The other day, I nervously pulled out my new bathing suit and stared at it. I placed it on the bed. And walked away. I came back, tried it on, rotated in front of the mirror a few times, took it back off and placed it back on the bed. And stared.
I sighed. And smiled. And sighed again.
Yes, I could do this. I was incredibly nervous about putting this post-baby body (a work still in progress) into a bathing suit and going out for all the world (or those at our local community pool to see) and yet I didn’t want to miss one more evening of pool play with my children.
So I donned the new suit on (it helps it was an incredibly cute one from Albion Fit), threw on a skirt cover-up, and walked with my babies down to the pool with my eyes fixed ahead the whole time. In my brain I was saying, “I find my worth in God, not in man…” over and over and over again. Because my heart knew this, but my fearful head kept telling me otherwise. (And yes, this was such a big deal for me to do!)
When we got to the pool I was more excited than nervous. Our community pool is beautiful and resort like with palm trees surrounding and waterfalls cascading. There is even a water-slide area for the children. As we headed to the slides, I didn’t feel as nervous. I felt strong. I was proud of myself for finally going and we were going to have a splashing good time.
And then I saw her. Her back was towards me and I could instantly tell she was the perfect Barbie doll image I had been dreading to see. Because I knew I would stop and compare myself to her. And I did. She had long, bright blonde hair up in a sleek ponytail. Her tan was deep and golden. Her bathing suit was tiny and showed off her toned body. And suddenly, I felt like this disaster… A chubby girl in a messy bun with kids climbing all over her.
And I had to say another quick prayer under my breath so I wouldn’t hurt my heart by comparing.
I settled in a chair with the baby while the older kids and husband dashed towards the water slides. The Barbie girl turned in my direction and as she and her husband (who was also perfectly sculpted) walked past us, they stopped to make a comment on how cute our chubby little baby was… I smiled and said thank you to both of them and as they walked past me, and I glanced away in insecurity, my eyes noticed something I hadn’t seen on the Barbie girl before. On her tummy were the marks of pregnancy… faded stretch marks that beautifully highlighted where her body had carried her children, nourishing them, and helping them grow.
And as she walked away this thought hit my heart in the warmest way: we all have scars.
Usually when we think of scars we don’t think of them as beautiful. They are a forever mark attached to our body to show something we have gone through. And usually, if they are in a place that is beyond our arms or legs, such as a purple mark across the face, or a red mark on a back, we view it in wonder and then try to look away so the person won’t catch us staring at their mark. We pretend we don’t see the scar so they don’t feel awkward with us staring and perhaps so we don’t look at it and only see an ugly mark.
But friends, we all have scars.
Some are literal and visible to the eye. But most are hidden. Deep in our hearts and our minds. From our past. From our present. From a parent who hurt us with horrible words. From a family member that physically wounded our bodies. From a bully who teased and taunted. From a teacher who was defeating to your dreams. From our own hearts that are filled with self-depreciation.
Some of the scars may be light and barely noticeable on our hearts. But some are deep, rugged, a dark purple mark that is forever wretched in our hearts and souls and we don’t know how to move beyond.
You have scars. I have scars. Everyone has scars.
So let’s quit pretending they aren’t there.
Our physical appearances do not betray the scars that are within us. Just because someone looks put together doesn’t mean they are okay; inside they may be broken, scarred, and hurting.
And they just need some compassion.
This world always needs more kindness and love. But I write all of this today to say I believe compassion, the act of compassion, is a huge virtue that is missing in so many.
We yell at the man cutting us off in traffic. We snap at the barista who made our drink wrong. We get angry at the home owners association for having so many rules (hey that was me last week).
We are quick to get angry.
But somehow I pray we all learn to become quick to compassion. Because we don’t know what the other person is going through. They don’t know what we are going through. And if we are quick to get angry, we might be adding more to their pain than we know. We might be making it worse. We might be their tipping point. We might resolve in their broken hearts that truly no one cares.
And I want people to know I care. Even if I don’t know them from Adam, I want them to know I care. And why? Because Jesus cares about them. The Bible mentions many times how He was moved to compassion. HE CARES. And that alone, should be enough reason for me to show compassion wherever I go.
This world is hurting, moaning, and groaning. I grow more heavy hearted daily as I watch the news… People are hurting. They are taking out their scars on others. And with all my heart I believe we are called to bring more compassion to the world. Compassion will bring others hope and joy. It will cause our owns hearts to become active in serving. I believe compassion truly will help heal so many scars and bring some peace.
No matter how perfect someone or their life is looking, they have scars just like us. But instead of pretending the scars aren’t there or looking away, lets pray that just like Jesus we are moved with compassion. People don’t need our anger. They need His love.