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Beautiful, Beautiful Scars
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Beautiful, Beautiful Scars

Jackie shuffled into Mike's office wearing her usual black-hooded sweatshirt and plopped down on the middle cushion of the vinyl couch. As Mike swiveled his desk chair toward her, she wondered what this meeting would hold. Since arriving at the residential ministry two months before, she mostly met with John. But he was out of town.

It wasn't that Mike was intimidating. She just didn't know him. She'd seen him around a lot, talked to him a few times. He had even prayed with her. But usually when she saw him she smiled, said hi, and went on.

They began to chat casually about how things were going with the other kids at the ministry. What did she think about the upcoming wilderness tripówas she okay with it? Yeah, that wasn't a problem. Was there anything she wanted to talk about?

Jackie began to share a little about her past, and it somehow led to her telling him straight out, "I'm a cutter." She knew Mike was aware of this fact. He'd read what she wrote about herself when she applied to come to the ministry. He had met with her and her parents when she first came. But this was the first time she'd actually admitted the self-injury to anyone there except John. It surprised her.

The next moments she told more of her story but kept the sleeves of her sweatshirt firmly gripped in her hands. As the meeting went on, she revealed the deep pain she felt inside and the guilt she carried from years of being abused. She longed for freedom. Though the meeting was about over, Mike seemed to sense her need for something more.

He said, "I want to close in prayer and bring all of this to Jesus." He paused. "Would you be willing to pull back your sleeves so we can bring your scars to Jesus?"

Jackie's anxiety shot up. No one had ever asked her to reveal her scars, and there were many. They made her feel ugly and she hated everything about them. She didn't like the questions and the stares of others. Any way she could, she avoided explaining. That's why she wore the long sleeves. The story behind the scars was too huge for a simple answer.

And yet ... she had just shared part of that story with Mike. Could she let him see the scars?

She looked at Mike. She could tell he wasn't asking out of curiosity, like she was some freak show. He genuinely cared. Quietly, she slid up both sleeves to reveal forearms slashed with many marks, some of them fresh.

"Jackie, only Jesus can make these scars beautiful," Mike said tenderly. "Only He can give meaning to these scars and bring healing to the hurt that lies behind them. Can we pray for that?"

Jackie looked down at her scars. Make these beautiful? It sounded crazy. Mike went on. He began to talk about Thomas and Jesus.

"Jesus came to save the lost. His bloodstained hands, feet, and side are proof of the death-defying power of His love for us. There is no place His love cannot reach."

Jackie wanted to believe that.

Mike continued, "Jesus told Thomas to put his hands in His side, to see the wounds in His hands. The wounds of Christ built unshakable confidence in Thomas' heart. His doubts were put to rest as he touched those most beautiful of scars."

Jackie searched Mike's eyes. "Can God really do that? Use my scars and cuts in a beautiful way?"

"Yes," Mike assured her. "We can pray that Jesus' wounds and scars be the healing of yours. Can I pray for that for you?"

Mike wasn't pushing. Jackie knew she could say no and he'd be okay with it, but she always seemed to struggle with pleasing everyone. She partly wanted to say yes just so she wouldn't disappoint him. Mostly she craved the healing he talked about. She finally nodded and they bowed their heads.

"Jesus, make your wounds Jackie's wounds. Make Jackie's wounds full of purpose and meaning, without fear of guilt." Jackie felt Mike's light touch on her arms as he prayed that she would believe Christ's shed blood was sufficient to heal every area of her life. He asked that the scars she hid would become reminders of Jesus' love for her in the days ahead.

He finished and they lifted their heads. Tears streaked both of their faces.

"Jackie, it took great courage to share your scars. Thank you for revealing your pain and letting me pray for you."

She left Mike's office that day with a smile she couldn't hold back. She realized the step she had taken and what it meant. It was a beginning she thought she'd never see, a U-turn from a life of endless pain. For the first time, she felt a sliver of hope. She could get better and overcome the urges to hurt herself. Jesus' wounds and scars were for her, and they held the promise that hers would be healed. They too could become beautiful, beautiful scars.

Excerpted from God Allows U-Turns for Teens compiled by Allison Bottke (with Cheryl Hutchings) Used by permission of Bethany House, division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright © 2006. All rights to this matertial are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web loction for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.BakerPublishingGroup.com

By Jan Kern

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