Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scars of Life

I recently finished reading the book entitled Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson.
She and her husband were both, seriously injured in an airplane crash in Arizona.  At the time of the accident, they had 4 young children.  In the book, Stephanie shares her personal journey, through this horrific challenge.  She is real.  She tells of the joys and the pain of overcoming, doing hard things, and smiling when she felt like crying.  Persevering when she wanted to give up.  She describes the depression and the incredible power of will involved in waking up everyday, only to realize that she was still scarred, and still hurting. Her story motivated me to smile more, give thanks often, and be grateful for the little things.  After reading her book, I realized that the main difference between Stephanie and the rest of us, is that her scars are on the outside and ours are on the inside.  Hers are visible to the onlooker, and her very presence provokes compassion, empathy, curiosity and perhaps a stare.  However, those who look at me and you, have no idea of how broken we have been, and the incredible pain we have suffered.  I too, was on a ride with my husband, a ride called, "life", when all came to a crashing halt, and our "normal and security" exploded into divorce and potential devastation.   And, when I woke up from the shock and pain of abandonment, I knew that I would never be the same.  Stephanie's story reminded me that I cannot expect to make it through this life without scars.  And, such scars simply indicate that my past was real.  I really was hurt.  And, I really can rise above it---- and soar even higher than before--- scars and all, better not bitter!!!
 Every time Stephanie looks in the mirror, or someone gives her a second glance, she is reminded of her past.  For me, it is Christmas day, when kids must leave our home, and visit their dad, leaving a scar on my heart.  It is the holidays, every other year and every other weekend, that I am reminded of the scars of divorce and betrayal, of broken trust and broken hearts, of weakness and vulnerability. Perhaps, it is the scars we can't see that are the hardest to heal.  Scars of death of a spouse or child, scars of addiction, scars of loneliness and emptiness, scars of depression and inadequacy, ultimately, scars of Family Change ---- these are deep and take time, and must heal from the inside out.  Reading Stephanie's story reminded me that though our scars may tell where we have been, they do not need to dictate our future.  I may be scarred, but I refuse to sink!!!  Stephanie's story caused me to think and ponder my own life, my own experiences, my own pains and my own scars.  In doing so, I realized the importance of He who was wounded in my behalf, and the powerful role of hope and purpose my Savior plays in my life.
He bears the scars, so that mine won't continually hurt, so that I can regain my strength and move forward, becoming better than I ever was before.  Better because my love for Him is deeper with each scar.  Better because of those scarring experiences that leave you feeling alone and abandoned in your very own Gethsemane.   Stephanie's story touched my heart and the hearts of many.  May we all realize the importance of not trying to hide our scars---- for they may be someone else's lighthouse in a storm!  Never be ashamed of your scars of life---- they only mean that you are stronger than that which is trying to take you down!  So, pain or no pain.  Trial or no trial.  Scars or no scars.  Get up!  Brush yourself off!  And, keep climbing!!  Scars!


  1. Amen! It's good to share painful experiences--provides inspiration and empathy.

  2. So well written Debbie. I will never forget following the blog of a young mother who wore bright dresses, called her husband "Mr. Nielson", and who posted great vegetarian recipes. One day I pulled up NieNie's blog only to hear the tragic news of the accident! I didn't even know her, but I sat at my computer weeping. I have followed Stephanie's recovery and have been humbled and amazed. What a neat experience for you to meet her! I agree with what you wrote about scars on the inside, you never know what others are dealing with.