No mom wants to see their child hurt! Every mother wants their children to be happy. Micah is my sweet happy girl and has such a fun personality everyone who meets her just loves her and loves to be around her! She is so special that way. And she is beautiful! I know that I'm her Mom and according to her "I'm SUPPOSED to say that" (insert pre-teen eye roll here) which, I'll admit, is exactly what I said to MY mom every time she told me I was beautiful! But its true, she is so beautiful and so precious! But (and I'm talking mostly to the ladies here) do you remember as a pre-teen and a teenager ever looking in the mirror and NOT liking what you saw? Or perhaps every single time you looked in the mirror you didn't like what you saw and still don't like what you see today? It was different then, when we didn't post obnoxious duck-faced pictures on the social media for the sole purpose of everyone "liking" it or telling us to "stay beautiful, gorgeous" because it is cute and the "in" thing to do. Back then, we just had the mirror. And Satan whispering hateful lies in our ears about how imperfect we were. And how those same lies can sometimes come back to haunt us until we remind ourselves that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" and our Father who created us created us with worth and value and BEAUTY inside and out! But yet we are in constant battle with what the media and society says is beautiful every day and I know that it is hard for many of us to truly feel wonderfully made when everything around us can tell us differently.
I say all that to say that the feelings of inadequacy and not being satisfied with our appearance is a normal--albeit inaccurate-- way to feel for most if not all women. Especially when we were transforming from girl to young lady. And this brings me to when Micah first viewed herself and her new scars in the mirror last week...
My heart broke as the realization sunk in of how much further and wider and longer these new scars are on her precious body. At almost 12, her desire is to be "normal" and I know we can all relate! She has had her scars (or as we have always called them, her "miracles") since she was one year old. And plenty of them! But she didn't care then, and even over the years as she became aware of them, it was never that bad. The first time she really even brought her largest scar up (the vertical one that was the length of her torso as a baby but a month ago was just from the lower back to between the shoulder blades) was in May when wearing her junior bridesmaids dress for my sister Melanie's wedding and she was just a little self-conscious about it. But all-in-all she really didn't seem overly concerned.
However, now that scar on her back stretches all the way up her back (well, she is bigger now so that makes sense) and the other one where her anterior fusion surgery incision is now curves around the side of her left rib cage but instead of ending there where it was barely visible from the front, it now curves down her belly a little ways. And of course a whole new chest tube scar right next to the old one that is 10 years old.
She just stood there and cried.
It was heart-breaking. I didn't tell her about the new way the incisions looked and maybe I should have before she saw them on her own. My sister Jessica pointed out to me later that this moment when she saw these marks on her body they were the WORST they will look. They will only get better. This is true! But combined with all the cuts and burns from the plastic sensors she wore during surgery, the medical tape (those clear-ish strips that will dry and fall off as her cuts heal) and lingering adhesive from all the sensory and motor pathways and monitors and IV tape (considering she had 12 IVs in 11 days, there was a LOT of tape from these, not to mention bruises left behind where the veins had busted or the IV had infiltrated, etc.) and all that other stuff they had to do to her, I'll admit it was probably a pretty upsetting thing for her to see.
Oh how I wish I could bear all these marks on my own body to spare her own little body all this trauma!!!
Yes, how I know there are worst things. Yes there could be so much more damage! She could have scars that are for more prominent and visible! She could still HAVE the cancer that started all this mess, or worse, she could NOT have the scars to show she is a survivor! And we know what that would mean. And that's what I told her. She is a fighter! These marks are the battle scars of a survivor! We will continue to tell her that God chose her to walk this journey, because she can handle it! Because she is an inspiration to so many! Because her life will and IS making an impact for the Lord! Because she is BEAUTIFUL inside and out and these scars on her body make her even more-so because they are part of her, part of who she is, part of all she has accomplished through the grace of Jesus Christ.
But as a mom...it is heartbreaking. When my kids get a skinned knee or stitches or even just a little bruise, this mommy heart hurts because they hurt. Should an 11-year-old girl have to have so many horrible-looking scars on her body or have to have cancer as a toddler or have to have received so much chemotherapy that the side-effects will most-likely continue revealing themselves for years to come? Nope. She doesn't deserve it.
But I know of a man who they call Messiah who was beaten to a pulp and nailed through the hands and feet to a cross to suffer a criminal's death to pay for my sins and, my friends, He was innocent and undeserving. And if He requires that we bear the burden of cancer and surgeries and earthly pain to bear witness to His amazing mercy--then here we are, his servants...
Thank you, Lord, for your grace in our lives and for shining your light through Micah Grace! God heal her scars on her body nice and neat and heal her self-confidence so that she truly knows her value and worth don't come from a reflection in the mirror, but from YOU who sent your Son to die for her and the rest of us! Father, I also humbly ask that you reveal to Micah the beauty that is in her so that she doesn't focus on the scars but rather the story that they represent.