Broken but Worth Everything

imagescalyn33j-720x340You know those days…

Or maybe it’s the weeks or months or years.

The ones where your cracked and put-back-together self feels the spotlight shining on all of your splinters and glue.

The ones where your roughly restored edges rub up against and scrape anything within a mile radius.

The ones where you are SO AWARE of how many times you’ve been broken.

And restored.

Over and over.

jug-347327_640But with each new restoration… your ability to see your own beauty and worth fade.

All you see are the lines. The chips. The evidence that this which was once whole and perfect and unblemished… is now one more crash away from the trash bin.

Or, if it’s a good day, then from someone’s mosaic.

I’m a broken jar. I’ve been pieced back together more times than I can count. Rough edges. Chipped corners. Beautiful from only one angle. Seemingly value-less from the other angles.

But oh, how I delight in the treasure we have in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us! (2 Corinthians 4:7)

If my value rested in what is visible… oh boy.

But instead:

broken-jar

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (emphasis mine)

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, oooooh my soul! Worship His holy name! I am not defined by my cracks or my tears or my wounds or my broken places.

NO!

I am defined by my contents.

Bandaged up as I may be, fractured as I may appear, damaged as my exterior is… it is HIS life in my jar that makes me whole.

His light that makes the scars beautiful.

His joy that overflows to water the ground around me.

You are defined by what you carry. By the purpose for which He has prepared in advance for you. Others may see only marred clay or where His light highlights the flaws.

They are blind and broken too.

It’s always, always easier to notice the crags of another’s jar than to look in the mirror and embrace our shattered-and-pasted-together selves. To notice where this piece keeps falling off and needing to be re-attached. To see the stretch marks and wrinkles and gray hair and acne and thick-whatever-we-want-thin. To see our superior attitude and prejudice and negativity and critical spirits and self righteousness and apathy and quick tempers and impatience.

We see our disfigurement and cringe, ashamed and embarrassed and afraid that it’s proof that we truly are worth as little as we feel.

It’s always easier to look the other way and point out the rifts in another’s jar.

When we submit to this “ease” of escaping our own mirrors and the pain we feel… and target the pain of others, we are SHOUTING how much we need the truth of Jesus’ love in our lives.

We paint a banner over our heads to proclaim that we are only worth the quality of our container and at least mine is better than yours. Or at least yours is the one I’m looking at so I can ignore mine.

Ah, but then how we miss the point! How we miss the beauty and the glory and the joy that is ours to take and rest in.

 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (emphasis mine)

Oh friends, how we know what little boast-worthy material we have when we see our splintered jars.

But this is NOT where your value lies.

It is because of the fragility, the frailty, the weakness of our vessel that we can be strong.

Because our boasting is in the Lord!

And He is beauty. Perfection. Priceless. The Deepest, Truest Love. Justice. Mercy. Grace. Peace. Rest.

THIS is our banner.

That not even though, but because of our blemishes and imperfections, we make the perfect vessel for God’s glory.

You, sweet friend, are the perfect vessel for God’s glory.

And what could be of greater value than THAT?

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Let’s Flash Mob Our Message of Hope

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I want to FLASH MOB the internet with this message of HOPE in the hard.

Will you join me?

I’ve started a Thunderclap Campaign. 

A WHAT?!

I know. It’s sorta like this… I can clap my hands, and the people around me will hear it. But a THUNDERclap… wow, that spreads far and wide.

And that’s what I’d like to do with the book.

Here’s what happens.

I need 100 people to let me post, through Thunderclap, a message about the book… all at once. I’m essentially borrowing your audience, ONE time, in one moment.

We’re flash mobbing the internet on National Adoption Day (Nov 21)

But, Thunderclap won’t post if I don’t have 100 people willing. But think about it… If I have 1,000 friends on Facebook… I can reach those 1,000. But if ONE HUNDRED of us have 1,000 friends… then we’ve reached 100,000 people! HELLO!

So please consider joining my campaign!

You can check out my page (and exactly what will be tweeted or posted) right HERE.

I have had an unbelievable couple of days!!!

90 days ago I didn’t even have a book idea… but bravely, I stepped into Self Publishing School and decided to try something a little different.

The writing is easy. And I live the story, so I didn’t have to make anything up.

But the publishing! The marketing! This… this is scary.

Yet I have heard you. The many reviews and comments about how this book is changing your life. How it’s changing the way you see your family or your friends’ family… or even your own mental health.

One person said:

I’ve adopted four children and fostered many more. I consider myself a “veteran” and yet I still learned a lot from this beautifully written, heart wrenching, inspiring book. Whether you are curious about adopting from foster care or a mom in the trenches, this book is an invaluable resource.

Reclaiming Hope made me feel understood and encouraged. The author gave voice to things I’ve felt but didn’t have the courage to admit for fear of judgment. She gets it! This book whispered into my heart “Be gentle with yourself, Mom.” I am better for having read it.

Wow you guys!!!

So now my mission has grown. I want the message of hope in Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children to go beyond me. Beyond my amazing circle.

Will you join me??? THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

You can check out my page (and exactly what will be tweeted or posted) right HERE.

Chasing Glory in Patience

I’m raising two teens. Perhaps all teens are like this… but I find having conversations with them, at times, akin to having to personally, forcefully, remove teeth from their mouths. Their faces– big eyes, tight lips, silence… convince me they must feel the same.

But these conversations must be had.

Right?

And I lose patience. All of it. Navigating the manipulation-via-silence versus time-to-process-information may as well slay me. Sometimes it does. My patience, at least. Then I say things like, “You want a relationship with us… but relationships require a level of dialogue. Let me know when you’re ready to talk,” and I usher them out the door.

Ain’t nobody got time for that. (Yes, yes I just did).

Then I flop back on my bed and think, UGH! Will I ever get this right? How ’bout an “I love you, sweetie, and want to hear your heart. I’m always here when you want to talk” and then I just sit and wait. 

But I don’t have it… the yanking of metaphorical teeth is exhausting. Draining. It hurts my brain.

Then it hits me like a blast… right in the middle of my self-reprimanding tirade:

There is GLORY in God’s patience.

His patience to put off His due wrath and judgment so that a few more turn their hearts. His long-suffering… how we sin again and again against Him… how this world turns with such evil.. yet He waits for those few, that not one would perish to His haste.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

I catch a glimpse of that glory in my own impatience… the grating of nails across my soul to wait… to suffer long. The glimpse is to my shame but to His great credit. Praise God for His patience or I would be lost. May I yet walk so patiently. To pour and pour and pour my heart and sweat and soul into that which returns no regard… returns only big blank stares and stone hearts. How He must ache a million times over… and yet He’s patient.

When I deserve wrath, He is patient… waiting that I would lift my eyes up.

When I deserve judgment, He is patient… suffering long as a parent waiting for their child to come home.

When I deserve condemnation, He is patient… holding His tongue and offering His heart instead.

Where I deserve nothing good, He offers every good and perfect gift.

Love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4a).

“…God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Even when I stare with big eyes, tight lips, and silence, He is patient.

In my nothing, He is everything, and it is here His glory shines.

His glory is the beauty in my mess. It fills the emptiness between what I am and what He needs and makes it sufficient.

Makes me sufficient.

Even as I close the bedroom door behind my children and kick myself again for another less-than parenting moment… He is patient.

Lord, let Your glory fall!
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(Chasing Glory with my sweet Dorina Gilmore and a handful of our special people. Join us! #GloryChasers)