Last Friday night, I decided to make some popcorn for my boys while they watched a movie. There were only a few days left of their Christmas break, and we were soaking up some family time.
I LOVE popcorn! So I was so excited to be making some. The popcorn bowls were stored in the lower cabinet by the stove, so I bent down to get them out. As I was reaching for the bowls, my arm hit some of the casserole dishes that were stored in there too, and two of them slid out and fell on the floor with a loud breaking crash.
I froze as I looked down to see what had just happened.
There on the floor lay two broken casserole dishes. Not just any two dishes.
One glass casserole dish used to be my grandmother’s. It still had her handwriting on a piece of tape on the bottom of the dish with her name on it. My mom inherited that dish when her mom passed away. And it was passed on to me when my mom passed away.
The second dish was a gift to me from my mom. It was one of the last birthday gifts I ever received from her. I loved that casserole dish. Every time I used it, I felt mom’s love.
And there it lay on the floor broken.
As I knelt beside the broken dishes, my boys’ came running in the room to see what had made that loud crashing sound.
“What happened, Mom?” they asked.
I could hardly speak.
“Go get Daddy.” I said to my oldest.
Jonathan yelled at Cy to come quick, and then I heard Cy running across the house. He had no idea what had just happened. He was probably expecting to see something terribly wrong, but instead, he just saw me kneeling on the floor by some broken dishes.
“Mom gave me these dishes.” I said through a face full of tears.
“Go in the other room, boys.” He said.
And then without saying a word, Cy came and knelt down behind me, wrapping his arms around me, and I began to sob.
I couldn’t stop crying.
I felt stupid for crying so hard over broken dishes, but I couldn’t stop crying.
We knelt there together without saying a word for several minutes. And then finally I was able to choke out, “I know they are just dishes…. but they are all I have left of Mom.”
Cy got up quietly and got a broom to start sweeping up the broken pieces. I stood up beside the sink and watched as he put the bigger pieces on the stove and swept the smaller pieces in the dust pan.
I still couldn’t stop crying. Those broken dishes had opened up that broken place in my heart where I lost my mom.
I laid my head on the counter top and continued crying. My heart was hurting. I think my heart was extra tender at that moment. For the past few weeks, my heart had been flooded with Christmas memories of Mom, and I had been holding it all in. Christmas just hasn’t felt the same since Mom has been gone.
It’s still special, don’t get me wrong. But boy do I miss her at Christmas.
I was standing in line at a store a couple days before Christmas getting some gifts for my boys, when I overheard a mother and daughter talking at the register beside me. The daughter looked my age, and she had her toddler with her. They were talking about Christmas plans and what gifts they still had left to buy.
All of a sudden, I felt a pain in that broken place in my heart. I remember having those same conversations with my mom just a few years back.
I missed Mom.
When the daughter got up to the cashier to pay for her items, the mom said, “I’ll get this.”
“No, Mom. You don’t have to do that. I’ll get it,” the daughter replied.
“No, no, honey, I’m gonna pay for this,” the Mom insisted.
And again, my heart sank as I handed the cashier my money.
I remember moments like that. When Mom used to help take care of me. When she knew that money was tight and I was doing my best to take care of my boys, and she would say to the cashier, “No. I’m gonna pay for this.” And I felt my mother’s love. That deep, deep love of a mother.
That’s how I feel sometimes.
Just like my broken dishes.
Cy offered to glue the birthday dish back together for me, and I’m going to let him.
I won’t be able to ever cook in it again, but at least I can put it on a shelf and look at it. He won’t be able to glue it back together perfectly, but good enough.
I’m a lot like that broken dish.
My life may look “good enough” on the outside, but my heart still has broken places in it that can never be fixed.
My mother will never be back. I will not be with her again on this earth.
Do you have them?
Truth is…we all do.
We all have those broken places in our lives where bad things happened to us. Or maybe things didn’t turn out like we had planned. Maybe we have been disappointed by something or someone. Maybe we have things in our past that have left scars on our hearts.
But here is the good news:
Beautiful things can grow in broken places.
Beauty has sprung from my broken place.
Though the heartache of losing my mom will never go away this side of heaven, I can honestly say that beautiful things have grown in that broken since then.
I am not who I was before my mom passed away, and I am grateful for that.
In my broken place, I have found a better perspective of what is truly important in life. I have found a deeper walk with Christ. I have found a greater love for family and friends.
Only Christ can bring beauty from our broken places.
But we have to let Him.
We have to trust. We have to pray. We have to hide His word in our hearts.
I love the following verse. (I inserted the word brokeness.)
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (brokeness).” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses (brokeness), so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God’s love can be made perfect in our brokeness. Praise HIM!
We all are broken, aren’t we? Some of us have little cracks in our lives and some of us have big gaping holes.
My prayer is that as we start this new year together, we would allow Jesus to grow beauty in our broken places.