He makes Beautiful Things...[audio http://shesingsalong.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/02-beautiful-things.mp3] I could hear her pleading with him. Her words flowed with passion and conviction.
I recognized the word. My spanish is quite limited but that is a word I remember.
Was her heart broken? Did he break her heart? Was his heart broken? Did she break his heart?
I tried not to listen as I stretched my legs. The Bug was playing on the playground. The Little Man had been lulled to sleep after the turn around during my run. (I am running for my life and the lives of those at The Living Room. You can read the story here.)
I watched her wipe the tears.
So many tears.
I have cried so many tears. So many of them because of the hurt someone caused me or because I have faced that fact that I hurt somebody else.
I have this very vivid memory of my first broken heart. It was 8th grade. We had just had our Valentine’s Day dance. That day at school everyone voted for the Valentine King and Queen. We all new that the King would be Adam. He was the one our girlish hearts throbbed for. We all had a feeling we knew who the Queen would be but that didn’t stop a girl from hoping.
That night they announced the winner and we all sat back and watched that lucky girl dance the special Valentine’s Day dance with Adam. It was too much for my 13 year old heart to bear. I went home and cried myself to sleep with some 90’s pop love songs playing in my ear...on my CD walkman.
Broken-hearted and vulnerable, soaking my pillow, I began to believe the lies. Real feelings of rejection began to take root in a young girls heart. The mirror began to tell me how short I was, how under-developed I was, how not-good-enough I was.
More makeup, clothes that reveal a little bit more, shoes with some height... “these things will make up for what was missing.”
Without realizing, the attention of others fostered a competition inside myself. How many looks, how many glances, how many comments will it take to fill up an empty, broken heart?
There will never be enough, beloved. You’re heart is broken. A heart cannot be filled until the break is healed. After a while the affirmations and accolades slip right out the cracks.
Let me take care of the cracks. Broken things are my specialty.
A still, small voice. In one ear and out the other.
Adolescence added up. Years and seasons divided by relationships.
“That’s when I dated...”
“That’s when I hung out with...”
People. Friends. Boys. Seeking belonging and worth in those who were seeking the same thing. We were constantly breaking...ourselves and each other...looking for those who we could depend on...those who would not fail us.
We set expectations. We put them on people. And, every time, someone failed.
At an all girls Catholic high school there were lots of houndstooth skirts, white button-ups untucked, socks pulled high to the knees, covering truth. Each of us broken in a broken world by someone or something. Old enough to have our worlds shattered, but too young to know how the shards could be put back together to create something beautiful.
I bring beauty from ashes.
A still, small voice. In one ear and out the other.
A heart can only take so much breaking until it just splits right open. After that there is no turning back. You walk around with a mess all over every place or you look for the miracle.
It finally happened to me when I was 18. Some people can go longer limping along seeking their worth from warm bodies around them. I could not limp another step along.
Heart-broken, shame-ridden, guilt-trodden, cracked open, I found myself in a heap in the lap of a best friend.
She pointed me to Jesus.
I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Come and sing a new song. I have hope. I make all things new. You are my beloved. I have great plans for your life. Plans to proser you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I want you to know that full well. Follow me and I will fill you up. I will heal the broken pieces. I will make you new.
A still, small voice. In one ear and straight to this heart.
One step at a time, one day at a time a battle raged. Determined to pick up my cross and make it all right I fought out of my own strength. I failed, over and over. But with every failure a wave of grace swept over me. Gentle and smooth, grace ran it’s waters up and over my head drowning me in something I didn’t deserve...something my unrighteousness kept me far from and something my new-founded self-righteousness wasn’t good enough for.
There was nothing I could do except surrender to the waves. Up and down until I began to learn to swim, not by my own might, but instead letting the grace-waters carry me. (It’s been 13 years of swimming lessons, my friend. I am just now starting to float.)
I said hello to the lady at the park with the broken heart that day. The Bug desperately needed to use the park’s facilities...oh, how I love a park’s facilities (insert sarcasm here.) I smiled at her with all the compassion and empathy I could feel at once. I wanted to say, “I know how you feel! Let me tell you about the One who mends the broken heart.”
Maybe I should have stopped and said it. Instead I prayed. Now, I am saying it, to you, friend, reading my words today...
Coming to Jesus often starts with a broken heart. An expectation displays the unexpected. An appointment disappoints. Hurt hearts are heard by a loving Father who never stops chasing us.
Tragedy and brokenness are the ingredients for the best stories. I am certain that if that is where you find yourself today God wants to take your circumstance, meet you in it, and begin to transform your heart and bring you into His story.
He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet, it was from dust that we were formed. How can something so fleeting, plain and dirty create fear and wonder?
He brings beauty out of ashes.
Just ask, and seek. He will show you.