My husband Don and I got married almost 20 years ago (I cannot believe it’s already been 20 years). For one of our wedding gifts, we were given the most beautiful china tea cup. The story prompting — that gift is precious in itself. Our friends, Jim and Maureen Lyon (who gave us the gift) shared with us that this was the china pattern they had registered for their wedding years ago, and each year Jim buys one more piece of the same pattern for Maureen. It is very special and sentimental to both of them. So to receive a cup and saucer from them was so very special — on so many levels.
We have had that cup and saucer all of these years; that beautiful little cup and saucer has been on many many journeys with us throughout the years. We have moved 4 times in our marriage years, and it has been packed and repacked at least that many times. It sits in a place of honor — where NO ONE can touch it!
One weekend, when I was traveling and the family team was holding down the fort, the accident happened. It started out as a simple game of catch in the family room. Which then escalated into a game of catch from the kitchen into the living room. And then kickball ensued into the dining room. At the pinnacle of the game, someone (who shall remain nameless), kicked the ball and it headed straight for the “place of honor” and CRASH!!!!!!!!! Down went the tea cup and saucer. After moments of stunned awkward silence, there was instant unanimity as it was spoken aloud by everyone….”We can’t tell Mom!”
And so Mom didn’t know about it for years. Because the family team had instantly super-glued it back together and placed it back on the “shelf of honor.” It wasn’t until years (yes, that’s right — years) later, when I was packing up for a move, that I saw the crack in the cup. ”What is this?!” I cried and was met with the story that I just shared with you.
They began to eagerly share with me that it had been super-glued, and “look Mom, it’s stronger than ever! You can’t even break it apart if you wanted to.”
I looked at that broken cup that I was holding in my hand. Then I looked around at all the guilt-ridden faces standing before me in the kitchen. Thinking about our family story of Beauty and Broken-ness and realized there wasn’t a better tangible illustration of God’s glorious redemption. Some of the sweetest moments that we have had over the years have been in our kitchen. And this moment was sweet, unexpected, and eternal.
I have heard before that “the strongest bonds are in the broken places.” I don’t think I would have believed that until I saw that sweet tea cup and saucer. It’s true. I think the cup and saucer would chip so easily everywhere, EXCEPT where it had been glued back together.
So… here is what I am learning from my broken tea cup –
Often, we set aside one of the most precious gifts we have; because we don’t want to take the chance of a crack, or a slip, or a chance that we could be seen unblemished. In the playfulness of life — in the journey — things are going to get broken. Those things might be relationships, vocation, health, finances, children…. Rather than hide the brokenness, bring the brokenness to the Great Healer. When our Savior mends the brokenness, we find we are often stronger BECAUSE we have been broken.
Brokenness and the healing of brokenness give us a fresh sense of serving others. The black and white of life becomes a little more gray. There is more grace to celebrate and to extend.
Because of brokenness, I can now have a little more patience with myself. I don’t have to “wonder” if I’m going to blow it. I’ve blown it. Whew. Got that out of the way. Now I can live.
When life gets broken and you’re in despair
He’ll carry your burden when it’s too much to bear
It’s down in the valleys where He’ll give you strength
There is nothing you have lost that He can’t replace
He’ll help you start all over again
When life gets broken….
In my devotion time today I read an interesting story. This is quoted from the Centered curriculum that our church is currently studying:
Dan Rather, former CBS anchorman, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Rather turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” To that, Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.” Rather didn’t know how to continue. He was baffled. “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”
Pat Wenger is one of the dear women in my life. When I ask her why she is so smart about people, she responds (with what I imagine is that same twinkle in her eye that Mother Teresa had), “I observe AND I do a lot of listening.”
Me being the eternal introvert, I actually giggled (to myself, of course). The truth is, sometimes I just don’t have words to explain the profound moving of my heart and spirit. So I just listen and trust God hears what I’m not saying in words, but what I am saying loudly within my soul.
Psalm 46:10 says quite clearly: ”Be still… (long awkward silence for many of us)… Be still, and KNOW that I am God.”
Most days, that is simply everything we need to do. Just shut up (that’s my SPP version) and BE STILL. In the being still, often we find we KNOW things that we might not have known — like the profound truth that HE IS GOD!!!! It’s that much… and that simple.
So, I’m learning –
1. Being still is easier for an introvert than an extravert. So, for being an introvert, today I’m grateful.
2. My friend, Pat Wenger, is one smart lady.
3. I have to purpose “being still” — turn off my phone, turn off the TV, not driving somewhere, not thinking about what errands I need to do. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to literally be still.
1. Try “being still” for two minutes today. Sitting still in your chair while texting does not count.
2. Then write down the first thing that comes to your spirit when your “stillness” is done.
Today, the first thing that I heard in my spirit was, “we need to do this more often.” I kinda said, “Um, excuse me God? Is that you?” To which I heard – “If you’d be still long enough, you’d recognize me!”
My oldest daughter Anna gave us the sweetest gift last year by the name of Thatcher Edison Trent. I have officially lost my mind. I’ve heard so many grandparents say the very thing I am now experiencing myself — having grandkids is the best gift of life. I get it. I don’t know why it takes us so many years to just chill out and enjoy the journey of life, but it does. And as I watch Thatcher-Man begin to explore and acquaint with his world, I observe in awe and wonder.
As an infant, Thatcher is completely and totally dependent on others to meet his needs. He can’t walk, eat, eliminate by himself — utterly and completely dependent. It is a tender and precious thing to watch good parenting. And sweet Anna and her husband Collin are good parents.
I remember when Anna was born and I so desperately wanted to be a good mom. I remember thinking, “I am going to be such a good mom that my baby will never ever cry, because I will anticipate and meet each and every one of her needs.” Can you imagine? From the moment she was born (and was crying) I became, in my mind, an instant failure.
It’s so sweet to watch Thatcher cry from time to time and to watch his parents ‘let’ him cry. They know it’s important for him to express his feelings. A little crying isn’t going to hurt anything. And if his physical needs have been completely met (eating, diaper, no pain, whatever) then it’s an important lesson they are teaching Thatcher — that he can soothe himself. It’s so fascinating. All of that from a little bitty cry… but if you know me at all, I like to look underneath the surface.
So, I’ve learned…
1. It’s important to express your feelings.
2. It helps you learn trust when those needs are met (as in the case of good parenting).
3. I can soothe myself and it doesn’t always have to be about food — wait, did I say that out loud? Ha. Yes, I think for me I always want to soothe myself and others with food. It’s a love language. But there are other more beneficial ways to soothe.
4. Sometimes you just need a good cry.
As Thatcher has begun to grow and become more mobile, it has been awesome to watch him take on his world. One day, I was watching him for Anna, as she was working, and I literally followed him all over his house. He crawled, scooted, pulled up, tasted many things, shook many things, was awed by many things. He wasn’t interested in WHERE he was going; he was just enjoying every second of the journey — sometimes stopping and exploring right where he was, then moving on to the next thing that caught his eye. He put the things he found through his series of tests — the taste test, the shake test, the drop test… I told Anna pretty soon he’ll be adding the flush test. He marveled and wondered, and hollered, and laughed. He tried to share some unidentifiable things with me. He took great delight in the journey itself… never mind the destination.
And so, I’ve learned…
1. Take time to see what is around us. Delight in it, enjoy it, share it, laugh about it, test it out.
2. Not to be in such a hurry for the destination (who really knows what that is anyway) — simply enjoy the traveling and the sojourning.
3. Life is a compass not a stopwatch. We have time for a few side trips here and there.
4. I have also learned that grandparents and babies share the same nap schedule. No wonder we get along so well.