Defined By Our Scars - Lisa Tyson
One of my favorite preachers of the gospel is a man by the name of Louie Giglio. I first heard him speak as the camp speaker while I was in high school. Then, while I was in college, I was able to sit under his teaching each week at a Monday Night Bible study. Today, many years later, I still listen to his messages online and each time I learn something new.
One day, I was listening to his podcast on the way to work. He said the most amazing thing that has stayed in my head. Since I was driving, I was not able to write down the exact quote, but it was something along these lines:
“We let the enemy define us by our scars when Jesus wants to define us by His!” Louie Giglio
I have several visible scars. I see them every day. Each one reminds me of a “season of pain” associated with a season of healing. One scar, in particular, is more memorable than others. No one can see it just looking at me but I know it’s there and am reminded of it every day. There is a huge scar on the bottom of my foot where a malignant tumor was removed and an extensive repair job was completed using a muscle flap and a full thickness skin graft.The nerve damage was also extensive and even after 18 years, I still can’t feel the bottom of my foot—until I can. Sometimes a new shoe, or something on the ground if I’m barefooted, or the sand at the beach will irritate the still sensitive skin on the graft site. By the time that I feel pain, it’s too late. I’m bleeding. There is an open wound. And it gets really painful and really ugly really fast. It also takes a long time to heal!
This is not a scar that Satan tries to use to define me anymore. He did. When I was on crutches for 3 months, with a newborn and a toddler, right after 9/11, married to a soldier with his bag packed for deployment at 24 hour notice...you better believe he tried to define me by that scar. Now, the scar reminds me of all God brought us through. But when it opens back up again. The pain comes back too.
Now the scars that the enemy tries to use to define me are scars that only I, and a couple of sister-friends, know about. The names of these scars are depression, anxiety, doubt, insecurity, inadequacy, self-esteem....the details associated with these “scars” are not important. But just like the sensitive graft on my foot, sometimes these scars get opened up, too. And they hurt. They hurt a lot.
In 2001, Satan tried to tell me, “you’ll never walk normally again.” Or, “you’re going to be in pain for the rest of your life.” Or, “your husband will be deployed and you will never see him again.” Now, in 2019, he tries to say, “this relationship will never be restored.” Or, “you will never figure this Mom thing out.” Or, “you will never be _____ enough.” These internal scars sometimes feel deeper than that dumb tumor scar.
But God....some of my favorite words. But God healed my foot. He protected my husband. He has kept the margins clear. He has cared for me. He will do those same things with my “heart scars.” They might still open up and bleed, but He is Jehovah Raphe--The God Who Heals. He is the completely healed Healer. In fact, he’s so completely healed, He rose from the grave. He still has scars but they won’t open up again. When it was finished, it WAS FINISHED. He wants my scars to be finished too.
“See. I have engraved your name on the palms of my Hands.” Isaiah 49:16. Jesus’ nail pierced hand says my name—engraved. HIS SCAR SAYS MY NAME! And that, is the only scar that I want to define me. This scar does not say I’m not enough. It says I’m made in His image and that He is with me. It says I can do all things though Him. It says that His Grace is sufficient. This scar says I am a daughter of the King. This scar says I belong to the One who wrote my story which began on the day He knit me together in my mother’s womb and will end on the day I see His nail scarred hands that say my name with my own eyes in heaven. What He knits doesn’t unravel and His book isn’t a mystery. It says I am loved with an everlasting love and my future is secure in Him.
So as I write and pray, I will choose to see His scar that brings life. It doesn’t take away the pain of the heart scars. What it does is take away the power from the enemy who tries to use my scars against me.
- Lisa Tyson