Mama, I see your owie.
We’re sitting in the van, her seat right behind mine. My cancer scar sits just above the neckline of my shirts, so if my hair is up in a top knot (every single day) my scar is right there, uncovered. As she’s sitting behind me and I adjust positions, she notices it.
Mama, I see your big, big owie.
I wonder what people think sitting behind me in church, standing in line behind me in Target, walking behind me on a neighborhood walk when they catch a glimpse of this scar.
This scar is gnarly and long and not beautiful.
The skin is still healing and is red and it itches.
All at once I was taken apart and then put back together and as my body heals, I can feel it.
I thought I knew how our story would go. I married this boy and we served our time and we got out of the military only to get back in again. And then we lived in one place for six weeks, another for five months, the next for nine months, and the last for seven months, all in order to do what we felt was right and good and true. And then that church leader hurt us so deeply, so recklessly. And then Lane had to leave for three months and the girls said I just really miss Daddy, mama. I just really, really miss him. And then I was diagnosed with cancer at age 32 and had to have that conversation with Lane over the phone instead of in his arms.
And then that season was over and we transitioned back into the military, knowing that it is right and good and true for us but also knowing that it is going to be hard and difficult and demanding for all five of us.
And it’s that. And it feels like a lot. But it also feels like freedom.
And that scar sits at the top of my neck, where they knit me back together.
Sometimes healing looks like new life and being put back together and sometimes healing looks like the hard road and a scar that itches.
Sometimes healing looks like the forty years in the desert, learning to trust the portion for the day, slowly beginning to believe that the manna will come with the morning. Sometimes healing is when we learn that we’re not going to get all of the answers to our questions but that God’s presence is with us anyway.
Healing looks like slowing down. Like getting down on the floor and playing with the baby, reading the book to the toddler, going on a journey of discovery through the backyard. It’s stopping, pausing, noticing the anthill in the cracks of the sidewalk, the leaves on the tree, and the live-in-the-moment nature of children.
Healing happens when we look in the mirror and don’t flinch. When we believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and every inch on us is his very favorite. Healing looks like believing that we’re more than the number on the scale and our worth doesn’t go up or down based on the size of our jeans. Healing is when we tell our girls that they are perfect just the way they are and believe the same to be true about ourselves.
Healing happens as we stop looking ahead to that which we can’t control, to the future we’re not yet living and we see the abundant presence of God right here, right where we are, giving us grace for this moment.
Healing looks like the slow accomplishment, the slow victory, the long road.
Healing looks like pausing, like going slow, like fighting the pace of the world. It looks like putting down the spatula, the laundry, the email, the box, and taking a breath, knowing the best thing in that very moment might be different than it appears.
Healing happens when we know there are hard things to do today but we learn the art of taking one step at at time and the value of being faithful to what we have been given.
Healing happens when we realize that thing that happened to us, around us, in us, wasn’t life ending, wasn’t life changing, it was life beginning. That our priorities shifted, that our outlook was altered, that our heart was tilted just enough for us to see, really see, for the first time.
Sometimes healing looks like being put back together and sometimes healing looks like coming apart.
Healing happens when we believe that God builds the best things, even if those things are scarred.
The baby wakes up from a nap and I sneak into her room before she notices me. She’s laying on her side, pink blanket draped across her thighs, arms cradling her bunny, blowing raspberries, singing to herself. I sit there for a few minutes, not making a sound, just listening to her, watching her, drinking her in.
And in that moment, I’m not thinking about the slow road here, I’m not thinking about the scar or the cancer or the stress or the exhaustion or the things to do or the worries that sit heavy.
All I see is this miracle right here in front of me, in my very own house.
All I’m thinking is that I’m standing on holy ground.
And I am healed.