214 || Stripped Bare: Reading Shattered For The First Time
The first thing my friend Randy Cross does when he gets a new car is scratches the paint with a coin. That way, he doesn’t waste a lot of time worrying about keeping it in mint condition. I used to think he was crazy, but the older I get, the more I think he’s on to something.
We spend far too much energy trying to keep our cars, homes, yards, children, and selves looking perfect, but then we’re disappointed when we can’t. We weren’t created to be perfect. And how creepy would it be if we were like The Stepford Wives?
Often we are our best selves only after we are bruised, broken, or Shattered. Think about it: when all is peachy keen, aren’t we more inclined to simply pity those who just can’t manage as well as we can? Even when we know better, human nature tends to judge others by our very own yardstick.
On the flip side, when we experience the pain of loss—unemployment, divorce, illness, the death of someone we love—these are the very moments we stop looking down and start developing empathy. We look up from our fallen world with new eyes and feel for the broken.
Broken, But Beautiful
Strange, that we must often be in a state of utter despair before we look to God. At times, I have been a “9-1-1 Christian,” falling on my knees only in emergencies. I was at my lowest point and overwhelmed with fear when my sister-in-law, Carol, sent me a Shattered magazine subscription.
“What’s this?” I wondered as I noticed a lovely magazine among my junk mail. As I read, I found story upon story of people who had been nearly destroyed by the death of a child, a fiancé with cancer, the pain of infertility, sudden homelessness, unexpected divorce—yet on the other side of their dark night, out of their sorrow they had all found a richer spiritual life. I was inspired by stories of dedicated individuals who, against all odds, feed the hungry like Fran Fluhler at Manna House or Art Leslie at Huntsville Innercity Learning Center who cares for children in need of love.
I found people who work with the hands of Jesus.
It made me think of crepe myrtle trees. They are stripped and cut bare in the winter season so they can bloom more fully in the spring. We’re like that too, I think. We have dark nights and painful winters, but it makes us bloom spiritually, and more fully on the other side. And while sharing our stories exposes our flaws, reaching out to each other makes us beautiful.
Join the movement. Share hope with a friend or family member in need of encouragement today by giving them a gift subscription to Shattered Magazine. For only $23.94, they will receive 4 issues full of inspiring stories. Click here to give hope today.