Scar Tissue

Lying on a bed with needles coming out of you (acupuncture, not something more serious) may not seem particularly restful but this morning I found myself changing my 7pm listening time for 7am listening time. Really, it’s amazing how those enforced still times can be useful for reorienting your thoughts or, if I’m honest, letting your mind wander. And my mind wandered.

It wandered to a song as it often does. This time it was “I will change your name”. There is no reason why this song should have popped into my head. I probably haven’t thought about it for years. So, in that situation I assume it’s probably a God thing. So I let it resonate around in my head for a while and then my mind wandered away.

I started to notice that one of the needles was feeling tender. It was in my left leg which I term my “scar leg”. About 25 years ago when I was a 7-year-old I was in a pedestrian/car accident. This resulted in multiple surgeries and reconstruction of my left leg below the knee. I’m fine now but situations around that time had left me feeling self-conscious about my leg. Some people don’t really care how they comment to children. Be mindful, these things stick. Children can hear you say they’re silly, stupid, and that the broken leg that you came to gawk at is “gross”. I’ve come to terms with my and my leg’s past and have adopted the stance of pride. I wear my scar, my battle scar, with honor. It represents what I’ve come through.

But a leg by any other name…With that song resonating through my head I realized that this leg of mine had been given a name, by me, that defined it. I introduced it to doctors as “my scar leg” or to others as “my scar”. There’s so much in a name. Why was I letting this name define part of me? Why was I holding on to this label representing my past so strongly? There is no strength difference between my legs. No difference at all except appearance. Yet, I was struck by my own ease in limiting part of myself.

This wasn’t just about a leg. I was and still partially am defined by this scar which represents my experiences. That is why this song resonated with me so strongly. We name our scars, physical, emotional, and spiritual. We name them and hold on to they so strongly because of how they define us, for better or worse. We name parts of ourselves to remember or maybe others named us in ways we can’t forget.

God changes people’s names. In the Bible he changes them to redefine a person, give them new purpose, to allow others to see them in a different light. He changes the names we call ourselves. He changes the names others call us. He calls us as he created us.

I found freedom today, all stuck with pins. I realized that too often instead of letting my past define and equip me, I let it hold me back or hold me hostage to an idea of myself that God didn’t name. I keep myself in place out of habit instead of letting God show me how he thinks of me and what my new name will be. I’m not sure what this will look like, letting him redefine me, but I’m not satisfied with my own names anymore.

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If Mama’s Light Ain’t Lit

There are days when my mood seems to be in direct cyclical correspondence to what’s going on in my house at the time. If the kids are calm, then we might spend a quiet morning reading, puttering, baking muffins, and all seems right in the world. But if I wake up overtired, stressed, impatient, it seems like the kids sense my mood like our Basset Hound scenting a squirrel and things do swirl, alright, down the toilet. They get ramped up and I get ramped up and before I know it they’re in bed at 10:30 am, all of us covered in cereal gunge and applesauce, and I’m seething and wondering where I picked up that smell because I sure didn’t make it.

It also reminds me of that song “If Momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”. I think that’s partly true but I think it goes deeper than that. And I also think this translates beyond the home and into our daily lives. At work, in our recreation time, interacting with others in our community. If we’re foul tempered, short, sighing-eye-rolling-impatient-foot-tappers, then that affects people around us and can cause a change in their day and mood. We’ve all had it happen to us and we’ve all done it, I’m sure.

It’s something to be aware of. I was rereading the passage from Matthew 5.

“14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

As Christians, whether we like it or not we’re a town built on a hill. By choosing to follow Christ we are different. We have made a choice that other people have not made. There’s no hiding.

I know this passage can be interpreted to talk about letting our faith shine through but what if we look at it from a different angle. What if we realize that yes, we do have this light, the light of Christ, and this light is to be used to bless people. This light is not only calling people to faith but also we can be a light in the everyday to people.

How do you feel when that certain person comes around. That person who just always makes you feel good? They’re light to you. How in our day-to-day can we lighten someone? How can we lighten their load, physically, emotionally, or spiritually? How can we love them by being something good and positive and encouraging in the midst of their day?

I found the end of verse 15 particularly interesting. It made me think literally about me having the potential to bring light to people in my house. My mood affects the people around me, for good or for bad. How can I be a light in my house, to my kids, my husband, my neighbors, the people who come in to fix my boiler, the people who pump my gas, the person who can’t accept my without-receipt return, the person who had an exhausting day and can’t decide what kind of coffee they want before heading out for the second part of their double shift, my pastor, my friend? How can I offer the best of myself to lighten someone’s experience?