Australian singer and songwriter Missy Higgins has made quite an impact on the music scene. Back in 2004, she released her album The Sound of White, and it sold well in the Australian market. The first single released from that album was the song “Scar”. It received many awards Best Pop Release at the 2004 ARIA Awards. I don’t know what Missy Higgins was referring to, except she may have been referring to hard experiences of life, and the way they left a scar. It’s interesting that people can leave us with scars—both physical and emotional.
What are some of the scars in your life? I think of kids that are bullied at school. It seems to happen every day, and there is a depth of fear and hurt felt by many children who are bullied and teased at school. Someone said scars are souvenirs you never lose, and I believe that is true. What about those scars we carry about inside that no-one else sees? You may be the only person who knows about them. There may be fear, hurt and sadness.
But while the body works on its own to heal physical damage like cuts or bruises, emotional wounds are much more complex to heal and that’s when professional counsellors or psychologists can be so helpful. We often do all we can to hide our wounds and scars from others, which is a shame. We need at least one close friend to confide in, and to share the deep issues of life. That’s the way God made us—not to journey through life on our own. But to share with others some of the difficulties we face.
There is a tendency for people to think there is nothing you can do, nor need to do about scars, but that is far from the truth. Physical and emotional scars can and do come back to haunt you. When a young person has their tonsils removed, it may be two or three years later when they suddenly have pain swallowing. An intuitive doctor will tell them to chew gum rather than prescribe a pain medicine. The scar tissue from the surgery needs to be worked, stretched, loosened, to relieve the discomfort and eventually make the problem to disappear.
The same goes for many emotional scars left over from divorce, abandonment, abuse, poverty, social injustice, among other tragedies of life.
It was Ernest Hemingway who wrote, “The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” I have a feeling there are more people with broken dreams and scars than we ever realise. Some never move on or make any progress, because they have no-one to help them. The desolation of loneliness and isolation.
There is a beautiful verse from the Bible you need to hear if you’re worried about the pain of the past, or scars you’re carrying:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
Bad things happen to good people. We hear it all the time. We know that it is true. When the ‘bad thing’ happens to us, we somehow often seem to be caught off guard. The deep hurts that we experience in life can plague us for years to come.
Turning Wounds into Scars
Author and speaker Sharon Jaynes knows this well. For years, she carried around wounds from her past without even realising it. Sharon grew up in a home filled with fighting and violence. Her father was an alcoholic, and his drunken rages left her crouching under her covers at night trying to shut out the sounds of her parents arguing.
At age 12, she met a Christian woman in her neighbourhood and began spending time with her. Although her family attended church every week, she had never seen a relationship with Jesus modelled in her home. Through her new friendship with her neighbour, she saw more than just religious rituals like her family performed on Sundays. She learned how to have a relationship with Jesus, and she accepted Christ two years later. Within five years both of her parents also came to know Christ.
Her story seemed to have a fairy-tale ending. However, the years of fighting and violence at home left her very insecure. Among her deep-rooted insecurities was the belief that she was ugly and unloved: “Even though I became a Christian, I still had those wounds,” “And I carried them around with me well into my 30s.”
Sharon Jaynes began to feel like something was missing from her life. As she attempted to discover what it was, she sensed God telling her to let go of her past hurts. That’s when she began the process of healing—a process that she calls “turning the wounds into scars.” She says, “There is a big difference between a wound and a scar.“ Because a scar says, I’ve been healed, and this is my story.
In her book, Your Scars Are Beautiful to God, Jaynes encourages readers to embrace their scars and allow God to use them in the lives of others. She says God prompted her to write the book after reading the familiar Scripture passage about the resurrection of Christ.