Beth Moore + Scars
Originally published on 4-9-14
The only cost of entry was a one hour and forty five minute drive in Houston traffic. I drove from my part of town to North West Houston to hear her speak because, other people drive four and five hours and purchase plane tickets and pay for conference tickets just to be in Beth Moore’s presence. Beth Moore is a Christian Communicator, an author and a Bible teacher. She’s in her late fifties with a head of bright blonde hair. She is commanding, open, loving, witty and self-deprecating all at the same time. She is a force. I had been part of her bible study audience before at Houston’s First Baptist and had experienced her power. Only this time the audience was not 5,000 ladies but 500. It was sure to be intimate and impactful. One hour and forty five minutes in bumper to bumper traffic would be worth it.
I walked in with my faith mentor and all around cheerleader, Marcela and my friend and her daughter in law, Amanda. We sat stage right pressed against the wall as we patiently waited for 7pm.
At 7pm I took out my notebook, pen, Bible and was ready to soak up all the information Beth was going to throw my way. Beth started off the by letting us know that our key word for the lesson would be “marked.” We would learn about how being marked and scarred in different ways affects our lives.
We were moseying right along form book to book in the Bible when she posed the question, “What if the names of each of the people that have scared us over the course of our lives were written on our bodies? Whose names would be written on our bodies? Would they be the names of abusive parents, friends turned enemies, co-workers, ex-lovers, ex-spouses, siblings?”
My list started to form in my head. The names started popping into my thoughts and I imagined them on my skin and I became sad. It was as if I was viewing myself from another person’s perspective. I then thought what if we each wore our pain? And then I thought, I guess most of us do.
Beth then started in on a story. She proceeded to tell us about a conference she spoke at in Phoenix on the subject of marks and scars. She described walking around the 7,000 person audience and asking if anybody was willing to share their scars. A young lady raised her hand and Beth walked over. The 30 year old lady pulled up her sleeve and showed off a physical scar. The scar was deep and went around the circumference of this young lady’s bicep, as if she had been mangled by barbed wire. At this point Beth noticed the young lady’s mother who was now in tears. The young lady started by saying, “I want everyone to see my scar. As a young girl I was mauled so badly by a dog that doctors were not optimistic I’d ever have function of my right arm at all.” The young lady’s mother joined in by saying, after the mauling, she and her husband tried taking their daughter to countless psychologists and physical therapists with little to no success. At their wits end they tried one more physical therapist. The physical therapist advised that the only thing he could think of to help this young child heal would be to enroll her in violin lessons. He explained that playing the violin would be the opposite of what the young child would want to do and the polar opposite of what the young child would think she could do. Using her right arm to play the violin would be the only way to get partial functionality back, if at all.
I couldn’t help but wonder (thanks, Carrie Bradshaw) did she ever learn to play the violin? Beth picked up right where my mind left off. “Tell us, did you ever take violin lessons?” The now 30 year old lady replied with, “I’m a concert violinist.”
Beth gave us (her audience) a few minutes to reach for our tissues and gather ourselves when she said, “You each have blank index card in front of you. If you’re willing and able, write down your biggest scars and bring them to the altar. Let’s pray to God that he takes our scars and turns them into his signature. Let’s allow him to take those scarring moments and give us something great from them.”
She was encouraging us to stop viewing our marks and scars as tragedies and begin to view them as gifts from God, to view these impactful moments and periods in our lives as an opportunities to grow.
Each woman noted the scars they had been carrying around in their hearts on white index cards and bravely walked their index cards to the altar one by one. We each said, here it is. Please help me. What amazing strength it is to admit, we can’t do it all ourselves.
Beth gave us such a wonderful gift that night. We were granted permission to release it. We were presented with the opportunity for a freer heart, a lighter load and a brighter day.
Life happens to all of us. People and events leave there marks on us along the way. But how long is too long to carry them around? How long to we grieve? How long do we mourn? When do we allow ourselves to heal? There is a concert violinist in each of us.
I urge you to lay down your marks and your scars. Become the concert violinist you were meant to be.