Have you ever asked yourself how people with what you may feel are hideous scars, deep, penetrating reminders of something gone wrong, face the mirror? I ask myself this question everyday as I catch my breath and a glimpse of my own scars out of the side of my eyes. I see where the beast came and ran her claws through me, scratched, dug and caused not just my body but my heart to bleed. I see the devastation she brought to my physical body, the loss, the pain and her name tattooed into my chest, a reminder she has marked me for all my days of my life here on this earth. At times I wonder if I am little more than the remnants of one of Dr. Finklestein’s experiments gone wrong. I can honestly say I have felt many times as if I am Sally from Nightmare before Christmas sewing her arm back on time and time again, always with a smile, yet still locked up in a tower trying to escape, as Dr. Finklestein keeps her hidden away from the town below.
I have spent many a night on my knees, pouring out my fears, honest tears and hopelessness to the Lord wanting to escape this tower of terror I have felt myself trapped inside. The difference between God and Dr. Finklestein is that He has not locked me away, in a tower all alone, truthfully God sees a work of timeless art, beauty beyond measure, and a life forged from broken glass becoming perfectly designed stained glass in the fire. This broken road breast cancer intended for my life, has become a brightly lit detour leading me to freedom. In all this time I have had breast cancer burning her name across my chest she has never once taken my hope, my faith or my belief that life still waits for me outside this tower, this dark town that she wants to tie me down to is not my fate.
Morning still comes, despite the darkness night brought. The suffering of the beast’s grip can be at times almost overwhelming, but during those times I have learned to push the pedal down, close my eyes and keep my hands on the wheel. I may be broken, I may be disfigured and I may look to the eye upon first glance as hopelessly un-mend-able but I am not Humpty Dumpty. The king’s men may not have been able to put him back together again but my God, my King has made me whole again despite the broken pieces dumped at His feet. Sure to the naked eye, to the mirror in front of me I may still seem broken, torn apart and ruggedly stitched back together, but by God’s grace I have been glued and sewn back together, reconstructed into a beautiful, living, soul. I have been touched by His grace, given life in spite of the beast’s death roar. He has taken my lifeless, deflated spirit and breathed new life back into me, shown His light, taken me by the hand and faced the mirror with me, side by side, hand in hand.
Yes I am the face of cancer’s brutality, she has striped me of my breast, pulled out each and every strand of my hair, the very ones God took the time to count each and every day, left me watching my own tear drops fall but my hope is in the Father who has restored my life. I am a survivor today not because of my own doing, but by the grace residing inside this demolished, worn out, broken, cut upon, stitched back together again body. By God’s grace I have been rescued from the gates of death and fear, I am a life scared by breast cancer, but I am also a woman whose life has been rescued from the clutches of despair, reclaimed and placed back on solid ground by His love and mercy.
My faith runs deep through my veins, despite the fact I have had to cry out from the ashes. I may have fallen flat on my face, I may not have the once perfect canvas I did in my 20’s but I have this amazingly, designed, scared, chiseled out work of art of for a life I see facing me back in the mirror all these years after the C word came kicking my door down. Sure the sting of pain still likes to sear through my body, reminding me the beast has marked me, still I have faith, I trust in my Lord, the one who sees beauty inside my soul despite what they world may see as they look imaging what my scared physical body must look like.
Friends, I have been weary and afraid, I have felt the weight of this world, felt robbed of my outward beauty, of the life I had planned but I have felt God’s hand heal me, touch my body, my heart and fill my spirit with hope. I have been renewed despite the shape I am in, despite Dr. Finklestein’s experiment gone sideways. Sure to the world I may seem nothing more than a stitched up rag doll, but to my Father I am beautiful, I have been perfectly and wonderful made, delivered from the clutches of despair and given a second chance, scars, stitches and all, to live life out loud, not just as a survivor, but as a brighter soul ready to live life gloriously in the light of day. Heart ache has tried to make my heart her home, time and time again, but no matter what I trust each brush stoke my Creator makes across this canvas is part of a bigger picture. I may not have the insight right here and now to understand why He has chosen blue and not yellow hues but all the same I am humbled and amazed by His love, burning like a fire inside my heart. How is this possible, because He has made me whole from the inside out, where I go, is where He is and I am never alone, ever!