Ugly Beautiful Scars

The wound did not heal well. Though it was small with only five stitches, it has healed into an angry red scar with jagged edges. By anyone’s assessment it isn’t pretty.

But to me this angry,red scar is beautiful. This ugly scar is a reminder to me every day that the biopsy was normal – it showed “no residual melanoma”.

Because I recently had the “M” word thrown at me – thrown in my face with a smile and a “you’ll probably be fine”. But is anyone fine when the word “malignant” enters their life? The “malignant” word was the first result of a biopsy of a mole. A  mole that seemed so small. So innocent. So benign.

Only it wasn’t. It was malignant.

And the second visit was to take more skin, find out if the melanoma had spread. It was this visit that produced the ugly scar. I saw the chunk of skin go into a small container, undoubtedly labeled with my name and the source of the tissue. Five stitches closed up the wound. The day the stitches came out was the day I heard the news that this mole had no residual malignancy. The bad tissue was gone, in it’s place an ugly scar.

So this ugly scar is beautiful. Like the scar on the woman’s face that makes her appear slightly deformed – beautiful because it is a survival scar from a fire that could have killed her. Instead every day her husband kisses that scar with all the love a human can possibly feel. Like the scar along the leg of the gentleman, for without it he would have been in the grave six years now. Rather, that angry, ugly scar is a beautiful war wound of survival. Like the ‘bikini’ scar low on a woman’s stomach, a scar that ensured a baby would be born healthy, not deprived of oxygen.

My scar is going to grow in size. They didn’t get enough tissue, and they want to do all they can to make sure the ‘M’ word is gone from my body. It will be long, and red, and initially painful, and beautiful ugly.

And as I lay waiting for a surgeon to look at my skin, to assess that ugly scar, to determine just how much longer and more ugly it needs to be, it comes to me, almost like a physical punch: I can enter eternity because of angry, red scars.

Ugly, brutal, Mount Auburn Cemetery angry, red scars on the hands and feet of the Saviour; the ugly become beautiful offering me a hope. an everyday wonder of grace, an eternity of God.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
    and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5


36 thoughts on “Ugly Beautiful Scars

  1. Wow, Marilyn… I found this via the link on today’s post. I, too, was diagnosed with melanoma in late Feb 2013. My scar is on my upper left lip…and although it is minimal, it is a daily reminder that grace abounds. I am overwhelmed each day by the grace that no lymph nodes were involved…but know if that diagnosis had been different, there would be grace there as well. Grateful that you, too, are okay


    1. I am so glad you found this post. I thought I remembered you saying in another comment that you had the melanoma scare and kept on meaning to go back and respond. And of course we both had those waiting moments, right? The waiting where we didn’t know the outcome. Now here’s too 6-month checkups. Thank you so much for sharing your story. For reading my words that are so small but you make them so much more meaningful. Thank you.


      1. thank you! I enjoy your posts…even though I have never lived overseas, your posts relate to my life as well. Blessings!


  2. I had glanced at this post, then kept it for a time when I had more peace to read it because I was worried about your results. Life has been madness recently, too much coming and going and things happening which cause such worry.
    Just so relieved to read this. I am so glad that it was ok. I love your post and your perspective.
    I have been thinking of a post on a scar only it is a bit different.
    HUGS to you.


  3. We are so glad to hear everything turned out okay.

    Yes, your scars are beautiful. I question people without them…well then, what did you do with your life not to obtain any scars? Just a beautiful post.


    1. This was such a lovely comment – and I love how you question people without them. It’s so funny, we want to hide all our scars, hurts, all that life that seems filled with pain – yet that’s what others need to see and respond to. Thanks Greg. I have more surgery Friday – hopefully they’ll get all they need.


  4. Wonderful to hear that you had good news. How your last phrase touched my heart, what a profound thought to think that Jesus still carries around his scars and is glad when he looks at them because they represent the fact that he can spend eternity with us and the Father.


  5. SO glad you are well! Yes, scars are reminders. I agree with Stacy, it’s all in the perspective. Love the thought of Jesus scars as eternal reminders of His sacrifice for each of us. Thanks for sharing you life, sister.


  6. Marilyn, I sympathize with you. I’ve had 2 nose jobs. They were NOT cosmetic either!One had about 15 stitches; the other a MOE. I dreaded the process for fear of disfigurement or lasting scars. The big C is frightening. You have given us a perspective that is often missing. Grace. Yes, Grace makes all the difference.Thank you.


      1. Marilyn, I also have a scar from open heart surgery. At first I tried to find clothes that would cover it up. Grace put it in perspective and saved me a lot of shopping around!


  7. One of my most favorite aspects of your blog, Marilyn, is the way you connect the trials and joys and even banalities of everyday life to your faith . . . you truly live faith out loud and in doing so, bring comfort to so many others. I pray with you.


  8. Dear Marilyn,

    Thank you for this beautiful post … your words paint such an evocative picture of life’s fragile beauty.

    Take Care,


  9. What a touching and gratitude filled post, Marilyn. It’s all in our perpective. Like yours, my scar (the below the bikini line one you mention) reminds me to be thankful – for two beautiful healthy daughters and my own health too. Once upon a time, we could have ended up with very different outcomes.


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