My husband and children gave me a T-shirt for my birthday some years ago. It’s faded now and worn out from use. I don’t wear it so much these days, mostly because it shrunk a little in the wash.

Instead, the T-shirt sits in a drawer in my closet. It’s hard to part with because on it are written words that fill me of hope and strength when the going gets rough.

It says: My scars are my favorite tattoos.

You see, my family know all about my scars. They know how my scars were formed. My husband and children have shared in the stories. They have been there through the healing, too.

Most other people cannot see my scars.

Scars mark a time of struggle in our lives but also the gift of survival.

And struggles fill our lives with meaning and depth instead of leaving us shallow and superficial.

One scar runs vertically down my tummy. It is a reminder that, for my twin boys—now six-foot tall strapping lads—entering the world did not begin easily.

A prolapsed umbilical cord during delivery of twin number one led to a swift emergency C-section.

The comment by the doctor: “You’ll never be able to wear a bikini” had barely sunk in when we were back at the hospital again. This time both twins, at seven weeks old, with suspected bacterial meningitis.

The words “let’s get through the first 24 hours,” a reply by the pediatrician when my husband asked if our babies would be okay, are etched on my mind as permanently as the scar on my stomach.

The minutes inched by and became hours and days. There was talk about brain damage and hearing loss until one day a diligent, visiting infectious diseases doctor made a surprising detection in the form of the coxsackie virus. All would be well—this was viral meningitis.

So, today I think what the heck to a one-piece and wear my scar proudly.

But I have a more recent scar. It’s another story of adversity in the form of a diagnosis of breast cancer.

This time my husband, on a business trip, was on the other side of the country and moved heaven and earth to get by my side.

My three young children and I spent a long night huddled together on the sofa fighting fear as the news sunk in.

Hormone treatment, surgery, radiation. We dug in for the haul.

A scar reminds us of the importance of loved ones and the love we receive—a hug, a look of concern, a bunch of flowers, a companion at the hospital, a T-shirt—and the human but God-given capacity we have to love.

A scar shows a fight to overcoming suffering with the hope of those who love us and the strength of a God who never leaves us.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.  Deut. 31:6 (ESV)

So eventually we heal. Scars remind us of this.


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Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Arabah Joy at #GraceandTruth and Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus

  • I’m grateful for my scars. They are proof of God’s strength in me as he had been with me through the hard times. I loved reading this. Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last Friday!

  • Thank you for sharing your powerful testimony, Rachel. I don’t have physical scars like you do, but I also give thanks for the strength given me by the God who never left me for a moment, through the pains and trials of life. We are healed by His stripes.

    • As you say, Betsy, not all scars are physical, but it is wonderful to know that Jesus also has scars and we can draw comfort in knowing he shares in our suffering.

  • Dear Rachel … thank you for allowing God to redeem your pain and for this gentle reminder that scars are more than able to remind us that healing comes. Your story has moved me this morning, and I’m so glad to have rubbed shoulders with you over at Holley’s.

    Blessings, girl …

  • HI
    So true – like the remembrances in the stories in our Bible – they are there to make us faithful to the past but move on to the future. I followed you on Twitter.
    I am following you from Susan B. Mead’s Linkup

  • Thank you for sharing Rachel! Scars are a great topic of discussion. Everyone has them, yet they’re unique to each person. I have noticed throughout the years, a situation can reopen them and then I have to reach out again to God. Perhaps this happens to remind me to communicate more often with God. It’s like when you are feeling great, one may not pay attention to the needs of one’s body. But when there is physical pain (back, shoulder, etc.) we are reminded to pay attention to our body. I know for myself, my prayers are much deeper when in pain compared with those times when I am giving thanks to God.

  • Rachel,
    What a beautiful testimony to the story of a scar and the story of its Healer. Your courage and strength here will bless so many and give them hope!
    Blessings and smiles,

  • Thanks for your sharing your story. I love how our scars can remind us of what we’ve overcome and God’s faithfulness through the healing process.

  • “Scars show a fight to overcoming suffering with the hope of those who love us and the strength of a God who never leaves us.” Wow! Powerful words! Wonderful message of hope! Cindy

  • Oh, Rachel! This is beautiful! I am SO sorry to hear of the terrible trials you have endured. You have been through much pain…and probably many more hard places than you have shared in this post. God has turned your tests into your life’s testimony, and now He is using you to relate and minister to others in the aftermath of your own heartache. Thank you for opening your heart here and for sharing with us. You are a precious blessing!

    • Thank you for entering into the pain with me, Cheryl, and for pointing out this IS my testimony. I hope it helps others to know of their value to God so they can live boldly on the journey.

  • This is powerful and raw, Rachel! Thank you. I especially love this quote: “Scars mark a time of struggle in our lives but also the gift of survival.”

  • Rachel, Thank you for your post. Sending you hugs. My scars are on my heart. Scars of abuse, rejection and feeling unloved. God has healed me with His light and love. I now know that NOTHING can separate me from His love. Life is worth living because He loves me and His scars prove it.

  • Beautiful and strong.
    Yes, the scars are evidence that something has changed – something may have been taken away even, but God remains and you have reminded me, this morning, of His healing power!

  • Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story. I, too, am a breast cancer survivor. God is so good. And my scars remind me I AM a fighter, but more importantly of His grace and mercy in undeserved miracles. #LiveFree

    • Stephanie, sending you a virtual hug as we share in this together. Thank you so much for reminding me that as a survivor it is because of God’s undeserved grace.

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