Survive or Thrive
When my oldest son was a little boy, he was playing after a church service and fell on one of the chairs. His leg was torn up and a huge gash was left behind. It took a long time to heal. As a mom to boys, I’ve dealt with plenty of cuts and scrapes. And, some have left scars, just as that chair left it’s mark on my son.
As my kiddos have scars that remind them of times they fell, or climbed a tree, or had a bike accident, I have scars as well. I have the scars of two surgeries that cover my chest. Pretty pink ribbons don’t prepare you for a diagnosis of breast cancer. They don’t prepare you for chemo, surgeries, and radiation. And, they certainly don’t prepare you to be thrown into menopause by your doctor’s when you’re only 40 years old! Daily, I see the scars and the weight gain from treatment.
I’ll be outright honest here. For a while, looking in the mirror was hard. First, I lost my hair. Then I turned some weird shade of yellow. But, that wasn’t as hard as the daily reminders that a surgeon’s knife had cut into my chest in multiple places. My hair grew back, and my skin became normal again. But, those scars stayed.
As I focused more on the external scars, there were internal ones sitting below the surface. Breast Cancer is wrapped in pretty ribbons and hope-filled commercials. Even though it's anything buy pretty, you at least get a T-shirt or two...or five out of it. However, a hard, abusive marriage leaves scars as well and there aren’t T-shirts for that. Although the scars are buried deep, they are there. And, as I became focused on my physical features, the internal one’s surfaced. The hurt. The shame. The fear. A hard marriage that had taken its toll on me.
It was during this time that the lies started. At first, they were faint. But, as my line-of-sight was increasingly on me, the voices started growing louder.
“No one will love you.”
“No one will want you.”
“No man will want this.”
“You’re a broken woman.”
“You’ll never marry again.”
“Just look at you.” “I thought you were a faith-filled woman. You’re divorced. You’ve had cancer.”
So many of life’s greatest battles start in our minds, with little thoughts that soon become our reality. I had started to believe the lie that I wasn’t good enough.
It was one of those ugly-cry-kind-of-days, when I asked the question, “How can anyone ever love me or want me?” A cry of desperation. But, also, a cry that was heard. My Daddy God hears every cry and sees every tear. And, He answers those who call on Him. I straight out asked Him to show me someone in the Bible who would understand scars.
My answer came in the last place I expected it to be! The Song of Solomon. Yep! The one book in the Bible that focuses on love, was where I found my answer. It’s still so crazy-awesome to me how I opened my Bible that day and just started reading Chapter 1.
“I am weathered but still elegant,
oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem,
Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents,
time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings.
Don’t look down on me because I’m dark,
darkened by the sun’s harsh rays.
My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields.
They made me care for the face of the earth,
but I had no time to care for my own face.”
Song of Solomon 1:5-6, Message
Whoa! Hold up! There’s a woman in the Bible who feels weathered? Who’s had a tough life? A lady who’s been through stuff? Yet, she calls herself elegant!
When I think of the word elegant, I think of Audrey Hepburn. She once said, “Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.”
Webster defines elegant as “high grade or quality.”
Is it possible to weather life’s storms and come out elegant? Yes! Look at the woman in Song of Solomon. She was working the fields, where her brothers had put her. They didn’t value her enough to allow her to be a lady in their home. She was sent out into fields. Into the sun. Where her hands were calloused. I imagined her figure had taken on the role of field hand. Yet, she saw herself as elegant in a place considered just the opposite.
And look what happened. Love found her. I resonate with the story of this woman. Although she experienced a hard life, she must have understood that the scars weren’t badges of shame, but just events on her timeline. She carried herself with dignity. She understood she was worthy. She had an appearance about her that made a man looking out on the field take notice of her. And he desired her. He fell in love with her.
See, we must choose what to do with the things that have hurt us. We have a choice. We can walk through life, looking worn and frazzled and stressed. We can carry our scars like a cross, showing what a heavy burden they are. Or we could carry them like badges of honor, showing the battles we’ve survived.
But, what if we walked with such elegance that people were shocked when they heard our story? Shocked that we didn’t just survive, but that we thrived? In awe that we didn’t park at the hurt, but just kept driving on the highway of life, with the top down and the music turned up, enjoying every minute of this life we live! Because that’s the life that is promised to us in Christ Jesus, our Savior.
Allow God into your story! Allow Him to heal the hurts; the ones that are seen and the ones that are not seen. You never know who or what you'll find on the journey! Love your story, because your story is His story!
“Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me.” (John 14:1 The Voice).
**As a side note, I haven't found that guy yet, like the woman in Song of Solomon. But, single ladies, I'm OK with that. Oh, I do want to get married again! I'm just going to keep serving God and loving life single, until the right guy jumps into the car with me on this crazy ride of life!
I highly recommend the book, “Why God Why” by Karen Jensen Salisbury. Go to www.karenjensen.org.