There are blue stains everywhere. The cream colored handmade wooden chair that sits at the head of our table. My bathrobe. The guest bathroom sink. I don’t even want to know how many white towels.
Maybe a lifetime ago, it would have made me angry. Maybe yesterday. Somedays, I’m not sure.
I used to be upset when our stuff would get damaged by the army.
Four kids, two rabbits, thirteen chickens, and one shoe-eating rescue dog later, it doesn’t get to me quite as much. The gouges, scratches, and scars, they cease to distress me, instead easing into our days as a part of the record.
The farm table the Husband built for our dining room? My boys stab their plastic knives repeatedly into the wood, some elaborate design for play dough. And the oversized, stuffed chair that’s supposed to be part of a matching set, with ripped fabric and a piece of metal stuck out sideways? Well, we kept it, and now our adopted pup curls up on the cushion and we let her because she spent the first 8 months of her life scared and hungry. Who cares if it smells like dog? The permanent coffee stains on the leather chair, the chair I write in, the chair I pray in, the chair I snuggle my babes in. And always with coffee, the primary reason I’ve survived my thirties. Oh, and the blue chair, sink, and towels? The sacred remnants of mother-daughter bonding with my wild and wonderful first-born.
Our dented, damaged goods, they tell a story with their scars, and they are beautiful even though they are wounded and I wouldn’t have it any other way most days.
We carry the scars too.
They whisper the echoes of goodness and grace we’ve lived, and of fear, yes, and anxiety and grief. I’ve written plenty about that. But joy is in the telling, too. And the wounds we wear, the ones we spent the last year uncovering, they are settling into our souls.
And maybe, just maybe I inked a new kind of scar into my forearm, in the Husband’s writing, to remind me that being broken is a part of being brave.
For a while, I thought it wasn’t okay to be broken – now I know that put-together-after-broken never looks the way we thought it would. Sometimes it’s a little better, and sometimes a lot worse, and usually a bit of both at any given moment.
I started anti-depressants two months ago. For wound care, and I tell you only because I’ve told you so much about the wounds. (Here, and here.) And I told you about how I tried to fix them, tried to fix them without the medicine.
Two weeks ago I stood in my kitchen and cried from relief. I didn’t know I could feel this way while still in the trenches of motherhood. That I could feel like breathing, feel organized, and even accomplished. That I could tackle new routines and diets and a fresh-birthed freelance career without drowning. That I could stay calm in the face of multiple screaming children, calm and tender with my loves at their worst moments.
And you need to know sometimes there isn’t enough exercise, oils, or prayer to fix the broken. Maybe you need to know that’s not how it works anyway, this whole business of prayer. It’s not a one for one, an if-then, or a bargain with God.
Sometimes answers come in forms you weren’t expecting, and sometimes the answer is a devastating no. (And mercifully, somedays we hear the yeses too). But always, in both joy and sorrow, I am all gratitude for a steadfast and merciful God. We weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
This note to you is a postscript on the last year, a resolution of sorts, and perhaps a little bit of a love letter too.
Because the scars become our stories, not good or bad, just a thread woven through the tapestry of our days. Sometimes they speak of happiness, and sometimes of grief, but always, ALWAYS of redemption
Wear them well. We’ve all got them.
We are all the broken and the beautiful.
(Photos by Rachel Liu Photography)