I am both a “hot mess” and a dearly beloved daughter of the King. And once I began to embrace my identity as a child of God and a follower of Christ, my “hot messiness” didn’t evaporate. But my heart began to heal.
I spent the first 10 years of my Christian walk believing that transformation meant putting a new shine on my life. That as my relationship with Christ grew, I would get it together more and more. That I would eventually become one of those “church ladies” who have a lovely smile for everyone and perfectly combed hair.
Instead, I’ve discovered that the evidence of God’s power in my life is not seen in the absence of problems, pain, and bad hair days. Nope. It’s by the revealing of my healed scars. To pretend otherwise is to hide the ugly again (a recurring theme for me!)
God doesn’t offer us an either/or proposition: joy or scars. The deal He makes with us is joy and scars.
When wounds heal, scars remain. They are evidence that the Healer has been at work in us. And they speak way louder than any perfectly groomed church lady ever could.
As Christians, we sometimes behave as if our past experiences, pain and losses don’t matter or have little to do with the “new creation” we have become in Christ. We neatly try to put them all behind us, maybe wrapping them in pretty paper stamped with “forgiveness.” And hoping that when we embrace our new identity in Christ, this old package will somehow simply disappear.
We might even believe that revisiting our past experiences somehow shows a lack of faith. Or calls into question how well we are living out our new identity in Christ. But I know in my heart that who I am today – the healing and wholeness I have found – did not happen in spite of what I have experienced, but because of what I have experienced.
God found me in my mess and rescued me there.
I remember one of the darker days following my divorce. I sat waiting at a red light at an intersection where I had turned right hundreds of times to take my kids to soccer practice and baseball games with their dad. Suddenly I was overcome with anger and with tears streaming down my face I banged my hands on the steering wheel and shouted, “I don’t want this to be my life!” The light turned green and I turned left away from the park, still crying. I whispered, “Please Lord, I don’t want this to be my life.” Silence filled the car that day, but God was with me.
And He is with me every step of the way, as the life I never wanted becomes the life I have. I belong to Him. And He’s turning my new life into one of beauty and joy. But the story of how I got here is important. To Him and to me.
Our stories matter to God because in them is where we find Him.
Or maybe I should say it’s where He finds us. In our stories, God shows up and reaches out to us in our unique situations and circumstances. In our pain, confusion and wounds. To later pretend that those things no longer matter is to paint a bleak picture of who our God is.
He sees all of me. Yes, my sin was washed away and put into the deepest part of the sea. But God still sees me. The unique, scarred, experienced, wrinkled, aging me. Just as He saw the woman at the well, He sees me. And I can run to others and say, “Come meet this man. He knows everything about me.” (John 4:29)
I’m not a perfectly groomed, got-it-all-together Christian. I’m a dinged-up, slightly bruised, and messy Christian who can say, “I survived because of God.
He rescued me from the train wreck and I’m alive because of Him. I will never forget who I was or the condition I was in when He found me and made me whole again. To do so would be to deny the transforming power of His love.
What we experience matters to God. And how we share our experiences with others matters too. Because our healed scars give us a unique privilege to speak from experience into the life of someone who may be in the middle of their own mess.
Without our scars, we might forget how we got here. We might begin to rely on our fuzzy memories and convince ourselves that we weren’t THAT bad off when He found us. That our healing and growth happened largely due to our own awesome ability to figure things out. But our scars keep us honest. Our lives are beautiful because of Him.
So how about you? Are you sharing your beautiful scars so others can see how His love has healed you? Who have they given you the privilege of walking beside? I would love to hear your story!