7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Ever since Nick passed away, our main living room has been nothing more than a storage room and dark passageway from the bedrooms to the kitchen.
I’ve noticed that the room is rarely used. The light is rarely turned on. We have just continued to store “Basket of Hope” items, “Adrienne’s Angel” items, and all kinds of things from Nick’s foundation all over the room.
I have been bothered by the reality that this room is so uninviting, so dark, so “not what I want our life to be,” and I knew that this weekend Erich and Evan will be moving back in from college along with three other college guys for the entire month of May…………….YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, yesterday afternoon I felt this urge to reconstruct our downstairs into a living space that felt welcoming.
At first I was overwhelmed as I looked at my kitchen, little dining area, and living room. I began pulling furniture from everywhere and moving it out of the way. I started dumping stacks of books and papers into laundry baskets just to get them out of my way.
As I working, I whispered a prayer that God would somehow speak to me. Show me His presence even in my rearranging of furniture. Let me know He was here and that what I was doing was ok.
I kept moving things, thinking of the right place for little tables, my desk, lamps, etc., when suddenly I heard from the living room the very loud sound of shattering glass. My heart sank. What had I left unstable in the living room?
I ran to look and sure enough a large rectangular, very thick, piece of glass that normally sits on a dresser had been propped up between my desk and a little bookshelf and as Ihad moved the desk I hadn’t notice it there. I guess it slowly lost its balance and came slamming down onto the brick of the fireplace. Glass was everywhere. Even in the kitchen. Large pieces, medium-sized pieces, small pieces, and hundreds of glass specks covered the floor.
My first thought was WHY WAS I SO CARELESS?!?!?!?!??!?
My third thought was WAIT A MINUTE…………GOD JUST SHOWED UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I knelt down to look at the mess, a tiny piece of glass went into my knee. I pulled it out and carefully knelt again. As I surveyed the shattered glass, I saw myself in the mess. A broken person. Sharp, fragmented pieces of my heart spread out across my living room floor. The reality that in my brokenness I had become in some ways “bigger” than I was before……that somehow God had taken my heart and allowed it to reach places I never would have reached in my perfection, struck me as something only God can do.
And then I remembered a conversation I had had just an hour or so before with a dear friend of mine’s mom who just recently lost her husband to cancer. We had visited for about an hour and had such a wonderful talk. I had felt so revived by our conversation, so determined to take my pain and help others……and God was showing me through the broken glass that only He can take something that seems so pointless, so unnecessary, so disappointing and transform it into a message of Hope…..that spreads farther than we could ever imagine.
I also remembered a part of our conversation where we had discussed the fact that Christians can sometimes be the most hurtful (unintentionally) with their words of encouragement by sharing a “verse or thought” that seems helpful but truthfully stabs a hurting heart…
God knows best God has a plan God will bring good from this
These kinds of words, like broken glass, often cut deeper than silence.
As I stared at the pile of rubble in front of me, I began to see the shattered glass as a multitude of hurting people. Some leaning on others for strength, some trying to stand alone, some hiding so as not to be noticed (like the glass that had somehow slid under my couch), some shattered, some leaning on the Word ( like the large piece of glass that did not break because it landed on my Bible commentarty! WOW!).
I realized that all of these broken pieces had one thing in common. They had sharp edges….edges that if used improperly could inflict pain….
And I realized that in my brokenness, I must be determined not to allow my sharp, hurting edges to be instruments of bitterness, judgment, and anger….
I began to take the pieces one by one and place them into a box that I could tape closed (mom always told me to remember that the garbage man will be handling my trash and may not know there is glass in the trash can……)
As I picked up piece by piece, I saw friends who are hurting. I saw my church that is full of hurting people. I saw a hurting world. And then I picked up a piece that I felt was my “thumbs up” from God…..WOW!
And as I swept all of the fragments together, I saw what looked like a pile of crystals…and I thought of the reality that God can make all things beautiful in His time.
Yes, God does have a plan, He does work for good, and He does know best…..
But I believe that the devil causes our suffering……
God just reverses the devil’s desire to shatter our dreams by using our brokenness to create something of beauty if we allow Him to.
Thank you, Lord, for showing up…………………again. And now my little dining room is my “writing room and my someday Heaven room!”….and our living room feels so much more welcoming! I know Nick is pleased!! The red chair below was his Christmas gift from two years ago…..he was so excited to get it!! I’m sitting in it as I type this and it will always be my personal “Nick Nook!”
Shattered but Whole and Hoping Any of You who Can will Someday Pop by for a Cup of Coffee or Tea,