As Beautiful As Splintered Glass

I wrote this post earlier this year for a Word Sister, Sarah Markley at The Best Days of My Life. She asked us to write a post on beauty. I hope you enjoy. This one goes out to a very special young lady out there who has recently touched my heart with her story. She knows who she is.  We are all God’s Girls.

I am a broken vessel. Not a little broken either, but shattered really.  Shattered into a million little pieces (mostly by my own doing), but gently…lovingly, put back together piece by piece by my most gracious Lord and Savior.

It’s hard for me to admit to anyone that I don’t hold it all together, that I am not in control, that I am not always, and have not always been a…ahem…good person. That I need God’s grace and forgiveness not daily, but every second of every day. I don’t like saying that out loud. I am ashamed of my weakness.

Recently, though, I have come face to face with this ugliness inside of me….God labeled it for me: broken. I am broken. And telling others about that brokenness, well, it’s really hard. But then, God showed me a picture of His love and of my beauty in it.

I was visiting with a friend of mine a one hundred year old church known for its stunning stained glass windows.  I was in awe of the beauty of man’s hand in this place, and I remember noticing that one of the windows was cracked.

I commented to my friend, “Oh, man…that’s too bad…that one is broken. I wonder if they are planning to restore it?” The priest behind us said, “No. That window has been cracked for over forty years. We won’t be restoring it.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Just wait a few more moments…you will see.” He said with a small smile and walked out of the sanctuary.

So my friend and I sat, and waited.

As the sun crested at high noon, the room was set on fire with light. Hundreds, no, thousands of tiny rainbows danced on the walls and the floors. Colors everywhere, some I can not even describe, chased and swam over the altar and the cross. All that unexpected beauty from a single crack with the light of the sun shining on it.

I realized in that moment that broken is beautiful…when the Light of the Son shines through the crack. Just as no other window will ever be able to recreate the effect that we saw that day, so no other person can ever tell my story of redemption. Will ever have my weakness to show God’s strength. Will ever be able to reflect God’s light in the way that I can. My brokenness, my shattered soul, carefully pieced back together can shine a million tiny little rainbows on the world…with God’s Light. Now that’s beautiful!

Beauty isn’t about having it all together. It’s about being brave enough to show the cracks to the world and let God shine His light through them…then you can be as beautiful as splintered glass.

Guest Post- Push

My word sister- Sarah Markley from The Best Days of My Life wrote this post about friends who are willing to be real and vulnerable with each other.  It’s so important to have people in your life to challenge you, to push you, on both a physical and emotional level.  Willing vulnerability is a vital attribute of the Strings Attached Friend. This is the story of a that kind of friend.  Do you have friends like this? Are you a friend like this?

Young Friends

It takes a good friend to get up at 5 am to meet me at the gym.

There’s sweat, there are leftover sheet marks on cheeks and by all means, there isn’t any makeup.

I submitted to her get-in-shape-via-cardio-interval plan one morning last month completely unaware of what I was getting myself into. We began on the treadmill and gradually over the course of 20 minutes she had me running at almost seven miles an hour.

“We won’t be able to talk in a minute,” she said to me over the whirr of the early morning gym sounds.

And she was right.

After almost an hour of quadricep-burning, lung-fatiguing intervals we ended up on the stationary bikes.

Except for our treadmill sprints we’d been talking the whole morning. I’m a firm believer in creating relationships through exercise because suffering together is a bonding experience. Marriage and fitting into wedding dresses, friendship and church. We’d talked about it all.

She looked over at me and said, “Can I push you on something?

She’d been “pushing” me all morning so I wondered what more she could possibly want.

“What happened to your book, Sarah?”

Ugh. THE thing in my life right now that might be the most difficult and most humbling thing to talk about. She wants me to talk about it at 5:45 in the morning.

Last year I’d begun writing a book and I’d gotten nearly halfway finished. A publisher contacted me and looked at my proposal. “I believe in you,” he told me.

My spirit and my heart lifted. Maybe this is it.

“But with the current economy, “He followed, “we’re only taking big authors right now.”

“You are too much of a risk.” Is what he ended with.

I’d known it was a long shot.

So in March I printed out copies of my manuscript, my proposal and the list of publishers that would be at my upcoming writer’s conference.

“It’s too edgy,” one publisher said.

“Have you thought about changing the perspective/format/main idea?” the other publishers mirrored.

I cried. I sat on a bench. Again, I’d known it was a long shot.

So I shelved it.

I haven’t written one word on my manuscript since before I left for Santa Cruz last March.

It sits there on my hard drive gathering digital dust.

So when my friend asked about my book on the stationary bikes, I had nothing to hide. I told her about my frustration, my confusion, my feelings of failure. And she listened.

She had “pushed” me, with the risk of my clamming up or worse being angry at her for asking a question that would make me feel exposed and vulnerable.

But instead I felt loved. And I know she asked because she loved me and was concerned for me.

I’m learning that that is community. Risking friendship, ease of communication and a gym-buddy is worth the closeness and intimacy that comes with both asking hard questions and being willing to answer them.

She knew my dream is to write. She knew that my dream is to see women healed. She knew these things about me and she was willing to participate in maybe the most beautiful and hardest part of community: confrontation, sharpening, questioning.

Because what happens as a result can be amazing.

Do you have a friend who is willing to ask you the hard questions? Are you willing to answer?

By Sarah Markley, The Best Days of My Life

Guest Post- Living Life with Others

This post was written by a word sister, Sarah Markley at The Best Days of My Life.  She sums up perfectly why relationships are so important to us.  I hope you are blessed!

I spend a lot of time creating relationships. In fact, it might be my most time consuming endeavor.

I take my daughters to the park and sit in the grass with them. We play with little dolls and horses and make houses with sticks. I chase them and look at their artistic masterpieces with wood and blades of grass. We are creating relationship.

We hire a babysitter and check the movie times so that my husband and I can go out on a date. We try to recreate life before kids for a couple short hours but we ending up talking mostly about the kids anyway. Relationship.

Invite friends over for game night, let people sleep in our home, walk into a church building on a Sunday morning without knowing a soul. Why do we do all of these things? To create relationship.

My to do list looks something like this:

Most of my items have something to do with people and maintaining or progressing relationships. It’s all about people!! {minus the school uniform and clean playroom references}

I write and check Twitter and interact on blogs; in it’s own odd way this is creating relationships too. I offer to watch a friend’s baby for the evening so she and her husband can have a night out. This is creating relationship.

Why do we make this our full time job? Why do I make this my full time job?

I think we were all created to be in forever relationship with one another but that because of sin, we’ve been broken. Once upon a time.

And then as a result, our initial desires and inclinations for relationship have been twisted and smashed. Jesus came both to reconcile us to Himself and to reconcile us to each other. He came to put us all back together again.

Broken things fixed.

Broken people make whole.

Broken relationships healed.

So when I engage in creating relationship, especially in broken places, it’s like I’m helping in Jesus’ reconciliation process.  Making new friends. Keeping old ones. Playing with and engaging my girls — it’s all a part of God’s plan to re-establish us to each other.

And it’s so much better than living life alone.

As Beautiful as Splintered Glass

Photobucket

This week at www.sarahmarkley.com, Sarah invited us to write a post about beauty and what it means to us. I have truly enjoyed following the guest posts and their take on beauty.  And, being guilty of blog stalking, I almost didn’t participate.

After all, I don’t think of beauty in a conventional way. That’s not to say I don’t do my share of obsessing over hair, makeup and clothing choices, but I truly believe that beauty is a shining light from, not even from within, but from above.  I have nothing beautiful within me without the reflection of my Lord.

I am a broken vessel. Not a little broken either, but shattered really.  Shattered into a million little pieces (mostly by my own doing), but gently…lovingly, put back together piece by piece by my most gracious Lord and Savior.

It’s hard for me to admit to anyone that I don’t hold it all together, that I am not in control, that I am not always, and have not always been a…ahem…good person. That I need God’s grace and forgiveness not daily, but every second of every day. I don’t like saying that out loud. I am ashamed of my weakness.

Recently, though, I have come face to face with this ugliness inside of me….God labeled it for me: broken. I am broken. And telling others about that brokenness, well, it’s really hard. But then, God showed me a picture of His love and of my beauty in it.

I was visiting with a friend of mine a one hundred year old church known for its stunning stained glass windows.  I was in awe of the beauty of man’s hand in this place, and I remember noticing that one of the windows was cracked.

I commented to my friend, “Oh, man…that’s too bad…that one is broken. I wonder if they are planning to restore it?” The priest behind us said, “No. That window has been cracked for over forty years. We won’t be restoring it.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Just wait a few more moments…you will see.” He said with a small smile and walked out of the sanctuary.

So my friend and I sat, and waited.

As the sun crested at high noon, the room was set on fire with light. Hundreds, no, thousands of tiny rainbows danced on the walls and the floors. Colors everywhere, some I can not even describe, chased and swam over the altar and the cross. All that unexpected beauty from a single crack with the light of the sun shining on it.

I realized in that moment that broken is beautiful…when the Light of the Son shines through the crack. Just as no other window will ever be able to recreate the effect that we saw that day, so no other person can ever tell my story of redemption. Will ever have my weakness to show God’s strength. Will ever be able to reflect God’s light in the way that I can. My brokenness…my shattered soul, carefully pieced back together can shine a million tiny little rainbows on the world…with God’s light. Now that’s beautiful!

Beauty isn’t about having it all together. It’s about being brave enough to show the cracks to the world and let God shine His light through them…then we can all be as beautiful as splintered glass.