Friday, October 14, 2011

Scars and Stretch Marks

I step out of the shower and gently wipe the steam from the mirror. I notice again the fresh stretch marks across my belly. Somehow, I never noticed them during my pregnancy. They must have been hidden the way my feet were, by the bulk of my swollen belly. I didn't get a single stretch mark with Jayci, despite never using creams or lotions of any kind. So stubbornly, I followed the same non-regimen with Caden. And yet, here the stretch marks are. Browsing through Target the other day, I picked up some expensive cream that promised "VISIBLE-TO-THE-NAKED-EYE RESULTS." But something prickled within me, and I returned it emphatically to the shelf.

Because as much as I grumble about them, I can't help but think that my stretch marks feel like proof. A reminder that life is not how God intended it. Where I give birth to a son with great pain. And feel far greater pain when he was born with a broken heart.

But the jagged pink lines also remind me of goodness. Of how, despite our brokenness, God gives us hope. How out of the pain of childbirth comes new life. How leaves change colors and die, only to bud again in the spring. Seasons of hope follow seasons of pain. Joy comes from mourning.
I run my fingers along Caden's scar. The skin is raised and rippled, yet smooth. It fills his chest, yet somehow feels like an afterthought next to his luminous blue eyes. He grins and coos at me, and I am reminded again that out of brokenness comes beauty. And that the greatest gifts in my life seem to come from what was torn, and what the Lord has bound up.
I read the story of the fall yesterday, of how Adam and Eve left the garden. It's followed so quickly by the story of Abel's murder by his brother. And it only highlights what a broken and terrible world we entered when we left the garden. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by the pain. Because we all have scars, don't we? We all face disappointment and hurt. We are stretched, torn, and wounded again and again by this world.

And yet.
And yet, there is a depth in Caden's beautiful eyes. Like he knows. Somehow he knows that his scar is so much more than a mark of brokenness. It's a symbol of God's goodness. Of how our God loves to restore, to heal. To bind up our wounds and carry our infirmities.

Caden's sternum is bound together by wire. His bone grows back around the wire, fusing together who he was and who he will become. And his rewired heart beats steadily. And my heart, too, is made new.

His scars and my stretch marks remain. And they speak loudly of the God we serve. Of the way he has stretched us. Of how Caden's birth grew my faith along with my belly. Of how our greatest fears were both realized, and redeemed. Yes, they speak loudly of a broken and hurting world. But also of a restoring God who gives us new life. And I love that I serve a God who takes symbols of woundedness, takes that which I consider ugly, and he turns it into something beautiful.

19 comments:

  1. Oh how I needed to hear that tonight as I look down at my own scar. Without it, our twins wouldn't be alive (or me!). And yet at times I complain about clothes not fitting or the indented pooch that it's created (even if it's just to myself!). You are such a gifted writer (& photographer!). Thank you for sharing your heart to encourage others & your beautiful pictures of your precious family with so many!!!

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  2. This was a beautifully inspiring post. Thank you for sharing it. Funny how I feel the same exact way about my stretch marks.

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  3. I love this post. Your stretch marks aren't ugly and shameful--your stomach actually looks beautiful! And I think it's so neat that you got "scars" to match Caden's. I love you friend!

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  4. What a beautiful post. You truly know how to write from the heart and bring so much honesty & love to your posts. God Bless you, your family & your stretch marks.

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  5. Becca... this post is so awesome. Thank you for being so candid. And that baby boy is beyond precious.

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  6. This is simply the most beautiful thing I've read today. God is sooo good!!!!

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  7. Becca, You are an amazing woman and AMAZING writer. I love how you see everything in "God"-view. I learn a lot from you, thank you so much for sharing. LOVE YOU MUCH!

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  8. Oh, Becca. This made me cry. So beautiful and so true.

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  9. Oh Becca, how I needed to hear this today! Its like you have taken words straight from my heart as well and written them so beautifully. I am so thankful God has put you, my new internet/heart mom friend into my life. What would we do without fellow heart moms to hold us all together?!

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  10. so beautiful, so true. inspirational, becca. xo

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  11. I think we should never forget what changed us and our bodies. How it makes babies and is able to feed them afterwards is still really amazing to me.
    Awesome blogpost. Love it!

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  12. what a beautiful post! Stopped by from BooMama's and am so glad I did! Our God is an awesome GOD!

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  13. What a beautiful post. Truly inspired. I have a scar from three c-sections - I wouldn't trade that huge scar for the world. One of our cousins' children had open heart surgery at 2 months old. They nearly lost her. When she was around 1 1/2 her father was bathing her. Jenny looked at her scar like it was the first time she had seen it and said, "Daddy, boo-boo." He cried big man sized tears. What a blessing our scars are.

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  14. Perfectly, perfectly, perfectly written. (And oh, the lovely photos, too!)

    You know how I feel about scars. Thank you for the gentle encouragement to embrace the stretch marks, too. Signs of growth and signs of life ... who are we to want to cover them?

    My heart is with yours in this.

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  15. Beautifully written : ) I have a pretty good scar from my c section, and I wouldn't get rid of it even if I could. It is just a reminder of that amazing day!

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  16. I LOVED this blog entry. I got one stretch mark with my 2nd kid and it wasn't all that bad - but with my 3rd I got a lot more... and he too was my heart baby. Wow. Good writing. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  17. I love reading your blog. You are such a great writer- beautiful. :)

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