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By Tracy Williamson
Today I dropped a glass. It slipped from my hand as I was lifting it to the cupboard, crashed down onto the work surface and shattered. I knew as soon as it slipped that it would break but I thought it would be a chip, or a small fragment breaking away as it hit the surface. But it shattered, shattered completely. Tiny glass fragments went everywhere, all over the work surface, down into the cracks of utensils and electrical goods, all over the floor. As the fragments and shards bounced against hard surfaces they shattered again, falling as tiny heaps of glass dust, almost invisible to the eye, but lethal to touch or unawares put your foot upon.
It wasn’t an expensive glass, just an ordinary kitchen tumbler but nevertheless I felt sad as I gazed at the destruction around me. I swept as much as I could see of the broken shards into a dustpan but still kept finding more and more fragments. Occasionally when an ornament has broken I have managed to glue the part back in and make it almost like new again, but there was no way this glass could be repaired. It was smashed beyond repair, only fit for the dustbin. I felt sad that this was the end for something that had faithfully provided so much refreshment in times of need.
As I tipped the glass into the bin, a clear thought came in my heart, ‘What is impossible for men is possible for God.’ I stopped short and stared at the broken glass. Surely God wasn’t asking me to pray for the glass to be restored? But then I realised, He was using it as a picture of the loving, restoring work He does in our lives. Where our only option is to throw away anything that breaks, He sees us differently and in His incredible love and power can make the most shattered lives whole.
And suddenly this warm awareness flooded my heart. I had been that shattered glass. Innocent and whole at my birth one trauma after another had fractured me. The serious illness at 3 years that put me in hospital for a year at the mercy of witch like matrons, the abuse I experienced there late at nights when no one was around to rescue me, causing deep down shame and terror; the subsequent trauma of losing my hearing and some eyesight but because of not being diagnosed as deaf for nearly another decade, being classed as stupid from my earliest schooldays. School a nightmare of confusion and bullying all compounded by the sudden severe illness and loss of my dad to cancer when I was 7. The arrival of my stepfather when I was 9 and the ongoing verbal and sexual abuse from then on….Step by step I hoped for new things only to be shattered again, the fragments of the fun loving, childlike, creative, loving Tracy shattering in their turn until I became a shell, believing that the only answer was death.
But God did not let me be annihilated in that dustbin of death or hopelessness. Instead He brought me to Himself. He carefully swept into His own hands every broken, jagged part of my life. He held me tenderly and showed me that He had allowed His own flawless self to be savagely broken so I could become whole. I felt I had no use, that I was a nothing person. But He looked at me and said I was beautiful and that in His love and longing for me to be whole, He had died for me. I could not put myself together, I had already tried for many years, but within weeks of accepting His love and forgiveness He was starting to mend me. Love, peace and the desire to forgive, began to replace the shame, fear and hatred. He took my broken dreams and personality and gently glued them back into my life with a glue that could never wear out and crack, the glue of His precious blood, His forgiving love. Fun and laughter, creativity and confidence were born afresh in my heart. Each fragment He fitted in perfectly. Yes there were cracks and scars, myriads of them as He was using the original glass not binning that and starting afresh. But in an amazing way, as He held me, forgave me, wept over me and loved me, the very scars and cracks became glistening, sparkling channels of His love and understanding of others. My pain has become empathy; my terror has become hope, my anger and hatred, love and forgiveness of others.
I am still flawed and always will be. But with the glue of His love making me whole I know His beautiful light is shining through those cracks that once almost destroyed me. Moreover, incredibly, He has enabled me to safely hold the pure water of life that He pours within me and asks me to give others to drink. As they come and sip of that water, I see their fragments and shards starting to be made whole too and His beautiful light shine through them in their turn. He is so wonderful and I love Him so much.
Our ordinary glasses and ornaments may get too smashed to ever repair but in His hands every one of us can and will be made whole and beautiful again.
View previous Reflection articles
Not Quite the Damascus Road
A Home for the Lord
The New Age of Martyrs
A God of Second Chances
Acceptance & Rejection
More Thoughts on Christmas
Thoughts on Christmas
The Vastness of Creation
Home is where the Heart is
Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
Sticks and Stones
Beauty in the Chaos
God and Creation
The Lord is near
Having fun and taking new steps with our friends
A friend who stands where we stand, and weeps with us
Remain in Me
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