In the broken places

Trying to do too many things at once the top to my sugar bowl slipped from my fingers onto the tile floor. It landed on its edge. Just the right angle to break it. The only thing holding the fragments from flying about was the rubber lining that made sure it fit securely to keep out moisture. This wasn’t a Target or Wal-Mart sugar dish but an oh-s0-pretty blue set I found in a little shop in Nowhere’sville, Georgia. It’s been one of those days.

It started with a lengthy dental appointment, part of a continuing process to replace a crown that broke a couple of weeks ago. I’m sensing a theme here: broken.

It’s a word that often comes to mind working in the recovery community. A reminder all of us have some kind of brokenness, and why spell check doesn’t recognize it.

So many thoughts about being broken are tumbling through my mind it’s hard to pull one clear thought out to examine it. Here’s the mishmash going on in what little gray matter I have:

….breaking the cycle, just enough to be strong in the broken places (Jars of Clay lyric), we must be broken and emptied before we can be filled for prior use….

My eyes are seeing this little sugar bowl lid, its pieces held together by the seal. It’s broken, but held together. There are chips missing so it won’t keep out moisture as its intended. It cat be patched but not repaired. Replacement is the best option.

Brokenness often begets brokenness. It’s a cycle for some. A wheel that spins round and round but goes nowhere. At least no where good. To break the cycle is hard. It’s like swimming against the rip current or being in a country where you don’t understand the language. You try to learn but it’s so hard and everyone else seems too far ahead. Too confident. They don’t look broken at all.

But we are, I suspect. Maybe cracks for some or seams starting to pull. Or maybe we’ve filled our holes with putty and painted pretty over it so it doesn’t show.

I wear a smile over my broken parts. It does wonders to make others think they aren’t there. When really, it’s the broken places that have shaped me. Shaped my heart and taught me how to see others who are broken. The gaping holes have been filled by grace. Grace smiles big and loves hard. Grace isn’t afraid of sharp edges some broken pieces have. At times the heart gets bruised and scraped and you wonder if there’s any left to give. And that’s just the time it’s there.

When I first heard this song I didn’t understand the contradictions but was so drawn to just that. The last verse and chorus says:

Confused enough to know direction
The sun eclipsed enough to shine
Be still enough to finally tremble
And see enough to know I’m blind
And see enough to know I’m blind

It’s just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It’s just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight

I don’t know that I understand it any better but I know I see enough to know I’m blind. I know I find comfort that it’s just enough to be strong in the broken places. There is something, Someone, holding me together. It’s the seal he’s placed around my heart. Many times it feels strained and pushed to its very limits but I know it’s just enough to be strong in the broken the places.

11 thoughts on “In the broken places

  1. iamnotshe says:

    Oh honey, this is an amazing post. I hope you are holding together through the trying times (if you are speaking of some uphill climbing for yourself) ??? hard to know. I know you like to be strong for others. I hope you are doing a little better than your broken sugar bowl.

    I sometimes get scared that when i’m feeling peaceful and loved. I fear that it will be snatched away. Nothing is for sure in this world except Grace, and i don’t simply mean “love” grace. Sometimes i can only count on the grace of God to keep me alive and away from substances and things that will kill me.

    If i’m doing what Harper would have me do, i’m doing the right things. I’m so lucky to have blog pals too. So lucky. Graced. xo

    • Debby says:

      (big exhale here) Life just doesn’t stop and some days you feel it more. At least I do. If we didn’t care then nothing would never hurt, would it? Let’s keep living it big, melis. What do you say? I think you’re all in with me and I’d have it no other way. Let’s put our big girl panties on and dare anyone to snatch away our grace. It CAN’T be done! God the grace-giver and he won’t allow it.

      I must do a post with all the animals at my brothers house. A big German Shepherd that is surely ADD, a Pom that likes yipping at the big dog, Cheesenip the cat (so pretty) and Max the bunny. There are two turtles in a little aquarium but I missed getting their picture. They just aren’t that photogenic 😉

      We are graced, sweet friend. Graced indeed. XOXOXO

  2. luluberoo says:

    There is Someone holding us together…what a lovely analogy here.

    Some forms of brokenness are so deep, too painful; perhaps horrific childhood abuse or unimaginable adult hurts or misfiring of neurological pathways. Dr Gabor Mate writes these people need our acceptance and kindness the most. Perhaps they will never find the strength, or the faith, to heal their exceptionally deep cracks…but caring attitudes can make their time here a little more tolerable.

    • Debby says:

      Lou, I’ve no idea why this went to spam when you’ve commented before but thanks for the tip off.

      Agreed there are some who will never have the strength and if I take that down on its most basic level, I’m not sure how many are successful at having strength on their own. Tonight was awards night. I looked around the room at the faces of men who are doing this and found strength in them. I know I don’t have enough on my own. “Just enough to be strong in the broken places”. I just love those lyrics.

  3. katharinetrauger says:

    Thanks for this Debby!
    I think we all must fall before we really know which way is up. We all must break before we can see how EASILY we break and how much, much we need the Lord. And once we realize how easily we can break, we stop hating others for being broken. It’s like Jesus said to Pete¬r, “When you return, strengthen your brothers.”
    Holding you up in love.

    • Debby says:

      Katharine, wonderful comment, friend, and observation of how we often hate others for being broken. There’d be no need for a Savior if we weren’t broken. He came to mend not pat us on the back. I’m with you sister! Thanks for this. I needed it!

  4. Debbie says:

    My dear friend –
    I don’t have enough internet tonight to see your pictures, but I can picture you.
    How wonderfully you paint grace in the midst of brokenness.
    Your seal is not only a beautiful analogy, it’s so reflective of who you are at your core.
    I’m praying and I love you,

    “To be alive is to be broken; to be broken is to stand in need of grace. ” ~ Brennan Manning

    • Debby says:

      Oh, Debbie, of course you’d have a wonderful quote (and from a favorite) that fits so perfectly. Yes, to be alive is to be broken. I hope others recognize the label on the many pieces of tape holding me together as saying “JC”. Thank you for allowing me to share my brokenness with you.

  5. Heidi says:

    Wonderful post, Debbie. You’re in my prayers. This is one of my favorites. I had a poster in the 70s that was of an antique butter churn with nicks in it. “All things are beloved for their imperfections” was the script on it. Light shone through a window frame without screen or glass and highlighted a crack in the side. I loved that poster and I felt it was God’s message to me about me. I guess until now, I never realized how much grace He continued to supply–even subconsciously. He does love us just like this post of yours says so well. Thank you.

    • Debby says:

      Heidi, I have a beautiful picture in my mind of what you described. I’ve always been drawn to things with the worn patina, a few nicks and bumps but it took me a while to equate it with me. Life catches up to us and when it does, God is there ahead waiting.

      It was a wonderful time in awards meeting last night. Hearing someone share about his journey and some honest moments with the men on the painful time it’s been and how my heart breaks. We finally captured this story on video. It’s too long for YouTube but I’m thinking of some ways to edit and pull out highlights. Before it gets cut up I want to put it on disc in its entirety. I feel I need to save some of these moments as best I can. Selfish maybe but I hope not completely.

      • Heidi says:

        We must grasp and save all inspiration however possible. I have kept my journals and all these decades later, they show me His love, my brokenness and a bit of reality that I would have never had. Yes, preserve the present. Preserve your hopes!

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