Scars and Stories

It was Bob Dylan who wrote and sang, "Behind every beautiful thing, there's been some kind of pain." Live enough, and you'll find out just how true this is. 

Life is full of contrasts. All of us experience both good and bad times. We all go through ups and downs and have mountain and valley seasons. And we all, to some degree, have scars and stories to go with them. 

Our scars are often rooted in deep pain and hardship, but beautiful things can be birthed from them when God is involved in the healing process. And we shouldn't be dismissive of this. 

If we throw out people's scars, we're throwing out people's stories, and we're discarding parts of them and their lives. We can't only be interested in the neat, pretty parts while dismissing the messy, difficult ones. We can't just skip over the heartaches and disappointments because God certainly doesn't.

We might not realize just how much He actually works in and through the scars and stories of people - including our own.

Behind every scar there's a story. And behind every story there's a valuable life.

I have learned not to be dismissive of this because it's often holy ground. I'm not implying the pain, suffering, or injustice behind the scars were all necessarily a part of God's plan. Instead, I'm trying to point out there are often hidden gems waiting to be discovered despite them. Meaning there is something of high value within these places only He can know and help us find. 

What we see through the filter of pain and shadows, He sees through the eyes of love and light. He looks past what seems deeply broken, tarnished, lost, or hopeless and considers the most precious thing of all - a human soul. 

He doesn't trivialize our wounds or treats them casually; quite the contrary. He cares about them because He cares about us. He embraces them because He embraces us. In His sincere kindness and compassion, He shows up and meets us where we are. 

Jesus is intimately familiar with scars and stories. This is why we can trust Him with ours. 

He eternally carries the scars of His crucifixion, not as an ongoing source of pain but as an ever-present reminder of what was accomplished through them.

Those are the scars that once flowed with hallowed blood. Agony, death, and sorrow are a part of the story of Christ, but so are peace, life, and joy. Without them, all of them, there would be no grace or mercy; there'd be no hope for change. His scars are central to our faith. They tell the ultimate story of love and redemption. They are the proof. They're the scars that heal, and they speak for themselves. 

Knowing Jesus endured such tremendous suffering on our behalf, knowing His scars were for us, has a way of putting things into a different perspective. Because He was a man of sorrows, familiar with pain and suffering, He can understand ours too. And because He is our Redeemer, He can help us find redemptive value in our scars and suffering as well. 

I don't always understand why things happen. I'll be the first to say I don't have all the answers to the questions. In fact, the deep adversities, griefs, hardships, and traumas that many of us endure leave me without words sometimes. But I believe He wants to help us transform our personal pain into something more beautiful and meaningful.  

The truth is, healing is most often a process we have to walk out, but it's a sacred one, no less. And while it might not always look like what we expect, we can trust He knows how to help us traverse the painful, difficult places in our lives. Moreover, he knows who and what we need to navigate this path.

I've come to realize as we discover those hidden gems, we'll also learn more about ourselves and how much we matter to Him. And in time, we can start to see the divine beauty within our scars. They become a profound reminder of what we've been through and overcome. They become the proof of our story and not the sting of our story. 

Eventually, we'll be able to share our experiences with others. We'll be the evidence of beauty rising from the ashes. We'll be a bright holy spark shining His light through the guts and the glory of our scars and stories. We'll be an authentic voice of understanding and encouragement to those who are struggling with theirs. We'll be hands and hearts of genuine compassion, lifting people with the love of Jesus.  

And, more than anything, we will truly come to understand that because of His scars and His story, we all have hope for our own.
Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2016

photo source: Tumblr


  1. I am reading this the day after a local family has lost their first child/grandchild. The adult son was killed several years ago a few weeks after his wedding. Now this. I am hoping this blog will help allay the grieving.

    1. Dear Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to leave this comment. I wept when I read it. It's why I wrote Scars and Stories - to validate, speak to, and help acknowledge the great pain, suffering, heartbreak and grief so many people go through. To be a caring hand to hold, if you will. And to also speak hope, love, and compassion to hurting hearts. To point others to the only One who can truly understand the depths of our pain and help us walk through it.

      With grief so fresh and deep, I’m not sure any words could fully ease their pain at this point. Perhaps in time. But I so appreciate you leaving this message so I can pray for this precious family. My heart goes out to them. And your community.

      God bless you.

      In His love and hope,