A broken cup & string. When we let God heal us, not just comfort us

A broken cup & string. When we let God heal us, not just comfort us

Have you ever had those moments when you realize that what you think about a topic is far off the mark? I guess it’s that part of growing up my mom always talked about, because it happens to me pretty much every minute of every day. But, when the times come when that topic is God, it’s a bit more eye opening.

A couple of days ago, I was working on some bookmarks for Mocha Monday, a women’s event at our church. I needed a good image to go on them that went along with the topic, so I was scrolling through clipart. I happened to scroll past a picture of a broken coffee cup that was being held together by a red string tied around it with a neat little bow. I smiled a bit, and I thought, “what a neat picture. It is just like God and us.” Us, being the broken cups…Him, the string holding us together.

I began scrolling again, only to abruptly stop. It hit me that it wasn’t at all like us and God. I felt His Spirit say  to my heart, “I am not your red string. Your husband, family, friends, church, all of that I give you is the red string.” And I realized, God doesn’t tied me back up. We have this mentality that we all fall apart without Him (which is true), and we have to get back into His Word and presence so that we can be pieced back together and tied up. But, what would happen if you were to pour water into that tied together cup? It would still leak out.

In Revelation, Jesus proclaims that He “makes all things new!” He doesn’t hold us together in a flimsy way that keeps us from falling apart, but in reality, is still useless for any real productivity. He makes us new. He sears together the tears we’ve cried and cracks left deep in our souls and fuses our hurt and pain into a scar that’s stronger than was there before. We are left with visible cracks, but we are filled and useful.

I think it’s easy for us to think of God as the string because maybe that’s all we let Him do. We come before Him long enough to get pieced together, then back on our way we go lamenting over our brokenness. But what if we stopped and understood that the Potter can do so much more? What if we allowed Him to heal our brokenness by accepting His love completely and letting go of what made those cracks?

Letting go- When God asks us to stop clinging & go tell

Letting go- When God asks us to stop clinging & go tell

Maybe it’s because I have three girls, but I can’t even see that phrase “letting go” or anything close to it anymore without thinking of Elsa. We haven’t even watched that movie much here, but she has officially ruined the phrase with the earworm song. I’d like to say that it’s in spite of that that I don’t like to let go, but it would be a lie.

We are a homeschooling family, and recently, I have been looking for assurance that this is the path for us. One of the reasons is simply because I am not as organized and together as I once thought. I’m more a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl, and the thought of being in charge of someone’s education about makes me nauseous. The other reason is that I have listened to several women confessing their worries for their children in school who are lonely or having a hard time. I keep thinking, “Maybe my daughter could help! Maybe she could be a friend to girls that just need a friend.” But over and over, God has affirmed that the place for my children, at least for now, is in our home. And through this, I have been learning the difference in a bubble and incubation.

I love incubators. You know them? They are those amazing inventions that holds eggs and nurtures them at the perfect stability and temperature until the tiny life inside is ready to peep out. We kept one in our classroom once when I was in elementary school, and the concept has stuck with me ever since.

Sometimes, I am guilty of trying to incubate my children to help them grow in grace and faith, but all I’m really doing is shoving them into a bubble and stunting their growth and effectiveness. Other times, I fear I’ve put them in a bubble, but in fact, they are perfectly placed in a little incubator.

That goes for me, too. Recently in my reading, I came across the story of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb with Jesus. In John chapter 20, a distraught Mary is weeping outside of the empty tomb. She had already seen two angels inside the tomb and told them why she was crying, yet she didn’t even think to ask them anything. She just stood there, dumbfounded and blinded by her grief. Jesus approached her and she didn’t even recognize Him. Until He said her name, that is.

“Mary!”

She instantly recognized His voice and fell at His feet crying out, “Rabboni!” (my teacher). Then He told her not to cling to Him. Not to cling to Him! “Don’t cling to me but go and tell.”

I have been blessed by several years in an incubation period. Yes, years…apparently, some of us really need years and not weeks to learn certain lessons. I am certain, however, that God is now pulling me out of what has now become a bubble. He’s telling me firmly to stop clinging to Him and go and do. And I am completely freaked. out. No thanks, Jesus. I’ll just lay here at your feet like a starstruck teen and gaze into your eyes while we sip a milkshake from two straws. Right? Recently, I read Francis Chan’s newest book You and Me Forever, and in it, he uses a comparison to some Christians and people who have become too obese to enjoy their lives or even leave their homes. He says that they consume and consume, but never exercise that off.  Similarly, there are Christians who consume and consume. Sermons, books, podcasts, everything, but they fail to exercise that faith and become so bloated with facts and no active love that they are paralyzed by it. And yet, they still feel like they need to consume more and more!

That’s been me, and I never even saw it. And now, I am told to let go. Stop clinging so hard to the comfortable, safe place that I love but is no longer effective. What about you? Are you being incubated now? Maybe it’s become a bubble of safe, comfort with people you love and a place that makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Or maybe, you’ve braced yourself for the wind and cold, and trudged out into the world to go and do. If so, thank you for the work and for the example. The rest of us will try to keep up.

Heather