For the person who just needs to know that this life they are living has value. For the parents who are watching their child slip into a world of pain and darkness. For the young woman who struggles to get out of bed and face yet another day. For the man who is losing his hope for the future. For all of you standing in the perpetual storm, there are those of us who have walked through it too and with compassion and love, are reaching back to walk along side of you.
This is a previously shared story of my family… my daughter.
The mother and daughter walk along the beach where the water just meets the sand. Her hair is in pig tails and the brightly colored pail is gripped tightly in her tiny hand as she gathers shells to fill it. I hear the mother tell her, “Don’t get the broken ones… only the pretty ones.” I gaze at my own daughter, a young woman now, her usual blonde locks now colored “Ariel Red” as she bends to examine shells for her own collection. She is pretty, so beautiful… yet so very broken. Today she is content and her heart seems at peace. The marks on her wrist serve as visible reminders of the pain she feels in the depth of her soul. A pain so deep and unrelenting that my eyes sting with tears every time I think of it. Some of the scars are healing, some more red and angry and my heart feels as if it could burst because I want to make it better. I long to go back to a simpler time when a scrapped and bruised knee could easily be fixed with a kiss and a Band-Aid. A time when I could rock her to sleep, tickle her back “sof-y-ly”, and soothe the hurts that she can’t express. The sharp, jagged edges of her broken places hurt me often and my mother heart longs for her to remember how cherished she is. I plead with God to heal her heart and He reminds me gently of how broken I too am, and of how much He loves me even still. Brokenness… it can be pretty; quite glorious and amazing even. Christ was broken for me and there is no other picture of perfection and beauty that can compare. I cry out in my frustration daily, but I know my Father sits patiently and listens with a tear in His eye, because He also knows the pain of watching your child suffer.
I am so tired and am learning to trust in God daily for strength. She is broken, just as I am, just as you are, just as this crazy world we live in is. Yet, she is so beautiful. She is so much more than this moment in her life. She is gracious, compassionate and giving, and that part of her being is seen in her love to serve and help others. Her passion is to sing and dance and perform and she has been generously gifted by God with these talents. I know He has great plans for her in this world. Plans to show others His mercy and love through her own actions. I pray she finds herself and that she can see herself, not through my eyes, but through the eyes of her heavenly Father where she is made whole through Christ. Jesus took all of those broken pieces with their sharp edges when he died on the cross for her and he miraculously put them together the day he rose from the tomb. She is perfect. She is my daughter.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
So we continue to amble slowly and quietly along the shore and pick up shells; whole shells, fragments, and pieces in all shapes and colors. They are all “pretty ones” as they are all unique and the broken pieces tell the story of a life lived. A story of having met challenges and struggles head on and of having survived and made it through those difficult times a stronger person. As much as I want to, it’s not up to me to put all of the pieces together. I just have to love every piece and part of her and rest in the comfort of knowing and trusting that my Father will take care of the rest.
As a follow up, my beautiful child will graduate high school in a few months and has been accepted to the college of her choice. I am so thankful for those who showed compassion and love to my family and to my girl as they walked us through this time.