She was a thirty-something, the mom of seven, tolerating with a smile the extra children and teens running through her kitchen, and I was sixteen when we first met. That was close to thirty years ago.
She mentored me at times with advice about womanhood, and I taught her the latest dances.
Today, I walk into her bedroom and her husband motions me closer. An enemy I cannot see has ravaged her body and will soon take her from us.
Sitting gently beside her, I take her hand in mine. Her eyes flutter wide and a smile rises on her face. “I’m going to be okay.”
Her voice is as bright as her smile, but her hand involuntarily trembles in mine.
Have you seen this? And, before I can respond, she unsnaps the front her floral cotton gown. I brace myself to see her scars.
“See? It’s not so bad.” Her hand glides across the flat of her chest.
Horizontal lines from a mastectomy, silvered with time, mark the place her children once nestled.
She is not afraid of offending. Telling her story gives her strength because she knows it can strengthen others and drive out the fear.
Life changes when we live in the truth of who we are and what our life is really about. In the dark recesses of our mind we try to find ways to hide our imperfect life in attempt to be accepted – to be loved.
The scars are signs of one who has lived brave in the world, and not hidden away trying to preserve a perfect image.
If we could have coffee together, I would tell you, “Be who you are, because without you there is a void in the world.” It’s true.
Be who you are and not a copy of who you’d like to be. Yes, practice being the best you can be. Find examples of what you admire, but let it come out with your style, your wording, your you.
There will be those who, because of jealousy or judgment, will reject who you have been created to be. They will reject your testimony of what Christ has done in you, and they will tell you things like, you can’t because…your not qualified… you should… but deep inside, you know the person you have been created to be. You see her in your imagination.
Why not just step out and live that life? What are you waiting for? You will never be perfect – there will be scars, but there will be experiences gained that need to be shared.
Yes, some may sneer at your scars saying your were foolish to step out, or accuse you of glory-seeking when you share your story.
When you stop seeking the approval of others, and lean into the approval of Christ, then you can live with confidence the life you have been given.
A silversmith designs his work as he sees fit. He sees each stroke of the chisel, hammer and brush as a perfectly placed mark. The silvered scars in your life are beautiful markings. They are testimonies of what God has done in your life. But only those willing to be authentic and brave will experience the reward that comes with sharing the real life.
God has made you wonderfully. What we call broken, God calls, designed. You have a purpose and have been crafted in a way that will equip you for your journey. Your unique design, journey and story was crafted to help that teacher, neighbor, or online friend.
Silvered scars of broken dreams can seem menacing to relationships until they are placed next to someone who has similar broken dreams. That is when we begin to perceive the mosaic coming together with stories that have a miraculous ability to heal the soul.
And having a mentor to walk with you through your stories gives you the bravery to live authentically.