Proud Flesh

June 18, 2009 | 28 comments


I sat on the edge of the examination table, stiff white paper crinkling beneath me.

It was Tuesday afternoon — nearly five months after my accident — and I found myself back in the doctor’s office.

Six weeks ago, here at Getting Down With Jesus, I claimed healing. For the last six weeks, I prayed for it. And I believed it. And I thanked Him in advance for it.

I had put my trust in the Healer.

But on this Tuesday afternoon, I waited for words from a doctor in a room where wounds are the speciality. For some who sit there on crinkling white paper, healing can take months, even years.

Now it was my turn. How much longer would this last? I knew the answer before the doctor uttered a word.

The doctor took my left leg in his hands and pushed up the pant leg: “Let’s take a look at this, shall we?”

***

The mark on my left leg is the last bit of physical evidence of what happened on that snowy morning in January — though I’m marked in deeper ways that transcend flesh.

The crash happened while I was driving to a spiritual retreat planning session.

Doing God’s work, I was. But there’s no promise that those who love Him are shielded from pain. It can be easy to believe that if we are following God, He will give us a trouble-free path to walk … Or to drive.

On my way to do His work, I was listening to a song with the repeated refrain: “Yahweh, Holy is Your name.” Over and over again, I sang out His name.

On my way to do His work — while singing Yahweh’s name — a car careened into my path. No time to react.

Thoughts raced, flipbook style.

Four-door car. In my lane. Yahweh! Swerve. No chance. We’re gonna hit. We’re gonna hit. Can’t stop. Here we go … Steel on steel. Crumple. Seatbelt snaps. Airbag smacks. Glass shatters. Breathe, Jennifer. Yahweh. Eyes open. I win either way. I feel you here, God. Yahweh. I feel you here. Thud. Stop.

By all accounts, the accident ended miraculously, with only minor injuries to both drivers. The emergency parking brake slammed through my skin, deep into my muscle and tissue, leaving a gaping wound.

The mark on my leg has a name: “the Yahweh scar.”

Yahweh spared my life — and He left me with a scar. It’s a tattoo of His first initial: the letter Y.

Let me sing it again: “Yahweh, Holy is Your name.”

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble,
… or are threatened with death?
No, despite all these things,
overwhelming victory is ours through Christ,
who loved us.

— Romans 8:35-37

***

On the exam table, the doctor held my leg in one hand, and pressed gently with the other — knowing by touch what was happening in unseen places beneath a scar.

“Proud flesh,” he said.

“Come again?” I said, caught off guard by a term I’d never heard in my five months of doctoring.

“I say, you’ve had some proud flesh here,” he said. “Proud flesh is basically swollen tissue around a healing wound. Happens a lot in horses, but can happen in humans, too.”

Proud flesh — so-called because like one’s pride, the tissue swells.

It can hinder healing. I should know.

***

For the last five months, the Y-shaped wound on my leg has been a lesson for my life. And for my proud flesh.

What have I learned?

* That the appearance of outward healing can be deceptive; hidden wounds fester underneath.
* That when my proud flesh says “no” to offers of help, I deny friends the opportunity to extend grace.
* That scars are signs that healing has begun.
* That sometimes the best route to healing is the slowest: from the Inside Out.
* That, on this side of the Fall, I will have trouble. But on this side of the Cross, God redeems every bit of it.
* That nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Nothing.

***

On Tuesday, the doctor gripped my leg in his hands and let out a long breath before he delivered the news:

“You know, it’s good to win one,” he said, then looked up at me. “And you know: We’ve won this one.”

Yes, I knew. I really knew.

Thank you, Yahweh.

And Jesus said … “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33


Photos: Three months ago and now. If I want the scar to fade, the doctor advises protecting it from sunlight. Guess who’s planning to spend a lot of time in the sun this summer? I fully intend to keep this scar. Our scars tell a story; they identify us. And when we show them, we stand in good company. For Jesus still bears His scars — an eternal mark of love.

by | June 18, 2009 | 28 comments

28 Comments

  1. Denise

    Proud flesh hinders the healing. A lesson I have just recently been reminded of. Yet, mine was not flesh of skin and bones but of heart and soul.

    Rejoicing in your battle won!
    Shalom,
    Denise

    Reply
  2. Nichole

    a truly miraculous healing both physical and spiritual. It is true, the Lord said b/c we are in the world we would have "troubles"…but yes, He has overcome them for us! He is with us when these things happen. The fragility of our lives is something to be embraced by a faith filled life with our Savior! Always be ready. My husband and I are studying 'Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, a wonderful resource and reminders of how important it is to know our savior, b/c we never know when our time is up! Overwhelmed by a relentless God!

    Completely blessed by this post, thank you for sharing! Your work is not finished yet…Praise God of heaven!

    Sister In Christ,
    Nichole

    Reply
  3. Wendy

    Proud flesh. Wow, that was powerful to read about and I loved the examples you gave. Nichole commented about Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It truly is one of my favorite books on faith!
    ~ Wendy

    Reply
  4. Get Real Girl

    Thank you so much for this post. We truly worship an Amazing God! Rejoicing with you today!

    Reply
  5. RCUBEs

    Powerful testimony! I don't blame you if you plan to enjoy basking in the "Son"!!! You go sister!
    Yes, no matter what happens to us, no matter where we are, we can never be separated from God's profound love. Your scar is your identity with Him and it was His love that healed that. No proud flesh is bigger than He Who hates the "proud" in the first place. God bless you sister and glory to God for your healing!

    Reply
  6. Runner Mom

    Jennifer, this post was wonderful–it really spoke to my heart and reminded me about my own "pride flesh!" Thank you, sweet friend. So glad that the visit went well! Hope you have a great day!

    Hugs,
    Susan

    Reply
  7. Julie

    Thanks so much , Jennifer. Proud flesh is something I have been struggling with lately. Your words are always so encouraging!

    Congrats on your healing!

    Reply
  8. Solveig

    So many of your posts minister deeply. This is another one. Pride keeps getting in the way of receiving grace. And, although I'm sure you thought of it, your scar reminded me of Jacob's thigh. He never fully recoverd. Can I say I pray you'll never fully recover? And that I'll never fully recover from my scars? I want to walk in HIs grace.

    Reply
  9. Sockrma18

    I love your "this side of the fall…this side of the Cross" comments. Makes perfect sense and He really does redeem every bit of it.

    I struggle BIG TIME with pride. When I need help I will often decline the offer from family and friends because of my pride. Never occured to me that my denying the help denied them of the ability to extend grace. I realize how selfish I am by doing that. Made me think….fo' sho.
    :0)

    God bless you friend!

    Reply
  10. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Proud flesh. I won't soon forget this analogy, nor your "Y" scar. I,too, have some scars, although most of mine remain hidden. They are mostly forgotten now, but every now and again, they swell with remembrance. How I pray to be able to find the tracing of God's hands and grace in them all.

    peace~elaine

    Reply
  11. Steph

    Praising God with you, Jennifer! Praises be to our Great Healer!

    Reply
  12. Kee

    I'm so glad everything is ok. Thank you for this post, it really blessed my heart and I needed to be reminded of all of this today. Thank you and may God Bless and continue to use you.
    Kiesha

    Reply
  13. Anne L.B.

    This is such a beautiful post!

    I've pondered before: since the resurrected Jesus bore His scars, will we bear ours in heaven? If yes, then all of them, or just the ones which represent love?

    I'm especially looking forward to the final healing of even faded emotional scars, in the time when there will be no more tears.

    Reply
  14. Deb

    You've got me singing Yahweh, Yahweh over and over. That's truly something because I can't carry a tune.

    Thank you for reiterating that nothing can separate us from His amazing love.

    Not even the scars. Not proud flesh and hearts if we confess them to Him.

    I dig your writing style and your pics.

    Reply
  15. Lyla Lindquist

    I am caught by, among other things, the timing. Had any doctor used the words proud flesh at an earlier time along this road for you, they may have drifted right on by.

    He times His teaching and His grace so perfectly for us so that we can experience and take hold of it that much more fully.

    The story, your grasp of its significance, and His working throughout it all continue to tip me over.

    ::

    (And the jaded claim adjuster in me keeps wanting to tell you not to let on to your claim rep just how much you cherish the scar. Ask me about that sometime. *wink*)

    Reply
  16. christy rose

    Jennifer,
    It is amazing that scars do bring back memories. Reminders of the time when they occured and what was going on at that moment.
    I have a scar on the palm of my hand that brings back memories to me. It was not necessarily a God moment, or then again maybe it was. Anyway, it was the time in my life where I had just met my husband, who was not my husband at the time. We were on a youth group trip together. I remember how I felt at the time, you know the giddiness, the butterflies. We were just getting to know each other. We talked about deep and emotional things. We talked about God and dreams and what He had in store for our lives. One evening we were at a park just playing and having fun. I was swinging very high in the swing and stupidly jumped. I landed on my hands. I was fine but my left hand had a gruesome hunk of skin hanging from it. It was pretty gross! We went to the nearest restroom, cleaned out all the dirt and gravel from my hand and laid the hanging skin back over my bloody palm. Then covered it with a bandaid, actually several. My wound healed just fine. But it left a raised scar in the shape of a smile in the lower portion of my palm. Every time I look at it. I remember that time and smile at the wonderful feelings that come racing back. Sometimes I still feel my heart pound harder and butterflies fluttering in my stomach, remembering that wonderful time in my life.
    I guess scars do tell a story. I remember the first time I read your story and now the healing scar is another part of it. Thanks for sharing your healing process with us,
    Christy

    Reply
  17. Carol

    Nothing can separate us from His amazing love….so glad you have won the battle. Do you know the song…."Heal the wound but leave the scars….a reminder of how merciful you are. I am broken torn apart. Take the pieces of my heart. Heal the wound…but leave the scars." He has answered another one! Love-

    Reply
  18. caryl dukes

    So glad you're healed! — Mom

    Reply
  19. Alleluiabelle

    Dearest Jennifer,

    I am rejoicing along with you and praising Him every step of the way. Oh what a mighty healer He is. The one and only Ultimate Healer. The one that I look to right now for Ultimate and Divine Healing for myself and for my husband. I do the same thing. I continue to pray with strong belief, claiming it and thanking Him in advance for His healing. I will never, ever give up.

    Oh how joyful I am that YOU ARE HEALED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. All praise, honor and glory to you Almighty Father forever and ever more.

    I just love you Jennifer. I thank the Lord for our pathways crossing and for all of your encouragement, prayers, support, uplifting and so much more here and on my site as well.

    Peace, Blessings and Hugs,
    Alleluiabelle

    Reply
  20. Sarah Dawn

    Rejoicing with you! Rejoicing in our Healer and how He shines His light through you. You always splash me when I stop by. I'm coming back more often.

    Blessings from Costa Rica,
    Sarah Dawn

    (and no cancer, thanks to our Jehovah Rafa!)

    Reply
  21. Monica

    That you would do the *opposite* and expose the scar to MORE of the sun, making the scar more prominent…
    Wow.
    Monica

    Reply
  22. Chris Godfredsen

    Singing along with you…YHWH, Holy is Your Name! YHWH, Holy is Your Name.

    Your list of what you have learned is both beautiful and vulnerable.

    Grace and peace as you walleye fish and bask in the healing power of Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  23. Chris Godfredsen

    Singing along with you…YHWH, Holy is Your Name! YHWH, Holy is Your Name.

    Your list of what you have learned is both beautiful and vulnerable.

    Grace and peace as you walleye fish and bask in the healing power of Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  24. Billy Coffey

    …sigh.

    I remember the day of your accident, the day when people from thousands of miles away, total strangers, gathered to pray for you.

    And here we all are, still praying, now rejoicing.

    Yes, get some sun indeed.

    Reply
  25. Joye @ The Joyeful Journey

    Proud flesh here too, dear, and my Lord keeps peeling it back, exposing scars to healing, urging me to never hide them!!

    I am so blessed by your humbly beautiful words and praising YAHWEH for your healing!

    Reply
  26. Andrea

    Your analogy of "proud flesh" reached right through my screen and pierced my heart. How I, too, battle with nasty pride. It is a battle shared between Christ and me. It is one I with passion fight, and I am on His side most of the time, but have a tendency to shrink back when pain hits.

    And, I do have some scars buried beneath. Some are still painful, but most are healed by God's grace. All remind me, however, of His mercy!

    What an amazing post! Thank you for sharing your heart and passion for God!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Andrea

    Reply
  27. Jennifer

    I never got around to posting earlier in the week when I read the story of your scar, but I wanted you know how much it touched me. The world may not see it as a blessing to have Yahweh's scar imprinted on you, but in a world where we are asked to live mostly by faith, to have a "sight" reminder of God's protection (even through an accident) is awesome.

    Reply
  28. Jennifer

    Once again, I'm so thankful for the words of encouragement in this space. Thank you to you all for stopping by, taking the time to pray, talking the time to give me a Word.

    It has helped in the healing — more than words can express.

    Reply

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