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Friday, April 17, 2015

Sacred Scars

You look around. What do you see? The world that pushes its perception of beauty on you: unrealistically gorgeous women--often barely dressed-- advertising everything from cars to food. I am not saying that there are no images of men. The world is trying to convince us how we should look; it puts more pressure on women than men. Women have to do their hair. Women have to wear make-up. Women have to do their nails. Women have to wear certain clothes. All over the world we hear the phrase, "it's a tough job to be a woman"--and it sure is.

You see the society is much harder on women if they do not conform to the standards. Just couple of weeks ago I wore a tunic with jeans, as I walked into our student room, where we usually do our assignments and projects, and some women started telling me that I should have worn it (tunic) with tights or leggings. They even kept pushing their opinion all day long.
I live in a place where it's very windy. So, wearing skirts, for the most part, is not practical. Most of thee time I wear pants with long top: sweater, t-shirt, tunic or any other.
I was never confident in the way I look. You see I was born with a condition--achondroplasia. I wasn't socializing much with other kids during my childhood and until age of seventeen when I moved to the USA. In order to compensate for lack of social interaction I began to read. My amazing mother made me wear long skirts, dresses and pants, so my condition would not be that obvious. My father completely agreed with that.
At the age seven my mom and I went to Kurgan for the series of surgeries. We had to go to Ilizarov Center for seven years. My legs became 30 centimeters (one foot) longer, whereas my arms became ten centimeters (four inches longer). Ilizarov Apparatus is a very invasive construction. Lengthening was painful, but it gave me an access to things many people take for granted: reaching shelves, reaching light switch, being physically independent. If you don't have a need for this type of surgery, please don't do it. There are risks. During my arm lengthening procedure I lost motion in my right hand because the nerve was over-stretched. In addition, my feet till this very day have somewhat limited motion range. But my scars is the biggest visual reminder. They are deep and go all the way into muscles.
For the longest time I used to hate my scars. During summer, I would wear stockings/long socks just to cover them up. When I moved to the USA, I accepted my scars. However, the biggest transformation happened this summer. During our Young Ladies group Bible Study, It dawned upon me--I love my scars. Furthermore, I consider them sacred because their main purpose is to glorify God. Our bodies are the temple of Holy Spirit and temple is sacred.  

They remind me of the sinful world

 Adam and Eve were created perfect. After the Fall Sin entered the world. As the result, our flesh is corrupted today. Achondroplasia is not normal. Making fun of other people is not natural. And yet when we see what Sin does with people, most of us, have hard time not to run away from those people. How many excuses I made in order to avoid those people that are different. Out of all people I should have known better, because I know how it is to be sneered at, called names, and how to be mocked. We are sinful and our flesh is corrupted.

They show me how futile our attempts to fix sinful nature

We can try to fix ourselves, or rather our sinful nature, but we fail. How many times we had broke our promises? How many times we tried to change for better and when something went wrong--we relapsed. Our sinful nature rules. It can calm  down for a bit: that's what people call progress in personal development. After placing trust in Jesus, I became much more aware of my sinful nature. Romans 3:23-- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Scars remind me about past difficulties

Looking at my limbs, I shall never forget the kindness of doctors and medical staff. Doctors and medical staff of Ilizarov Center showed me more kindness than some of my extended family members. These people are i my constant prayers. I hope to visit Kurgan in the next 2-3 year. Surgeries were hard, but by the Grace of God I can walk and my limbs are working.

Scars provide opportunity to talk about what matters

"What happened to you?" So many people asked me that question. This opens window of opportunities to talk. Sometimes it leads to conversation about faith. In some cases to a word of comfort. I pray that scars will be efficient helpers in sharing the important matters. 

Scars remind me not to get too comfortable in this world

I don't know when it's my time to meet God. If we get too comfortable in this world, it affects our work for the Lord. 1 John 2:17 And this world is fading away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. If I am too comfortable I'll fall in love with the things of this world. Jesus said that nobody cannot serve two masters.



  1. Dearest Irina,

    After reading your testimony, I was lost in thought,,truly touched,,,and I was thinking of your life and your sacred scars. Yes, these are sacred scars because from these scars, flood of healing and mercy comes to our hearts. Thank you so so much for showing us and telling us about your scars.

    I also pray for His special blessings upon your doctors and nurses in Kurgan who showed such a kindness to you.

    I pray that this testimony will be used as His holy tool to heal many wounded souls and touch their hearts.

    Lastly, I am going to quote my favorite poem written by Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India.

    No Scar? – Amy Carmichael

    Hast thou no scar?
    No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

    I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
    I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,

    Hast thou no scar?

    Hast thou no wound?
    Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,

    Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
    By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:

    Hast thou no wound?

    No wound, no scar?
    Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,

    And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
    But thine are whole: can he have followed far

    Who has no wound nor scar?

    from your fellow sister who loves you in Christ,and who loves you even more after reading this post, Kinuko

    1. Kinuko, thank you so much for the encouragement. I wasn't sure if I should publish the article. Most of my life I used to hide those scars and now I let people who never met me in person to see those scars.
      If you want to publish more materials from my blog or future posts, feel free to do so. Doctors and staff need a lot of prayer. I hope to visit Kurgan in the net two years.
      Your sister in Christ,

  2. Thank you,Irina for sharing this story.Kinuko also share it on her Japanese blog.
    '..not too get too comfortable in this world'. Yes,I agree.We are just traverallers not settlers in this world.Maybe because of this,sometimes we have to suffer even after believing Jesus.Not to settle in this world.Your testimony and your way of life always make me ponder important issue.May God bless you and your mother,and medical staffs of Kurgan.

    1. Sanae, thank you so much for the comment. I am so humbled by the fact that God have been using those scars for His Glory. Medical staff in Kurgan needs much prayer. I hope in the net two years to visit Kurgan.

  3. Irina. I was a past client with you, I think this absolutely beautiful. You're a wonderful person. You're knowledge is great, you're a very smart person. Talking to you opened my mind a lot, the whole team did. You made a lasting impact on my life and I want you to know that I hope you're okay��

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know that I was able to help you. All of my goodness comes from God's work. I pray for you. Life is busy but by God's Grace, I am getting through.