On my walk through the forest today I had come across a broken piece of glass when the memory of walking a similar forest with my Grandmother flooded my heart. I remember she, my mother and I, would be enjoying the beauty of GOD’s creation when suddenly she would stop, stoop to the ground, start picking at it and come up with a jagged piece of broken glass. After dusting it off she would then hold it up towards the sun and say, “Oh how beautiful, how very, very beautiful”.
Beautiful? I didn’t see it, but she sure did. That which others had stepped over and disregarded my Grandmother saw as a thing of beauty.
Several months would pass before I saw it. While at her house one day, I walked into her craft room where she would reveal the most beautiful lamp I had ever seen. Even Tiffany themselves would have been stunned by its beauty. My Grandmother had taken all the broken pieces of glass that she had gathered on her walks and created a masterpiece of art. She saw something in them, jagged edges and all, that others could not see, or simply chose not to.
My Grandmother was a Pastor’s wife. No doubt she had come across many broken and shattered lives that also had been disregarded by others. But she took the time to look deeper and saw the possibilities long before the masterpiece was complete.
Broken Already At A Very Young Age
I’m not sure whether she saw how broken I already was at a very young age. After all, I had learned how to hide it well. I saw it as my job to keep the peace. It was my job to keep my mother happy to distract her from the pain of an inattentive husband. It was my job to protect the family secrets so no one would know how dysfunctional we were. Did I really know how dysfunctional we were? I mean, come on, my parents were well-loved youth leaders at the church my beloved grandfather pastored. We drove nice cars and lived in a nice house. My dad had been a famous star college athlete who was fun, popular and revered by many.
I adored my father, so you can imagine how difficult it was for me to process what was happening as he would visit my bed late in the night and touch me in ways no father should ever touch a daughter. Shame overtook me early in my childhood, and I wore it as a heavy cloak
Broken? Yes indeed! But fortunately for me, just like my grandmother who saw beauty in those jagged, broken pieces of glass, I heard in Sunday School about a God who also saw beauty in the broken. Seeds of hope were sown in me through my Sunday School teachers and grandmother. Those seeds are the only reason I am still alive today.
As survivors of sexual abuse, we need hope just to survive, let alone heal.
Let’s be honest, our journey towards healing is quite complicated with so many different emotions coming along for the ride. Fear, anger, shame, guilt, despair, grief, loneliness. Often, if we finally decide to tell someone, we feel judged, blamed, patronized, rejected or pitied. How on earth do we navigate through it all?
For me it has been a piece by broken piece process. I think that is why the memory of my grandmother making something beautiful out of those broken pieces of glass is so tender to me. An artisan like that is patient and not afraid to get their hands dirty or even marred by the sharpness of each piece. I believe GOD, Himself, placed within my grandmother a passion for the broken to help reveal to me yet another aspect of who He is. I believe He set up those walks in the forest at just the right time so that memory would be imprinted in my heart to draw on when I was feeling especially ugly, shameful and disregarded.
I must clarify at this point, that although there were those days that I was “feeling” ugly, shameful and disregarded, it does not mean that was the truth of who I was. That is NOT your truth either. Sexual Abuse is ugly, but WE ARE NOT.
In my heart of hearts, I believe there was a reason you landed on this page today. I believe GOD is tender enough to lead you here at this very moment to remind you of your beauty and worth. You will not always feel broken….there is hope!
Gracious Father God, Thank You for the sweet memory You gave me while on my walk in the woods today. Thank You for reminding me that even jagged broken pieces can be gathered and made into something extraordinarily beautiful. Help me see that it is a process and that process takes time. Thank You for loving me back into wholeness, piece by piece. Amen.