If you had to pick one word to describe yourself what would it be? Funny, successful, attractive…perhaps when you look in the mirror the words echoing in your mind have a darker voice. Perhaps that voice says you are fat, ugly, worthless or unlovable. If I had one word to describe myself I would say “marked”.
Webster’s dictionary defines a mark as “a visible impression assumed or imposed.” My life bears the impressions…the scars… the marks of the encounters I’ve had and the choices I’ve made. It also bears the resulting marks of choices others in my life have made that affected more than them.
For many years I allowed these scars to define me, whether directly or indirectly. For even my attempts to cover and not be defined by my scars was an action born out of my scars. Despite my efforts I was marked; perhaps not to the world but to myself. Try as I may I could not escape my scarlet letter.
On Halloween night 1998 I received another mark. On that night I had an encounter with the risen Jesus which left an imprint upon my life that has been growing ever since. It is a mark of His person that has been imprinted upon my being. It is a mark of renewal and it heals all my other marks. Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new!” His imprint on my being is a mark of Life.
I’m no longer ashamed of my marks. They are no longer a scarlet letter. I bear a greater mark. My mark is a symbol of love; it is an emblem of grace. Above all it is a testament to the power of renewal. I have been marked by Life…for life. That is the mark, the visible impression I have received. That is the mark I am now called to leave behind on the people I encounter each day.
If every encounter leaves a mark, what mark are you leaving behind?