Thursday, 8 March 2018

Broken for a purpose

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out. (Isaiah 42:3)

The following is a post I wrote a few years ago. It was to serve as the final page of a blog book I originally printed as Christmas presents to friends and family. I kept it saved as a draft, and when I rediscovered it this morning, I decided to publish it. I hope it will edify someone, somewhere, who is hurting, or just needs to be reminded of his or her worth.

        The smell of cut grass. When a piece of mountain wilderness is being tamed, it is more than just a hint on a breeze. It swirls around us for hours, lending a fresh sweetness to the day. Summer seems to tantalise us for a few days a week and then the temperature plunges again. Just to remind us that we live "above the tree line" - the highlands. In an Alpine climate. But for now, the day is sweet with fragrance and promise. I read somewhere that it is trauma that causes the grass to release this delicious scent. It is the smell of chemical defences and first aid. The lawn trying to save itself from injury... I prefer to think that it is yet another one of those intricate and beautiful details of nature that the Creator spoke into existence. To form part of the most spectacular symphony composed, the greatest work of art conceived. Created through Him, by Him and for Him.

When I sat down earlier to write the last page of this "book", I felt a sense of trepidation. Just like a photograph can never quite capture a moment, words can never convey what you truly feel in your heart. There is always a filter. Something that lets through what sounds right and pleasing, but holds back what may give the wrong impression.

At the start of this blog journey, it felt so honourable, something that could fit in with my role of mountain Mama and housewife. It was an opportunity to witness, truthfully and with an open honest heart. But somewhere along the way, I realised that I had lost sight of that. I had become rather pleased with what I had achieved. But at other times I felt so uncertain about the validity of my efforts. Quite often, I was totally devoid of inspiration or real enthusiasm for what I wrote.

But looking back I realised, that in spite of me, Christ shines through it all. He is the fragrance that was emitted while I was thrashing out my own issues, my own brokenness and need for recognition. He alone knows the way my heart fits together. And yours. When the words were mine and when they were His.

Walking alongside a few precious woman in another journey of healing, I have become deeply aware of just how amazingly unique we were made. And how intimate and personal our walk with Jesus can be if we become vulnerable. When we yield rather than shield.

Often, much of what I wrote was inspired by what our small group have been working through this year. Woman that share the same love for Jesus, but honour this love, each in a totally different way. At our last meeting, as we also reflected on the path behind us, I was struck by how, even though we worked on the same content, the outworking of grace has been so personal in each one of these beautiful women's lives.

So, yes - this has mostly been underwritten by my own experiences and perceptions. The heartaches, joy, challenges and at times, just the everyday humdrum of life. But the banner over it all remains Jesus.

At night, when my family are safely tucked in, and their deep breathing slows the rhythm of our home, He is the One that smooths my hair away from my face to get a last look before the light is dimmed. He comforts me when anxious thoughts keep rest away. His name drives out fear and keeps pain at bay when the moon is dark and lies creep into unguarded places. With Him I have overcome and will continue to overcome. We are seated with Him in heavenly places. Now is the time to live it out as a present reality, rather than a future promise.

Each day, He gently puts a few more fragments of my once broken heart together. Shaping a breathtaking mosaic of grace. Mending it for a higher purpose.

When Jesus entered our world through the womb of a young girl, He deemed her worthy, even if she did not. When a tainted woman dried His perfumed feet with her hair, he reminded her of her worth, although she had lost sight of it. When a woman without hope, went alone to the well to draw water, he looked into her eyes, talked to her, offered her living water - made her feel worthy. When a condemned woman crouched on the hot sand, waiting for the first stone to hit her, He made the accusers drop their stones. In Him, she had found her worth.

When in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to the Father for the cup of suffering to pass Him by, God turned His eyes away from His Son. For in His plan, there has always been, and will always be: You. Each man, woman and child, created in His image, made worthy by this amazing love.

Then, on that dreadful cross, with the weight of all sin on His shoulders, your and my true worth was declared. Remember: You were worth dying for.

A bruised reed He does not break, a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish (Isaiah 42:3). Picture a slender bulrush, growing by the margin of some tarn or pond; its sides crushed and dented in by some outward power, a gust of wind, a sudden blow, the foot of a passing animal. The head is hanging by a thread, but it is not yet snapped or broken off from the stem. Christ deals tenderly with our hurts, our shortcomings and weaknesses. Where the flame of devotion burns at all, however feebly and dimly, the Messiah will take care not to quench it. Rather he will tend it, and trim it, and give it fresh oil, and cause it to burn more brightly. Our scars can be beautiful relics of a healing grace. We do not need to hide them with shame. When a broken heart allows the light and life of Christ to shine through it, how beautiful it becomes!

And then, one day, when we breathe our last breath in this marvellously messy, broken world of living as His redeemed, - we shall see Him as He sees us, face to face, the Lover and the loved. The apple of His eye, so precious in His sight. Regardless.

I thank each of you for sharing and enriching this journey so far. Thank you to my beautiful husband, who has been such a support and a source of insight. Thank you sweet children of mine, for letting me be, all the times when Mamma's eyes have been focused on a computer screen rather than on your precious faces. The way Christ is reflected in the eyes of these three people, is the greatest gift a woman can ask for.

Your journey is not mine. God has your exclusive race marked out for you, and no one else can claim to know how you should run it. What I do know, is that Jesus has won it for you. You only need to follow Him over the boulders or highways that He wishes to lead you on. There will be fields of green, quiet waters. But there will also be valleys and shadows. He is with you. His perfect love has driven out fear. We can risk returning this love, in the greatest Romance ever imagined.

May you rest in the Shadow of His Wings. Today, tomorrow and into Eternity.

With much love and hope