My husband and I are HUGE movie fans. When we started dating, over twenty-five years ago, movies were one of our favorite outings together. We would watch a movie and stay up late, discussing all aspects of the story. During the first few years of our marriage, we went to the Sunday matinee almost every week. We could see a film for $5 each, and on the way home, we would pick up a $5 pizza, and for less than $20, we would have a date that left us talking all week.
Having kids, careers, and life in general slowed down our movie watching for a lot of years, but lately, we have picked it up again. One of our recent favorite date nights means ordering dinner in and streaming a new movie together, while snuggled under blankets, in the comfort of our own home.
This weekend, we were watching a movie, when the camera zoomed in close on the face of one of the main characters, revealing a scar on his chin. Seeing it, I casually said, “Hey! He and I have matching chin scars!”
My husband looked at me, puzzled, and asked, “What are you talking about? You don’t have a chin scar.”
I reached my finger up, running it along my chin gently.
“Yes, I do! How have you not noticed this scar? I’ve had it since I was a toddler! I fell in our gravel driveway and sliced my chin open on a rock.”
I continued gently touching my chin while he looked at me, shaking his head.
I stopped, suddenly thinking to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d thought about that chin scar. And my husband was right… I don’t have a scar on my chin. At least not anymore. And maybe not in a long time.
How does one lose a scar? And when did I lose it? Clearly it healed to the point of disappearing completely, but when did that happen and how did I not notice?
I went back and looked at a few random pictures taken over the last twenty to twenty-five years, and sure enough, that scar has been gone for a long time. In fact, it hadn’t been visible in all the time my husband and I have been together. Which means it hasn’t been seen since before college. Which means it was fading and not super visible in high school, when I was very sensitive about it.
I have thought about little more than that scar for the last day or so. Not because I am willing it to be visible again, but because I can’t believe I allowed it to consume a tiny piece of my identity for so many years.
Please hear me; this is not about vanity. It’s not really about my chin.
One of the popular mantras in the abuse/trauma/recovery community is that scars prove we have survived. We sometimes boast about our scars because we know how hard we fought to heal. And that’s a worthy sentiment! But what if we become so hung up on our scars as proof of our healing that we forget to celebrate the healer?
There are places in my life God has brought grace. There are places in my life where God has brought healing, and I have scars to prove it. But there are also places in my life where the scars no longer exist because God has completely healed me. That is the message I want to shout from the rooftops! That is what I want all survivors to know – God offers grace AND healing! He never stops working in our life for good. He never gives up on us. Hold onto hope.