He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~Psalms 147:3
Have you ever tried to break something? It seems to come awfully easy when you’re not trying, but breaking something on purpose was a little harder than I expected. You see, my friend Peggy and I were breaking our friends’ hearts.
I guess I should back up a little. We are part of a book club, and we’d just finished Angie Smith’s latest book, Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole. One of her first stories is about when the Lord nudged her to respond to someone’s suggestion to break a pitcher as a way to release some of her anger and grief. Afterwards, as she was looking at the fragments, she knew she was to spend time with God, putting it back together. As she worked on it, she brought all of her broken pieces before the Lord, and as she glued them into place, she felt God mending the broken places in her soul. (But she’s a much better, more powerful storyteller than I am, so please read her book. There’s so much more to it!)
We wanted to give each woman in our group a memento, a visual representation of the content of the book, so I painted a bunch of ceramic hearts red and added an initial to the center of each heart. Peggy and I stood on my porch, feeling silly, hearts in hand, poised over the concrete floor… but unable to drop them. She looked at me. “Do you think this is how God feels when He knows we’re about to go through something? When we’re about to be broken?”
“Baby girl,” I imagine Him whispering. “Oh, baby girl, I’m sorry. But I’m here…” Finally, we sat down at my dining room table, each of us selecting a bag of broken pieces and grabbing a glue gun. As we glued, we prayed for that woman. We know about some of the fractures in our friends’ lives, but there are surely so many more that we don’t know. That’s the thing. We’re all broken, just a little differently. Some hearts were split down the center, into just a few large, solid pieces. Others had shattered edges. Some breaks were clean, the pieces easily fitting back together, so well you wouldn’t know the heart was broken if you didn’t look closely. And others were only recognizable as hearts because of great amounts of stringy, hot glue holding them together.
What we came to realize is this: the glue is what’s important, not the individual pieces. Without the glue, the shape isn’t whole. It isn’t recognizable, and it isn’t complete.
Do you ever feel like you’re the glue — the only thing keeping together your marriage, your kids’ lives, your household, your relationships, your finances? I feel that way. And if we want to be realistic, I’d say that it’s true to a certain extent. I, and you — and probably most moms and wives and sisters and daughters and friends — function as the glue, holding together relationships, schedules, and households. The people in our lives depend on it.
As women, if we’re lucky, we can summon the strength and ability to more or less hold it together, at least on the surface. At least some of the time.
But as children of God, we know that we really can’t do it on our own.
As I looked at the hearts, held together only by the clear, drippy, gloppy globs of transparent glue, I could see what I already knew to be true: He is the glue. And those cracks? Nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they’re glorious opportunities to let our sweet Lord shine through. The solid parts block the light. It is only where it is broken that the light can burst forth.
Let’s face it. We can try, all day, every day, working until our backs ache and our heads hurt and our jaws ache from grinding our teeth in frustration, but we cannot fix it, whatever ‘it’ is that day. We will let people down. There is only One who can mend what’s broken. Only One who can transform a life, redeem it, make it whole.
As the rest of our society celebrates love this month with red roses and plastic hearts, let’s remember Who the glue truly is. Let’s find ways to let His love shine through us —maybe especially to those who feel alone during this month of “sweethearts,” to those women and friends who have not yet found a fulfilling, committed love, who still long for the man who will romance and pursue them.
Prayer: Lord, You swept me off my feet when You found me, and You’ve never let me go. Thank You for the mending that takes place every day, every moment that I spend in Your presence. I lift up to you every person who is lonely, hurting, and feeling desperate to find a person who will complete them. Show me how to do my part, how to reach out to everyone who is longing for someone to fill the holes deep in their hearts, and show them love. Help me show them YOU, and let them see that there is no one else who can bring such fullness to their lives, hearts and souls. Show them that you are the glue that will heal, forevermore, the broken places. Shine, Lord, shine!