I should know by now that sometimes we have to see something with our hearts and not just our eyes.
And that sometimes, scars that would call for shadows, can instead become scars that shine.
We have these old wooden stairs in our home. They lead up to the bedrooms on the second floor.
We’ve been here for almost fourteen years now, and the stairs weren’t pretty when we got here. A run down, post war home, we bought it for a song and have spent the whole time slowly turning it into our haven, doing our own work on it.
And the stairs were worn, hastily brushed with a tired stain before we got there to try to cover up the worn out treads. It was livable, but would need doing at some point.
Except, when the only way up to the main bedrooms is one narrow staircase, how do you make time to rip them up and start over?
So now it’s 13 years later.
Still no new stairs.
And to say they’re worn would be an understatement.
They’re scarred. They are scarred and then some.
13 years of feet going up and down, small at first, then stretching.
Backpacks up and down, laundry up and down, snacks up and down, slippers and bare feet and that time someone went down on their head and lived to tell about it.
Careful toddlings up and down, now giant jogs and thumps, socks, shoes, and paws as the dog follows.
Feet that went up with report cards and awards. Feet that came down with dirty laundry and problems at school. Steps that transported tears, sibling games, rivalry, secrets, victories and accomplishments. Steps that took them for time-outs, steps that took them and their furniture to far-away school and to new futures. Steps that rushed, slipped, stomped and skipped. Doggie steps that hustle in play, and tread in curiosity, and wander up in companionship.
The more I look at the steps with my heart, the more the scars shine instead of shudder.
Why cover up such a beautiful reminder that life was lived all over those stairs?
Instead of seeing them as being used up, they are proof of being a daily conduit for lives full . That’s a beautiful thought for this parent, this wife, this homemaker, this wobbly believer.
Sometimes scars shine.
Almost a year ago was my own decision to allow my scars to be shown, to let them prove that life was lived in spite of them, to allow God to take my personal story and use it as He desired.
You can spot my scars all over this blog. My heart sees bits of Him in all His splendour and His faithfulness reflected back in the scars, in all the words and feelings typed out.
Lord, use our scars for Your glory. Who will bravely pray this with me today? And tomorrow? And the next?
Beauty from ashes they say. Well Lord, I think to myself, only You could make such hardship beautiful, because this soul has a lot of wear and tear, let me tell you.
We all have the ravages of hardships, and of life. But these are signs of life being lived, even when they feel more like the signs of life being worn down.
Don’t consider yourself worn down any longer. Let the Master Builder decide what’s a scar and what’s design. Every wrinkle, pucker, scratch and scar is proof you’re here, and your scars can shine, and your story that emerges is downright lovely.
The scars are proof that we’ve endured.
I gaze a minute longer at the old stairs. And what they can represent.
And then I’m thinking of the most beautiful scars of all.
Gaping, mottled scars, deep grooves of undeniable pain. Hands and feet that were shamed and busted up and hated and sin-immersed so our scars would never keep us from Him for one more second.
Were scars ever so repulsive and so beautiful all at the same time?
Were scars ever so mind-numbingly painful and so healing all at once?
Scars that would usher us into the paradise we scoffed at.
Scars that would make us into a receptacle of His beauty inside and out.
Scars that would cost Him everything so we can lack for nothing.
And when the stone rolled, when the earth hummed and shifted with His first breath out of the grave, when death was stomped on in that garden with nail-scarred feet…
…You can bet those scars, yes, every inch of Him, burst with resurrection light, shone a light of hope no one would ever match.
The most beautiful scars, proof that life continues, that it continues in a great shining hope.
Proof that where there was once the most vile sin, there is now beauty in sacrifice, beauty and freedom.
The Beautiful Scars redeem, transform, give purpose, grant worth, extend love, and declare great mercy.
Scars that remind of one life given for many lives returned.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–
heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” ~ Romans 8:17
We never have to be afraid of the scars. We share in His sufferings, and we’re invited to share in His glory. We can be counted among the many who bear traces of a great story being woven through us, from the cross, to the grave, to today, and into the Great One Day Soon.
Knowing how the stairs look when viewed with my heart, I could never desire to remove all those scars.
They’re a gift that shines.
And so are the precious children of the King.
I dare you, let your scars shine for Him.
And know you are marked by the holy scars from the Holy One.
Beautiful, alive, we can shine, scars and all.
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