As a substitute teacher I filled many shoes, including P.E. teacher, one of my favorite classes to teach. During one particular windy March day, I was teaching soccer to a class of sixth grade girls with whom I had built a relationship during my substituting.
One of the girls went to trap the ball with her knee and it left a large ball-sized red mark on her leg. She was on the verge of tears, looking to me for direction. I smiled at her and said, “That is going to make the coolest bruise!” She immediately straightened her shoulders and shook off the stinging she felt.
I was not trying to ignore the pain she felt, but to applaud her efforts in soccer. I knew that sometimes it is not the failing, but the attempt that needs celebration.
As a child I was always climbing trees, riding my bike, playing baseball with my friends which meant that I often had knees and shins marked by bruises and scratches. It wasn’t clumsiness, just a fact that I moved faster than my feet could keep up. If someone asked what happened, I would tell them about the feat I was attempting when I received the mark.
A few of the marks are permanent. I can still show you the scar from sliding into home base, the scar from knee-boarding with family, or where I received stitches when I climbed a fence to retrieve my brother’s shoe. These scars and marks are stories from my life.
Each bump, bruise, or scar has the beginning of a story to tell. Something that happened in your life, a place where you fell, you were injured; a place where you could have been knocked down and stayed down. Yet, you did not allow those incidents to keep you down.
Scripture describes the many ways God is caring for us, protecting, correcting, healing, and defending us. Psalm 91 has been a prayer for me over my family and especially my sons. The last verses describe God’s response, Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation, (v.14-16 ESV).
Scars are a major part of our faith, Best Beloved, they tell the story of how far Jesus went just to rescue us. If His scars tell His story, we too can see our scars with different eyes. We can share our stories of where life tried to knock us down and keep us down, but we got back up, dusted off our knees and kept on going.
Don’t give up, Dear Ones, keep on going. I am cheering you on and so is your Savior.