Stories Scars Tell


My body makes ugly scars.  Medical people call them Keloids.  I think they look like worms.  Big ugly worms permanently attached to my body like tattoos I didn't choose.  I have 5 ugly scars that mark 6 different surgeries.  I have other scars too, smaller ones that can barely be seen.  More surgeries.  Less invasive but no less memorable.  Each scar tells a story. My kids occasionally ask me to repeat the stories behind the scars.  In our family, there are no unaskable questions.  We give age-appropriate answers but we always answer.  Always the truth.  So I tell my Scar Stories over and over again because they are stories of God's grace.Unexplainable grace.  

There was the time when, as a teenager, I was bleeding internally for no obvious reason.  In desperation, they sent me to surgery to find the source.  The surgeon told my parents, "I can't believe I found the bleed.  She's so small, I had to pinch the bleed with my fingers until we could find a way to surgically remove the spleen." Miraculous grace.  

The first time HHT came knocking was while I was pregnant.  To stop the bleeding, it took more doctors than could fit in the surgery suite so they piled up in the observation room.  While baby Joshua took a nap in my belly under a lead blanket, the surgeons patched up enough bleeding AVM's to keep me and our unborn child alive.  My body responded by going into pre-term labor but the doctors anticipated that too.  They kept the labor contractions at a minimum and soldiered on. Undeserved grace.  

This year, my lungs broke.  All the way.  The doctors are still befuddled by the cause but life doesn't wait on explanations.  My lungs didn't wait on the doctors either.  It took multiple attempts and a very serious surgery to stabilize my lungs, but the reality, the scary truth, is that nothing the doctors did ever stopped the bleeding.  My body stopped each bleed on its own.  The doctors stabilized the AVM's in my lungs.  A necessary treatment.  But while I was actively bleeding, there was nothing they could do to stop it.  They all waited.  Skilled hands by their sides.  Breath held.  Powerless.

My scars are little testimonies to the goodness and grace of God.  I am here only because He has chosen to keep me here.  For now.  For a purpose.

I was thinking about my scars when I read a piece of the resurrection story this week.

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” - John 20:24-29 (The Message Transl.)


Jesus didn't have scars!  His body was healed, but the testimony of God's grace was not in scars, it was in holes.I realize that everything about Jesus' resurrected body was different.  Yet it was a body!  But just days after he died, he was able to let Thomas stick his finger in the nail holes and his hand in the sword wound.  No pain.   No blood.  And.... no scars.

My scars hurt like crazy after surgery.  There's no way I would have invited a friend to touch them.  Even now, years after some of my surgeries, a scar can ache to the touch on any given day.  It's just part of my healing.  Part of my story.

But Jesus, goodness!  He didn't hurt when fingers touched his wounds.  He didn't heal.  His story halted before the wounds became scars.  I can't imagine.And Thomas!  He touched the holes.  He wouldn't believe the testimony of his friends.  He only believed the testimony of the scars.  (Or scar-less wounds.  What word could we use for a wound without a scar?)  He had to touch them to believe them.  But then, oh did he believe!  "My Lord and my God!"  That's the power of scars.  That's the power of God-stories.   Hear them.  See them.  Believe them.

Not all scars are visible.  But they are no less God-stories.  I have friends who have scars on their souls from wayward children.  Scars from divorced parents.  Scars from anxiety.   Every time God pours his grace over your hurt, it's leaves a God-story.    And it needs to be shared.  So others can see, hear, and believe.

May my scars scream the grace of God.  May I be willing to let my scars tell their stories.  Because they aren't my stories.  They are His story, woven into the fabric of my skin.

How do you feel about your scars?  What stories might they tell if you let them?


On the subject of scars...I do everything I can to diminish the wormy-ness of my scars.  This time around, I made a roller bottle of essential oils and rolled it on my scar daily (once I could tolerate touch).  It's not a pretty scar, but I do believe it helped reduce the thickness and width of my scar.

Here is what I used:

  • lavender

  • helichrysum

  • frankincense

  • tea tree

  • Vitamin E

There are more essential oils that help with skin issues.  I used what I had on hand.  You can learn more about oils that help with scars on this website.