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What if Things Were Never Meant to Go Back the Way They Were?

     Life has a tendency to break people. I know. I've been broken. The death of my sister broke me. The challenges of being a foster home broke me. The desire for perfection broke me. The need for people's approval broke me. The injustice my family suffered broke me. When my sister was taken from me, I broke. When a member of my youth group died, I broke. When my greatest mentor stepped out of my life, I broke. Nightmares broke me. Hate broke me. An unforgiving heart broke me. I know what's it's like to kneel on the wooden floor, staring at all the shattered pieces of the life I thought I had planned out so perfectly. I remember sitting in front of the metaphorical pile of broken pottery telling God, "I can't wait to see how you put all these pieces back together." For years, I waited patiently for God to pick up each piece, dust it off, and glue me back together.

     But that's not what happened. He didn't put me back together. He picked up a piece, swept some aside, chose another, and pushed others away. I didn't understand what he was doing. Wasn't the point of trusting God to "fix me" was that life would go back the way it was—even if I had to deal with a few cracks and scratches. It wasn't until this semester at college that I realized what I had so wrong.

     I wasn't a piece of pottery that life would break and God would fix. My life was already broken—broken by sin. Any attempt to make things back the way they were was futile because I'd still need saving. It was I that spent my whole life putting together what I thought was a beautiful vessel. Roughly pieced together by misguided passions and tainted perspective, I fooled myself to believe that my life was whole. When those pieces crumbling down, I thought "if only the pieces could get put back." I challenged God as he picked up pieces that I felt were unimportant saying, "when are you going to fix that piece," "when are you going to put this piece back," "here, let me help, put this piece there." I missed what God was actually doing.

    God wasn't recreating the vessel of a life I had built for myself. He was picking up purposeful pieces that he had intentionally let life break. He was building a mosaic, a beautiful piece of art made of broken pieces. His plan was never for me to have my way, my version of my life. He is turning me into a magnificent piece of art that will scream of his handiwork—definitely not mine. I may not see his big picture for the finished result, and he will most likely not use pieces I think he should. That's going to hurt. I want to hold onto pieces that he's not going to use. I want to remember things in my life that I think should be really important, but God wants to use something else, perhaps a piece that's more jagged then the rest.

     David was a man used by God for magnificent things, but his life was full of heartache and hurt. He says in Psalm 31, "I have become like a broken vessel." He knew what it was like to have life come crashing down in a million pieces. But he continues the Psalm. In verse 14 he says, "But, I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hand." Verse 19 says, "Oh, how abundant is your goodness." In verse 21 he says, "Blessed by the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me." David was broken and never describes God restoring the life he had once before without the adviseries he describes in this particular Psalm. The only thing constant was God's goodness and love. The enemies did not go away, but God was always faithful to David in the midst of his brokenness. God let David see his righteous love through difficult times, and that did not mean making David’s life like it was before.

     As a broken woman, I want to worship God with my pieces, offering them to him willingly. God is going to transform me whether I agree with his choice of actions. But, I don't want to hold onto my pieces so tightly that when God takes them, they cut me. There is fear in being transformed into a beautiful mosaic because I don't have control—and I like control. But, how much more wonderful can God create me to be if only I stop staring at the chunks of pottery, trying to dictate his hands.

~ Alyson


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