Beautiful Scars by Christina 

I was born with a hole in my heart. My doctor held out hope that the hole would close on its own. However by the age of 5 it was clear that was not going to happen. My heart was enlarged and it was decided I needed to have surgery. So in the spring I went to WVU Children's Hospital for my surgery. The surgery was a success and I haven't experienced any problems since then. I was left with a large scar on my chest, two small scars where my drain tubes were and various small scars on my wrists and arms from IVs. My mother taught me to be very proud of my "battle scars" as she called them. And I was. So much in fact that the first day of school I pulled up my shirt and proudly showed my battle scars to my classmates.

I continued to be very proud of my scars and in the fourth grade I stood in front of my class and gave a report on my surgery. My doctor William Neal helped me with the report. He even drew me a diagram of my heart so I could use it in my report. At the end of my speech my teacher said "well I guess your bikini days are over."  The class laughed. I still remember that moment like it just happened. I just stood in front of the room fighting back my tears. From that point I did my best to conceal my battle scars. I refused to wear any clothing that would show my scars. I even wore a dress to my senior prom that was high upon my neck to conceal my scars. It wasn't until my mid 20s that I started to be comfortable in my own skin again.

I read a story about a man who had been in an accident and received third degree burns on his legs leaving them heavily scarred. His grandmother took a beautiful vase and broke it. Then she picked up the pieces and she made a beautiful mosaic picture out of the broken glass. She then told him these words, "Broken to become beautiful! It's possible to turn your scars to stars.  It's possible to be better because of the brokenness. Never, never underestimate His power to repair and restore!"  

Those words made me realize that all those years my mother was right. I should be proud of my battle scars because I was broken to become beautiful. I immediately tore that page out of the book and keep it in a special place to remind me to be proud of my scars.  I've gained many additional battle scars over the years. Mostly due to my clumsiness. But I'm proud of every one of them. They are part of me. They tell a story of who I am. I am alive today because of these beautiful scars. And the only thing I would ever change is all those years I spent trying to hide them.