I messed up.
I’m pretty sure I messed up, that is.
I broke my body, didn’t I?
I didn’t mean to. I didn’t intend to hurt myself.
The bruises and scrapes from childhood kickball, booting and bunting and sliding into home plate, those I intended. Those I wore with pride.
A lot has happened since childhood, though. There was a time when when I pushed it too far, when I started asking more of my body, when I started treating my body like a machine, cracking the whip instead of responding with tenderness and grace.
But pushing myself is good, right? Aren’t I supposed to clip seconds off my race time, max weight lifting reps, be the last one at the office, carrying a stack of coffee cups, eyelids heavy with longing for sleep?
I pushed, but as I pushed I began to near the line of what was good and was not.
When I reached the line, I danced around it, jumping back and forth like a kid playing a game of ‘you can’t catch me.’
After all the pushing, there have been days when I have felt like I pushed too far to come back. Somedays, the brokenness looks too shattered to become whole again.
I know I’m not alone in this. Things like abuse and addiction and so many others lead us to this examination of our broken pieces. I know that I’m not the only one who wonders what lies beyond the broken.
That’s when I find You standing there, waiting for me to grab your hand, to walk back to health, to sun, to the warmth of Joy.
Lord, speak to me. Lord, I choose to take Your hand.
I lie down on the mat, inhaling, exhaling.
I feel my body – the twitches of muscles, the tightness, the cracks and pops that make me sound like an old cabin floor.
Instead of fighting and questioning, I listen to You:
I know you’re broken.
And it’s OK.
The pieces that you hold in your hands -the fragments that have been chipped, nicked and crushed- you think that they’re useless now.
I watch you try to glue them back together, attempting to make yourself seem perfect.
Then the foundation shifts and the pieces tumble down again.
I wish that you could see My perspective, for I believe those broken pieces are beautiful.
I know each and every piece down to the individual fibers.
I know that they are good, that they are still alive and that they will be restored.
Just wait, My child; I am not finished yet.
Be patient, sweet daughter. Don’t throw yourself away just because you can’t see what’s ahead.
Do you cry each night in the darkness, mourning the absence of sun-filled sky? Or do you sleep peacefully, trusting that tomorrow when you wake, I will send her to rise again as I have done each morning of your existence and long before you were born.
Don’t you know that in the darkness I am healing you? Won’t you trust that I, who created you, will also mend you, tending to your every need?
As I place the pieces back together, I am not fitting them into the you of your yesterday. I am creating something new. Something more beautiful than you could ever ask or imagine.
I’m not here to make a quick fix. You are not expendable. You are here for a purpose, so the parts I use take time to make. They are precious. You are made of precious things.
These pieces –the ones you see as broken and hurting- know that they are the most colorful parts of your story. When people see them, do not hide them. Someday, when people ask about them, you will look them in the eye and tell your story, the story of how you thought you were wasted, but how that was so far from the truth.
You will speak about pain, real pain, and how you wished for it to be over.
You will tell about the times when you cried, pleading to take it back, begging for a redo.
You will detail the darkest hours, hours that were spent waiting in uncertainty and stillness.
But you will also be able to say those darkest hours turned out to be the greatest strength for your finest hours. One day, you will discover that the broken had a deep and rich purpose. One day, you will find your brokenness to be one of the greatest blessings.
I know that you cannot see it now, but know that is for your good.
If you saw it, it wouldn’t be faith. If you didn’t feel this broken, there would be no reason for you to be healed, to be new, to be hope.
Because that’s why I made you, child, to be hope. Hope doesn’t come from easy or perfection. Hope comes from ashes.
You are living, breathing hope.