My mom, the kids, and I were sitting out in the beautiful sunshine on Friday eating our lunch right outside of McDonald's. After a few minutes an older couple who knew my mom came up and began chatting with her. While she spoke with the wife, I introduced myself to the husband and introduced him to each of the kids. I then sat and continued eating my lunch, and the man made some small talk with the kids. After a few minutes I noticed that he was staring down at Brady who was sitting with his back to him, directly in front of him. He seemed to be looking at the back of his head very inquisitively. I thought maybe he was trying to read a tag on his hat or shirt, but then he stooped down and kind of looked at Brady's neck area with a pained expression and looked up at me wanting an explanation.
It hit me very quickly that he had noticed Brady's scar.
Sad...protective...pity...all of these I felt in those next moments as I remembered that Brady's scars are visible. I shared with the man that Brady was a cancer survivor and that part of his treatment included two very invasive surgeries. I felt sorry for the man who instantly looked sorry for asking, and very concerned that Brady was okay. I assured him that Brady was quite healthy and briefly told him that he was looking at a 3 year old miracle! That was all that happened at McDonald's...but so much more happened in the moments after.
I loaded the kids back in the car and began our drive home. The whole scenario kept running through my mind and I began quite a pity-party in my head. "My poor sweet boy. I'm so sad that for the rest of his life he will have to carry those scars. He will forever be answering questions for nosy people, mean kids, or just people who feel sorry for him. His friends will notice, his future wife will notice, and his own kids will notice someday." I carried on with these thoughts for a few minutes and then all of a sudden my thoughts turned to something that I truly feel was God-given...
We all have our scars. Some of us carry scars on the outside of our bodies, but ALL of us carry scars on the inside. The bumps and bruises that trial and tragedy can leave on the inside of our bodies cause more injury to our beings than any outside scar. But most of us can hide these scars on the inside. We can be cowardly as we go throughout our life, never letting anyone see us for who we really are. Most of us refuse to share our scars with those around us for fear of rejection or just the fear of being exposed as someone who isn't perfect.
But Brady's scars are on the outside. Here is the silver lining...here is what God wanted me to know that day in my car...
He put those scars there and He has a purpose for them.
And even though I wish I could carry them on his behalf, Brady will have those scars for each and every day of his life. And each and every person that is nosy, everyone who asks or points or questions, each and every one of those people will have the chance to hear the good news about God's healing grace, mercy, and faithfulness in Brady's life. That is a big job for a little boy, but I'm pretty confident that God knows just what He is doing.
I don't think that this kind of revelation just happens because I happened to change my thinking that day from pessimism to optimism. No, that just isn't how my mind works:( I know that this was just another occasion for God to continually reveal the purpose in the pain we have endured.
No matter our scars, inside or out, God has a divine purpose for them. I'm just so honored that I get to watch and see that purpose unfold in Brady's life!