Scars and Such

This morning as I was getting dressed, I began to rehearse a familiar memory of something that caused me much pain. I do that sometimes, you know. I bet you do, too.

I remembered the hurtful words spoken, the feelings of rejection, the ugly attitudes (both mine and theirs), and the penetrating wounds I incurred. I winced at the ugly behavior...again. I wondered what I could have done differently, should have done differently. I realized that while I might could have done things differently, there is nothing to be done about it now. Even that realization stung.

Faces flashed before me. Words played like a long-play album with a scratch, repeating over and over without end, until I willfully moved the needle by refusing to listen anymore. Feelings of betrayal, loss, grief, confusion, and even anger resurfaced.

I thought I'd dealt with all that stuff.

I did deal with all that stuff.

But like the scar on my right shoulder that will forever mark the incision of a simple surgery, the scars of this and other wounds sometimes catch my attention, and I stare a little too long at them, reflecting on their sources, contemplating the events that surround them, and even feeling tinges of the original pain all over again.

I'm not someone who nurses a wound, generally. I honestly deal with my hurts and bruises with the healing balm of Truth. I've discovered that's the only way to keep from growing multiple weeds of bitterness in my heart and thus choking out the love of my God. I want to keep fertile ground in my heart, so I truly try to practice the disciplines of forgiveness, reconciliation, and repentance.

But sometimes, like this morning, the scars catch my eye in the mirror and I, human that I am, stop what I'm doing, take my eyes off Jesus, and glare at them.

This morning in Jeremiah 8:18 I read:

I would comfort myself in sorrow;
My heart is faint in me.

And that was exactly how I felt. Faint with sorrow.

Psalm 69:20 echoes these sentiments and also resonates with me today:

Reproach has broken my heart,
and I am full of heaviness;
I looked for someone to take pity,
but there was none;
and for comforters, 
but I found none.

And if those contemplations were all the Bible had to offer on the subject, we'd all be in trouble. But just as God's Word is so good to resonate with the groaning of our heart, it is also dependable to give truth that we can apply to our hurting hearts like soothing, healing ointment.

Be encouraged:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, 
for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
(Psalm 118:1)

And you who seek God,
your hearts shall live.
For the Lord hears the poor,
and does not despise His prisoners.
(Psalm 69:32-33)

Praise the God and Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and 
the God of all comfort. 
He comforts us in all our affliction, 
so that we may be able to comfort those 
who are in any kind of affliction, 
through the comfort we ourselves 
receive from God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
I have a choice. I can whine and mope and rehash and whimper and wince. Or I can run to the One who knows me, loves me, and holds abounding compassion in His hand for me.

This morning I chose to run to Him. I told Him I was hurting. I told Him the wounds seemed fresh and the scars were unusually sore. I told Him the memories were unwelcomed, but they were stubbornly flooding my mind. I told Him all about thoughts, my questions, my hurt feelings, my confusion...again. And He didn't interrupt me or sigh because I was repeating myself...again. He listened, He soothed, He loved on me. 

Nothing changed. No one called and apologized. I didn't wake up and realize it was all a dream. No one sent me a letter explaining their bad behavior and asking for my understanding. And no one applauded me for bearing up under it all. Nothing changed in the situation. It probably never will. I'm not saying God couldn't cause all manner of changes to occur if He wanted to. I'm just not expecting that.

Nothing changed.

But God gently and lovingly applied the ointment of truth to my tender scar. The swelling and the tenderness have subsided. And I feel loved and cared for.

I was hurting and my God alone showed me compassion. And that was all I needed. He is sufficient.

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