Scars and Stories


The wooden floor in our dining room is scratched from years and years of chairs being pulled up to the table. It’s not pretty. The varnish is peeling, and the discolored planks are grooved deep. This floor has stories written across its grain, generations of stories of missionary families from all over the world who have lived here. Bare little feet running in at dinner time, conversations in Japanese and English and Tok Pisin, homework and letters home and family game nights. Every scar in the wood has history.

Scars have always intrigued me. They speak of life lived and lessons hard learned. I have a shiny white one on my left foot from when I was eleven and thought mud sliding in the garbage dump sounded like a good idea. (Lessons learned: broken glass is really sharp and tetanus booster shots hurt.) The stretch marks on my belly are reminders of how it felt to wait, round and eager to see my girls’ tiny faces.

Then there are those heart scars, the ones it’s easy to hide.

And we do hide, don’t we?

As if we don’t all have souls ripped open, in various stages of being restored.

A friend of mine says some soul wounds are precise and surgical, and some are torn jagged. We still see them long after they’ve healed.

Like the one, thick and bright, that runs the length of my mother-in-law’s chest. The surgeons had no time to waste trying to make the cut pretty. Her aorta was rupturing, and they had to crack her fast and wide to save her life. That scar, it’s a precious thing, because it means she’s still here and able to walk the length of their gravel road, able to laugh over a Skype call and listen to grandkids’ stories and wait there in her little red house to hug us tight when we get home on furlough next year.

Sometimes an ugly scar is the most beautiful thing in the world.

There’s no shame in being wounded, being ripped open and rescued. There’s glory in those jagged scars that stay long and tell stories.

There is worship in our scars, in the telling of the ways we’ve been broken and held together and made new.

Beautiful, beautiful scars.

Beautiful rescue wounds healed by Hands that hold their own glory-soaked scars.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” ~Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)


  1. Megan
    Jan 13, 2016

    Very good post. Scars really do remind us of stories. My 5 year old will have a funny story to tell about the scar he has from being partially impaled by a fork–he was dancing around the kitchen and fell onto the open dishwasher door. I couldn’t figure out how the dishwasher had caused the odd wound he had, until I found a fork with one of the tines actually bent.
    I will forever bear the scars from emergency surgery to remove my ruptured colon when I was 13 weeks pregnant with my older son. It is not a funny story, but the scars are a reminder that God preserved not only my life but that of my unborn son. It’s not a pretty scar–although I had been in the hospital for over 3 weeks, it was still an emergency surgery when it ruptured–and they also had to leave the wound open to heal from the inside out. It is a lasting reminder, though, of God’s faithfulness to our family. My son doesn’t know the full story yet, but someday we will tell him–and hopefully it will help him to understand more fully how much God loves him and protected him even before he was born.

    • beth
      Jan 13, 2016

      I remember when you were in the hospital. So many people prayed for both you and your son… God’s hand was definitely on both of you!

  2. Dorothy Bogle
    Jan 13, 2016

    I’ve always heard, “no pain, no gain”. I glad knows & cares!

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