I watched the vase teeter over the edge for weeks, but I used all my strength to keep it in place without touching it for fear that if I got too close it would fall. But eventually, the vase was too heavy for my desire to keep it stable, and it fell to the ground and shattered. I starred at all the broken pieces scattered everywhere, and realized there was nothing I could do to put it all back together. I had worked so hard to create this vase to look a certain way, and now each and every piece I held pride in was shattered. Completely shattered. Just when I thought maybe it was steady, maybe it would hold on, it fell. And now what? I can't just go out and buy a new vase. I have nothing. This once beautiful vase that so many people admired and envied was now just a bunch of broken pieces. And I didn't know where to go from there. I sobbed.
To tell you the truth, I'm still sobbing. I don't know why God allowed every piece of myself that I held onto to be shattered in just a few months, and just now leave me alone with this uselessly beating heart.The wounds are still bleeding and raw and ugly. But I have realized that I can either just lay in all that is broken in my life and wish I were whole again, or I could start from the very beginning and make something new, a new vase. I spent my life sinking in all different kinds of sand, but now that I have nothing, I can build my vase on Christ the Solid Rock, the only solid ground.
Where I go from here, I do not know. My heart still has no words, I don't know what to say to the world or say to God. But I get up each day and surrender. I give God my empty heart and tell Him that I am His and only His, because I have nothing else to live for. I have nothing of this world that I am holding onto anymore, so in all of my brokenness, I simply just surrender. I don't have much to give Him, but I think that's what He wants. At my weakest, He is at His strongest; I have nothing filling the gaps in my heart, I have nothing taking my time or effort, I have nothing but Him and His power that He rests upon me. So I will surrender to Him and learn to find contentment in weakness, in insults, in hardship, and in persecutions because when I am strangled by all the things that are making me weak, I am strong. I finally understand what it means to work only with Christ's effort. That is all I have. On my own, I do not have even a hint of strength to make it through each day. But Christ holds me, and I can move.
I moved through this day slowly, taking time out every so often to just cry and weep and ask again for surrender. I have to continuously ask God to pick me up and carry me. And He does. I was so excited for the end of the school day today because I was planning on heading to my friend's house to set up hammocks outside and just talk and cry together all evening. But as I was heading home, I realized that tonight was bible study at the high school and some of my friends who were home from college were hoping that I'd be there. But I couldn't go. They didn't know how shattered I was now, they didn't know that I couldn't face anyone without breaking down and losing all hope for life. I immediately shut out the idea and knew I needed time to just do nothing. Really, I wanted to go home and bury myself under a pile of blankets and not come out until I was in heaven so even laying in a hammock with a friend was a stretch. In my heart though, something was tugging, and I just opened it to God and as I was listening to music, I heard the lyrics:
"Lord let my broken heart be made to cure another"
God was asking me to go to bible study. No, I wouldn't be selfish if I didn't. I do need time alone to cry and hurt. But going to bible study would mean the opportunity to use my broken heart for the glory of God. God can't use me if I'm self righteous. He can't use me if I'm full of this world. He can't use me if I have no needs. But when I am on my knees begging for heaven when I have a duty on earth, He can use me. So why would I deny that opportunity? I didn't want to go. But I was desperate to see God work, and I knew He would because He always does when we ask Him to. Maybe not in the way we expect, but if only my broken heart was used to just say a single word that someone needed to hear, even without my knowledge, I would accept that. I feel as though I am nothing, so I will take the work of God no matter how insignificant.
I spent the next few hours in the Word and in prayer, preparing my heart for whatever God wanted to use it for. Even if that meant nothing, I wanted to be prepared. Going to bible study and facing a bunch of people who might be able to see my scars was terrifying. But with God's strength I stepped through the doors with a smile and a little bit of laughter. I sat in a small group of girls and allowed God to use my words for a bit. Eventually, the minor task became too much for my weak heart and I had to step outside and cry for a few minutes, surrender again to God, and go back in and try again. This time, God worked. I shared a hint of my pain and suffering, and also of my determination. I received encouragement back, and for just a moment my soul lifted. But it soon came to my attention that it wasn't only my heart that was weighing the room down. There were several shattered hearts here.
"Lord let me broken heart be made to cure another" ...
So I let those other broken hearts know that they were not, and never were, alone. God is for sure always with them, but that I, on some level, understood their pain and I understood what it was like to wake up in the morning and feel as though carrying myself through the day would be impossible. My heart hurt so deeply for their hurt, because it's never easy on anyone. But I told them that they're suffering because God is willing to use them, and Satan will do anything to stop that. They're in war, and war is messy and bloody and painful. But if we wake up in the morning and casually go throughout our day without even a thought for God, why even believe in Him? Why tell people you're living for Him? If you don't need Him every second of every day, you're not living for Him at all. So I told them that they're right where they need to be for God to work, even if all they can do right now is cry. I once heard a quote that says "it is better to have heart without words than words without heart". And I knew these silent broken hearts would understand that.
And now, as I am alone again sitting in my bed, I am realizing that encouragement for myself. I am right where God wants me, here in this shattered mess. God allowed me to be shattered, and left me with just a barely beating heart because He wanted to use me. My life is such a small sacrifice, and because I actually cannot get through tomorrow without Christ's strength, I genuinely feel him holding me. I am alive because I need Christ, and I find joy in that. No, its not the kind of joy that makes me want to sing. It's the kind of joy that will help me get to sleep tonight even though my pillow is stained with tears. And tomorrow, when I wake up I will still be shattered. I will still have to fall to my knees and cry throughout the day. But that is where I will surrender and then move through the day. And that is all I think about.
My friend shared an amazing prayer with me the other day. As I starred at my shattered world, I asked her how she gave her pain to God, because in the moment of intense pain, I just didn't know how. These are her words:
"God, now that I know nothing about who I am except you, show me who you want me to be. I have nothing left, but whatever I do have, I give to you. I give you my life. Take it and do as you wish. Nothing in this life is worth anything I have to give unless it is of you. Show me where you want me to go, who you want me to be, and tell me daily where I'm supposed to go."
I have prayed this these last couple of mornings, and even throughout the day when I need refreshed, because it simply reminds me why I am living. This life is not my own. I did not create this life so I have so I have no right to take it away when it gets hard. My time to go to heaven will be up to God. So instead of craving death in my brokenness, I simply pray this and surrender to God, knowing that because I don't want to live this life, I might as well live it as though I am just simply a reflection of Christ. Even though my heart aches at the sight of all the shattered pieces of who I once was, I hope with confidence that God will put me back together, and I'll be a new vase, filled with love, and reflect a pure image of the face of Christ.
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:10
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 1:3-7