I filled the tub with warm water and slowly undressed my infant daughter. As I put her into the tub, I knew the time had come. It had been a solid six weeks and the bandage was beginning to peel away. I had been putting this moment off. She was off all medications and slowly putting on weight. This was the last thing that needed to be done. I knew I would be relieved in the end, but in that moment, I was anxious.
She was content - smiling and splashing her little hands in the soapy water. I started to peel back the tape and gauze and it practically fell off. I looked down at her chest and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. I had no idea what to expect. I stared intently, slowly running my finger along the thin, long line with a purplish tint. They had stitched her sternum but only taped the surface incision, which had surprised me. The purple seemed dark against the fair skin it surrounded. I was told it would fade and appear more white over time.
Tears rolled down my cheeks. I was so incredibly thankful. She was "PINK"! The doctors were confident that this would to be the only incision she would ever have to bare, although there was no guarantee. But it was there - for life. As I bathed her, running the washcloth down her chest, I heard Him: "It's not a scar, it's a souvenir." I froze. I understood instantly. How could I have been so blind? All this time it had been referred to as a "scar", which is thought of as a bad thing. But it wasn't just a scar - it was a souvenir.
She had been born with an imperfect heart. In order to live a full life, she had needed surgery, which would leave her with a "scar" that she would carry forever...and in a fairly obvious place. I wrapped her in her towel. As I dressed her, I leaned down and kissed her "souvenir". Just moments before I was looking at it, unsure of how to describe how I felt. Now all I could see was beauty. It is a reminder of His faithfulness. It is a reminder of His constant hand on our life - her life - now and forever. It is a reminder of His healing touch. It is a SOUVENIR.
It has been well over a year since I first saw her souvenir. It has faded and has indeed become a long, thin white line...just as promised. During the summer, I notice it more....when she's in her swimsuit, wearing tank tops or in a sweet summer dress. I make no attempt to hide it. On occasion, others notice it. It has become a bridge to share the greatness of the Lord with others. In time she will ask about it. I look forward to that. I look forward to sharing how amazing our God is and how He chose her to be a testament to His ever present glory and power.