Scars are Beautiful
by Sharon Ewell Foster
In many cultures scars are beautiful—they denote honor and standing. Through intricate patterns, man-made scars share the story, the timeline, and history of the one who bears them.
But I didn’t grow up in one of those places. I was born in Texas and grew up in Illinois . And though some people may consider Texas wild and the Midwest no man’s land, in both those places scars are not considered a good thing. Growing up with four brothers, I always seemed to be falling down—on my knees, my elbows, my chin, and I even gashed my ankle up pretty good. My mother invested in a lot of cocoa butter, rubbing that chocolate-smelling hard fat on my wounds, hoping that her only daughter wouldn’t be a scarred up mess that would bring shame on the family. “Be careful now.” Pain and worry made her frown. “You don’t want to wear stockings and have scars showing through.”
When I was a girl, wearing sheer stockings was a right of passage. Stockings meant everybody could see your legs, it meant attention from boys, and it meant someday there would be a trip down the aisle. But not if your knees were scarred; no one wanted to see dark marks and raised, torn skin. I would have to be perfect for anyone to want me.
The truth is that I was scarred and I worked harder at covering those scars than at anything else I did in my life. My family was financially stable and did all the right things—went to church, marched in parades—but just beneath the surface . . .
I learned to be a keeper of secrets—at least I used to be. Others in my family were brought out as symbols of my family’s beauty and accomplishment. But I was the hidden librarian of my family’s shame, failure, fear, broken-heartedness, anger, and depression.
My career, like meth for a junkie, helped dull the pain. If I could just get more—more money and a longer title–that would cover the shame and make everything better . . .
It took me years to realize that my own scars–the ones on my body, on my heart, and on my spirit–that make me beautiful.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? (Jeremiah 8:22, NIV)
Twenty-five women, including Bunny Debarge, Sharon Ewell Foster, Stanice Anderson, Claudia Mair Burney and Marilynn Griffith, tell their stories of coming full circle from tragedy to triumph. Each contributor keeps it holy, keeping it real in these raw, relevant tales of redemption and restoration. Think of it as Prozac for the Christian Woman’s Soul!
A twelve week study is included for churches and book clubs. Instructions provided on gathering your own SistahFaith circle.
Join the network of sistahs at http://sistahfaith.ning.com/.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Ewell Foster is an acclaimed author, speaker, and teacher. She has contributed to Daily Guideposts, Tavis Smiley’s Keeping the Faith, and to the Women of Color Devotional Bible. Her achievements include: the Christy Award, the Gold Pen Award, the Romantic Times Best Inspirational, Publisher’s Weekly starred reviews and the Essence Bestseller List. Sharon also ghostwrote a NYT bestselling novel. Visit her on the web at www.SharonEwellFoster.com.