Thursday, August 14, 2014

Broken Things

When I was baptized at 7, I was given a beautiful statue of St Mary. Cream, gold, and light pink, she sat on my dresser and watched me. Her eyes were downcast, her face serene. Sometimes I would take her down and hold her. I would wrap her in a blanket, set her next to me for picnics. She was treasured not just for what she was, but for what she represented- a mother.

I took her on every move, every switch from home to home. She was a tangible reminder of hope and of a home I had lost.

When I was 13, I dropped her. I remember watching in slow motion as she fell, her pieces scattering everywhere on the tile floor. Small daggers rained over my feet, drawing miniscule drops of bright red blood. I could not move for fear of injury. There was no place to go, no movement that would not cause pain.

I feel like I have been living in that very moment for the past several months.

Paralyzed. Held in place by the fear of pain. In suspended motion, waiting for rescue- while the broken pieces of something I held so precious sit around me.

Anger, bitterness, sadness, helplessness. All of these are things we go though. Seasons we live through. These seasons can either make you bitter and turn your back on what you know is true, or they can make you draw closer to God and the truth that no matter what, He is working for your good.

He is sovereign. He knows everthying that is, everything that will be, and everything that has been. Nothing that happens is a surprise to him.

But for us, living down here with our humanity and the dirt and pain that just living can create- this is sometimes such cold comfort.

I have watched, silent and unmoving, as people I have loved for years have turned their faces away from me. I have been quiet as their silence descended on myself and my family like a shroud, weighing us down.

I have listened to the battering ram of words thrown at me. I have sat still in the accusation. Not because I am without guilt or mistakes, but because I cannot defend myself against untruth.

Only God can do that.

I could hurl a million words at this situation. I could wail and weep and cry and wring my hands. I could be loud and bold and angry with those involved.

But in the end, it would get me nowhere. My only defense is my faith.

I have tried to hold tight to the words in Exodus 14:14- "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Please don't mistake me- I have shook my hands at God and begged him to reveal the truth. I have cried and broken down so fully that I was afraid for my own sanity.

This has been pain like none other. To keep quiet. To hide my tears. To hold my head up when all I wanted to do was fall on the ground.

Here's the thing though- pain always hurts. But pain always teaches. Always.

When I have felt like ALL was taken from me- my friendships, my good name, my reputation, my peace... He was still there.

When I felt there would never be any rest ever again...He brought me comfort.

When I cried in front of my children and saw the fear in their eyes, He gave me the words to help them understand.

He led my husband to hold me and pray over me- when I was to angry to pray.

He covered me. In the times when I wept and hid and hurt and agonized, he was there. Covering me with His love.

I still don't understand. I don't think I ever will. And even now, months later, there are still fresh wounds and losses.

But what I am learning most of all is this: I can allow this to make me hard. I could let it drain me of the kindness and the love I have worked really hard to be able to show the world. I could let it turn me back into the closed off hurting woman I once was. Or I could use it to propel me even deeper into faith and love than I have ever been before.

Some days I truly don't know which way it will go. Let's just be really honest- if you don't put yourself out there you arent rejected. If you don't reach out, you wont be rebuffed. If you don't give of yourself nobody will tell you you aren't good enough. You won't ever be betrayed if you don't allow anybody close enough to betray you.

But you will be alone.

I don't think God wants us to be alone. I think he wants us to be discerning, and to be careful of our company. But I think surely he wants us to have joy. And I don't know about you, but most of my joy comes from loving others and my interactions with them. Much of my joy comes from being KNOWN and from knowing others and trying to serve them.

It's a hard battle being fought in my heart. From day to day I cannot tell you which way it will go. All I know is God knows. And that enough for me right now.

I remember when I broke my statue. I stood for what seemed like hours, crying and wishing it had not happened. I called out for help, but nobody came.

So I had to move my feet- step down on the glass. I had to kneel among the fragments of what I loved and pick them up. I had to bleed.

I bled and wept as I put her back together, piece by small piece. My hands are still scarred, to this day.

She was never the same, but she was still precious. She was still treasured, although she was not whole. And she was loved even through the brokenness.