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I have a smiley face on my belly.  Two eyes, one over each ovary, a nose in my belly button, and a smile over and through my uterus.  The eyes and nose came from laparoscopic surgery for the endometriosis, and my uterus got its smile when they rescued my in vitro miracle boy from my protesting womb.

I was self conscious.  The smile was so bumpy for the first few years that you could see it through my bathing suit.   After years of trying to get pregnant and then months of “planning” a natural birth, I pictured the word FAILURE scrawled across the scar in jagged black Sharpie.

For years, I’ve heard women agonize over stretch marks and squishy mommy bellies and saggy, dried up post-nursing boobs.  I tried to understand as friends lamented over tummies and boobs while their 3, 4, 5 children ran around.  If we reversed roles, I’d probably be doing the same.  As it is, I have a flat belly, relatively unaltered from my two-thirds of a pregnancy (For new readers, my son made it and just handed me a banana to open!).  Same shape, just a smiley face of scars.  For so long, scars that screamed “Failure!”

After years of anorexia segued into years of infertility segued into the beginnings of fine lines and screaming joints, I’ve learned an important lesson.  Our scars make us who we are.  Our bumps and lumps aren’t failures.  They’re stories.  Scars represent healed wounds.  Healed.

How spectacular that our God created us to heal.  When little ones trip over too-big shoes and rip gashes through baby soft flesh, we apply boo-boo juice and a robot Band-Aid, and they heal.  Each day, the skin sews itself back together.  Or a needle sews it back together.  Rips heal, scars fade, and giggles return.  We were made to heal.

I have some heart-wounds right now.  Do you?  I stare at my smiley-faced belly and I am reminded that I am created to heal.  Not just from physical wounds, but from heart-wounds, too.  The boo-boos on my soul need attention.  I offer them to the Healer.

We are created in His image, male and female.  In Isaiah 42:14, God compares Himself to a woman in childbirth, so we know that God the Father is also motherly.  When I think about my wounds, these owies needing a soft touch and tenderness, I wonder at the God of the universe as Healer, the mother with the first aid kit stocked with Band-Aids and Neosporin for the soul.  Will the Creator of the Universe, who makes the earth melt and the mountains crumble into the sea, hold me and rock me and whisper “poor babies” in my ear?

I want to fall in love with my stories, with my healing, and fall gooey-stomached in love with the Maker of my stories and the Healer of my wounds.  He is beautiful.  He alone holds the path to true wholeness, to complete healing.

Where are your scars?  Where have you healed before?  Scars are reminders that we are made to heal.  Look to your scars as memorials to the healing power of our Lord.  Instead of viewing my scars as testimonies of failure, I see them as monuments to the Lord’s work in my life.  And reminders that He created us to heal.

Does your heart have a cut?  A deep rip down the center or maybe a subtle tear on the side?  We can offer Him the wounds in our souls.  The God who healed my belly from surgical slashes has healed my heart from infertility ashes and will heal my heart from almost-adoption gashes.

And how does He do this?  Through wounds of His own.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed” Isaiah 53:5.