I have a scar on the palm of my left hand where I received 5 stitches when I was 9 years old. What is this a reminder of? Well, first of all, it reminds me not to run into glass doors. But, more importantly, it reminds me that even when you think something created by man is indestructible, it can shatter in an instant.
I have a scar on the outside of my left ankle. This one was from when I was about 5 years old and was practicing my balance walking circles around my tractor tire sandbox (yes, I am from Indiana, and yes, I had the coolest sandbox in all of Argos). Unfortunately for me, my balance wasn't so great, and there just happened to be a sharp-cornered landscaping brick inside my sandbox. Lesson learned. When I start to get too confident in my own abilities to balance my life, God is more than happy to send a little breeze my way to pop me off balance enough to remember Who is really in control.
I have a scar on my right knee. I got this one when I was 12. I remember it vividly. I was standing to the side, minding my own business while my dad and some other adult men were unloading my wildly out-of-control 4-H sheep from the trailer into the barn. My dad proceeded to essentially tell me to stop standing around and help unload the dreadful creatures who nearly doubled my weight. In my first attempt to catch a yearling ewe off the trailer, I was promptly knocked into the gravel. Determined not to be "yelled" at again, I got up and climbed into the trailer without even looking at my casualties until my dad handed me his dirty handkerchief to wipe up the blood that was pouring down my leg. Sometimes pride comes not only before but also after the fall...
I have a scar on my left forearm. I did this one to myself when I was 15. I prayed for God to take this one away, but He said no. He told me that I needed to see it each day to be reminded of His faithfulness and goodness even in my darkest hours. God doesn't leave, and He understands all of our pain.
I have scars in the crooks of my elbows from donating thousands of milliliters of plasma. While in college, I discovered that I could donate plasma twice a week for money. I then used this "extra" cash to help pay to go on mission trips. I used to tell people that I was winning either way. I was donating plasma to save lives here, and then going overseas to save lives there. I learned a lot about sacrifice donating all that plasma, and I learned a lot about God's provision as well.
I have a scar on the top of my left foot. I got this one about a year and a half ago. I learned that it is not a good idea to walk quickly across a very dark parking lot that has landscaping stones along the edge, especially when wearing flip flops. That lesson in and of itself was good enough.
I have a scar on the top of my right hand. It is a burn from making bruschetta, I believe. Sometimes no matter how careful you are and how many times you have done something, you still get burned. The important thing is to not get discouraged or to let one negative experience ruin what can be something amazing!
I have a scar on my right knee, which almost covers up the afore-mentioned scar on my right knee. I got this one just a few months ago in my attempt to learn to drive a motorbike. I learned several things from this. First, I think it is a good idea to learn to ride a bicycle in Phnom Penh traffic before attempting a moto. Second, flip flops may not be the best driving shoes (but will probably still continue to be my shoe of choice). Third, God protects us from ourselves sometimes, but He also expects us to learn from our stupidity. Hence, I have not attempted to drive a motorbike again...yet.
And, I think I may have a few more scars on the horizon. Last Saturday I had a bit of an altercation with a moto while riding my bicycle. Ok, so I may have gotten hit by a moto and totally knocked off my bike into the street. Luckily it was not a busy street, and I was not seriously hurt (nor was my bike). I was able to get up, dust myself off, tell the driver of the moto that it was no problem, hop back on my bike, and go home. After I got home, I may or may not have burst into tears and felt the severe stinging of my scraped palms, elbows, and knee. But, all is well. I am healing nicely, and I even hopped back on the bike today for some jaunting around. My scabbed over palms can once again grip the handlebars of my bike. Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on...
In the words of Sara Groves one of my favorite singer/songwriters,
in Your hands the pain and hurt look less like scars and more like character.
Jesus' scars tell the greatest story that could ever be told, and someday I hope my scars can serve as but a reflection of His goodness.