A little over a year ago, a glowing young woman was sitting at a ladies’ retreat. Her life was perfect! Within the last two years, she had gotten baptized, she had graduated, and now, she was newly married! She knew about hardships but they had never come very near her. But these facts actually made her slightly afraid.
You see, the woman sharing up front, her life had been the same way. It was perfect! God had been good to them and they were basking in His blessings, especially the blessing of their firstborn child. But then, hardships came their way. Their sweet little boy needed a heart transplant, he got cancer, their second daughter was born and also needed a heart transplant at a young age. They dealt with many hard, hard things.
Things that the young woman in the benches had never even come close to! But the similarities of the stories made her quite uneasy. Was her life going to be “flipped upside down too?”
How blessed she was that God didn’t show her what He was sending her way!
As you probably know, the “young woman” is yours truly, and the speaker is Cindy Mullet. She showed us an object lesson, and as object lessons often do, it stuck to me better than all the words she said!
First, she showed us a clean, perfect mirror. It didn’t have a single flaw. She likened this to her life before Austin got sick. As I looked, I realized that it was my life as well. My life was like that nice mirror.
But, as we know, God can’t use someone who isn’t broken. So she took a mirror, placed it in a bag to prevent glass from flying, and started hitting it. The glass started breaking and we cringed as we likened the hits to hard things in our life and the sound of shattering glass to the breaking of our hearts.
With the memory of the broken mirror still in our minds, she brought out a beautiful piece of art. No, it wasn’t a complete mirror. In fact, the new mirror’s beauty quickly dulled in comparison to this lovely work. It was all those broken pieces, put back together in the shape of a heart! All of a sudden, being broken looked slightly more appealing.
“If God can make something beautiful out of my brokenness, I want to be willing to be broken,” I thought.
God didn’t miss that. When He sees a willing heart, He uses it.
It wasn’t even half a year later that I saw my perfect mirror start to break. The rod of infertility hit me again and again till I started wondering how many pieces were left to break. I felt like my heart had been ground to a powder and there was absolutely nothing beautiful in that!
But God doesn’t break us just for the fun of breaking us. In fact, it hurts Him too and He would much rather not. But He can’t use us if we’re not broken so He chooses just the right hardships for us, not too big and not too small, and He asks us if we will be broken for Him.
Now I discovered a new part to the story the other night. After a rough day, Jon and I were cuddling before falling asleep and all of a sudden I felt it! I lay very still because I didn’t want it to end. I felt the healing touch of the Master through the warmth of Jon’s cuddles. And all of a sudden, I realized that, although God lets situations come our way to break us, He doesn’t just break us and then heal us. The healing starts in the midst of the brokenness. I could feel God starting to put the pieces back together and I could feel His love warming my heart!
I don’t know how long this journey will last but I do know that God is good in spite of it. This past weekend we got a blow that hurt more than anything had yet. Another pregnancy announcement from a couple that wasn’t expecting to have children yet. Since they are friends of ours, it was very hard to accept. The grief was so great that no words or tears could lessen it. We drove home in silence and tried to process, again, the mysterious ways of God.
I have been so blessed this week though. Again and again, again and again, God shows us that He loves us and that He will fulfill His promises. It was such a blessing to have sisters in Christ text encouragements because they feel for us. To hear this from my sister Imelda was a tear-jerker, “When I heard that they were expecting, I right aways thought of you and how you would handle it.” And to have her run out of the volleyball game she was playing to give me a hug soon after I found out meant so much! Thanks sis!!
And Utje! She was sitting there watching me respond and to hear her applaud my courage was such a strength. To have her care enough to ask how I was handling it and her promise to pray for us as we faced it in the evening meant more than words can express.
And my dear Mama. (Sorry, I just can’t get used to calling you “Mom” yet ;-)) She picked up the phone and called me Monday morning when I really wanted to talk to her but didn’t have the courage to call. She reminded me that God has a plan and that He is making a wonderful character out of us through this time. She encouraged me to keep pressing on and to keep turning to God, willing to learn the lessons He wants to teach! Thank you again, Mama!!
After seeing God’s goodness in those ways, it was easier to tell God again that “I trust You have a plan through all this”, “I know you are teaching us important lessons”, and “I believe that You will answer our prayers.”
P.S. Please join us in praying that our journey will end this month. Like I told some friends already, we would love a special reason to celebrate this holiday season ;-)!
A big THANK YOU to all who are praying for and encouraging us. Without brothers and sisters and family, we would be quite lost!