SCARS

Scars

FullSizeRender (1)She sat down beside me in the dining room, running her fingers over a scar on her leg. “I love scars,” my 15 year old announced. I sat silently waiting for my deep thinker’s epiphany to tumble out.  She pointed from scar to scar and explained the memories they evoked.  She said, “Scars tell stories”.  From bike chains to dog fangs, spills and falls, she shared the cause of each.  The tales were part of my fair skinned girl’s story.

Scars make us wonder, they make us notice. Scars matter.  At the Dairy Queen a lady stood at the other window.  She was flawless from head to….ankle.  Her ankle bore the scares of what appeared to be several surgeries and her strappy blingy sandals did not hide them. I wondered if she was a runner or soccer player or if she injured her ankle skiing or biking.  What was the story behind her scar?

The scar conversation with my daughter weighed heavily as I pondered about the unseenIMG_1384 scars in our lives.  The wounds inflicted on our spirits, on our souls, on our hearts, on our minds.  We all carry unseen scars that are perhaps to painful to share about.

The scars on my child’s legs and hands are evidence of healed wounds.  What about unseen scars?  Have they healed or has the world picked our scabs so much that our unseen wounds continue to fester and weep? Does she have unseen scars?

Unseen scars manifest themselves in various ways.  People who lash out harshly, judge unjustly, withdraw, overmedicate, hibernate or live in fear might be the walking wounded, nursing scars that have yet to heal.
100_5805Recently, I encountered one of the wounded whose unseen scars compelled them to behave irrationally. The confrontation left me reeling and contemplating a well crafted, scathing and justified retort until my eyes fell upon a scar on my hand.  Swallowing the words and stuffing my anger, the path of peace seemed to be more important than proving my case.  Pondering the unseen scars that led to the raw anger gushed out took the focus off my wounds and put it on their unseen ones.

The bible says: “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,” Proverbs 16:32a  Being slow to anger doesn’t come naturally to me.  “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11

Ephesians 4:31 is pretty clear on how we are to handle others: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”  I’m still unsure of the fallout from the angry encounter but one thing is pretty clear when I pray about it.  “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” – Exodus 14:14.

“I see it on the cross
The nails You took for me
Scars can change the world
Scars can set me free”

Mandisa – “What Scars are for”

I see scars differently now.  I see them as reminders of healing and restoration. Like the FullSizeRender (2)scars Christ bore for us that we might be healed and restored. It’s the unseen scars, the scars still healing that I’m trying to focus on.  Scars tell stories.  When offended, I guess the important thing is to rest in our defense, the one the Lord promises.  To lay the offense at His nail scarred feet.  Let His scars change your world.

 

 

POINT TO PONDER:  Do your scars seen or unseen make you retreat or lash out?  Have you taken your wounds to the ONE who was wounded for us? His scars were for the sake of our healing and restoration what keeps you from laying them at his feet?

Catch us Monday thru Friday at 7:15am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator   You can also watch replays on katch.me search for kissedbycreator .

 

Celebrate … Seriously?

Word for 2012 (part two) Living it.

So, last post I mentioned that my word for the year was CELEBRATE!  Not just Celebrate, but do it with Joyful Anticipation.  Within a week or so of getting ‘my word for 2012’, we got an unexpected phone call.

“I need to let you know about dad, he well, he died actually,” said the emotional cracking voice of my sister-in-law.

I reeled back and lost my breath.  He was fine at Christmas. I braced myself to tell my husband the words he would not be expecting and that would forever change his life.  I immediately flashed back to the evening in 1985 when my sister showed up unexpectedly at my dorm room door with the same sentence.

Celebrate?  Joy?  Would there be Joy again anytime soon.  Brian left shortly after to go pick up the pieces in Ohio, while I held down the fort at home until we could get out to meet-up with him for the funeral.

In my office sat the angel with the CELEBRATE Placard.  Really Lord?  Celebrate? Joy?

I purposed to look for opportunities to celebrate during those days from phone call to burial.  We celebrated a life that would be missed.  We celebrated an unexpected snow fall that brought a calmness over the house as we reveled in its beauty.  We celebrated the opportunity to bless others by giving away some of my father-in-laws clothing to someone who knew and loved him, and needed the gift.  I celebrated the time with my family.  I discovered that if I looked for it, celebration was there.  I didn’t JOYFULLY Anticipate a moment of it; but we did Celebrate.

It made me wonder where the JOY part was to come in.  I found John 12:22 that said,

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

Watching others grieve, it made me realize that the only SOURCE of Joy has to be God – because he is unchanging.

I thought of Paul and Silas when they were bound and chained in prison.  They sang praises because their JOY was NOT in their circumstance their joy was in the Lord. They trusted the Lord to take care of them and help them through their trials and he did just that.

The morning of the funeral I was really down.  I felt joyless.  In a few hours, I would have to watch my husband participate in the funeral for his father, his golfing buddy, his confidant.  Brian had become an adult and was able to develop that tender relationship between adult sons and fathers. When I lost my dad, I lost a dad.  I was really too young to have called him more than Father.  This loss was a double whammy.

Spirit broken and dreading the next few hours, I tried to pray. I wanted to be an example of a Godly wife, mother, and believer. I called out to God.  Then I found my MP3 player and began to listen to worship music.  My heart began to sing and my joy in the Eternal God was renewed.

A worshipping heart can drive out despair and give us joy.  If we have joy we have hope. If we have hope we can pray.  Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  I sought that filling and He answered.

Since then, there’s been two more funerals, death of a loved horse, countless cancer diagnoses in my friends, and a near fatal car accident involving the son of a friend.  Each time, I looked at that CELEBRATE! angel and sought joy the only place I could find it.

Joy is truly found in God’s presence.  While getting there can be tough, there is cause for celebration when our hearts collide with HIS.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

Point to Ponder: Where can you connect with your creator to find JOY?

The letter

It was an ordinary day two weeks ago when I stopped to pick up the mail. I opened the box and saw a large cardboard important looking envelope it was addressed to my son.  In my heart I had the feeling that life would never be the same.

Jacob and me at my nephews wedding in October

 I looked at it in there – looming large. Knowing that once it was pulled out, then opened, everything would change. I pulled it out with the bills and other junk and I sat in the driveway. I cradled the envelope in my hands.Office of Admissions, shouted the return address in the corner. 

I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw my eyes over flowing with tears.  Tears of pride and joy but also tears for what used to be, when in my arms, I was cradling that sweet baby boy…not his ticket out of here.

Flash forward to this week when preparing for a speaking engagement that utilizes scripture, I was looking for an illustration to make the Bible meaningful to my audience, something they would relate to.

At 3:47am on the morning I was to speak, I got the nudge. No, not from my husband, from my Father, my Heavenly Father who seems to like to speak to me at this time of the morning…before coffee Lord?

Our mission Trip in San Luis Mexico

He laid on my heart, that His Word – the Holy Bible –  is very much like Jacob’s acceptance letter from the admissions office.  Jacob’s letter mentioned how special he was, how excited they were to extend him the invitation and what steps he needs to take to accept their offer. (The letter to his parents a few days letter mentioned what it would cost)

The Bible tells us how special we are. (“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”  ~ Psalm 8:4-5) To say nothing of the fact we were worth dying for.

The Bible tells us how excited God is about giving us the chance to enter His Kingdom. (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  ~ John 3:16)

The Bible tells us how to accept God’s offer of admission to His family. (“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  ~John 14:6 NIV)

Recently our community was rocked by the tragic death of a vibrant, healthy, active, adorable 17 year old girl in a car accident. I watched my son grieve his first loss of a peer. I saw him change a little having tasted the bitterness of grief and the loss of someone his own age.  Listening to the classmate’s family speak, they have a peace.   Their peace comes from knowing that their daughter ACCEPTED the invitation. She read God’s letter to her and she accepted the offer of admittance.

The Bible is God’s invitation to you.  It speaks of your value and your worth.  If you are struggling with wondering who you are and how you fit in, read his letter to you.  I recently heard the quote: “God is the only author who is present every time his book is read.” – want to connect with God? Read his letters. 

POINT TO PONDER:  If you’ve read the Bible, what chapter or verse do you feel was written especially for you and why? If you’ve not read the Bible lately, why?

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