They are the bane of so many women…more precisely, so many moms.
Tiny scars that form because a body is being radically reshaped to make room to bring life into the world.
An incalculable amount of money is spent on creams, ointments, and other magic potions guaranteed to erase these tiny scars. But you can seldom expunge these marks of a love lived at core level.
I personally don’t think you should.
I know, I know–I’m a man and I don’t bear the marks on my body. But I am also a husband and a father…and I think they are beautiful.
These scars, like so many others we bear in our lives, are the artistic markings of a Maker bent on enriching our biographies through the sufferings that give them depth, texture, color and meaning.
Stretch marks are reminders of the time when the incessant routines of normal living were interrupted by the intrusive beauty of new life. These blemishes so many women find ugly are actually stark reminders of that season in life when these very same women were an integral part of the on-going work of the Creator.
What do these marks stand for? They are:
- Scars of love. The child who caused the scars was created in the ecstatic intimacy of one love that introduced a completely different dimension and degree of love.
- Scars of growth. As the body was definitively transformed to contain the new life, so the heart was permanently transformed to contain the new love.
- Scars of purpose. These marks erupted in the midst of creative development. They came from making room for the creator to work.
These scars mark the moments when a human body was stretched to fit the life of a baby and a human heart was expanded to fit the love of our God.
Women feverishly try to hide them and desperately attempt to heal them…but really, they are marks made to be worn with honor.
These are real reminders of the times when everything changed and life was reformed.
Something new was coming out of something normal. It was disruptive, painful and beautiful. A chaos of creation well worth remembering.
Honestly, we don’t adapt much better to the stretch marks of the soul.
We get those in seasons of struggle or pain when we are growing, maturing, experimenting, learning, changing…
…in reality, “Kingdom-ing”?
You see, it is at the junctures where pain and purpose intersect that authentic Kingdom emerges.
We get soul marks in the moments of real life where things are are unsettling and uncomfortable. The points in life when we are both excited and petrified.
Painful and pressuring, these times that stretch our souls make us wonder if we can carry the burden to full term.
When we open the self to be stretched beyond our wildest fears, we open the soul to be filled beyond our wildest dream.
So how did you get those stretch marks of your soul? For me, I could trace them to the times when I–
- Lived through pain I thought would kill me.
- Fought through failure I thought would wreck me.
- Traveled through storms I thought would sink me.
- Loved with a price I thought would break me.
Those were the times when my humanity was expanded to better contain His deity. I was stretched nearly to death in those moments so that I could be shaped closer to life. Those were the experiences that expanded my heart with His compassion, my spirit with His vision and my mind with His truth.
Stretch marks of the soul.
The Apostle Paul knew his. He wrote to his friends in Galatia: “From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Galatians 7:17)
Like the old Apostle, we should bear them gratefully and bare them proudly. Why?
Because someone we know who is in a season we’ve seen needs the hope we’ve gained through the scars we’ve grown.
They need to know they will make it through. They need to see that the wounds that openly fester now will close and heal.
People need to know that the life that emerges from the pain is worth the scars that are left behind in the process.
Here’s how Paul said it to the Corinthian church: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)
Like the stretch marks on a body, these soul marks are not particularly pretty. But they are poignantly exquisite with a God-kind of beauty.
- The kind of beauty He births from ashes.
- The kind of joy He brings from mourning
- The kind of praise He weaves from despair
So travel the tracks of your journey until you touch the scars of your history. You may well happen onto hints of your destiny.
One thing is certain, you will also feel the fingerprints of eternity.