You Don’t Have to Hide Your Scars
“I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.” Mark 2:11
I have a scar on my left leg, an accidental souvenir from a head-on car collision in 2009. After the accident, the insurance company offered to pay for plastic surgery, but I declined. I wanted to keep my scar because I needed to remember what I’d been saved from. The scar was a part of my rescue story. When the doctors sewed up my leg, the stitched wound was in the shape of a Y. To me, the single letter stood for Yahweh. I felt as if I’d been marked by God’s first initial.
My scar reminds me to thank God for rescuing me. I have other scars, too . . . ones you can’t see, but if we sat down face-to-face, I’d tell you more. My voice might tremble when I told you about the stories behind the scars. But I’d tell you anyway, because our scars remind us that, though we were wounded, we’ve been healed.
I know it’s not healthy to live in the past, but that doesn’t mean we ought to completely forget what has happened to us. Every once in a while, Jesus wants us to remember.
We see this in the Gospel of Mark. Do you remember what happened when some friends bring a buddy to the feet of Jesus?
After healing him, Jesus tells him to pick up his mat and go home. Jesus forgave that man of his sins, and then He healed him. Imagine the condition of that ratty, dirty mat. Yet Jesus tells the man to take the mat with him, like a wretched souvenir. That man’s mat is like a scar. It’s a reminder of who he had been, and what he was rescued from.
Jesus doesn’t tell the man, “Toss that old thing in the dumpster on the way out the door.” He doesn’t tell the man to burn the mat or leave it at the curb. He tells him to take that awful mat with him.
I think that Jesus is asking the same of us, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.”
Friend, keep your mat. I get it: Maybe you’d rather forget your past. But your past — your scars — they’re part of your story.
Someday, you will cross paths with someone who will have the same kind of wound you once had. They’ll need to know your story. Your voice might shake a little when you pull out your mat, or show them your scar, but don’t be afraid.
It doesn’t mean you failed. It means you were healed.
By Jennifer Dukes Lee. Reprinted with permission. From the devotional book, A Moment to Breathe.
A Moment to Breathe
I wrote seven devotionals, including the one shared here today, in a devotional book called A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You in Your Everyday Mess. With 365 readings, each day begins with a passage of Scripture tells a story of everyday faith, and encourages you to take a moment to breathe with a simple but fun way to complete your day. Find it here.
A Two-Book Giveaway
I have two extra copies of this beautiful book. I’d love to give them both away. If you would like to be entered to win one of my extra copies, simply drop a note in the comments of this blog post, letting me know you’d like to win. I will draw the two winners on Wednesday Feb. 28 at noon CT, and will notify the winners in the comments, or by email.
Each week, I host an encouraging community of bloggers who are telling their stories around the web and across the world. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT) on my blog. If you are a blogger who loves to encourage others with stories of faith and hope, you are welcome to link up with us.
Each week, I feature one of the writers in our #TellHisStory community. Our featured writer this week is Barbara. I’m grateful today for her reminder of truth, grace, and the abundance that Christ offers each of us. Find Barbara here.
To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. That badge can be found here. xo Jennifer
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I love your blogs and enjoyed your visit to speak in my church in Diagonal, Iowa a couple years ago. I am looking forward to getting a copy of “Moment to Breathe” but will decline to enter your drawing. Someone else might not have the means to pick up a copy of their own and I will consider it paying it forward this way. Kathy G.
Kathy, That’s so generous of you. Thank you. I know that you will enjoy “A Moment to Breathe.” There are so many great stories with great application to everyday lives. … I will never forget my time speaking in Diagonal. It was a pleasure to speak in a church with such rich history in the lives of our extended family.
I’d love to win a copy of the devotional book.
I’d be so grateful to win this book !
Please enter me into the drawing. Thank you!
I’d love to win a copy of your devotional book. So many scars from a long cancer journey…..
I would love to win a copy!
I would love to win a copy of this book!
I would love a copy!!
I would love to win a copy of this book.
I would love to win a copy!
I would love to win a copy of “A Moment to Breathe.”
Would really love to win this book! I benefit so much from your writing and that of other contributors to the book. I need a good sound devotional that relates to everyday life.
would love to win!!
Loved your post about Scars. I have many from growing up overweight. Would love to win a copy of your book.
I loved reading this post about scars and would be thrilled to win a copy of your book.
I’m having surgery to remove a parathyroid tumor on March 8th and was in the process of ordering scarves to cover the scar on my neck when I saw this. God knew what my heart needed. I would love to win a copy (well because I’m spending money on scarves!) Thank you 💕
Love this post, and I would love a copy of the book!!
Beautiful post! I would love to win the book!!!
This post was perfect for today. I would love a copy of the book.
I needed to hear this. So many times it’s easy to be embarassed or ashamed by the scars – thank you for the encouragement. I would love a copy of the book (and i can provide a US address for shipping if that is needed). When the days have been hard, we do need to remember that Jesus carried us through.
Barb, You are one of the winners! Would you provide me with your US address for shipping, to save on my shipping costs? Thank you so much! My email is jennifer @ jenniferdukeslee.com … Email your address there! xo
This is a great post, I enjoyed reading it. I would love to win your book. Thanks for a chance.
I needed this post today. I would love to win your book. Thanks for sharing your story and inspirations!
I want to win! Love all your stories as they are real and vulnerable as well as uplifting and encouraging to press on! Thank you for the chance to get picked.
Your post really hit the mark for me today ! I too have many scars, one of which is from a serious car accident, which the Lord healed and has used to help me share my story ! Thanks for your encouragement.
I would love to recieve the devotional and it’s encouraging stories….
Would love to win!
Each story you share on your blog touches me. I would love to have a copy of your book of devotionals.
I would really like your book. It would encourage me to read God’s word and to see him working in my own life.
Enjoy your blog, and would love to read your devotional. I have a blog….
I would love your devotional, Jennifer! Your blog is always a highlight for me! Thank you.
I not only want to read this devotional, I NEED to read it. I recently lost my father, my husband and my son within a 14 month period and life is an emotional and spiritual struggle. I’m hanging in there due to my faith and my optimistic nature, but barely.
My scars are often hidden well behind my smile…
I’d love to win. This hits home for me. We all have scars – part of our story which is also His story. I have scars that show too – one on my leg down the side that has a pin to my hip (flew off a trampoline), and an ugly one on the wrist and hand with another pin from falling down the stairs. Love you “Y” – Yahweh.
I would love a copy of A Moment to Breathe. It’s been on my wish list since it came out. I also love your blog posts. I ALWAYS take the time to really read them, and not just skim, as I’m prone to do with other things when life is busy.
I would love a copy of A Moment to Breathe.
You can put my name in the hat also, to win your devotional book. I, too, am always inspired and enriched by your writing, Jennifer. Thank you for persevering to use the gift of communication God has given you. Today I appreciate your attitude toward the scars left by past “injuries.” With you I praise God for his healing!
When I opened your email and my one word for 2018 rescue, I knew God was sending His sweet messages to me through this devotional. Would absolutely be honored to win this book ❤️ Blessings
“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.”
Psalms 143:8-10 NLT
Dear Jennifer, I would LOVE a copy of your ‘A Moment to Breathe’ devotional. I do hope to win, but if I am not one of the fortunate winners, please know I will be purchasing a copy. I currently am not reading a daily devotional, but do participate in Proverbs 31 Ministries First Five daily readings. Thank you for your always-pertinent and often needed blog posts. Each time I read, I am reminded that my life is better when I keep grounded in the Lord. Your words consistently provide a blanket of calm over me. Blessings to you.
Would love to win your book. Everyone has scars and I love how you chose to keep one of yours! Great advice!
Would love to be entered for a chance to win a copy of your book! You have been SO encouraging and helpful in keeping my mental focus positive as I work through my eating disorder recovery.
Jennifer I really appreciate your words on scars and healing – especially the inner scars that cannot be seen. It is important to remember that everyone we talk to or try to love in some way, from the most casual contact to our most involved family relationship, is also scarred inside and probably hurting somewhere. Not all scars are old, and some take a lifetime to heal, and even healed will remain very sensitive. I have been thinking about this a lot lately for various reasons. I would love to win a copy of your devotional. Thank you for writing so faithfully from your heart. You are a blessing to me.
Jennifer, I’d love to win a copy of your book, A Moment to Breathe. At nearly 70 (well, 69) years old, of course I do have scars, and like you said, some visible and some not. You are such a blessing.
Great thoughts, Jennifer. I had never thought about why Jesus told the man to take his mat. But what a great reminder for him of where he had been.
Iam looking forward to every post you make ’cause you allways give me hope and comfort. Thank you! I would love to enter the contest for a coppy of your inspiring book!
With Love from Greece ♥
Jennifer, you always give me “food for thought”. Thank you for this encouragement to not waste our past, but use it to uplift others. I would love to read your new book to enjoy more snippets of your insight! Please enter me to win a copy! Thank you for this generous opportunity!!
I would love a copy of your book. I always look forward to your insightful posts. Thank you!
Being an Iowa girl myself, I feel like I can relate to you on so many levels. I would love to win a copy of the devotional, as I enjoy hearing your inspiring words! Thank you for doing what you do!
I would love to win this book. I love your posts and share them with my Bible Study ladies. We feel like you are speaking to us. I have been through a year long treatment for pancreatic cancer. Between your posts and everyone’s prayers, I’m in remission right now. Praise God. I’m so grateful.
Oh friend… you just can’t know! I would LOVE to win one of these devotionals!
Hey sweetie! Long time no see! So fun to find you in my comment box. Love you!
A moment to breathe sounds like just what all of us need! I would love to win this book to use as an evening devotional. I think it would be awesome to begin and end my day in the Word.
A Moment to Breathe sounds like just what I need now to get me through this trying time. Would love to win a copy!
I have a few battle scars! I have the book so please don’t add me to the give-away!
I know if we sat across from each other we would have many stories and each story would tell of the scars we received over the years. But in all the messiness, we would also share the redemption and grace that came as a result of the scars. Though we’ve been wounded we’ve been healed. Thank you for sharing this devotional. The book sounds amazing.
What a beautiful reminder that scars tell a story–a redemption story that when we share, we can help others understand the Redeemer. I’d love to win a copy of the devotional :).
Beautiful post! I would love a copy of the book!
Thank you so much for featuring my post today! I am honored, and glad God could use what He taught me through those struggles to encourage others.
There were so many times God rehearsed Israel’s history with them – it’s good to look back and remember His deliverance. Not only is our gratitude renewed, but out faith is revived for whatever’s ahead. Thanks for sharing!
I love your posts! Thank you!
I would also love to win this book. 🙂
Beautifully said. A maturing believer hears God’s whisper, You’re healed and i will let you remember the pain when it’s a good time to share it with another who needs My healing. A scar is a memorial, that’s for sure. On the Youth mexico trip, on the very first day, a man got a very large splinter – or piece of wood right through the palm of his hand. My husband was the group dr. and was on hand to do what he does and pull it out -yikes! I spoke w/ his wife the other day and said, I bet he has a scar – right in the middle of his palm – which, btw, makes him a lot like Jesus! She laughed and said she’d tell him. And yes, I’d love a copy if you have spare.
I’ve always felt like my wounds are a badge of honor–telling people what I’ve survived and how I’ve healed, Jennifer. So I totally resonate with what you’re saying here and am so glad you’re sharing this inspiring message today! We all need to hear it.
And I’ll have to admit it … I’d LOVE to win a copy of your devotional! So I’m raising my hand, “Pick me, pick me, pick me!” Lol! Thanks for hosting and challenging us to embrace our healed identity in Christ!
Thanks for sharing your heart, Beth!
I would love to win one of these! I have been hearing about it here and there. Thank you for the chance!
it’s so good. And I’m not just saying that because I have devos in it. LOL! If you don’t win, put this one to the top of your list.
Yes, ma’am 🙂 Will do!
Healing is so powerful, and reminders of that healing help us keep our focus on the healer.
Rebecca, You are one of the winners! Would you provide me with your US address for shipping, to save on my shipping costs? Thank you so much! My email is jennifer @ jenniferdukeslee.com … Email your address there! xo
I would love to win this. I’ve had my eye on it for ages!
It’s so good, Karen. And I’m not just saying that because I have devos in it. LOL! If you don’t win, put this one to the top of your list.
What a wonderful perspective on scars, Jennifer! That changes some thoughts I have on a large physical scars I bear, too : ) Thank you! Would love to enjoy one of these devotionals as well!
Congrats on the new devotional! If you’re a part of it, it’s got to be good! 🙂
Jennifer, after the way this week started, this post was a breath of refreshing air to my exhausted spirit.
I have honestly never thought about the implications of Jesus telling the man to pick up his (ratty, dirty) mat and go home. It was a reminder of the work Jesus had done. I have scars in my life, and I’m learning to look at them for the beauty God’s brought through them, not just the pain and the tearing that happened in my heart. I’m still pondering your post.
I would love to be in the draw for one of your devotionals. 🙂
I have to say I never considered why Jesus had him take his mat. Thank you for the wisdom. I too believe we need to take a look at our past to see how far we have come. It can be a very helpful tool in moving forward. Love your post and the devotional looks great. Sorry I missed the deadline, I would have love to have won it. I pinned it so I can purchase it later.
You put this so elegantly…we need those things those scars for those times we need to remember how far God has brought us. Thank you for sharing this!
Our scare do indeed serve a purpose! I love that you purposefully chose to leave your scar as a reminder of God’s faithfulness!
I don’t love to win one of the devotionals! 💕
Uh, that’s supposed to say I’d LOVE to win!!! Lol
I love little phrases I can treasure to remind me of Jesus and how he feels about me …thank you for this new and timely one. “Keep your mat.”