She read aloud the story I’d read myself, and had heard dozens of times before.
“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!‘”
Every single time I read this passage in the past, I focused my attention on what comes right after. Jesus then says “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed“. Or, I used Thomas as an example of it being OK to come to Jesus when we are struggling to believe and have faith. And both are valid and important interpretations.
But on this cool October night, the speaker did not focus on those things after reading this passage. In fact, she said very little at all. Because after reading John 20:24-29, she simply turned to us and said –
“Jesus shows his scars, to tell his story and to show he is real. That’s how we tell his story as well. That’s how we show he is real. With our scars.”
I was wrecked for the rest of the night.
In fact, it has taken me weeks to really work through what I want to say, and how I need to say it.
Because the truth is, I have a lot of scars.
Deep ones. Bad ones. Shameful ones.
A lot of scars.
And yet, I know that what she said is absolutely true. It is always my scars, my brokenness, my realness, and my messiness, that reveal how real and how ever present He is.
Even more so, it is always someone else’s brokenness and scars that show me Jesus, time and time again.
Why do we spend so much time trying to pretend like they are not there, or cover them up with layer after layer of what the world says is beautiful?
I spent most of my teenage years and all of my twenties, trying to hide scars too deep to really ever cover. I even spent most of my early years as a Christian trying to “fit it” and veil the scars that I knew God was beginning to heal.
When I had my children, I began to see my past differently. I began to see my scars as just a small part of an amazing story of God’s redemption.
And when my husband and I began to pursue marriage, it was clear. Mick loved me with all of them. Not only that, he saw them as a beautiful tale of God’s love for his daughter.
And they are. Every. Single. Scar.
I know this.
So why do I now spend so much time trying to protect my sons from ever, ever getting hurt, broken, or afraid?
Why does my stomach hurt when I think about my youngest son trying to fill out a job application one day? Or the other one trying to complete an in-person interview?
Why do I fear what I know is a necessary part of their lives?
The truth is that by their scars, they too will tell of a Jesus who is real. By their scars, they too will come to see that they are a part of a beautiful story of redemption and love and mercy.
And I want nothing less for them.
So today, I pray for the wisdom to know when to intervene and protect, and when to let them go.
I pray for their necessary, wonderful scars to be useful in the Kingdom.
I pray that no matter what life brings to my children, no matter what these special circumstances of theirs behold, we will meet them willingly, with obedience, and with our arms wide open.
Because beauty, true beauty, is right here, waiting for us to share it with others.
It’s in the messy and the dirty, the brokenness and the pain.
It’s in the diagnoses and the meltdowns and the upside down “e’s” and the bills that pile up. It’s one momma, and another, and another, and another pouring out her heart, loving her children fiercely.
Our scars are how we really, truly, deeply love.
And our children’s scars? They are going to be just as truth-telling, just as beautiful.
May His will be done.
If you ever have a chance to hear Megan Fate Marshman speak, please take it! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go, and let this sweet woman lead you to the cross over and over again.