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My Scar Story

Michelle Boyack Madsen

I no longer had working brakes. I knew the only way to stop was to crash.

Everyone I know has a scar story. If you start swapping stories with people, each person can tell you how and when they got this scar or that scar. The stories can go on for hours. My own brother is mostly held together by stitches and has a great scar story about going head first into a brick wall. There are scars we get by accident and scars we get on purpose, like surgical scars. There are scars that remind us how we overcame something and scars that remind us how careless we can be.

So here’s my scar story.

When I was 11 years old, I was riding my bike down a steep hill in the rain with my friend Sarah. We were riding double. I was driving and she was sitting behind me, partly on the seat, but mostly over the back wheel. As we came down the hill, we sped up. We were approaching a busy intersection, and I realized we had a serious problem.

Because of the rain and the position of my friend on the back of my bike, I no longer had working brakes. I squeezed the hand brake with all my might, but we just kept accelerating. Looking ahead, I saw cars—cars we could hit or that could hit us.

I knew that the only way to stop was to crash.

I searched the terrain as we raced by. I quickly picked out the place for the crash, a small piece of grass next to the curb. I steered us closer and then tipped us over. As I fell, the pedal of the bike dug into my shin. People who saw us crash came running to see if we were OK, and we both were taken home and patched up. But I was left with a scar on my leg that looked like I was stabbed with a fork. Even now, every time I see that scar I remember the details of that day—the pouring rain, how scared I was, the crash, and how relieved I was that we were okay. Because of the scar, I will never forget that experience.

Maybe that’s why one of my favorite scriptures is one that is found in Isaiah 49:14–16 and then repeated this way in the Book of Mormon: “But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.

“For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” (1 Nephi 21:14–16).

I have always loved this scripture because it reminds me that Christ will never forget us, any of us. We are His scar story. We are graven upon the palms of His hands. Just as I remember vividly the events surrounding how I got the scar on my shin, He remembers how and why He got the scars on His hands and feet. He remembers us, and we are a part of Him.

This article originally appeared in the August 2018 Ensign.

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