We don't much value things in life that are broken. Walking along the beach we look for whole shells, not broken ones.
What do you do with a broken light bulb?
What can a broken vase possibly hold?
And, how do you mend a broken heart?
The top on my convertible was broken, wouldn't go up and down. Having plans to sell it, I knew no one would want it in its broken state, so I spent thousands of dollars getting it fixed just so I could sell it!
I guess it's safe to say, that as a whole, we don't much value broken things!
Funny thing, though - God does. God values brokenness. He values broken people. In fact, His word says He is near to the broken-hearted and that He cherishes those with a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18) And in our brokenness, as we turn to Him, He comforts us, mends us and assures us of our value - even in our broken state.
There was recently a popular song on Christian radio titled - "Broken Together." It was about a husband/wife relationship, but I think some of it can apply to all relationships in general.
"Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we'll last forever is broken together."
We sometimes try so desperately to hide our brokenness. We don't want anyone to see the parts of us that are shattered by life and its circumstances. And yet, ALL of us are broken, at one time or another. Can't we be broken together, understanding that it's nothing to be ashamed of? Understanding that it's simply a fact of living in this fallen world?
If I am willing to admit my brokenness to you and you are willing to admit your brokenness to me, then we have a chance of true intimacy, seeking the Lord together on behalf of each other and ministering to each other, right where we are.
As the quote above by Nouwen says, it's only as we turn to God again and again, that we prevent becoming bitter and resentful - at people, at circumstances, and at life in general.
Our lives don't ever take the paths that we think they will. Heartache, disappointment, dreams shattered, lives lost, insecurity, visible and invisible scars, all these things happen to an ordinary life.
If only we could see that these things are to be embraced as part of our life experience instead of rejected as something that interferes with our life experience. These things make us or break us, they enrich our lives or they degrade our lives. Only as we come to Him, the giver of life itself, can we see our lives enriched by all that we are able to embrace and overcome.
I remember a very special book that helped me tremendously during my journey of grief after my husband died. I was browsing a Christian website one day looking for any book I could find about the grieving process. This was new territory for me and I wanted to do it right (if there is such a thing!).
One title in particular stood out to me - A Grace Disguised - How the Soul Grows Through Loss. My spirit quickened within me when I read these words and my heart cried - that's it! that's it! That's what I want! I want to grow through this experience. I want to get out of this experience everything God has for me in it. I want to grow and become all God has for me through this.
I think that should be our attitude through all experiences that God brings us to and through.
How can I grow from this?
How can I be enriched by embracing all God has for me in this particular thing?
How can I grow from this broken place?
The answer - only by turning again and again to God's faithful love in our lives and seeking understanding through Him; only by also making ourselves vulnerable to one another, too, can we minister to those broken places in one another, embracing one another and growing together in God's love, mercy and grace.
Can we allow our beautiful broken places to be seen?
Can be allow ourselves to be vulnerable?
Can we allow the Holy Spirit to pick up our broken pieces and make something beautiful of them?