I am only 12 years old, but I know that God loves and cares for me. When I was little, He kept me alive through some scary surgeries on my stomach and my heart. He helped my mom and dad care for me. Today, He helps me in school. Sometimes school is hard, and I want to quit. But God always helps me face hard things.

I had my first heart surgery when I was two and another when I was four. I don’t remember much about them—just my mom telling me everything was going to be okay. The surgeries left some big scars on my body, but I kind of like them. They’re my life tattoos! They have a great story, and people ask me about them a lot. When they do, I get to tell them about how God has helped me and my family through some hard stuff.

Plus, they show other kids who are facing heart surgeries that I understand what they’re going through. I get to help them prepare for their surgeries by showing them my scars and telling them it’s going to be okay, that they’ll get better, and that God will help them. They believe me because I’ve been through what they’re going through.

My scars have great purpose, and I want to use them to glorify God and to help others.

I like Matthew 20:28. It reminds me that Jesus didn’t come into the world to be served but to serve. Every day, I have opportunities to help other people. I can do that anywhere—at school, in the classroom, on the playground, or even in the hospital.

One of my favorite ways to help others is through a watersports ministry called In His Wakes. Years ago, Mrs. Kristi Overton Johnson, the founder of this ministry, taught me to water ski. I was so excited! Now I get to travel with my family as part of the In His Wakes team. I’ve helped hundreds of kids experience victory on the water and meet Jesus! It’s so much fun. And seeing me out there on my skis, even with my scars, helps them let go of their fear and get out on the water themselves.

The first time I skied, I was pretty scared of all the waves and bumpy water. But I trusted Mrs. Kristi to help me. I’d watched her teach the other kids, so I knew if I listened and stayed close, she’d keep me safe and wouldn’t let me fall.

That makes me think about life. Everybody has bumpy water sometime, but just like Mrs. Kristi was beside me, encouraging me and helping me know what to do, God is with us. If we listen to Him, He’ll help us through bumps—the big ones and the little ones—and we won’t fall.

When I face bumpy water in life, I do it with God and my parents, so I don’t have to be afraid. You don’t have to be afraid either. Isaiah 43:2 promises that God is with us when we go through difficult stuff. He won’t let the bumpy water win.

Life is scary; I know. I’ve been scared too. But you don’t have to let fear stop you. God’s got you. And you know what? Even if you come out of the water with some nasty scars, if you’re willing, God will use them in amazing ways.

Besides, if you ask me, scars are cool!