I broke my left arm in the 7th grade. It was UGLY. I fell off of a friend's shoulders and stuck my arm out to catch my fall. When I did, both of the bones in my lower left arm snapped while one of them also punctured through my skin. The bone was sticking out of my arm! For all you nurses out there, it was an open, compound fracture. Again - UGLY! I was 12 years old and ended up having to have 3 surgeries before it was all healed. I'm happy to report that I have full range of motion in my left arm. Praise the Lord. I was just left with two, 5 inch scars anterior and posterior on my left forearm. All throughout my life, those arm scars have been "conversation pieces". So many people have seen my arm scars and inquired about them. I've told the -7th grade, stuck my arm out to catch my fall, bone out of the skin, both bones broke, 3 surgeries - story, so many times. People are pretty inquisitive when they see visible scars. I am too. That leads me to tell you another story...
I scheduled a professional massage the other day because I found myself very tense and anxious. My head felt like it weighed 100 pounds and my neck and shoulders felt like bricks. Before the massage began, the lady noticed my arm scars and asked if I had any issues with them. I told her that my arm was good and that the scars shouldn't be an issue with the massage at all.
The massage began. I wanted to say, my noticeable external scars are fine. It's my deep, internal scars about my childhood trauma that are causing me problems. I wanted to say that when I broke my arm at age 12, the abuse has already been going on for years and still was. I wanted to say that harboring secrets your whole life can make you very tense. I wanted to say that dodging perpetrators most days can be so exhausting. I wanted to say that being vulnerable can give you headaches. I wanted to say that not saying what you need to say can give you stomach aches. I wanted to say that the walls that are built for protection make you so exhausted. I wanted to say that the shame that you carry causes muscle aches. I wanted to say that anxiety and fear causes numbness in extremities. I wanted to say that the vivid dreams and nightmares can make you feel tired and disgusting. I wanted to say that setting boundaries for yourself is therapeutic but produces tension and tears. I wanted to say that keeping the enemy and his schemes at a distance is a daily workout.
External scars are noticed, asked about, and talked about without much hesitation. Internal scars are our secrets, our private stories. We hide them, push them down deep so that they don't cause problems or create conflict in our lives. The thing is, our secrets do make us sick and eventually do come to the surface.
Healing is a process - a long, hard process. There's ups, downs, slides, falls, plummets, slips, crawls, plunges, and growth. It all counts and it all matters.
Can you imagine if that masseuse heard my thoughts during the massage?
The difference for me is that Christ DID hear my thoughts and catches me every time I fall. Unlike my arm, He never breaks, doesn't have a weak spot, and He never fails. He's loving, strong, and ready at any moment. I need His strength, His grace and His kindness everyday!!
With Grit and Grace ~ God Bless