“In this world you will have trouble…”
– John 16:33
Burn me beautiful.
These three words reverberated in my heart the second Steffany Gretzinger uttered them in a video I was watching.
Burn me beautiful.
What a vivid reminder of the season I’d just come out of.
“There are times you know you should burst out crying. Times when you’re fighting tears as they stain the white of your eye because it’s not a good time, they’re people here, it’s not dark yet. There’s always a reason to cover, but when tears don’t go out they dive in deep. And you can feel your heart getting heavy, insides too full tinged with pain it wants to burst right out the seams. So you fight it. You cover it. But your eyes betray you. And you watch your heart start to sink. And you walk away knowing very well it is a matter to be cried out and laid bare before God, but you don’t want anyone asking questions. Not before you spill everything before Him. You’ve done it too many times before. And your eyes are still swollen red from yesterday. But you do it anyway hoping you’ll get cried out someday. Someday… Does it ever come?”
– Lady Skillz (Everything Is Beautiful Here)
Yeah. It was that kind of a season. Dark. Difficult. And yet. Beautiful.
I know what it means to be burned beautiful. I know the feel of heart-wrenching pain structured by His loving hands. I know the tears. The tears that never seem to end. I know how it feels to have the despair of impending defeat replaced by the rush of bitter-sweet triumph.
These are not just words for me.
The sum total of it in what I told my friend in the middle of it all…
“Soldiers have scars. I have scars. Process has scarred me. People usually think of scars as a bad thing…and getting them is PAINFUL…but you know how there’s always that one soldier who shows off his scars with pride and tells the stories behind them…I want to show my scars…my process with pride. Not in me. But in Him. This scar…this is where He taught me of His love. See how deep the scar is? See how deep His love for us is? This one….His faithfulness. This one…His sovereignty. And so on.
Process has scarred me. You can’t look at me and not see at least one of my scars. He’s scarred me so deeply and indelibly that you cannot ignore my scars. They’re unapologetically in your face. Because they all scream: God was here…God is STILL here.
We were made in His image and likeness. Why? Not just so that we could understand and relate with Him. But so that the world-those yet to know Him-could as well. He saw the end from the beginning!! We are His greatest testament. We are His greatest testimony. The boldest revelation of who He is. Not the heavens. Not the earth. Not the miracles and the power. Us. His sons. We who bear His mark. We who bear the scars that tell of who He is and how deeply He loves us. Scars so deep you can’t ignore them. Scars so deep you just have to ask about them.
All of creation groans in expectation….waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. Why? Creation gets it. It knows the sons of God are an extension of who He is. An extension of His glory. He created us to bear His glory like nothing else can. Like a parent and a child who’s a carbon copy of them. We look like Him. At least we’re supposed to. When they look at us, they’re supposed to see Him as well. To see Him in all His glory and majesty in us.
For the record, I didn’t embrace process. Not really. I went in kicking and screaming. There’s nothing remotely pleasant about it. No one goes into battle smiling. And I think that’s something we all need to get…and those of us who get it, admit. PROCESS SUCKS. But on the upside-I now have these really cool scars.”
God wastes nothing.
Certainly not my pain.
“…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
– John 16:33