The girl huddled in the chair, a tangled ball of pain and anger. She held her legs pulled up close to her chest, her arms wrapped around her knee as if in protection. Her body was bruised and bloodied from her ordeal. Her wounds were now covered in bandages but shackles still held her legs. By her face, her emotions were plainly as tangled as her messy hair. It wasn’t clear whether fear or rage would win out, until she spoke.
“You..know..how..I..feel?” She spat out the words as the feral cat inside her hissed in frustration. “How can you, with your pampered and perfect life, have any idea what I’ve gone through?” She knew they were only trying to help but she was so frustrated. This lady couldn’t possibly understand her. She did feel much better with a full belly and the clean clothes they’d given her. And her tended wounds would heal in time; they always had. Now, if they would just leave her alone. She didn’t need anyone’s pity. She was a survivor.
“I might, if you’d just let me try,” the counselor said. She’d been reaching out to her for days now. No matter what she said, her words bounced off the stone wall of the girl’s heart. With a sigh, she took off her jacket then poured herself a glass of water. It was getting warm in the room but from the temperature or the conversation she wasn’t sure.
The girl’s eyes watched her movements closely from across the room. Her body tensed instinctively to flee if she came too close, a reflex from her troubled life. Closeness often meant great danger. She allowed herself to relax a little as she realized the counselor wasn’t coming near her. She was just moving to hang up her jacket. Her eyes gazed longingly at it as she hung it on the hook. She’d never touched, much less worn, anything so beautiful. She wondered what it would feel like on her skin. Suddenly her eyes froze in place. She recognized the marks that covered the counselor’s now bare arms immediately. “You have scars,” she spoke quietly.
The counselor glanced over at her and then down at her arms. “Yes,” she smiled as she said, “I have many beautiful scars. I told you that I understood your pain.” She sat back down at the table and continued. “For much of my life, I was also a prisoner of war. Those that held you captive were my captors too. They relished in my torture. Yet, like you I was also rescued. And once I was here I was fully restored. You can be too, if you want.”
“You are like me,” she said hesitantly. Maybe everything they’d told her since she’d been here was true. Could she really let herself have hope? “But I don’t understand. If you were rescued like me, why don’t you still have shackles? When I was in prison, they told me only they had the key and no one would ever free me. How did you get yours off?”
“There is one who holds a master key that can open any lock of bondage” was the reply. “He can set you free and restore you with complete healing.”
Where do I find this one”, the girl asked with desire in her voice. “And what will it cost?”, she added with fear.
“I can take you to him. He’ll give the key freely to anyone who wants it; all they need to do is accept it. But it can’t be done lightly. There is a price to freedom and restoration. If you use the key, you will no longer be your own, but will belong to the Light. It was he who fought the enemy to gain the key. Badly injured in the battle, he sacrificed himself so that every prisoner could be free. You will live your life for him. But he is a loving master whose ways are gentle. But it is your choice to make.”
The girl sat silently for a while. “Why did you say your scars were beautiful?” The counselor smiled, “They are beautiful to me because they are proof of healing. Every time I see them I am reminded of his great love for me. Your scars can be beautiful too.”
She looked at her counselor and saw her peace and contentment. Then she looked at herself. Never in her life could she remember feeling happy or loved. She decided she did not want to remain the way she was. “I’m ready. Please take me to him. I want to be set free.”
Outreach programs are a very important part of spreading the gospel. It will always be vital to help others in their times of need. But often when we have fed the hungry, clothed the poor and treated illnesses or injury, they are not open to receiving the good news. We Christians can often appear perfect on the outside. The truly hurting can’t imagine that we would have any ability to relate to their situation. We need to be transparent about who we really are. Never be afraid to take off your emotional jacket and let your beautiful scars show. They are proof of our healing from the mess we once were. Seeing them can break through the stone walls of wounded hearts, allowing Him to be seen in a new and more meaningful way. No matter what mess you came from before He unlocked the chains of your bondage, your story can touch a life. God can take what was once your mess and turn it into a message of hope.
Ann, I'm going to feature this very well-written article on the Fornt Page showcase for the week of April 18. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!
We'd love to see your writing in the Weekly Challenge on this site--have you considered it? The next quarter starts this Thursday--check it out!