Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is There Beauty in the Broken?



When I look at what I have around my house, it seems that I have quite the assortment of broken things. My furniture and décor have more than a few chips, dents and scratches on them. And some of my things are really honest-to-goodness broken. 

I have a china cabinet that’s missing the glass in the door. I have a ramshackle dresser with all the drawers stuck closed. I have a set of pictures that match except that one of the frames doesn’t have glass. I have a broken light fixture with the wires stuffed inside that I use as a candleholder. I have an old wooden ironing board with a broken dowel rod that I use as my sofa table.



I knew that all of these things were broken when I bought them. It might seem a little crazy to knowingly buy rusty, damaged and broken things. If I think too much about it, it seems that I buy broken junk, set it around my house and call it vintage décor. 

But instead, I prefer to think that I'm just giving this stuff a second chance at life at my house. It probably would have gotten hauled to the junkyard, but I've repurposed it. I kind of appreciate the rust and flaking paint and time-worn patina. I don't mind overlooking the brokenness and missing pieces. 

Maybe I'm a little like my weathered furnishings. I feel like I'm working toward a purpose. But stormy weather hits. After the clouds clear and the sun shines again, I find I've lost a little paint, grew a little rusty and had a few things broken in the process. But I find God directs me to a new purpose and I keep on going. Repurposed but never discarded.

And aren't we all really a little bit broken in some way? 



My life certainly has its share of broken pieces. From tiny fragments and slivers to fairly sizable chunks and slabs. Splintered friendships. Broken relationships. Shattered hopes. Crushed dreams. Failed ambitions. I sweep them all into a little pile. This heap of broken pieces looks a lot like trash to me. Not even fit for the recycle bin. 

I pack up some other fragments too. Circumstances beyond repair. Shards of doubt and disappointment, questions and confusion, grudges and hurt that try to splinter their way from my head into my heart. That chip away at my faith to make me doubt that God holds my life in his hands. That try to tell me maybe I shouldn’t trust him because I can’t see what he’s doing.



But I bring all of these fragments of my life to God. I gather up the little damaged slivers and broken pieces of my experiences and I hand them over to him. Because to him, nothing is wasted. Nothing is too damaged to be thrown away. 

And I find myself overwhelmed when he gives these broken pieces back to me, entirely transformed. My experiences haven't changed but my perspective and emotions have. Now they are mended and repaired, made into something better fashioned for his purposes for me. Something that turns out to be quite beautiful, unexpected and revived.



Last week I had lunch with my childhood best friend, Sammie. She entered my second grade classroom in the middle of the year after her family moved to Pittsburgh. She was always laughing and full of fun. Quite the opposite of my quiet, serious bookish self. 

We weren’t friends for long before her family moved again to Alabama. We wrote letters and our family visited hers the next summer during our vacation. I remember an endless drive to her house, getting lost and arriving so late, Sammie and her siblings were already in bed. I never saw her again and our girlhood friendship was interrupted. Broken by time and geography and the circumstances of life. 

So I was surprised to find an email from her that said she had stumbled on my blog. I was shocked to discover that we’d unknowingly lived in the same town for the past 25 years, a thousand miles from where we’d first met. 



We caught up over a three-hour lunch and it felt like we’d never lost touch. She was the same bubbly, full-of-life girl I remembered from second grade. 

She said although our childhood friendship was brief she never forgot me or my family and the connection we made. We sat there amazed at how God brought us back into each other’s lives to begin a second chapter of our friendship. 

I truly believe that God can restore all things broken. From friendships to families, from dreams to faith, and everything in between. Broken doesn’t have to mean discarded or useless. It just means there’s a chance to be redeemed. Revived. Maybe made into something different, but still beautiful. 




I think there's a miracle to be found in the broken. Sometimes I have to look hard for it. Sometimes I have to wait for it. But I think it's always there. 

It's the joy of a new friendship. It's peace finally restored after an emotional storm. It's a fresh burst of faith that breaks through the dark shadows of disappointment. It's the anticipation that good things are ahead after a journey through the wilderness. It's the certainty of God's grace and mercy even after a hard fall all the way back down. 

And I am confident that all the pieces of my life -- including and especially the broken ones -- are in the hands of the one who knows me and loves me better than anyone else can. May I always be looking for how God is making the broken things beautiful.




This post marks the 100th post of Grace with Silk. I couldn't have imagined it! Thank you for reading and joining me here in this space with your encouraging words.

I'm linking up today with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista, where we are sharing our posts on the topic of Broken. Click the image to read more!


24 comments:

  1. Now I know why I like broken decor too...well said...beauty in the brokeness. God love us and all out stuff! So exciting that your friend Sammie found you! GOD is so incredibly invested in us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I love what you said -- God is so incredibly invested in us -- this is true! Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  2. Beautiful, beautiful post. This might be my favorite yet. I can so relate to everything you said, but never quite thought of it the way you've worded it. I'll need to go back and re-read this again from time to time. Thank you for bearing your beautiful soul. - Shawna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shawna,
      Your words here mean so much to me today -- thank you for sharing them! You are such an encouragement to me!

      Delete
  3. Great article......sometimes it's the broken, mended things that become the strongest....and appreciated for the 2nd chance they're given. God is the restorer of all things broken....and is always there to give us all 2nd chances. Love the article!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sharon -- love that God is the restorer of all things broken!

      Delete
  4. I love how you take weathered pieces and restore them. But more than that I love how our Lord restores our broken lives. How special to reconnect with a friend from grade school. I am still connected to my friend from second grade too. I love stories of restoration and I especially love that she found you again through your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie,
      Thanks for stopping by -- yes, reconnecting with old friends is amazing! Appreciate your kinds words!

      Delete
  5. What inspiring thoughts! I love the idea of giving these beautiful items a second chance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brittany,
      Yes, I think most things deserve a second chance!

      Delete
  6. Oh, Valerie -- what a thoughtful, beautiful post. Thanks for sharing this. You have such great perspective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kristen! Your words mean so much coming from such an accomplished writer as you!

      Delete
  7. What an awesome and encouraging post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. "But instead, I prefer to think that I'm just giving this stuff a second chance at life at my house."
    A beautiful perspective. I'm so glad God has that perspective with us as well. None of us are broken beyond repair in the hands of the Master Healer. Thanks for sharing this and your pictures and your story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa,
      What an encouragement your words are to me -- thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. "Broken doesn’t have to mean discarded or useless. It just means there’s a chance to be redeemed. " Yes!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Valerie, beautiful post. Still crying. So glad you and Sammie reunited. Hugs from mom Sammie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dodie,
      Thank you for posting a comment! I am beyond thrilled to reconnect with Sammie! :)

      Delete
  11. This is so beautiful, Valerie. I love how you describe - "But I bring all of these fragments of my life to God. I gather up the little damaged slivers and broken pieces of my experiences and I hand them over to him. Because to him, nothing is wasted. Nothing is too damaged to be thrown away." And how He takes them and transforms them into something beautiful. So touching and full of hope. Thank you for blessing me today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trudy,
      I am so glad you found it hopeful! Thank you for sharing in the comments -- I am so encouraged!

      Delete
  12. "I think there's a miracle to be found in the broken."

    amen. just amen to your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How kind you are! Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete
  13. Love, love, love this post Val! You have a beautiful way with words, you definitely have the gift. I am so happy you met up with your childhood friend and can now forge a relationship in the present.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading -- I love to hear your comments! To leave a comment, you can choose an ID in the "comment as" box or just choose anonymous. Choose your ID first, write your comment in the box and hit publish. Your comment will be visible just as soon as I can post it!