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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This is What is Real

Real is something I strive to be always.

Not just on Sundays.

Not just on Fridays.

Daily.

Because REAL is what I expect for and hope to see in everyone. 

Not a facade. Not shallow stabs at relationship. Not a false sense of security that guards the heart from hurt… ans prevents it from joyful living. 

Transparency. Depth. Honesty. Sincerity. Genuineness. Realness.

This is what is real.

I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.

I struggle daily with who is boss… me or food.

I have to choose daily to be intentional about “loving” my children in a way that shows it- not just says it. Because I’d often rather be curled up with a book, or sitting in a hot tub, or spending time with friends… then getting to the heart of their many childhood issues.

I’ve been married for nearly eight years and I’m finally a decent cook. It’s seriously taken that long. And I still rely on others to help me out now and then.

I hate shopping.

I am often critical of other singers because of my own insecurities. I grasp at the smallest faults to pump up my own scrambling ego… only to find that I equally criticize my own faults and failings. 

I’m a great networker… which works out far better for other than it does me. 

I long for the successes I help others achieve, directly or indirectly, in my worlds of writing, singing, traveling, being.

I want to matter. 

I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I know my inadequacies, though some may wonder if I do.

I love deeply… but you may not know it. I feel deeply… but it doesn’t show up in tears or shrieks of thrill. 

Real.

Christ.

Christ stepped into my failings. Into my real.

He gathered all of my selfishness, greed, envy, lust, self righteousness, false humility, anger, pride, self-loathing, bitterness…

He gathered into a mountain of my mess. It heaved, rolled, spewed like a volcano at its limit.

He set the cross upon it.

Died.

His blood mingled with the lava of my flesh, the desires of my old self… covered it.

My mountain.

His blood.

Real.

The rains came. The mountain soothed. The cross gleamed. The God-man breathed. I’m new. 

All of me… all of me is covered. 

I choose life.

I choose grace and mercy and love and hope and faith and redemption and peace and joy and gratitude and abundance. 

The Redeemer stepped into my mess and made it holy. 

Covered it with His perfection.

Called me to believe, accept, and enjoy.

My heart, soul, mind, and strength kneel before the one who conquers death, calms stormy seas, commands spirits, frees the lost, heals the sick… 

before the One who set aside His own life and comfort to bring me into His dwelling… so that I can taste and see that He is good.

That He who raises the dead can raise the dead in me, can calm my inner storms, can command my freedom, can free me from my slavery to food, identity, and insecurities, can heal my wounds and brokenness.

He can see the real me. 

The me He created, dreamed of, designed, formed, breathed life into with purpose and vision and calling.

Even in my mountain of mess… He saw me.

And I mattered.

The me I’m meant to be.

He filled the gap. Made a bridge from the me I was to the me He wants me to be.

Real. 

He fills my weakness with His strength.

He fills my inadequacy with His ability.

He adds to my lack of knowledge His wisdom and discernment.

He meets my insecurity and speaks healing words of love, acceptance, belonging.

He takes my empty and makes it overflow with a peace I can’t explain.

He touches my wounds with His stripes and I am healed.

He takes this orphan and calls her His own.

He takes this widow and restores her soul.

His cattle on a thousand hills are guided to my wasteland.

His springs run through my desert.

And I am whole.

Real.

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