There’s this game I like to play and it never fails to catch people by surprise. Here’s how it works: I invite someone to grab coffee and once we’ve found a comfortable seat, our hands wrapped around a cup of something delicious, I look into their eyes and say these words: “So, what’s your story?”
Almost every time, they hesitantly respond, “My story? What do you mean, exactly?” I then offer to go first, to share with them the pages He has given me to live, and for the record, I don’t sugarcoat a single thing. By the time I finish, I can see the relief in their eyes, not because I have masterfully woven together life experiences into a beautiful story but because I’ve been honest, I’ve shown the mess of it all, and I’ve dared to say that the scars that remain are signs of His grace. My tests have truly become my testimony, my mess turning into my message.
After I finish the telling, I turn it over and ask again, “Will you tell me your story?” And this time, instead of uncertainty or panic, there is peace. You become a safe place when you share your story, both the broken and the beautiful, with another.
And so they begin and every time I’m in awe of the broken off pieces and the jagged scars from the hurting places, not because they’re messy but because His grace is enough for us all, running in and washing over, healing and mending, changing us and cleansing deep.
We’ve all walked roads that have battered and bruised, wounding us deep. We each carry scars. I used to hide mine, the one on my head from brain surgery and the ones on my heart from the times community walked right out. But not anymore. I’m learning that scars tell the stories of battles fought and won, of fears conquered and dreams chased, of mighty healing and of Jesus meeting us in the dry valleys.
Your scars tell your story and although you are more than your past, more than what you have experienced, gone through or done, every moment has been used to shape you into a new creation, redeemed and made whole, holy and blameless in the eyes of He who sees your scars and your burnt places, your struggles to join Him and walk on the water, as a page in a best-seller He is joyfully writing.
Too often we compare our beginning to someone else’s middle, our behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing our painful places to someone else’s promised land, forgetting that we’re still journeying and we can trust the unknown of the future to the God we know is authoring its pages.
Last week, Holley Gerth kindly invited me to share an excerpt from Even If Not with her readers. Hearing responses and replying to comments has been such a gift! To continue reading the excerpt, simply click here to head over to Holley’s blog.