In the midst of my busy morning, my plans were disrupted by a shriek and the sound of breaking glass.

Everything stops with the sound of the shattering, all freeze, leery of the sharp shards.

I kneel to pick up the pieces, and to let the feelings subside. A careless thought, became a catapulting catastrophe, a moment past too late, and it goes hurtling over the handrail, a misguided missile of destruction, taking the vase along with it, an innocent passenger in the wake of the tumultuous trajectory. An effect, a consequence, a shattering that cannot be rewound with the remote.

And I’m left to pick up the pieces. To bring order to chaos that cannot be fixed, only swept up and discarded. That’s what makes me . . . frustrated. Someone always has to pick up the pieces of the shattering. It’s a sad and futile job. No fixing, no redeeming, no restoration, just minimize the damage. And no matter how hard I try, I’ll probably miss a tiny sliver, but someone will find it, and in pain and bleeding, the evidence of this disaster will be revisited.

And perhaps it will be a slight invisible enemy that slices deep within, but tries to work its way to the surface, coming back on another day, a lingering jab with each step, as a constant reminder of this painful fragmenting and fracturing.

Broken and shattered are like that. And the scarring remains long after the initial debris is cleared to bear witness to the ugliness of the mess. Today, it’s a dent in the furniture as the heavy vase crashed down, and tiny gashes in the floor where it landed and then shattered.

But what if this wasn’t just a cheap vase that was shattered? What if it was a life, a marriage, a vow, a covenant that was broken? It can’t be easily swept away, discarded, as though you can just rearrange the knick-knacks to fill in the bare spot and pretend he was never there. The deep gashes of pain remain long after the decree of dissolution is filed.

How do you sweep up pain like that? How do you offer hope when you can’t fix the past?

There are some messes that can’t be fixed. They can only be transformed into something new. The vase is gone. The pieces are in the recycling bin. Just maybe the next phase will be something beautiful. Maybe those shattered pieces will be melted and refined and redeemed.

You can do that with broken glass you know, remake and refashion it into something beautiful.

May we all be as glass melted and refined and blown upon by the Spirit of God into a new creation. He makes all things new. He takes the shattering and blows the breath of new life into a new creation.

If you have experienced shattering, place yourself into the hands of the Creator, and endure the heat of adversity while He refines you and makes you beautiful again. You are beautiful. You have much to offer. He has a plan and a purpose for you. Submit to His healing restoration, and use your story to bring healing to others.

If you are the one picking up the pieces, don’t concentrate on the shattered slivers, but seek to minimize the pain from the shattering. Protect and preserve the innocent ones, and pray for redemption and transformation. Don’t let frustration distract you from the righteous indignation that can result in effectual fervent prayer and warfare that will take what the enemy meant for harm and transform it into beauty.

In this life we will have many troubles, but be of good cheer. Jesus came that we might have abundant life, that we might overcome, and that we might take a moment and enjoy the beauty of the vase, that we might learn from the shattering, that we might benefit from the renewal, the redemption of the shattering — as He makes all things new.

For us, it was a cheap lesson. “It’s amazing how the rhythm of your day can be disrupted by one little thing,” says my daughter as she takes her turn vacuuming all the outer corners, still cleaning even after my long season on my knees, sweeping up pieces, mopping up the mess. . . a messy disruption to our peaceful morning. . .

And the perpetrator? Well, he’s a little more sober, a little less apt to toss some random thing carelessly over the railing to watch it parachute to the floor while he races it down the steps. He knows about brokenness and how easy it is to shatter something, and the scars it leaves behind, and it was a fairly cheap and easy lesson — this time.

And me? Well, I am broken, too. Beautifully broken as I contemplate the pain that wasn’t purposeful, the shattering that wasn’t intended, and yet has potential to become beauty and redemption by the Master who makes all things new by the power of His love. And I rest in the realization that it’s not my job to fix, and it’s not a punishment, but a great honor to be counted worthy to help pick up the pieces.

“For I have broken Moab like a jar that no one wants,” declares the Lord. “How shattered she is. . . and yet. . . I will restore the fortunes of Moab.” Jeremiah 48

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