Scars part 1

When I joined the US Army in 1987 we went through a physical exam where they asked if we had any scars. This was evidently for use in identifying your body should it be rendered unidentifiable by other means.

For some reason I started thinking about that the other day. Do my scars identify me or do I allow God to shape me from them? Maybe you were abused or neglected as a child. Maybe you’re a victim of sexual assault or abuse. Whatever the case may be we are all left with scars big or small from our past in some way, shape or form. But how do we handle them? Do we let ourselves be defined or identified by our scars or do we use the scars to shape us into something more? Do we remain victims? Do we hide from the scars or hide them from others in shame? I think all too often this is the case.

I have emotional scars from my past as well as physical ones. One in particular, physical one, is on my forehead. I have carried this scar since the age of 1 year. It is from an act of disobedience and defiance towards my mother. As the story was told to me, I had recently learned to walk and was out on a bright sunny day with my mom. I evidently decided I could walk just fine on my own without any assistance. My mother felt otherwise and requested that I wait for her and hold her hand. I then decided to use the first word I had learned “NO” at this point I fell and discovered a rock lying on the sidewalk, with my forehead. Now, I did not let this scar define me as a defiant or ignorant little boy but I allowed it to shape me a little. I learned, somewhat, at least at that moment, from the experience that I could not always do things on my own. I see this scar every day when I look in the mirror. I use it as a reminder that I often need help (something I’m, sometimes bad at admitting.)

The emotional scars we all carry can and should be used in the same way. We need to take those scars and the things we have learned from them and use that not only to better ourselves but to benefit others.

Who better to help victims of abuse but other victims of abuse? In many ways a drug addict or alcoholic, post treatment, can relate better to another that is struggling with the same and offer real and practical advice.

Our history is our story. If we let it, it can shape and mold us for the future rather than define, identify or even chain us with the past. God can use our past… good, bad or ugly… smart or stupid, to His glory and the benefit of others if we just open ourselves up to it and pray that he will. I challenge you today to allow Him to use you this way. Let me know how it turns out.

(Be sure to check out Scars part2 here

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