beauty for ashes

[this video isn't really a music video - it's just the song.
have a listen while you read]

lately i've had a lot on my heart. i've been thinking a lot about where i've been and where i'm going. i've been thinking a lot about life, and about the scars that it brings. 

things happen in our lives that change us forever. things happen that break you. that mold you. that stretch you. that make you different today than you were yesterday. 

i'm a weird person. i like scars. scars are stories literally embedded into you. some are good stories, some represent the worst things that have ever happened to you. but all of those little pieces and stories help to make you who you are. 

in order to end up with a scar somewhere you usually have to have survived something painful. something deep. something hurtful in one way or another. 

many of us have emotional scars that only those who know us the very best know anything about. but some scars are out there for the whole world to see. far too often we're ashamed of scars. we call them ugly and try to hide them. we put masks on, and show the mask to the world instead of showing our true selves.

i have a tiny little scar on my chin from splitting it open during a soccer game in college. i didn't even know i was bleeding, and by the time i realized it i had blood all over my neck, and my nice, white uniform.
i have multiple little scars on my hands from burning myself during my many cooking and baking escapades.
i have a triangle scar on the top of my wrist where a girl took a chunk of skin off with her nail in a soccer game. i kept wiping the blood off on my [red] uniform so the referee wouldn't send me off the field. it was nearing the end of a big game.
i have multiple barely visible anymore scars from playing flag football on carpet in college.
my knees are so scarred from various sporting events and adventures i had as a child that i can hardly distinguish one from the other anymore.
my left ankle has 3 scars -- two from a scope and one big long one from reconstructive surgery.

my favorite scars though are the purposeful ones. 

my tattoos are purposeful scars. 
they are ways of reminding myself of the things i've learned.
the things i've been taught. 
ways of reminding myself of the things i have survived.
of the things which have made me stronger.

this one:

this one is my testimony in a number.

my freshman year in high school i had a friend named jimmy. we became friends in large part due to the fact that we shared the same soccer number - 7. he was a senior on the guys' team, i was a freshman on the girls'. it made absolutely no sense that we were friends, but we were. to this day i am thankful that i could call him a friend.

then, on december 23, 1998, he died in a car accident. he had just turned 18.

i can't imagine how hard this experience would have been if i had known him better than i did. it broke me as it was.

after jimmy died i wanted nothing to do with God. how could he have let this happen? i reeled against him for two and a half years. 

slowly, God softened my heart, and showed me his character - mostly through other people since i wanted nothing to do with him. i began to understand that God wasn't who i thought he was, and despite everything, he could be trusted. i didn't have to say i believed what my parents and family believed anymore. i actually believed it. 

i put my own stake in the ground.

"beauty for ashes... all that i've had
for all that is better."

this one:

this one reminds me of where i come from
and who i am.

this is a 4'11. i actually managed to break the 5'0 barrier, [hence the name of this little blog] but my grammy never did. at her tallest point she was 4'11". 

grammy was a spitfire. so much of who i am comes straight from her. she was fiercely, irrationally stubborn. she was a night owl. she loved watching all kinds of sports. she was a lover of shoes and coffee. and peanut butter cups.

she was one of my most favorite people in the world. 

she used to tell me this: "don't let anyone tell you that there's anything you can't do just because you're short. i was only ever 4'11" and i had a great life."

now, every time i look at the crook of my left elbow i'm reminded of that. i'm reminded of what she taught me. of what she gave me. of her life and how it impacted me.

and finally, this one:

this one is the one i want next.

and if/when i get it, i'll tell you the story behind it too.

i hope that now when you look at your scars -- purposeful or otherwise -- you'll remember the things in your life that you survived. you'll remember the things you lived through that make you who you are. i hope you'll be thankful for who you are. that you'll be thankful that you are one of God's most exquisite creations. and he's especially fond of you.



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