Beauty in the Broken


Winter worn fields lay colorless and unkempt, the dry stalks of last years splendor were crunching underneath each step I took. I saw her twisted form at the corner of the field, a leafless, irregular figure winding up to the heavens. Clearly her life had been a journey... one of struggle as she sought after the light. 

  To the left and right there were straight trees, evergreens, and trees that bore fruit but her branches were stripped white.  Her leaves long gone from giving year after year.  The evidence piled at the base of her trunk, memories of days filled with more hope and promise lay buried in the brambles that had overtaken her feet.

 I can relate to that tree. My life has taken so many unexpected turns. At first the path is bright and full of expectancy until trials come that bring darkness, doubt, and fear.

Marital struggles, cancer, loss of a job, pandemic, loss of a loved one, depression, Alzheimers, miscarriage, anxiety. Everyday life can turn upside down in a minute and the joy we experienced just yesterday can be replaced with the inky blackness of fear. The kind that overtakes and threatens to blot out even the slightest hint of assurance.

When perspective is lost it is easy to become ensnared by poor thinking and get stuck.

  In these circumstances I have found it vital to rely on others, be in God's Word, and listen to the still, small voice inside to help me push back the shadow, trudge through the prickly snares and find my way once again.

Each struggle is different from the one before. Some last for a season and others a moment but how we traverse each is significant. The key is to keep moving (even if it is just baby steps), rather than staying put and conforming to that around us. Just as the tree bends and moves to find the best path to reach the sunlight in order to survive, we must do the same.

   This bending and readjusting is a journey. We learn a lot about what we believe and about ourselves along the way. The turbulent times are not always huge catastrophic events. Often times, the struggle is in the day to day moments. For me this can come in the form of anxiety tapping on my shoulder while doing the dishes, whispering in my ear and pointing out my short comings, telling me that I am not good enough. Fear and doubt creep up close and with them they bring the shadow. My brain goes in a hundred different directions thinking of various scenarios where I could have done better. Before I know it I have been blindsided by the darkness. The thorny brambles start to pull and tug, piercing the exposed parts of myself that are so sensitive. "If only you had done this or said that". I start going down old, destructive paths when I realize how much I hate those feelings of shame, confusion, and agitation. I exhale the trepidation as I reevaluate. I remind myself of the truth, I look for the joy, and the gloom starts to dissipate taking with it the brambles that were becoming ensnared in my mind. The darkness flees and I am in bathed in the light once again.

I breathe in deeply the goodness of grace 
and with it the life giving breath of hope. 
As I surrender my worry and fear
 to the God who sees me, 
I find
 rest for my soul.

Life is messy, complicated, and uncertain.  But we don't grow without pain. It is through the trials where we are refined and it is in these moments of uncertainty where we realize our need for Him and for others. Reality is that oftentimes our faith is messy and falters. Do not lose hope!

Hold onto FAITH,
 even if it is unraveling. 
For when all that remains is but a thread, 
that is where God is.

Cling to that remnant... for it can be made whole again.  Surround yourself with those who will intercede for you while you are being restored, don't hide the struggle. They will help you stay in the light and speak words to you that will make your soul stronger. They will allow you to ask hard questions and be real as your wavering faith struggles to find the truth.

In our weakness, as broken as we are, as fragile as our faith may be, God can still bring forth  beautiful things.

  The stark white trunk of the barren tree still stands. She did not fall over in spite of the winds buffeting her, her roots were strong.  When the heavy winter snow threatened to break her she remained steadfast. Although  she lacks leaves it did not keep her from offering her branches as a sanctuary to the birds of the air. She stands at the edge of the field, her form offering hope and healing for my weary heart, a reminder of what the Lord can do with a broken vessel.

What truth do you need to remind yourself of today to keep the shadows from stealing your light? Please leave me a comment below.

Standing a little taller,