Why I Love My Scars

Scars

It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was shining and the neighborhood kids were calling. I grabbed my bike, rode down the driveway and joined them on the road in front of our home.  Excitement filled their conversation as they talked about a new hideout they had discovered down the road. “Come on,” they beckoned, and before I knew it, I was riding my bike down the road on a new adventure.

We crossed the river (something I had never done before) and began exploring the other side. It was a fun day, but as evening drew nigh, we knew it was time to go home. The journey home meant I would get to join the ranks of my friends by riding my bike down a small hill. I had pushed my bike up the hill on the way over, but this time I was ready to ride.

As I started down the hill, I peddled as fast as I could, my speed grew and so did my shrills of excitement. Then all of a sudden I lost control. My body flew over the handlebars. I landed on the pavement and skidded down the hill.

My buddies stopped; jumped off their bikes and ran to my side. I sat up with tears streaming down my face and blood running down my arm. My elbow had met the pavement, and to this day, I’ve never known a worse physical injury.

All I wanted was my mom, but she was about a quarter of a mile away. My only solution was to get back on my bike and ride home.

With dusty knees, a bloody arm and a face full of tears I peddled down the road to my little blue house. I had barely made it to the front door when momma came running outside. She scooped me up in her arms, rushed inside and began cleaning my wounds.

Momma’s love bandaged my wounds and eased my pain, but it didn’t remove the haunting question in my mind.

Would I have a scar?

My cousin had had a bike wreck the previous summer and her leg, scarred from the wreckage, still told the story. At ten years of age, all I could think was, “will I be scarred for life?”

Today, I have no physical evidence of that wreck, only the memory. I wasn’t “scarred for life” as I feared, but I have picked up a few other scars.

They aren’t scars from bike wrecks or falling down; they’re scars from life experiences.

  • When a father said, “I don’t want anyone to know she is my child.”
  • When a blossoming friendship became a broken memory.
  • When dreams crumbled and grief was palpable.
  • When anxiety increased and health decreased.

These are the scars I bare today.

And, why do I love them?

Because, they remind me of God’s incredible love.

With each scar I’ve had a choice. I could focus on the circumstance and feel despair or I could focus on God who sustained me during those times. When I focus on God, I am filled with joy and courage. Remembering His love charges my faith and gives me hope for future trials.

Sweet friend, I am sure you have some scars, as well. While I wish we could make it through life scar-free, the fact is, we live in a fallen world; thus, there will always be potential for our lives to become fractured with hurt. We don’t have to live as scarred individuals. Through Jesus we can be healed and made whole.  For as Isaiah 53:3-5 says:

He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.

Here’s the good news: Jesus has already bore our scars on His back. We no longer have to wear their weight. Instead, we can choose to focus on Him and receive peace and rest for both now and forevermore.

When You Need Help

My sweet readers, how I revel in the opportunity to share words with you. Thank you for stopping by. Your visit warms my heart.

At the beginning of the year I decided to start reading through the New Testament. I laid every reading plan aside and set one goal: to absorb the way Jesus loves others.

The other day, I landed on one of my favorite passages. It’s an incredible example of Jesus’ love for us. You won’t find it with a special heading. In fact, it’s tucked in the middle of another story.

It’s about a woman who bled nonstop for 12 years and it’s found in Mark 5.

Before we get to the passage, let’s take a look at what is happening. Jesus has just crossed the lake in a boat. He is now standing on the shore where crowds of people are gathering around Him. Jarius, a leader in the synagogue arrives. When Jarius sees Jesus, he falls at His feet and begins pleading with Jesus to heal his daughter. Jarius says, “my daughter is dying.”

Jesus begins walking to Jarius’ home where the little girl is. The people follow and crowd around Jesus as He makes His way.

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding.  She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Mark 5:25-29 (emphasis mine)

Did you catch that? Immediately the bleeding stopped. When I read the word, immediately, something inside me shifts. This lady doesn’t know Jesus personally. She just knows He has the power to heal. She is exhausted from 12 years of anguish; from 12 years of being considered “unclean.” She has no money – nothing to give, just hope that the Man who is healing others, will heal her.

And, He does!

Maybe you know Jesus personally. Maybe you have only heard about Him. But like the woman in our passage, have you experienced wanting change, but feeling powerless to do something? Has the weight of a burden set on your heart for far too long? Maybe you are in these places now.

The woman in our passage reached out in faith to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed.

Today, I ask you, “what do you need to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment for?”

Could it be an illness? A conflict? Your finances? A struggle you’ve hidden for years? A loved one you no longer have contact with?

hem of his garment 3

No matter what your burden is, you matter! Please hear that today.

If shame is lying to you and saying you can’t approach Jesus. It’s wrong.

If a person says you can’t approach Jesus. Their wrong.

If you think you need to be in a church to approach Jesus. You don’t.

You know what? I believe with all my heart Jesus is looking at you right now and saying, “come – come as you are – wait no longer – I want you.”

He doesn’t expect you to get dressed up. He doesn’t need you to speak a certain way or hang out with certain people. He cares about you just the way you are!

If something came to your mind as soon as you read the question above, chances are Jesus is speaking to you.

Let me suggest you find a place to be alone with Him. Turn off the noises; social media; texting; etc. If you have a Bible you might want to grab it. Maybe even a journal, but if you don’t – don’t worry. Those things aren’t needed to approach Jesus. They can just be helpful. Lay aside any notion that you have to speak a certain way; just pour your heart out to Him. Tell Him everything: what you need; what you want; what you feel you can’t do. Leave nothing out.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

I’m not promising you immediate results. But, if you’ll reach out like the bleeding woman did, He will respond! If He feels silent at first, keep touching. Keep surrendering. There may be many layers of hurt surrounding your heart that He will need to peel back before He can bring you to a place of total healing.

Heavenly Father, I pray for every person reading these words. May they have courage to reach out to You, surrender all and receive the healing only You can give. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

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To See Jesus With Skin On

see Jesus

For years, when my husband prayed, he would often end his prayer with the phrase, “Help us be Jesus with skin on.” In other words, he was saying: help us be like Jesus by serving others.

I’ve heard him speak those words many times, but I have to admit, I haven’t always lived them out. There have been far more times when my intentions were good, but my follow through failed. There have been times when I’ve sat idle hoping someone else would fulfill a need. There have even been times when I saw a need, but thought, “so-and-so is more qualified to help.”

None of those thoughts are biblical and they certainly are not “being Jesus with skin on.”

So recently, while reading God’s Word, the Holy Spirit walked right into the middle of my good intentions. He sowed a seed in my thoughts that sparked a movement in my heart.

In Matthew 25 Jesus is speaking about His return to earth. He tells us He will gather the people of the earth in front of Him, then He will separate those who followed Him from those who did not.

To those who followed Him, He will say: ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home. I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me… I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me.” (verses 34-36 and 40)

Jesus is speaking these words to His sheep, those people who made a choice to follow Him before His return to earth. His words are a call to meet people in their place of spiritual, physical and emotional need regardless of their status. If we fail to serve others (or Him as He tells us here) it doesn’t mean we will not enter into heaven, but when we think about standing before Him at the end of our life, how much greater will it be to know we were faithful to His call.

Jesus goes on to say in verse 45, “…I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.”

Here is where the Holy Spirit met my good intentions. As I move forward, I don’t want to look back and realize I failed to serve Jesus. As I continued to read and process Jesus’ words, my husband’s prayer came to mind, “Help us to be Jesus with skin on.” His words came to life, but then the Holy Spirit took them one step further and said, “Help me SEE JESUS WITH SKIN ON.”

In other words…

  • See Jesus in the one without food and give what I can.
  • See Jesus in the single parent and offer to bring dinner or babysit (for free).
  • See Jesus in the man who lost his job and bring an offering to the family.
  • See Jesus in the lonely and provide a company.
  • See Jesus in the cashier and offer a friendly hello.

When I look at others and see beyond their immediate appearance and into the eyes of Jesus my desire to serve is transformed. I no longer want to sit idly hoping someone else will fulfill a need. My heart is moved with compassion, because after all, I never want to miss a chance to love on my Jesus.

If you’ve ever experienced good intentions, but lacked follow through like me, please be encouraged. We’ve all been there. Today is an opportunity to begin afresh and start praying, “Heavenly Father, help me see Jesus with skin on.”

 

 

 

 

When Change Leaves You Standing on Middle Ground

Have you ever felt the sudden uneasiness of getting lost while traveling? A pit forms in your stomach and maybe even a little panic in your chest.  Tension rises. With your starting point out of sight and your destination yet to be reached, you’re on middle ground.

Middle ground occurs in more ways than traveling.

I have a dear friend who is walking through a life change. She wants nothing more than for the process to move quickly, but she is at the mercy of others. Her control is limited. She’s on middle ground.

Another friend longs for a job in a new state. She’s filled out applications, walked through interviews and done all she can do. Now she waits. She’s on middle ground.

A childhood friend spent her days watching her toddler laugh and play until they received a negative report from the doctor. Now they sit in hospitals, undergoing treatments and hoping for the day they’ll return home to “normal” life. She’s on middle ground.

Middle ground has many views.

I was a working mom. I operated with a schedule, checked off a to-do list and returned home each evening with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.  Now, I am a stay-at-home mom. I am blessed, but I don’t have a schedule; my to-do list is raising my son and at the end of the day I long for purpose and fulfillment. I’m trusting God, but for now I’m on middle ground.

All of these situations involve middle ground, but none of them are without hope.

Because God is sovereign over every stage of our lives we never have to doubt His involvement. Yet, there are times when middle ground makes us wonder what God is doing. Our mind waffles between dreaming of the future and reliving the past. Discouragement and weakness may set in. We may feel vulnerable or powerless as we look for our next assignment or opportunity.  But this seeming absence of God’s activity is only a tactic from the enemy designed to make us lose our focus.

emptied 2

Middle ground is God’s ground. It’s a place where faith grows and trust is learned. When we are emptied of ourselves, we are positioned for the Almighty to grow inside us.

But let’s be honest, middle ground can also be fertile ground for emotions like: frustration, fear, panic, insecurity, and anger.

When this happens, it helps to keep middle ground in perspective. God’s perspective. The emotions we experience are not easy. But, when we remember, this won’t last forever, we are better able to stay the course.

Before He was born in a manger at Bethlehem, Jesus lived in Heaven, with streets of gold, singing angels and pure perfection. He spent 33 years on earth teaching, healing and ultimately dying for our sins. Earth was his middle ground, yet His middle ground became the ground that saved our souls.

If you are on middle ground, will you join me in staying the course?

The enemy will send thoughts to make us doubt God’s sovereignty, but let’s determine to follow 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (emphasis mine)

Dear friend, God’s got this! It’s not easy, but when we keep our focus on God and filter our day’s through His promises, we receive power that enables us to keep believing and keep going!