One of the reasons I love working with middle school girls is the way God can still manage to surprise me and speak through their precious 13-year-old voices. Yesterday I was sitting next to Mackenzie May when she pointed at my 3-inch scar from my melanoma (removed 2 years ago) and asked, "Do you like your scar?" I shook my head because who likes ugly 3-inch scars in prominent places? She replied with what I thought was a strange answer at the moment, "Well, I do. You wouldn't be Stefanie without it." I was taken aback at first by her response, but after a few seconds, the wisdom hit me like a ton of bricks.
Our scars do make us who we are. I wouldn't be who I am today without the hope, healing, and trust I learned through recovering from cancer. All the pains, trials, and heartbreaks I have ever experienced have collectively brought me closer to Jesus and helped me realize a little more of who I am in Him, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Mackenzie's little comment was a sweet reminder of that fact and brought to my memory one of my favorite passages, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:3-5, emphasis mine). I'm so grateful that hope in Him will never disappoint and that He knows ahead of time every hurt that will come my way and how He'll use it to draw me closer to Him and make me more like Him. And I'm so glad God uses teenage girls to speak to my heart. :)