What Scars Are For

 Name That Tune

My favorite Christian artist is Mandisa.  She began her career in 2005 when she auditioned for the TV show “American Idol.”  During her audition, she was famously insulted for her weight by Simon Powell.  Later she confronted him and publicly forgave him, after which he apologized for his snarky remarks.  Mandisa finished the season in ninth place.

Although she didn’t win first place on “American Idol,” Mandisa went on to record six albums.  She’s received six nominations for a Gospel Music Association Dove Award.  She’s also a five-time Grammy nominee, and won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album in 2014 for her fifth album, Overcomer.  She tours frequently with Toby Mac, Danny Gokey,  and others.

Mandisa has also written two books, Idoleyes: My New Perspective on Faith, Fat, and Fame, and her most recent, Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy.  She’s one busy lady!

I relate to Mandisa because in her music she addresses many of the issues that I have struggled with in my life.  I call her albums “my recovery music.”  Anyone who is in recovery for anything will find it easy to identify with her lyrics.  She truly is an overcomer!

One of my favorites is her song “What Scars Are For,” which she cowrote with Jeff Pardo and Sam Mizell.  She dedicated this song “to all whose battles left physical and emotional scars.”  The lyrics are based on Isaiah 53:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-9.  You can listen to the song here.

What Scars Are For

God has really spoken to me through these lyrics, and I believe He’ll speak to you, too.  Let’s break them down a bit.

These scars aren’t pretty
But they’re a part of me
And will not ever fade away

We live in a sinful world, and we have all been hurt in different ways by people, events, and circumstances in our lives.  We may forgive those who wronged us, but the memories stay with us forever.  Sometimes the pain lingers on, even if the incident happened way back in our childhood.

These marks tell a story
Of me down in the valley
And how You reached in with Your grace
And healed me

I was definitely in the valley when I first came to Christ.  I carried many internal wounds from years of verbal and emotional abuse and rejection.  The bullying happened a long time ago, and sometimes the memory of the pain gets triggered even today.  But I have been touched by the grace of God, and He has brought much healing.  For me it was a long process; for others it may be instantaneous.  But for those who come to Him, healing– no matter what trauma you’ve experienced– is possible.

They remind me of Your faithfulness
And all You brought me through
They teach me that my brokenness
Is something you can use
They show me where I’ve been
And that I’m not there anymore
That’s what scars, that’s what scars are for

You may ask, “Why do the memories remain?  Why does it still hurt sometimes?”  I believe it’s because God wants to use whatever you’ve been through to minister to others.  No one understands a particular pain better than someone who’s been through it.  The hurt you remember can give you compassion and understanding for others who find themselves in the same situation.  God will equip you to minister powerfully and effectively to them because of your experiences.  God will not waste your brokenness.  He will use it for His glory.

Press Reset, Please

Erase, rewind,
Wish I could every time
The hurt, the pain cuts so deep
But when I’m weak You’re strong
And in Your power I can carry on
And my scars say that You won’t ever leave

We all wish we could change the past.  That’s not possible, but through Jesus we can change the ways the past affects us.  When something happens that triggers memories of the pain, God will strengthen you to get through it.  His power is made perfect in our weakness.  Jesus will never leave you, and He will never fail you.  He paid the ultimate price for your sins, and you are forever His.

I see it on the cross
The nails You took for me
Scars can change the world
Scars can set me free

It’s interesting to see how the Merriam Webster Disctionary defines the word scar:

  1. a mark remaining (as on the skin) after injured tissue has healed
  2. a mark left where something was previously attached
  3. a mark or indentation (as on furniture) resulting from damage or wear
  4. a lasting moral or emotional injury

The first definition reminds us that a scar forms after a wound is healed.  The scar itself doesn’t hurt; it’s just a reminder of a hurt– and a reminder of healing that has occurred!  We need to remember and rejoice in the healing Jesus has brought us.

The second definition reminds us that something has been removed.  Chains have been broken.  Hurts have been released.  Some things need to be removed in our lives! 

The third definition reminds us that some wounds are caused by the wear and tear of life.  We get worn down, we burn out.  That scar may be an indication that changes need to be made.

The fourth definition confirms that some injuries are emotional.  The actual wound isn’t physically visible, but it’s no less real.  I think emotional wounds may be more difficult to heal than physical.  This last definition speaks of such wounds being lasting– but they don’t have to be.  Jesus is our Healer, and He can heal us completely– body, soul, and spirit.  I think the crown of thorns He wore should remind us that He suffered both mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.  The scars He bore are for healing in every area of our lives.

Victory In Jesus

I love the last two lines of the song:  Scars can change the world, scars can set me free.  Amen!  God can take your mess and turn it into your message.  My favorite verse is Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good  of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”  God will use all things for the good.  Those scars have a purpose.  Pray that God will use them to help you minister to those around you.

My healing is not yet complete.  I’m still a “work in progress”– and so are you.  One day we will be with Him forever in heaven, and all our scars will be gone.  I am so looking forward to that!  How about you?


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Related Posts:

“The Healing Power of Music”

“”Is A New You Really Possible?”



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