One night last week I was using super glue to fix and re-attach the handle to an antique porcelain tea-pot. As hard as I tried, I could not press the parts together hard enough to make the cracked lines disappear from the handle. It frustrated me because this was such a nice collectors piece and I was disappointed in the results of my work. I knew that it was broken and that I would never be able to get the true value of the piece because it was flawed but I wanted it to look better than it ended up looking. The handle was re-attached with all the skill and effort I could muster but it was forever flawed and it never would be as perfect as it once was. It will forever carry the scars of the broken handle until one day when it will be thrown away and discarded with the trash. I guess that should be expected because the once perfect little tea-pot had been damaged and whenever something is damaged it never really is “as good as new”. Yes, it was functional and could be used again but it never again would be defined as in “mint condition”.
I placed the tea-pot on a shelf to dry for the night and I never gave it another thought.
The next morning, I was driving to the BMV to renew my license and I had the radio on. Some preacher was talking but I was not listening to it at all. The radio was just blaring but it was just background noise as I was thinking about what I had to accomplish for the day. As this man finished his message, he closed in prayer… and while I was not really paying attention something made me clear my thoughts and I focused on the words of his closing prayer. I heard him say these fateful words…
Lord, don’t allow me to hide the broken parts of me that I need to see.
Uh oh… I just got spiritually slapped up along the side of the head.
What did he just say? What in the world does, “Lord, don’t allow me to hide the broken parts of me that I need to see” mean anyway? Flashes of my broken parts suddenly flood my thoughts. Many of my broken parts are still lying right where I left them years ago… never fixed or cleaned up. Just lying there, dormant in the recesses of my memory. Some of my broken parts have been safely locked up in the corners of my mind. Protected… safe and secure from further damage. Some of the memories of my broken parts are like a puzzle… missing pieces that create empty spaces where something once belonged.
Yes, many of my broken parts have been glued back together. Some of these broken pieces you hardly see the crack but like the tea-pot, the scars of the damage will forever be there.
Broken parts of me that I have been hiding for years.
At least that is what I thought.
Then I realized that besides God there is one person in my life that knows all of my broken parts. I mean ALL of my broken parts.
I’m pretty sure my wife shouldn’t have to deal with the broken parts alone. She’s amazing, but that just isn’t fair. There’s a lot of weight there for her to carry. She deserves better than that. Plus she cannot carry enough super glue to fix me.
Not good. Not good at all.
I don’t know what the standard for amount-of-people-that- should-know-your-broken-parts is, but I am guessing that one isn’t anywhere close. There should be a community of people, brothers, friends around me that know those broken parts and are okay with them. People that know those ugly things and love me anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I know folks that love me….they just don’t know the broken parts.
It’s not how we were meant or designed to live. I know that God knows and He doesn’t want us to bury those broken parts in our hearts. He wants to fix them. Like the tea-pot He wants us to be functional again.
God knows our sadness and the brokenness we try to hide from Him.
I have spent the greater part of the week since these events thinking about what lesson can I take from these illustrations and I have come to this conclusion. I think we all try to put out the “best” of what we are for others to see. We try to convince people that all is ok with us and the truth is they have no idea of the burden and weight of the world we carry on our shoulders due to those things we hide. We try to hide that part of us we consider broken. Like a discarded toy in the bottom of the toy box, we think we have buried it but the truth is all of that “broken stuff” that we carry in our heart and in our mind keeps us from being who we are meant to be.
So how do we fix these broken parts of us? As I thought about it this week I just wish that God would talk to me directly and say, ” David… these things need addressed and you have to do quit hiding these things I want to fix” .
Honestly? I never understood what people meant when they said “I heard God’s voice.” Because I never have.
I guess I always imagined that it would be a booming, loud shout from the heavens above sort of thing. Or maybe a smooth, soft and gentle whisper, like an easy listening radio DJ. Or I’d be walking down the street and a bush would blow up in flames and out would pop Jesus!
I don’t know, really. I am not sure what I would ever imagine God talking to me would be like. But a definite, audible voice, right? Yes. I assumed I would hear a voice. And well, sorry, but no. Can’t say that ever happened.
But make no mistake God was talking to me all this time. I believe He was talking to me through the people He put in my life. I believe that over the years God has sent people in my life to help me fix the broken parts of who I am. My wife is a prime example of someone who has come into my life that has healed many of my broken parts. The problem is that there is more of me that needs fixed. As I look back of the road of this life, there have been other people who were sent to look for me. They were there for the broken parts. I just never shared them. They did their part, I didn’t do mine.
I have always been waiting for the right moment, the right time, the right day to deal with the things I need to fix in my life. That “someday” isn’t coming. Life has taught me this lesson well. ‘Someday’ is never coming. If I want to be happy and healthy – if I want to love the work I do – if I want great relationships with my family, my community, myself and God, I can’t wait for some magical event to make it so. It’s not gonna happen. The life I want doesn’t happen by accident. I need to allow God to work in my heart and expose those parts of me that need fixed.
So today as I sit here at my desk, I look at that broken handle on the tea-pot and suddenly my heart is over-whelmed with the these words…
IN THE BROKEN PARTS, I AM THERE.
I do not recall thinking that up on my own. I do not recall ever writing those words. But what I do know is the all-knowing and incredibly moving emotion that is washing over me.
Maybe God does talk to me. Maybe not in a booming way. Maybe with no harps. He is not popping out of burning bushes, or soothing me with his easy listening voice.
But He is here.
He talks to me through broken handles. He speaks to me through random radio programs. He talks to me by the people He puts in my life. He is everywhere and anywhere, and He is most present in those places I expected He had abandoned. Hiding in my wounds, resting in my broken parts, fully and beautifully alive.
He is there for you as well. Placing people in our life and speaking to us through the most random things. He is waiting for us to respond. He is waiting for us to allow Him to deal with those things we try to hide even from ourselves.
Today is the day… open up and allow Him to make into all we can be for Him.
Because make no mistake… IN ALL OF OUR BROKEN PARTS, HE IS THERE.