We live in a broken world.
Broken marriages. Broken homes. Broken hearts. Broken dreams. Broken…
Whether you’ve just lost your job, lost a loved one or are dealing with the aftermath of a broken childhood, there are times when we all just feel…broken. Sometimes we don’t just feel broken; sometimes we are broken.
Be it from the day in, day out wear down on our bodies, minds and energy or the sudden, harsh stress of a traumatic event, the small, subtle cracks suddenly burst open and we find ourselves scattered and shattered all over the floor.
Have you ever been there? Or perhaps I should ask, when was the last time you were there?
I recently read a tweet from Lisa Jo Baker that really stuck with me:
It’s ok to feel tired, rundown and broken as long as we remember to give thanks for the broken bread #RGTHope
— Lisa-Jo Baker (@lisajobaker) March 22, 2014
The next day I read the following verse:
“And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’” John 6:12 ESV
This verse comes right after Jesus had fed a multitude of people on the side of a mountain. Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish a little boy had offered him and multiplied it and used it to feed 5,000 people.
I had heard and read this story literally hundreds of times yet this time, something really stuck out to me: that nothing may be lost. Another translation says, “let nothing be wasted.”
What on earth did the disciples do with those twelves basketfuls of leftovers they collected?
Did they take it to the local village and spread the wealth? Did they send a basket home with twelve family groups? Did they send them to the local homeless shelter? The Bible doesn’t say. All the Scriptures promise us is that these broken fragments – the ones nobody else wanted; the ones nobody else needed; the leftovers; the crumbs – would.not.be.wasted.
I have been going through a season in which I am dry, weary, exhausted and…well, broken. To be totally honest, I had not been very grateful for the broken bread of my heart, as Lisa Jo so beautifully put it. I have been wallowing in fatigue and self-pity feeling quite justified in my low state.
It felt like all the pieces of me that had been broken off – either to serve others, or from the sheer beating taken by the storms of life – were being utterly wasted. Blown away in the gale-force winds of the world.
That nothing may be lost…
Why would God make sure to include this small detail of the account to be included in Scripture if He wasn’t going to tell us how He was going to use them? I am no Bible scholar, but perhaps it is in there for days like this when I read His word and words of wisdom from a Godly woman who seeks after His heart to remind me that through the hard times of life, when walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt, when broken and run down and not-sure-this-is-what-I-signed-up-for that when I commit my ways and days to Him, nothing is wasted.
Perhaps He is gathering all these broken, leftover fragments together with a great plan to sustain the heart of another when we are whole again? Maybe He is saving up these un-wanted bits to work a miracle of which we could not even begin to fathom.
Friend, are you broken today? Are you tired, rundown, weary?
Let me encourage you to bring your brokenness to the One who made you, and knows every part of you better than you do. When it seems that the world has eaten their fill of your heart and left the rest to dry and blow away like chaff in the wind, let Him gather the leftover fragments so that nothing will be wasted. We may not understand His plans for the broken bits, but we can trust His heart is pure, His love is strong and He has our very best interests in His heart, and His hands – so that nothing may be lost.
Have you ever had a God speak to you so clearly there was no doubt it was His voice you were hearing?
How about a pair of water-wrinkled feet with chipped nail polish?? Join me at The Better Mom today as I share How An Old, Chipped Pedicure Made Me a Better Mom!
What unlikely ways has God spoken to you?
If you’ve just clicked over from The Better Mom, I want to extend a warm welcome to you. I do hope you’ll stay awhile and make yourself at home!
I’ve been a bit quiet around here. Life has been…in upheaval. Emotions are raw. Deep. Exhausting. But when I saw the prompt for Five Minute Friday from LisaJo Baker, what has been the prayer of my heart the past two months sprang forth in words. And the words have been sparse. So I thought I’d better take advantage of it. So, here’s my best five minutes on
The words jostle to come. To be released; freed. So many things bubble, churn, vie for attention. But the words don’t come.
Pain. Sorrow. Fear. Passion. Hopes. Dreams. All to set free among the world.
But the words don’t come.
Pain holds them down. Fear locks the key.
The words I speak bring only death. Spread only fear.
So write Your story in my life.
Pen Your words on my tongue.
Scribe them deep on the walls of my heart.
Etched like marble. Tender as silk.
Because when You form the plot, death becomes life.
All the injustices of this life; the that’s-not-fair sits balanced and light next to the freeing weight of Your Truth.
So scribe them deep in my soul, O Lord.
So when I speak Your story comes through.
Even when surrounded by death, destruction, pain and nonsense, when I speak Life springs forth.
Let there me less of me. Less of my “good.”
More of You. More of Your Story. Your Life. Your Freedom.
Write, oh God, write.
I shuffled into the kitchen to fulfill my daughter’s request for cereal.
I had been up for awhile, but its safe to say I wasn’t fully awake yet. I grabbed the plastic pink bowl and set it on the counter. I saw two crusted bits of food on the edge. Meh, I can scrape that off, no bother, I thought to myself. After gathering the other necessary items, I returned to the bowl on the counter. My eyes had adjusted further to the dim light of the kitchen (and my senses stirred awake by the fresh aroma of coffee brewing) and stopped cold in my tracks.
Not only were there two crusted pieces of food on the edge of the bowl, but the whole inside of the bowl was crusted as well! I have no idea how I didn’t see it before, but there was no denying it now. No amount of fingernail-scraping would make that bowl suitable to eat from – it needed to be completely washed, and washed well.
Isn’t that how it is with our own hearts; our souls? We look at ourselves and think we’re pretty good. Sure, there are a couple of things here or there we need to work on – things that need cleaning up. We’ll be the first to admit we’re not perfect, but we’re not as bad as we could be – especially when compared to the dirty dishes still in the sink.
In the dim morning light of our lives, we take a look at ourselves and from what we can see, we can fulfill our intended functions without problem.
But once our spiritual eyes adjust to the light of the Gospel, suddenly a myriad of muck and grime are exposed. Seemingly out of nowhere, issues that have been caked on through life, trials, heat and struggle are blatantly clear – whereas before, in the dim light of our own understanding we were perfectly clean.
Just as with that pink plastic bowl, it’s tempting to toss it back into the cupboard and let someone else deal with it. After all, I have more important, more pressing matters to deal with. But the next time a bowl is needed, that crusted nasty is still going to be there needing to be dealt with.
Its the same with our personal spiritual nasty. Its so tempting to just toss it to the back of the shelf and let our future selves deal with the dirty work. But the only true remedy is to be completely washed.
To allow the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit wash over us and do the hard – sometimes painful – work of removing the gunk, grime and stubborn stains from our hearts. To immerse ourselves in the warm, healing Word of God. To fill our hearts with the Living Water and let it soak; let it soften the muck until it washes away easily.
So, how’s your bowl looking today? Do you need to take some time out and let your heart soak?
This week’s prompt from LisaJo Baker for Five Minute Friday is LAST. So, we write for five minutes – no stopping, no editing – and pour our hearts out. Here is my best five minutes on LAST.
Do you ever feel like when it comes to God’s priorities, you’re last on the list?
Your fears, dreams, hopes, deepest hurts and needs laid bare before Him and His eyes, mind and heart are elsewhere?
You stand in the middle of a fire, painful singe marks blister your heart yet your cries – like those in the worst of nightmares – make no sound. You try to run to the safety of the shelter of His wings, yet your feet stand fast to the floor, wrapped in the flames of pain, hurt, regret, confusion.
I’ve been there, friend. More times than I can count. Each time I stand in the fire I hope – I pray – its the last time. Of course, it never is. There’s always a next time.
But if I’ve learned one thing of these times of walking through fire, it’s this:
What remains when the extra is consumed in the fires of uncertainty; when the chaff blows away in the winds of terrifying change; when everything you’ve ever known is ripped from beneath you in the spiritual natural disaster…what remains is what lasts.
When I feel those flames licking my feet, whipping my soul, I wrap tight my spiritual hands around the beautified, purified, shining treasure left from the last time. I relish the refreshing coolness of that most-pure-gold against the skin of my soul and I remember.
I remember how when I felt most alone, that was when He was most present.
When I felt most lost, most abandoned, most confused, most worn down and beat up, that is when He was most tender, most wise, most patient, allowing the flames to take only what was necessary to produce the masterpiece of purified, sparkling, bejeweled glory that can only come from the pain of purification.
It doesn’t make the next fire any less painful, or the doubt any less real. Sometimes we are in the fire because of a choice we made. Sometimes we are there because we are caught up in the choices of those around us. And sometimes…sometimes the only reason we are there is because there is a beauty on the other side – a view of His face – impossible to see without journeying through the firey valley of the shadow of death.
Because it’s dark, you know, there in the midst of the flames.
But the beauty that comes when the flames die down, and the pain subsides and darkness fades and once again your vision is clear and your heart strong is a beauty that will last.
So when you feel like last on the list of God’s heart, look around and look ahead to the lasting beauty that awaits you at the end of the darkness.