For those of you who don’t know, I spent most of my childhood growing up in a small Canadian town, along the beautiful deep, blue waters of Lake Huron. From an outsiders perspective, it would seem as if my years as a child were happy and carefree. My neighborhood was not by any means affluent, but large maple trees graced the front yards of the 100 year old homes. I remember walks to the corner store for penny candy, bike rides around the block; cheerily waving at neighbors , and warm summer nights splashing in the pool, as my dad grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. Country music would be blaring from the speakers as I swatted at swarms of mosquitos. I’d fall into bed at night smelling like sun and chlorine, a little too pink from the sun. The distant sound of trains whistling would lull me to sleep.
I remember sunsets that took your breath away with it’s deep pinks and purples. I remember fall colors that were so vibrant that they appeared painted. I remember the bitter cold of a harsh winter made warmer by hot cocoa sprinkled with mini marshmellows, and the fragrant promise of a new spring, that always made my step lighter.
As a little girl, I loved the lake front, the angry swirl of deep waters that somehow were calming to my soul. I remember the taste of hot, greasy, and salty fries on my tongue, washed down with a cold can of cream soda, as swarms of seagulls squawked at me overhead begging for a share.
I loved watching the large, colorful barges traveling the water making the other boats look toylike and minuscule. The sheer size of the bridge connecting Canada and the United States took my breath away, and filled me with a type of longing that my youthfulness didn’t quite understand. I wanted to cross that bridge into another world.
And I didn’t ever want to look back.
You see, these whimsical memories are not the entire sum of my childhood. Darker, sinister, and heavier experiences took space and tainted what was innocent, and what was meant to be good and sweet.
I have learned over the years that some wounds go deeper than the naked eye. The only healing is the tender balm of a loving God. He sees what others don’t. He heals what others can’t. He covers and protects. Because He is faithful. Because He is loving.
“He covers me with his feathers, and protects me under His wings” Psalm 91:4
At 18 years old, I packed my life up and I crossed that bridge. I left with determination and relief.
I left a world of heartache, and found a new home. One of love, unmeasurable grace and of healing.
All wounds leave scars. Even those that have been healed by a loving God. Some are faint. However, others are red and deep, etched like a roadmap. They are a part of me now, and I can say with conviction and honesty that although these are scars I would never have chosen, they are a reminder to love others deeply. To protect fiercely those who are in my care. And to battle for those who have no voice.
These scars that are hidden within? They are part of my story.
Essentially tattoos are intentional scars. Scars meant to be seen. Meant to tell a story through it’s precise cuts and marks. I strongly believe that our stories are meant to be told in their entirely. . .
A feather – As a daily reminder that I am covered and protected by God. That I am his to love fiercely. That I belong. He knows my story. Oh how He knows me. Every tear , every wound, every scar has been seen. Every offense against me, he has validated and lovingly healed. He is the voice that silences and quiets the ones only meant to hurt and destroy. He, and he alone took me out of a life of pain and darkness and gave me freedom. He gave me permission to breathe. To live whole and new. Which I do bravely everyday because of his protection. Because of His love.
Four Little Birds- Given to me by God. Who with grace carry a new legacy . They and their Daddy are the redemption weaved into my story. I lost my entire family and even though the ache of that knowledge still takes my breath away some days, by the grace of God I was given a new family. I am a daughter of God. I am a wife to an amazing husband. I have sisters and brothers. I am not alone in this life. The biggest joy is that I am a mother to four beautiful children. They are the light that brightens and erases the dark shadows. They will fly higher than I ever could because of the work God has done in my life, and continues to do so lovingly.
Of all the scars that are mine? These scars on my arm are ones that I have chosen. I walked into that shop with purpose and choice. Which was a freeing act in itself. I will never regret etching my body with truth. A truth that has penetrated some of the darkest parts of my past. A truth that has given me courage and freedom to be the person God has created me to be. I wear this truth proudly.
Battle for those without a voice.
Thank you Jesus.