Friday, May 4, 2012

Our most viewed Self Help Post - Stretch Marks

This is a re-post, returning on a busy Friday, due to the number of times (1500) 
it has been viewed over the last year and a half. 

Battle Scars by Niki Turner

When someone says "battle scars" or "battle wounds" my first thought is usually of spiritual warfare. And then I think about guys, and all their various scars, from wrestling with a big brother to a fistfight with an adversary. But there are some battle scars nearly all of us share: stretch marks.

Those reddish-purple tears in the dermis usually appear during adolescence or pregnancy, rapid weight gain or bodybuilding. Eventually they fade to a silvery-white color. I've never heard anyone say anything positive about them.

Guys will slap each other on the back after surgery or stitches and say, "chicks dig scars." Ever heard anyone say "dudes love stretch marks"? Me either.

How many romance novels depict the heroine running her fingers along the hero's wealth of scars and asking how he came by the wounds? However, I've never, ever, run across a hero 'oohing' and 'aahing' over the heroine's stretch marks.

In fact, I've never met a heroine with stretch marks. I've read about blind heroines, crippled heroines, widowed heroines, heroines who've been abused, heroines who've been in terrible accidents, heroines who've been to war. In all the lot, no stretch-marked heroines.

If seventy to ninety percent of women have some degree of stretch marks (my stretch marks have stretch marks, so I must be making up for the minority who escaped) why are we pretending they don't exist? Why are we ashamed of them?

A stretch mark is a sign of life, growth, and change. It's a testimony to the body's ability to accommodate new life, to grow and expand to meet the harsh demands of life in these "earth suits."

We can have spiritual and emotional stretch marks, too. When rapid and difficult changes enter our lives suddenly we must adapt in order to survive. We stretch, we tear a little, but we make it to the other side of the crisis.

Those internal, invisible stretch marks should serve as a reminder of the God who carried us through the storm. Every mark we took, He took upon Himself as well.

The resurrected Christ showed the disciples the scars that remained in his hands and feet, and the hole that was in His side. Jesus wasn't embarrassed by His scars. Rather, they were a receipt for the price He paid for all of us.

It's time for us to view our stretch marks - physical, emotional, spiritual - as reminders of the way we have expanded and developed to accommodate larger life. Could I learn to wear my stretch marks with pride instead of shame? I think it's worth a try. 

Photo credits: Wrinkled pepper via lydiat@Flickr ; Pregnancy stretch marks via ; 
Cindy Crawford's stretch marks via ; Doubting Thomas and Christ by Caravaggio @wikimedia


  1. Still good the second time around. I was really struck by this line. "Every mark we took, He took upon Himself as well." I think I'll ponder that today.

  2. I like the line about 'the way we have expanded and developed to accommodate larger life'. THAT'S DEEP.


    One of those bellies is Cindy Crawford. and as far as that goes... bellies only good good on thin teenagers and female athletes. Mine not only got word with each succeeding pregnancy, but now I can claim that gaining a bigger lap overall is tied to having grandchildren, right?

    thanks Niki. Again. hey, can you believe 1500 hits on this post? I hope your words touched a few women who didn't know they needed to hear them.

  3. WOW. I can honestly say I am shocked and humbled by that number.

    I still struggle with my stripes. And now my daughter has them, too. When my oldest son (19) saw his sister's red-streaked tummy and sides his response was not "ew, gross." Instead, he wanted to know if they hurt, and then said "Cool! You look like you survived a tiger attack!" Maybe we assume the worst of the male perspective...

    And yes, Deb, larger, softer laps are definitely made for rocking grandbabies! (Must run, mine is pulling all the books off the bookshelf right now.)

  4. The problem with stretch marks is... then you start wearing stretch wasted pants!

    Sweatpants are an especially vicious form of self-denial

  5. Deb, you crack me up. Stretch waisted pants - lol.

    Niki, I like this just as much as before.

  6. Hahaha, Deb! That could explain the proliferation of stretchy "exercise" attire at Walmart. It's certainly not because people are exercising more!

    Thanks, Suzie. : )

  7. Fabulous post, my friend. FABULOUS.


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