Broken In Pieces
One morning, not too long ago, I was sitting at the table reading. I looked over at the counter and noticed a broken figurine of my daughters that needed to be glued back together. The head was laying there along with the body and the legs. “Lord”, I said, “That’s how I feel, broken in pieces.” With tears streaming down my face, I prayed, “Lord you’re going to have to put me back together again. I can’t do this without You.”
Both of my children had moved out at the same time. My son moved to Heaven and my daughter moved to San Antonio. Thank God, I can drive to see my daughter. But I won’t be able to see my son till I move to Heaven myself. Wow! What a tough Mother’s Day this will be.
Have you ever felt like you’ve been broken in pieces? Your life is not going the way you thought it should. A love one passes away you believed would live. A marriage breaks up you just knew would be restored. Your finances or relationships with your children shattered. You’ve been abused in some way. Job 17:11 says,
“My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken.”
This is definitely not a very comfortable place to inhabit. You may not feel like reading your Bible and you may not even feel like praying. But when you look to Jesus to heal your brokenness, it’s the safest place to dwell during a very difficult season of your life. The Word reminds us in Psalm 34:18 (The Message),
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
If all you can do is cry out to the Lord for help, then do it!
Yesterday, I was having lunch with some friends. I was telling them that every time another bottle is filled with my tears, Byron, my son is probably saying, “Oh gosh, it’s just my mother. She’s missing me again!” Like David prayed in Psalms 56:8 (NLT),
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Just look what the next verse says,
“On the very day I call to you for help, my enemies will retreat. This I know: God is on my side.” (Psalms 56:9)
The next sentence out of one of my son’s Devotions causes us to be optimistic: “No matter how bleak today may look, there is always change on the horizon for those of us who have the faith to believe.” Byron Bohnert
Will you have the faith to believe that God can bring change to your situation? He is the One who can put the pieces of your life back together making you stronger than you were before. By leaning on God, He will cause you to look at your brokenness in a positive way.
As I was praying about Mother’s Day, I was asking God how I am going to get through this holiday without my son. I believe He said that you will get through it because you will celebrate that you were able to be Byron’s mom. Well, the Lord did it again! He turned my negative into a positive.
Be encouraged by these words from Isaiah 61:3(CEV), “He sent me to give them flowers in place of their sorrow, olive oil in place of tears, and joyous praise in place of broken hearts. They will be called “Trees of Justice,” planted by the LORD to honor his name.”
Give God All the Broken Pieces
Abuse? Alcoholism? Bullying? Do you believe God can’t use all the broken pieces of your past? Think again!
During my seminary studies, I was fascinated by a story of a missionary named Mary Slessor whom God used to save the lives of abandoned infants in the jungles of Africa. It wasn’t her mission or passion that intrigued me, but rather the painful childhood journey that prepared her for the call God would place on her life. It seemed that early on, Mary resolved to give God all the broken pieces.
Mary Slessor grew up in the slums of Scotland in a poor and abusive home where she frequently witnessed her mother being battered by her alcoholic father. When Mary was just seven years old, she began to taunt her father when he returned home from work in an effort to deflect his rage from her mother. She would then tire him out as she raced through the house as he tried to catch her. Mary was petite for her age and often, but not always, succeeding in escaping his wrath. A few years later, when Mary was only 11, she was sent to work at the local mill, where she worked and went to school 12 hours a day. In her precious spare time, Mary decided to start a Bible study for the street children in her poor neighborhood; however, a local bully was threatening her and the other children. Though younger and smaller than he, Mary stood her ground and in an ironic twist, the bully became her group’s most loyal guardian and protector.
In her 20s, Mary Slessor came to admire the work of missionary David Livingstone and wanted to follow in his footsteps. She set her sights on Africa at a time when it was nearly unheard of for single women to enter the mission field. Upon arriving in Africa, Mary discovered hundreds of slain or abandoned twin babies and their outcast mothers, who were rejected because the villagers believed that twin children were conceived by the devil. Filled with compassion and the Truth of God’s Word, Mary began rescuing the children, caring for the women, and introducing God’s love to the people. Her years enduring abuse, bullies, and threats prepared this petite fiery redhead to confront even the most imposing of African chiefs – quickly winning them over, earning both their respect and the freedom to minister to their women and children.
Is there something in your past that you believe is holding you back from God doing a marvelous work in your life? What if you were to give God all the broken pieces and let Him use those very things to pave a path to reach others with the glorious news of Jesus Christ?
Each of us, with all of our triumphs and failures, joys and heartbreaks, scars and all, have been given an opportunity to make a difference in the world. Do not underestimate what God can do with a life solely surrendered to Him. Give God all the broken pieces for who knows if you are where you are today “for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
“If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39 ESV, selected)
Jesus is Greater than the Ashes – Crosswalk the Devotional – March 2
Why Jesus Came: He Is Greater than the Ashes
By Debbie McDaniel
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3
Throughout the Bible and ancient practices, ashes have often been the symbol of deep repentance and grief. As the days of Lent are acknowledged each year, we see all around us the visual reminders of ashes on foreheads, and are reminded of this one Truth, “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19
Not exactly a nice thought to get your day going. But the reality of it all sinks in deep. Because, as many of us know, life is not always “happy.” Sometimes, it’s difficult. We feel pain, loneliness, even deep grief and despair.
You may understand if…
– You’ve ever lost a loved one or had to say good-bye too soon, left to journey through dark days of grief, wondering if you’d ever be able to carry on without them at your side…
– You’ve ever received a hard diagnosis, faced the fear of the unknown, and felt the effects of disease and pain…
– You’ve ever set at the bedside of a dying friend, and held a hand that once was strong, whose life had been cut short from the ravages of cancer…
– You’ve ever been to a funeral for a sweet baby, or a precious child, and watched endless tears flow from hurting souls of a Mama and Daddy….
– You’ve ever been deeply wounded, betrayed, abused, or mistreated…
It’s true, life is not always easy. It deals harshly sometimes, it seems unfair, and we may wonder where God is, or why He didn’t stop that difficult event or illness from happening.
Job was there too. This righteous man who loved and honored God. Yet he lost everything. It crumbled around him, all he held dear. And he knew without God, he was nothing. And we find him in the beginning of the book of Job, “…he sat in the ashes.” Job 2:8
Daniel was there. He and the people had suffered under captivity, he prayed to God on behalf of his people, that God would have mercy. He repented, and confessed his own sin, his deep need for Him. He knew where true strength and help came from, “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3
Tamar was there. She had trusted and yet was betrayed. David’s own daughter had been taken advantage of, then was left on her own, alone, with no hope for her future, to pick up the broken pieces of shattered life. “And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.” 2 Samuel 13:19
And in their times of ashes, they may have wondered too…
Where was God in it all? Deep grief, crime, captivity, illness, death of loved ones, shattered hope, and broken dreams?
His Truth says this: He was there, in the midst of it.
And though we may not always see it, or feel it, or even understand it, we can know beyond a doubt, that He is with us now too. Always.
Jesus came to bring life, freedom, restoration, redemption, healing, favor, goodness, joy, and so much more. He came to trade our brokenness and ashes for hope and beauty. He will never waste our pain, but will bring His greater purposes from it all. We can trust Him even in the most difficult of days and know that the ashes on our lives will fade away, as His beauty within us shines brightly through.