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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Better Off Broken

Notice the broken mug. And that is chai
tea with cream and honey--not coffee.

"Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My Presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow me to bless you richly through it."  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

read this quote yesterday during my morning devotion time. It has been quite awhile since I've read anything that spoke to me quite as clearly as this passage. You see...I struggle. I have struggled from the time my parents divorced at the age of 4. I can't remember a time when life wasn't hard. Sometimes excruciatingly hard. Those people who "skip along their life-paths with ease" and the ones blessed with "abundant energy"--I have a difficult time with those folks. 

I can be honest with you, right? I have dealt with insecurity and jealousy long before I knew what those words even meant. I try (really I do!) to be happy for people who have been handed an easier lot than me. But the truth is...I am incredibly envious of the ones who were raised by godly and encouraging parents. I often resent the ones who have had smooth, happy and loving marriages. I feel the sting of injustice about the ones who've never lost a baby through miscarriage. There are times when I am bitter about the ones who have a dad who simply shows up and who wants nothing more than to be a grandpa to their kiddos.  I am jealous of the ones who haven't had to endure putting a spouse's parent, a precious surrogate father, in the grave. I envy the ones who have lifelong friends--the kind who didn't move away or just plain move on. 

And how could I forget the ones with "abundant energy"? Oh, some days it is those people with whom I have the hardest time not comparing myself. Because let me tell you...when you are running a race with huge boulders in your path, you are going to fall down. A lot. And you get tired. Depressed, in fact. Life leaves you flat out worn out. Unlike those who are running on that smooth, easy path. They can run faster--get farther. Plus, they have fewer bruises. No visible chips, cracks or scars. 

But this passage--it caused me to consider something for the very first time. Maybe, just maybe, this fragility I have always deemed a curse is actually a gift. Perhaps being easily broken is what brings me the "opportunities for my spirit to blossom" that the others, the ones who are too busy skipping along, don't always get. Since I gave my life over to Jesus my sophomore year of high school, I have done my very best to obey His leading and call. I let the Lord choose my college and major. I even let Him choose my husband. I allowed Him to move me from one job to another, providing lessons and growth along the way. I listen when He asks me to give up something I love (like Facebook or coffee) in exchange for something better. When I break, I give God the chance to put the pieces back together in such a way that I am better off for having been broken. 


"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts."  The Cultivation of Humility by G. B. F. Hallock, 1919

Why am I lying on the ground munching gravel, as everyone around me seems to be skipping past me? Why am I always broken and shattered and just plain beat up by this life? Why do I find myself flat on my face every single time I turn around? 

Seriously, God...Why?!

Because the lower I get, the higher He lifts me up. And maybe this gift of fragility really is a sacred treasure after all. Indeed, I am richly blessed.

Ashley 


P.S. I am completely in love with this song from We Are Human, called We Fall Apart. Go listen to it!
"Isn't it beautiful? The way we fall apart. It's magical and tragic all the ways we break our hearts. It's so unpredicatable. We're comfortably miserable. We think we're invincable, completely unbreakable, and maybe we are. But isn't it beautiful the way we fall apart?"

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