Broken Yet Dearly Loved

Broken Yet Dearly Loved

Finding the beauty in the cracks...
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I love flowers. And I love that spring is the season of flowers. I swear, every time I reach a new season I decide that it’s my favorite, but actually I think I’m just in love with the creation that God cleverly designed.

And as I have observed the flower closely, I have found that it is complex and intricate, yet beautifully so.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmingly complex, and like I’ll never truly understand myself or why I do certain things. And unlike the flower, I think it’s easy to feel not so beautiful, yet just as complicated.

Lately, this complexity has left me feeling more frustrated than ever and has left me with more restlessness than peace.

So. Much. Confusion... Am I right?

Today, I read this…”But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that that all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4).

I feel so much like I have been destroyed and struck down, which is dramatic sounding, but life does that sometimes, doesn’t it? It makes us feel weak and icky—like we can’t keep living broken—yet God has set His treasures in jars of clay

Do you know how easy it is to break a jar of clay? All you need to do is let it slip between your fingers, and it will crash into a million little pieces.

Yet God chose to place his light and salvation in us...we, breakable humans. And all this so that He may be completely glorified.

Perplexed but not in despair.

When I read that line, I was frustrated because in my dramatic state, I felt the need to argue with God that I was indeed in despair… But then He moved me to search for the definition of this one word, and here it is:

“the complete loss or absence of hope.”

As I looked over this definition, I thought to myself, no. I am not ever without hope. As believers we never can be without it, for He has said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16).

God’s victory is ours. He made the world, and though it may break us, it will never break Him. Therefore we can never be in true despair, and this hope is given to us that we might be brave and persevere in spite of our fear.

We are shattered by this world, but made capable by our victorious Savior.

And while this world has caused us to shatter into tiny little pieces of a broken clay jar, He chose us, not just in spite of the fact that we were broken, but because we were broken. He sees our pieces and He will put us back together knowing that we are better now that we’ve been shattered.

He will heal us...bring us back to Him...return life to our broken bones…

“I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36).

I am so grateful that God loves me when I’m broken, because I am not a pretty picture in this state. But where we may see a giant puzzle and a complex mess, I would guess that He sees His beautiful flower. A chosen vessel with His hidden treasure inside.

But it is easy to ignore this truth that we are broken with a purpose. It is 100 times easier to accept that we are much too broken for this kind of pure love. We fall into the patterns of this world. A world that tosses aside the cracked phone, the stained shirt, the failed paper, the injured player, the mistake-prone person…

But guys, God is so different than this. He is so different from us. He chooses the cracked screen, the puzzle with the missing piece, the person with the failed relationship... He chooses us.

He renews our spirit and offers us Himself as a way of healing. He has this gentle, tender, touch that guides our scattered bits into something more whole than it has ever been.

Someone shared this quote with me recently that snapped me back into the reality of growth...

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone, The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes, To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” - Cynthia Occelli

I am undone. Cracked to pieces. And while it may appear and feel as though we have been completely shattered, we are only falsely destroyed.

See, we jars of clay...we are broken yet dearly loved.

This is the hope that He has given us...that we are finally shattered to bits, so that we might finally be healed. Yet we need to make the decision to believe this. We need to fight against a world that tells us we are too complicated or broken to love.

Remember this hope: You are not a complex mess or an over-complicated problem. You are not too broken for God. You are a cracked seed, ready to grow—a beautiful flower made intentionally intricate. A wonderful jar of clay, that is pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...nope. Never destroyed.

Broken? Yes...

...but in spite of the cracks, holes, and shattered clay...you, my friend, are dearly loved.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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What A Blessing It Is To Have Been Loved By A Grandpa Like You

No one could ever replace your contagious giggle and radiating love.

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To my newest angel in heaven...

Grandpa Norb, I just wanted to write to you to let you know how great it is to be loved by a grandpa like you. With 4 children, 4 children in-law, 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, we all know in our different ways your love for us. While you are no longer here, I am certain that you will always be watching over us and in our hearts.

Knowing you for 20 years, I can't imagine feeling more loved. Every holiday gathering started with you wishing a Merry Christmas, no matter the actual holiday. You always welcomed with a hug, and said goodbye with open arms, a kiss on the cheek and a whispered reminder that I am always in your prayers. Even with you no longer with us, I know you'll be watching over and praying for me as I carry on my steps in life.

Like a sunflower, you were always bright and smiling when I saw you. You showed your excitement when I walked in the room and made me feel lucky to be around you and overjoyed to know you just through your smile. You were the patriarch of our wonderful family standing tall and showering us with radiating love and goofiness.

Among us all, you loved Grandma with your whole heart and were married for 68 beautiful years. Watching her say goodbye has been one of the hardest things to see, but completely overpowering, the love you had for each other. As long as I knew you, I don't think I ever saw the two of you apart. The unconditional love that you had and always will feel for each other is one that I envy to have in my own relationships.

As almost two weeks have passed since God brought you to him, this is my goodbye to you. I will never forget the last good day I spent with you and Grandma together. I will think of you when I see yellow sunflowers standing tall and bright, and during thunderstorms as if it is you Grandpa Ray bowling together up in heaven.

I feel incredibly lucky to know you and have been loved by you for 20 of your 94 years, and I will always miss you.

Love,

Blondie.

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