Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beauty IN the Broken

The conference on Saturday was different than conferences usually feel to me.  I didn't feel like I was getting much from it, I felt rather disconnected.  However, there were a few moments where I saw the topic going in one direction that felt discouraging and then was given a little nugget of hope on the other side of the coin.  I'll share them with you....

At the beginning of the day, Gwen Smith talked about how one night her daughter excitedly told her what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She said how after she left the room, she realized that she wasn't just sharing a desired occupation, but instead was allowing her into her heart place... a place where what she was really saying was "I want my life to be beautiful, meaningful, to have an impact"

As I listened to how heart warming it was to talk with her daughter about her future, I was getting sad about the fact that I'll never hear Rachel say "Mama, when I grow up, I wanna be a....." and then as she talked of what that conversation was REALLY saying, I realized that Rachel's short life was all those things that a girl hopes her life to be...  beautiful, meaningful and full of impact on this world. 

She referred repeatedly to "sandpaper people" in our lives and also to how we are to reflect God like a mirror... Ironic after my post from that morning before I went, where I said something about reflecting God more and hoping that the "sandpaper and rain" in my life would make my heart more beautiful!  My friend Jen sitting next to me said "this stuff always happens to you" :o)  I love God. :o)  But one of the things she was talking about was friendships - and being real in them.  And she encouraged us to spend time with people who we could freely "expose the broken" with.  The ones who we didn't need to wear a plastic smile with.  And she said "there is deeper relationships waiting for you"

I guess the reason this hit me was because I'm continuously confused by how to determine in situations with people, if God calls me to just be 'out there' like a mat for people to do and say whatever they want and as a "good Christian" I will just love them anyway and let them be themselves even if it hurts me in the process... or if it's in fact a healthy thing to do (and OK with God) to protect myself from those situations and not be friends (or in relationship with 'family') with anyone who wants to be (or just because we're related).  My heart's desire is to please God and I will do whatever He asks of me... but sometimes I struggle to tell the difference between what HE asks of me and what others expect of me.  I felt relieved to finally hear someone say that it's ok to desire deep relationships and to not be concerned with the fairweather friends (and family) that I have encountered so often.

At the end, she was talking about the joy of the Lord and how when we are true believers that joy cannot be hidden.  She was saying it should just flow out of us...  Now, I'll admit, this is a sensitive subject for me because I've heard people criticize their own parents for sharing their disappointment with them instead of "just having the joy from the Lord and being happy with what they have" and so I figure if someone can say that about their elderly parents, they would most certainly say the same of me.  And they can't be the only ones who think that way... It's the buck-up-and-smile attitude. (which actually translates to: my life would be easier if I didn't have to listen to you whine- AKA selfish attitude)  That being said, as she talked, all I heard through my filter was you're a bad witness, it's been over 10 months and you're still sad and not bubbling with joy... when are you going to buck up and smile? 

She then started talking of her friend who has stage 4 ovarian cancer, her mom died earlier this year and her dad just in the past few weeks... and she talked of how she was filled with joy even still... As she told this story, I was thinking of how I have failed because I am open about all my struggles (and for the fact that I even have them and that this isn't easier for me) and how I must have been foolish to believe that I was glorifying God and honoring Rachel in this... that a person filled with 'joy overflowing' would surely be smiling more and want to be around people and not be so sad...  And then came the nugget....


She said... (I'm paraphrasing) 'But when I read her blog, she is so honest about her feelings and how hard it is and I'm so thankful for that because you can see the depth of her pain and in the midst of it, you see little strains of God's love and provision.'

And it was in that moment that God confirmed, yet again, that He never expected me to fake my way through this for other peoples' sake and that in fact, I can bless many more people by being real and honest.  I'm so thankful for that.  I'm so grateful to serve the God of all comfort and the ultimate source of compassion who understands my every tear and can use even the darkest days in my life for His glory.  I am completely humbled by His understanding and unconditional love.  He never tires of me telling him how much I hurt or hearing me cry.  He doesn't wish I would just get on with my life or stop talking about Rachel.  He doesn't EVER change the subject on me to a more comfortable one or leave me alone and then make excuses and blame me for it.  He is always there, always carrying my burden with me and sometimes for me, He meets me and accepts me exactly where I'm at and He loves my girl too. 

I don't feel beautiful yet, I'm still pretty broken. But with a God like mine, I have no doubt that this brokenness will someday be turned into a beauty that none can fathom... and I'm ok if that doesn't happen until heaven.  But in the meantime, I can already see how he had given me such a richer life... from my marriage, to my children, to the friendships I have received straight from him, through Rachel.  And so I guess the bottom line is that beauty can - and DOES - exist IN the broken.  Just like in the cross.

2 comments:

  1. You may not FEEL beautiful but you ARE beautiful...inside and out! <3

    ReplyDelete

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