a first time occurrence. Some how I managed to not quite cover the entire handle with a potholder after sliding a mouth watering pizza out of the pan for Tom and ended up searing the side of my palm on my dominate hand. I knew by the instant burning pain that I had gotten myself good. I couldn’t get to the sink fast enough to soak my hand under cold running water until it went numb.
I burned myself last summer also while canning homemade tomato sauce. That incident led to my friend Jessica to give me an aloe plant which is coming in very handy now. These aren’t the only scars on my hands. I have scars from stitches when I was a kid, a scar from a black locust thorn embedded in a knuckle, and a few other dents, marks and dings on my extremities that I have no recollection of how they even came about.
My entire body is marked by a variety of different flesh and bone scars. One on my ankle from a 2×4, one on my arm from a hot cookie sheet, a long, smooth one from a carpet staple, and multiple ones from numerous surgeries. There’s even scars on my elbows from falling down stairs with a huge pot of hot chili. (Maybe I should stop cooking?) 😂
But those old physical scars have all healed. They’ve been treated by aloe and salves, covered by bandaids, stitched up, kissed by my mother, and doctored by caring hands. Physical scars are intriguing and the stories behind them can range from comical, to stupid to downright horrific and life altering.
I may have quite a few physical scars but the ones on my heart? Well those are the type of life scars that I’m most proud of. The ones that have grown faint over time because they were healed by love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. Scars represent when the hurt is over, the wound has closed, pain has been endured and you are healed. I am not ashamed of the scars that life has left me with.
The new wound on my hand will most likely heal completely and the scar be faintly unnoticeable just like the scars my heart has overcome all of these years later. The scars on my body are reminders just like the scars on my heart. Reminders to appreciate who we are.
Reminders to also love deeply, because love can cover a multitude of scars and sins. To forgive because forgiveness in return is such a soothing balm and salve. To extend grace even when it’s least expected because it can heal the wounded. The never ending promise that mercy is new every waking morning.
You may look at my life on social media and think it’s beautiful and clean and looks so perfect. Some of you have even told me how envious you are of the life I have. But trust me it’s not always what you think or see. There’s days I’m covered in dirt, mud and scars. Some weeks and even months I’m covered in itchy, burning, deep scars and barely crawling through the day. There’s hot, searing battles waging daily in my life and mind that some seasons leave deep scars that I must treat daily with prayer, hope and faith.
Too afraid to completely trust, too scared of being hurt. Pushing back loneliness, jealousy, bitterness and hate. Believing the lies of fear, questioning everything I have ever believed, pondering if I’m being selfish or actively seeking the will of God in my life.
I have been wounded, but am not defined by my scars. They are just part of my story. They are reminders of times when life tried to break me but failed. Some days, they are my favorite part. The markings that show I have won the battle and overcame my wounds. I love to see the structure of my character and earthly being still being welded together into what God would want for me to become.
This past week I have questioned a multitude of different aspects regarding my religion and faith. But what I haven’t questioned is the reason Jesus bore the scars from the sins of the entire world. I still believe in the hope and promise of eternal life if I take up my own cross and strive to follow him.
In the end I still believe we all bleed the same.
I would sear my hand again to prove it if you asked me to.
May you remember the scars bore for you also this weekend as we celebrate Jesus’ scars and His victory over death.
I hope you never forget the cross that made us all flawless!