Using Your Scars
I’m coming off a three-day women’s conference at which I was blessed to partake AND to serve during. I’m an introvert so the ability for me to rest well and recharge after engaging with and being surrounded by large groups of people is PARAMOUNT to my mental health. Did I mention I took my son to get his flu shot the morning of the first conference day? Or that I seemed to have forgotten that when Banks gets shots, he gets feverish and can’t sleep without being held for the three following nights? Or that those nights spanned the entirety of that women’s conference?
Suffice it to say that showering took a big step back on my priority list right alongside sleeping but I’m grateful that somehow, serving at the conference did not. Granted, I would’ve died without my husband’s support and help with Banks during the days and nights so I could get some sleep and make it to the conference but come Sunday we were both worn THIN.
So it’s Monday and by the grace of God (in combination with my stubbornness) we somehow made it to the gym this morning… but I wasn’t happy about it. My body wasn’t feeling it at all but when we got there, I dragged myself onto the elliptical and managed ten angry minutes. Then, in frustration I hopped off and went to do some squats. I finished squats and wandered around until I found myself back at the elliptical machines. No energy had gathered and none of those so-called endorphins rushed in to turn my mood around. But about seven minutes later I found myself on the elliptical, squeezing my eyes tight and pushing myself harder than I have in awhile because I was fighting back tears but they just kept coming. I was just... raw.
Backstory: if you know me well you know that sadly, this isn’t exactly unusual for me. Especially if I’m pregnant (which I’m NOT) but if I play a worship song that has a good build and get my heart moving while doing cardio, I’ll be teary and smiling as the song peaks. Its this little present God gives me every now and then that makes me feel alive, near to Him and reminds me just how much he loves me. So much that He’ll meet me on the elliptical and make my ears hear a song I’ve listened to a million times, in an entirely new way. It’s probably the only reason I continue to work out.
This morning to match my mood, Hillsong wasn’t going to cut it so I opted for the Vheissu album by Thrice. If you’ve never been a fan of “harder” music I get it, but bear with me for the sake of this post. I started listening to this album about 10 years ago during one of the many rough patches I’d hit in life. A season in which I tried to merge my identity with that of a dude’s in order to find some worth and beauty… again. This guy and I were great but should’ve remained friends. I didn’t know Jesus, I knew OF Him but I was still able to recognize that a lot of the lyrics on the record were scriptural in nature. I remember reading the lyrics and marveling at how cool it was that this man was sharing his faith and heart but how the majority of his mass of followers had no idea the depth of what he was saying. I am a still a diehard Thrice fan but now I add to that being a diehard Jesus follower too. So, this morning while exhausted on the elliptical God gifted me with the most raw encounter with Him through the song “For Miles.” A song I’ve heard a million times before but never as I did this morning. You’ve got to understand that this has always been one of my favorite songs on the album so the mystery that God chose the timing of this morning to reveal this song in it’s entirety to my heart does not go unnoticed.
I just got to speak at my home MOPS group about sex; about brokenness, about the enemy’s desire to weaponize the beautiful things we were given to enjoy out of God’s love for us and His desire to draw us into a closer understanding of HIS love for us. The theme of my entire “talk” came from my first hand experience that we remain broken until we reopen the wounds from the past injuries we’ve been trying to heal on our own. That by talking vulnerably with our husbands and acknowledging our brokenness, we actively seek healing.
Then this past weekend at the Women’s Conference, it seemed that every speaker shouted over us to STOP PRETENDING. To stop thinking that we do ourselves or one another best by making it seem as if we’ve got everything together. By hiding behind self-imposed limitations and fear that if we do speak out, someone will find out we’re a fake, or they’ll see that deep down we’re still broken and nursing old injuries. The speakers encouraged that the sooner we acknowledge our brokenness, our stories, our hardships- and USE them, the closer we will push others to Christ and toward recognizing their potential. And because of the way that God’s beautiful, selfless, upside-down kingdom operates; that in bearing the worst of ourselves, God reveals the best of Himself to us. What we’ve been seeking in striving, reading books, and hamster wheeling our way “toward.”
So this morning when, for the millionth time, I heard the lyric “As long as we live, every scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart.” I heard my words from my MOPS talk come to life as I brought to mind the stories from the women who went home after I spoke and are, right now, in the middle of a fight in trying to own their hardships and enter into closer marital intimacy. Even while the enemy is knocking them down with discouragement to thwart their progress. I saw the fleets of women leaving the Women’s Conference on FIRE with purpose. The ones who stepped to the front of the room to admit that somehow in the day to day, their relationship with Christ has faded into routine, or that they haven’t been seeking Him at all but that they are taking it back. I saw the women who are listening to the great stirring in their hearts right now, who’ve decided to begin the ministry in their basement that they were waiting for someone more qualified than them to begin.
And I saw myself. . . bearing my scars to recovery meeting attendees in Olathe, Kansas. First, through whispers and tears that, in time, picked up volume and energy and brought hope to others and landed me on a stage in front of a group of my peers using my scars as a bridge to the broken hearts of others.
There’s no greater love than that one shed his blood for his friends. Than someone who’ll swallow the pressure to perform and look a certain way or their desire to appear to have it all together. The love that’s willing to break the constant belittling pressure of the world and the belief that you CAN have it all together if you just hide enough or strive enough.
So Go. Go get in your car- hook your phone up to your car stereo if you can or just sit in front of your computer and look up this song by Thrice. Turn the volume UP, and I mean LOUD, listen and read these lyrics. Forewarning. This is a harder song with some screaming (get over it.) But God Bless Dustin Kensrue being willing to scream and write hard music knowing he’d reach people listening from the darker places of life and that he could plant a seed that might spark a realization of God’s Truth and light later in their life… Or when they’re tired and listening to a song for the millionth time while on the elliptical.
For Miles Thrice
“I know one day, all our scars will disappear, like the stars at dawn and all of our pain will fade away when morning comes
and on that day when we look backwards we will see that everything has changed all of our trials will be as milestones on the way. And as long as we live, every scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart
And there’s no greater love than that one shed his blood for his friends On that day, all of scales will swing to set all the wrong to right
all of our tears, all of our fears will take to flight
but until then all of our scars will still remain
we’ve learned that if we’ll open the wounds and share them that soon they start to heal
And as long as we live, every scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart
And there’s no greater love than that one shed his blood for his friends
We must see every scar is a bridge
as long as we live we must open up these wounds
When someone stands in your shoes and will shed his own blood
there’s no greater love we must open up our wounds.”
Who are your friends? Who will you shed your blood for? Use your scars to bridge the gap to someone’s heart and watch as you both begin to heal.
The haunting, violent, dark tone of this song is what the world will look like as long as we continue to hide our scars- the longer we refuse to bridge the gaps, to shed our blood and our humility or when we refuse to love each other the way Jesus designed us to.
Jesus used his scars to literally bridge the gap to our mangled hearts and we are grateful every day for it. Who is waiting for you to reveal yours?