Thursday, December 2, 2010

Broken but blessed (part two)

If you know me, to say that I am a huge Angie Smith fan is a total understatement.

I know that just about every person who blogs has read Bring the Rain and knows Audrey Caroline's story. If you have ever lost a baby, you have probably read her book, "I Will Carry You." It is unfortunate that I even have to know who she is or relate to her the way that I do. However, so many of her words and explanation of Scripture have rocked my world these past 5 months. Seriously, the woman is crazy anointed. I swear I want to be just like her.. well, more a combination of her and Priscillar Shirer.. but that's another post for another day!

So anyway, this is a "borrowed" post from Angie that can be read in its entirety here. I felt that it was very appropriate to share how her words blessed my heart as a follow up to my previous post. It is a illustration that I think of so often...something so beautiful, so life-changing for me.

In her blog, Bring the Rain - this post is titled "The Past and the Pitcher". It discusses, in part, the days following Audrey's death and how Angie decided she would follow some advice she had read in a book about grieving the loss of a child. In the book, a therapist encourages those grieving to take something and break it. At first, Angie thought the idea was ridiculous but then the Lord began to speak to her heart that breaking something was exactly what she should do. So, she went to her cabinets, pulled out a perfectly good pitcher, walked outside onto her front porch, threw it on the ground and watched it shatter into pieces.

via Angie Smith

She waited a few minutes as she stood there in silence, staring at the broken pieces,
until God finally spoke to her heart...

Put it back together.

So, Angie took all the small pieces of porcelain inside and one by one, she glued them back together with a hot glue gun. Her fingers were burnt and bloody from handling the small, sharp pieces. She continued working until finally, the pitcher had been put back together once again.

via Angie Smith

Angie then writes these words that still bring tears to my eyes this day,

"And as I worked, He let me think about my past. Mistakes that I have long regretted. I began to realize that this pitcher was my life, and every piece was part of a story that He had chosen to put together. I started crying, and remembering things I thought I had forgotten. It took a long time to finish, but it was time well spent. Every nook and cranny whispered to me, until at last it stood in all its imperfection.

Here you are, Angie.

You are mended. You are filled with my Spirit, and I am asking you to pour yourself out.

The image of my life as a broken pitcher was beautiful to me, but at the same time, it was hard to look at all of the cracks.

I ran my fingers along them and told Him I wish it had been different. How I wished I had always loved Him, always obeyed Him, always sought Him the way I should. I was mad at the imperfections, years wasted, gaping holes where it should be smooth.

But God, my ever-gracious God, was gentle and yet convicting as He explained.

My dearest Angie. How do you think the world has seen me? If it wasn't for the cracks, I couldn't seep out the way I do. I chose the pitcher. I chose you, just as you are."

How beautiful is it to be broken? So many times, we must be broken before we can be shared...just as the body of Christ had to be broken before it could be given. God wants to use us not in spite of our brokenness, but because of it.
I realized the problem is that we ourselves have developed a mindset that what is broken is useless. We are quick to throw away things in our lives that have stopped working, have cracks or missing pieces. We find no use for them so they find a place in the trash instead of our lives.
Aren't you glad that Christ doesn't think of us that way?
Instead...the more we are broken, the more valuable we become to Him.
You see, God isn't the issue here - we are. We are the ones who look at that broken pitcher, the broken heart, the broken life...and we see all that is wrong, messed up, useless. We focus more on the broken pieces than we do the blessing inside. Yet, in between those cracks is something that has been restored, made whole again. Something that when filled up, can spill over and be given freely. Something beautiful. After all, God loves the gaps just as much, if not more than He loves the whole pieces. So, why don't we?
I have come across so many people who look at me with sad eyes. They tilt their heads to the side and shake their head, pat my hand and say..."Oh honey, I'm so sorry." I know they mean well. I know that they don't know what to say. I know their heart breaks for my loss. They look at me and see broken...yet, once they sit and talk with me awhile...once they see what God has done for me over these past five months...I hope that they don't see broken...I pray they see blessed. That is what I see when I look into the mirror today - but only because I choose to see my life that way, thanks to the grace and strength of my God.
Where are you today? Do you look at your life and just stare at the broken pieces? Do you hide your scars, your pain, your hurt - or do you allow God to use those cracked areas of your life to pour into you so that you can overflow into the lives of others?

After all, it is through those cracks-- the pains and mistakes that we are most ashamed of-- that the world can see a glimpse of the glory of God.

"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.” - 1 Corin. 11:23-24
Thank you Jesus for being broken...for me.
Today, I rejoice in being broken...for You.