Congrats! You get to hold me accountable!

So this summer, my goal is to start writing posts at least once every two weeks! The aim is to work towards posting every week . I like writing, but not enough that it comes easily to me. Rambling, however, certainly does…so welcome to your biweekly ramble! 

[We’ll see how long THIS lasts…]


Have you no shame?
No, really. Have you no shame?

Because it’s way harder than it sounds and way simpler to come by than it feels to come by it.

I want to write another post about how God uses the broken parts and loves us despite them and healing and all those sweet things. But y’know what? When you’re aware of being broken, you usually want to know how that healing will come about. And most of the time, (at least, if you’re anything like me), you don’t know how to make healing come about (hint: you can’t bring it about yourself).

Maybe you have a sin, something very ugly and messy you know is wrong, and while you know you can’t save yourself, you don’t know how to “handle it”, to stop doing that thing. Maybe you’ve tried doing everything to clean up your act and still feel like something’s missing. Maybe everything is fine and dandy but you know it could vanish in a minute, so you’re terrified. Maybe you’re becoming a bit of a nihilist lately and don’t see the point of everything being so broken in the first place.

This one is for you, sibling in Jesus.

 

stories (arm art Serve Roanoke 2017FLASH).jpg
Last summer, during a church outreach project, I got paint smudges on my arm while working. I took a sharpie, and made it into some drawings about personal brokenness, fear, and redemption.

 

Let’s stand up in the global Church for a second and greet one another.

Now greet yourself. What comes to mind? What’s the name your brokenness gave you?

You may not even know you’re broken until the glass castle you built yourself collapses and turns to sea glass.

It shatters and shards rain down on its sandy foundation. On a stormy night, the icy pieces of glass fly around and you keep saying you don’t understand how this could happen.

You put approval and security in the most fallible place–primarily yourself. The brokenness of the world and others around you may have revealed the fragility of it, but you were the one who chose the foundation, built it, and chose to live in it.

So now, the storm drizzles on overhead and you’re sitting in a pile of fragments of your own making, feeling tricked and kicking yourself. Maybe you’re yelling at the sky for allowing any storms to hit. But at the same time, you know your part in it, and feel a horrid responsibility for the destruction somehow. You have to clean up the debris left behind so you and others don’t step on broken glass. You need to protect yourself from the next storm.

But you’re shocked.

That nakedness, vulnerability, and failure keep you nailed to the sand. Not only is this bad because you’re not moving at all, but you’re not moving from another sandy foundation.

Shame: it keeps you stuck to the poor foundations and it keeps the sand sticking to you when you stand up.

[Wow Heidi this was gonna be a chill blog post.

…But shame is very un-chill.]

Shame is never helpful, but it can be the meeting place God meets with you in.

In order to wash away the sand stuck to our legs and remove the shrapnel that’s already bit into your skin, you need to go to the Great Physician and realize you need a cleansing and a healing.

It may take some stitches, but healing is always promised to be fulfilled in eternity.

Why must pain increase?

I find it’s because I must decrease and recognize I even have a yoke to take off and give into the hands of Jesus.

Sea glass is so interesting. It’s broken glass, worn by the saltwater of the ocean, only to be gathered up by those on the beach and made into pretty things like jewelry and mobiles. God takes your shattered glass castles and does better with the fragments.

At the right place, the right time, God reminds you of your value, in the way you need to be. Not how you think you need His encouragement. He always answers your prayers, but not in the ways you expected every time. When your value to Him seems nonexistent–when you feel He is a cruel god with little concern, a forgetful god with no particular control or plan, or that He is a contradictory, promise-breaking Father–you are putting your interpretation on Him. Your shame does not define God. Your half-truths do not define God. Your sin does not define God. Your pain does not define God. You do not define God.

So, who does define God?

He can speak for Himself. And He does.

There has been a strange new comfort for me I haven’t found in a while to read Jesus’ words in light of Him knowing I’d read them one day. I realized one night, after having read the passage many times to find encouragement, that the words were meant to reach my eyes one day too.

“Look at the birds of the air:

they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,

and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 

Are you not of more value than they?

Matthew 6:26

If... by Beautiful Eulogy.jpg
A tiny drawing by me, with lyrics from “If…” by Beautiful Eulogy

Do you live with no shame? Do you live bravely and spit in the face of Satan’s offering glass castle blueprints? Fumblingly, and in grace, I’m trying to, friend.

Do you believe that the first ever sacrifice made, after the Fall, was made by God to cover Adam and Eve’s shame with animal skins?

Do you believe shame lasts forever?

I know it dies the second you realize that not “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword,” nor “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 [redeeming, changing, and pursuing] love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39, my emphasis and note added)

This is not a license to keep doing whatever you want. This is a freedom to change and know your real value; a chance to know the value of the Lover covering your ugliness. He loved you enough to die for you and then loved you more to be your hope and live again so you could with Him.

Do not be overcome by the shadow of shames. There is no shame in being weak, afraid, ugly, or needy because if you are God’s daughter or son, you are covered. That gives you all freedom to change by the Spirit’s working. You are not a failed project. You aren’t even just sea glass. You are a glory instrument and moving towards a resurrection to come and one already present. You don’t have to be afraid of your nakedness or shame anymore.

God is overcoming and covering it so what’s beneath may be re-knit into His image.

 


Extra encouragement:

“If love comes, as it should, then accept it as a gift and be worthy of God’s best blessing. If love never comes, do not be overcome by the shadow of it. There is much good work to be done in the world and many hands needed to attend to it.”

“The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.”

Stay real, sparrows.

-Heidi

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