August 9, 2015

Hiding scars

Bailey reminded me yesterday that today would mark the one year anniversary of her blender accident. It isn't really a day I ever want to think about again, but the lessons I learned through that experience have stayed with me. I hope I never forget that conversation in our laundry room and the powerful message I was taught by my little girl.

About six months ago I started noticing that she would hide her hands whenever I took her picture. At first it bothered me and I began thinking I needed to tell her all the reasons she needed to just "be normal" and not try to hide her scars. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a hypocrite I would be if I tried to make her become ok with her scars—on my time table. 

I pictured all the moments when I was trying hard to conceal the scars of my pain. Everyone around me wanted me to become ok with my scars, but I was still stuck on how much pain it had taken to get them there. 

Sometimes we need time to allow the wounds to heal, before we are ready to reveal the scars to anyone else . . . and that's ok. 

Shawn and I have had many long conversations about the vulnerability that comes with parenting and how hard it is to let go of our power, especially when something happens that is completely out of our control. We felt helpless after the accident. We hated that we couldn't protect her from that blender.  We both struggle with the fact that sometimes our children are going to hurt. We constantly wish we could shield them from feeling the bumps and bruises that will inevitably come their way. 

We can't put them in a glass bubble and shield them from the world (trust me, I have looked into it) but one thing we can give them is knowledge of the truth. We can teach them about eternal life and the importance of family. We can show them the hard work that marriage needs, but the rewards that come when you do it right. We can give them love, we can teach them light, and we can strive every day to be the examples they are looking for on who they want to be when they grow up. Examples of how to heal our wounds and become ok with the scars they leave. 

My little girl has scars all over her hands . . . and she is beautiful. She is perfect just the way she is. She is smart, she is kind, and she has learned that she has a Savior who has always been right beside her through everything life has thrown her way. 

The only way to heal our wounds completely is with Jesus Christ's grace. Healing doesn't usually happen overnight, but a little bit every day as we use the atonement over and over again. There will not be a day when we don't need it in one way or another.

If you are tired of hiding your scars, or waiting for your wounds to heal . . . you aren't alone. We have all been there. We must not give up. We all have scars. Some are seen by the world, and others we carry around silently. 

Our scars are evidence of the powerful gift Christ has given to all of us . . . to heal. 

Bailey's wounds are healed, but she is left with deep scars on both of her hands. There isn't a time when I see those scars or feel them when holding her hand, when I don't think about my Savior and the scars He took upon Himself for me.  

(Sometimes we joke that Bailey is the only girl in the world who could battle a ninja . . . and win. One of the first things she did— after getting some use back in her hands—was cooking in the kitchen. She has not let this accident hold her back, or allowed fear to win.)

Blog post about Bailey's blender accident:
Take Upon Me (Aug. 2014)

A favorite moment from our family reunion weekend (Aug. 2015): 

Today had already been a long day by noon. Packing, loading, and entertaining six kids on an eight hour road trip had just about done both Shawn and I in. For some reason everyone had been "at each other" before lunch, and eating didn't seem to make too much of a difference. Not long after stopping to eat Shawn pulled over in a random small town gas station to just grab me some peanut M&M's (don't judge) but he walked out with his hands full of food. He got in the car and started driving away. All of the sudden he stopped the car and jumped out, the food still in his hand . . . Minus my M&M's. 

Then for about five minutes this was our view. The car was silent. I couldn't stop the tears from falling. After a morning of practically begging my family to be grateful for all that we have and treat each other with love . . . it was even more powerful to see my husband show us all HOW.

Hopefully today Chris, whoever you are... You know that Heavenly Father loves you and you are not invisible. We are all sons and daughters of Him.


Anonymous said...

Ashlee, you are such an inspiration in so many ways. I am so sorry for all you have been through, but so thankful to you for reaching out to all of us.

Jena said...

I'm sure you hate hearing how amazing you all are. I'm sure some days you wish you guys were "normal" but truly, you are all remarkable. Youself, shawn, and all of those beautiful littles!

Anonymous said...

Sweet Bailey...I have the notes (some might call them scars) all over my body of all the lessons I have learned. My mother has often said, when I was in my teens, that she could stand me in front of a classroom and say don't do this because ....pointing out the notes from my head to the bottom of my foot. My Grandma called them notes of learning.....they beautifully show how we have been taught our way and have overcome...Heavenly Father blesses us with learning experiences, some not so pleasant but we so learn from them...xoxoxo You are beautiful Bailey, I'm sure inside as well as out.....xoxo from Sister A

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! Each of our scars is not just a trial we've gone through, but evidence of an opportunity for learning to become more like Christ. It's a tough thing to be okay with our scars, but the more we understand their purpose the more we can wear them proudly!

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