The Scars Remind Me

I’ve been working on a project based upon our most recent experience as foster parents. It has required a lot of looking back at the timeline, the hard things, the great joys, and the victories of that season.

These memories, just like the pictures that I have to scroll past so often, bring flashes of the pain and joy that mingled so very thoroughly in sharing life with two amazing little dudes.

I remember as a kid hearing older folks talk about feeling weather changes on the horizon in their joints or bones. It always seemed strange to me… until I had some scars of my own.

I can’t say that I have felt barometric changes in my joints, but I have noticed that, from time to time, it seems a scar gets kind of sore or tender for no particular reason.  Those small sorenesses draw our attention to the events or injuries that caused them.

As I have been looking back on a really important season of growth, of heartache, of really powerful gospel work in our home, the memories—like scars on my heart—bring to mind the the hours spent in tears and frantic prayer, the moments of celebration of days without meltdowns or really good choices made.

It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me that I am a cryer. I’ve had some teary moments of deep, deep longing the last several days because the letting go hurts. And I know that is the most common reason I hear people give for staying away from the work of foster care—that “I just couldn’t bear to let them go.”

I was reminded again in a podcast recently of this beautiful description of the gospel work of fostering. This person was asked why they volunteered for such a painful thing. The answer, “I chose to experience a great pain so that this child could experience a great love.”

Isn’t that what Jesus did for us—to experience the greatest conceivable pain so that we might experience the greatest possible love?

I wonder what it might change in us if we began to see our scars (especially the heart scars) as reminders of the great privilege of loving like Jesus and for Jesus’ sake. I wonder if I might respond to those sore moments in worship and gratitude for the sacrifice He made to make a way for me to know hope.

Maybe that’s what Paul was making reference to when he wrote at the close of his letter to the Galatians, “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”

But this I do know—that pain willingly endured in the place of another is an incredible testimony of love.

The scars remind me of a great pain and a great love… which remind me of a greater pain out of a far greater love for me.

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