A simple task, really.
Oh how naive I am.
First, we realized our leveling tools were cozily stashed away in the camper sitting in our backyard, which was even more snugly tied up in tarps and bungee cords for the winter.
Then, on his way into the garage to collect the rest of the supplies we would need (nails and a hammer), he shouted back at me to look up how to hang a picture evenly without a level. Something about tape or string, or??
This Google search lead me to finding an app for my phone that actually worked as a level! Score!
Ok, phew. Passed that hurdle!
So we head upstairs with our tools and phones in tow, and begin the process of hanging this frame. I showed him where I wanted it... that I had already planned out exactly how to find the "center" and how high it should be. All he had to do was bang in a couple nails. Simple... right?!?
As I was craftily holding my phone with its new level tool app open, it slipped from my hand and crashed down onto the dresser, meeting its foreseen demise somewhere on the floor in that deep dark abyss I like to call the "never-look-under-there" place. You know, in between and under furniture? ((Shudder))
After fishing my phone out and dusting it off (seriously, ew), I was happy to find the pink case I had on it did it's job and the phone was okay! Hooray!
However, in the process of dropping my phone, it sent one of our most beloved memorabilia from our honeymoon also crashing down, and breaking into three pieces. It was a figure of a man and a woman embracing each other carved out of black polished stone. (Insert crying emoji here).
The saddest part about this event was that this was not the first time this figurine had broken. Some years ago, it had fallen... or was dropped... or was thrown (who really remembers the details?) and had broken in the same three places it broken last night. I was devastated this happened again and was sure there was no way it could be repaired. I picked up the pieces and sat on the bed as the tears started to well up.
Jordan came over and sat next to me, taking the broken pieces from my hands and started showing me how they can be glued back together. Then he said, "See? Just like in marriage, things break, but we just take the time to put them back together again."
It would have been easy to just give up on that darn figurine and throw it in the trash. But my dear husband lovingly took the pieces into the garage and carefully super-glued them back together... again.
What he said just got me thinking about brokenness and restoration.
I just came back from an amazing women's conference in Virginia Beach with the ladies from my church. The theme for the conference was "Extravagant Love." It came from a verse taken from Joel 2:13 in the Message Bible: "God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, this most patient God, extravagant in love."
I was overwhelmed by the messages given by the speakers. Here are just a few key truths:
- God is sovereign. He has seen ALL OF TIME- and He's in CONTROL of all of it.
- LOVE is WHO God is, NOT what He DOES.
- GUILT tells you you've done something wrong; SHAME tells you you are something wrong.
- God's patience is more greatly displayed in what He doesn't do- what He doesn't give us (which is what we deserve)
- Jesus has PERFECT PATIENCE; God has MORE THAN ENOUGH patience to deal with me.
But God never gives up on trying to put me back together again. No matter how many times He fixes my heart, sets me on the right path, places my gaze in the right direction... I inevitably crash down and break into pieces again. But God's Word tells me I am lovely... He loves me enough to send His Son down to this earth, die for me on a cross to forgive the sins of all, so that He may have a relationship with ME (John 3:16)!
As Paul writes to the early church in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, he says, "We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation-- a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth" (emphasis mine). In other translations, "holy" is traded for "sanctification"- a cleansing or purification of the heart. Ultimately, God's Spirit cleanses us and sets us apart (restores us) when we believe in the truth of the Gospel.
This salvation Christ gave us is like the superglue that holds us tight to God our Father. And when the glue becomes dry and brittle... or life hits us with some really hard stuff... there is an unending amount of glue left to put you back together and draw you back into relationship with Jesus.
It would make sense for God to give up on me. To see that even after a second, third, or fourth chance, I still remain broken and sinful. But His love never runs out. There is always enough... and He will always take the time to put me back together, and place me high on a shelf where He sees I belong.
Jordan has been able to glue the figurine back together so well that no one would notice its cracks unless they were pointed out. Those cracks are just for us to notice, every now and again, to remind us we aren't perfect. They're sacred. Just for me and him.
My brokenness is sacred, too. Many times, I am healed in moments of privacy and intimacy with my Father, who lovingly puts me back together again. It doesn't mean I appear perfect on the outside, but I have the permission to be imperfect in front of Him. Amazingly, this love gives me the freedom to be imperfect to the world as well.
My dear friends and readers, if you're experiencing even a shred of brokenness today, let me encourage you that there is always hope. With God's love, there is unending patience for your situation, trial, or hardship. There is unconditional love from a God who never gives up; He just takes a deep breath, offers you the glue to put you back together, and loves you... extravagantly.