I woke up a couple of months ago and, as with most mornings, I sat staring at an inbox OVERFLOWING with emails. It had been a long, long week so far and I was behind on everything. Although trudging through my inbox was one of the very last things I wanted to do, I had left it undone for too long. It was starting to haunt my dreams… literally. So, I made myself a gigantic cup of coffee, put on my most comfy sweatpants, cleared my schedule for the morning and took a deep breath…. The first mountain I had to climb was sorting through the emails.
I began trashing the junk and sorting the remaining emails. About an hour into my process, I opened an email from an address I didn’t recognize. It was from a lady who had stumbled onto the SDE Magazine blog and in trying to learn more about the purpose of the magazine, had found my story. Emails from readers are my favorite kind, so I opened it right away and I began reading one of the sweetest, toughest and most heartfelt, real emails I have ever received! She told me how my story had touched her because her own story was so similar. She said that she always felt like she had to pretend to be happier and healthier and more together than she was because if she was ever really honest about the things she had been through and the struggles she dealt with on a daily basis, she was afraid she would depress people and make them uncomfortable. She said that as she read my story she felt encouraged as she was coming to realize that hardships in life and the battles that we fight in our health, our emotions or our circumstances, they are not something to be ashamed of. They are not pieces of us that need to be hidden away in a dark corner so no one can see them. Those things are a part of who we are, they have shaped us, they are the fires that have refined us, the scars that tell our story. These are the things that make us someone no one else can ever be and allow us to tell a story that no one else can ever tell and that is an amazing gift.
Ummm, did she just say GIFT? Her scars are a GIFT?
What a GREAT perspective! What a BEAUTIFUL challenge for all of us, to peel away the makeup and the layers that we hide beneath to protect others from our scars, and to learn to see them as GIFTS. Ouch! That hurts to even say! Those layers have been very carefully constructed over the years, haven’t they? Mine have! Seeing my scars as gifts, as something that sets me apart and gives me a beauty unique to me alone. As something that carves out a story that only I have the opportunity to tell. In theory it sounds very brave and heroic but to put the theory into action, that is a serious leap of faith. A faith that my scars will not be rejected and a belief that even if they are, they are a part of me and I can’t be me without them. That means learning to face my reflection in naked honesty and embracing my scars not as flaws but as a part of the whole for better or for worse and loving MY WHOLE SELF, MY JOURNEY and MY SCARS for the mile markers they are and asking others to do the same. I would not be me without all of my unseemly scars, and ME is exactly who I was made to be, who I want to be.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to share these beautiful words of inspiration in the hope that as we surround ourselves with friends and family and all of those most dear to us this week, we will stop and recognize our own scars and the GIFTS they are in our lives. in that they offer us an opportunity to tell a story that no one else can tell. They offer us a depth and a beauty that we alone possess. We are more than our past. May we wear each of our scars like a badge of honor as a reminder that we are MORE and we are BROKEN but it is in brokenness that true beauty is revealed. We are BEAUTUFL.
I am learning to be thankful for my scars. It is a daily challenge that honestly, I fail at more times than I would like to admit. Each day is a new chance to start over and that in itself is a gift I am thankful for as I struggle to allow things into the light that I would much rather keep in the dark most of the time.
I have scars of varying degrees across the board- emotional, physical, mental and spiritual, as do we all. While my physical scars are those I have the hardest time hiding from the world, I find myself struggling most with some of my emotional scars lately. They are scars that I have buried deep and learned to pretend are not there. As I force myself to dig them up and examine them, I am surprised by the fact that I can genuinely find degrees of blessing that have come from those scars. There is a perspective that I have gained through them that I know I would not have otherwise. It is a perspective that I believe with all of my heart is a huge element that makes up the lighthouse helping to guide the purpose and direction my personal story and legacy are headed toward. For that, I can say I am thankful for those scars and I will do all that I can to get out of the way as God takes that brokenness in my life and turns it into beautiful.
What about you? What are the scars that you carry around, bury and hide from the light? I know there are some scars that seem impossible to bring to light. Maybe it is not time for those yet, and maybe it is. I Challenge you, as the amazing author of the email challenged me, to find your scars and bring them to the light, even if it is a slow and gradual process- Dare to find beauty in your brokenness.