Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful, Even for Scarring.

I'm not gonna lie. Gratitude isn't always an easy path to follow. Sometimes even in the counting of graces, the numbering and journaling become painful scratches when once they were rolling, fanciful scrawls. And herein lies the test of strength.

But strength is often greater where we've been hurt. Where we've got scars.

I was dancer in my younger years. A ballerina, I like to think, but probably just a wannabe. From the time I was old enough to ride a bike until the day I walked across the stage in a cap and gown, I donned tutus and slippers when other girls were kicking soccer balls and back flips. When I was old enough (maybe twelve?) my beloved teacher, who adored me so much she screamed at me to point my toes and straighten my arms, said I could get pointe shoes. Oh the greatly-anticipated day! 

They ruined my feet.

A dancer's bare feet are the only ugly thing about her. Her feet are always covered. On stage, anyway.

I knew it would happen. The bleeding, the callouses, the pain. To consistently put all of your weight on three square inches of toes when God made heels and balls to bear it -- well, something will pay. 

But oh, how the dance is glorious! Millions around the globe will flock to the awe of beauty contained in a ballerina. When my Guy took me to see The Nutcracker last Christmas, my jaw hung in amazement for suspended moments. You can have your Superman, your Spiderman, and your IronMan - Sugar Plum Fairy is my hero. 

Only a few of us in that audience knew of her scarred toes. Only those of us who have paid long hours of torture to stand suspended on a flimsy, satin-coated box. I've spent more years not dancing now than the years I did, and my feet still bear the marks of pointe shoes. My scars remain, though the pain does not. 

"For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving" -1 Timothy 4:4 (HCSB) {emphasis mine}

I wonder how to be thankful for all things, including scars.
Because scar tissue is made of fibers, not skin cells, it does not have hairs, sweat glands or blood vessels. Scar tissue is stronger than ordinary skin and it may look shiny. [, Dermatology]
It takes great strength to dance en pointe, and I'm becoming more convinced that strength is equally required for everything worthy or beautiful. And if scars are one source of increased strength, might we even take joy in them? An even greater stretch - could we take joy in the trials that produce strong scars? 

Oh, eucharisteo, what if it made me more thankful to see even this hard joy?

Lord, let it be so.

Penning gratitude is not easy, but it is Simple. I thank Him for all things He makes and gives, knowing all things are gifts, even painful things. I thank Him that with His joyful strength - which often comes via scars, which often come via pain - I can do all things. (see Nehemiah 8:10, James 1:17, Ephesians 4:13) All these gifts, all this loveliness, all this grace, all things I have, He has given. Here are some of my recent gifts on this, Thankful Thursday.

  • for making me desperate for intercession, desperate for prayer, desperate for You
  • This Song (Brooke Fraser)
  • people who are kind
  • time to relax
  • the way You guard and protect us every day
  • painting little B's nails and toes, time with children is never wasted
  • a bird nest on Aunt B's porch, the parents flying to feed the babies tucked away, heard but not seen
  • a shared daydream with my Guy, and a reminder that You will always braid our futures into one
  • my son's tears over divorce of extended family
  • legacy of the Langdon family, and the privilege to be a part of it
  • PJ's sermon, and the inspiration from Your character to take life in stride
  • for the mornings when I can't understand You, and love you more because I can't
  • strength from You to keep loving the people who hurt me, and isn't that the measure of your followers? (John 13:35)
  • "I think it is right to stir you up by reminding you." -2 Peter 1:13
  • the privilege of breath for which to praise You
  • fireflies all alight under the trees, rising, blinking in the summer twilight
  • "My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God." -Oswald Chambers
  • a sweet letter and drawing from our lovely Pooja in India
  • for waking me up with reminders of my summer goals
  • the strength of scars, and gratitude for the pain they come by

Oh God, You know more wisdom and how to apply it than I ever could. You know what I need and You give it. Even when it is not what I ask for - You give me good and I'm thankful. This day is full of Your gifts and Your love, and I refuse to live any other way than thankful for all You give. It is a happy privilege to give You back this - the only thing I have, still the only thing You want ... my heart.


  1. Dancing with you...through the pain, becoming thankful for the scars. Scars are my reminders of walking through troubles where it was only me and Him. Sweet, sweet scars.

    Enjoyed your post, gave me goosebumps. Thanks for writing!

    1. I can relate to those sweet reminders too. His faithfulness never ends, or ceases to amaze me. Thanks!