Mosaic. Shattered glass…beauty held together by what isn’t beautiful. What was whole must first be broken into a thousand times one thousand pieces. Then, carefully, each shard with its raw, jagged edges is intentionally set into place, in a backdrop of tesserae and left to harden, for all to look upon this magnificient chaos.
After some years of having two healthy (and too smart for their own good) kiddos, I knew my “clock’ was winding down to midnight. I so longed in my heart to have one more baby before it ticked its last. And so, the prayers and the hopes began, but were traded for tears as each baby I had to give back to heaven. With each loss, my body held onto a visual reminder of that sorrow – as pound by pound, my weight climbed to over double my original size. No matter how much I tried to fool myself into being joyful, or put on a brave face, I didn’t recognize who I was becoming – emotionally, or even physically. The mirror held that stark reminder of the times I’d cried in secret.
Still, I kept believing that the next would be “the one,” but after the eighth “goodbye,” oh how I grieved over that next year. I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore, because I’d been taken to the brink so many times. And I’d almost jumped just as many – only to be caught by invisible arms. At the end of that year, I conceived again, and I prayed “Lord, I want to hold my baby this time.” I did hold that baby in November 2010, and still do – as my rainbow baby is now 7 and every bit a boy as his daddy. Dear ones, I have savored every precious moment in my mind – latched on to it to get all I could out of it, tried to freeze time in my heart…because it is bittersweet to have the one you have prayed for, and know that you’ll never bear another child again. A mother’s joy in such a time is truly mindblowing, because it was born out of such suffering. It is infinitely more bittersweet. It is interesting to me – that I, too, am a rainbow baby. Seeing my mother dote over me in family movies, hearing her voice (mostly squeals of inexpressible, wild, and untamed joy!)… and even the little things, like she would much rather be with me than behind the camera. But of course – I was the baby that she prayed, “Lord I want to hold my next baby” too, all those years ago. She wanted – like I do with Ryan – to savor every single precious second she could. Oh yes, I do see her with new eyes. The joy I see on her face and my mere-months-old face – I feel in my heart, and it astounds me.
Might this be the secret to real, lasting joy? That, born of heartache and pain, when our hearts – like the once-whole colored bottles – too were smashed into pieces. Is it in our perspective? Could joy really be birthed out of sorrow – oh will we allow our hearts to relive that pain all over again, even perhaps before the pain began, so we know not only the mountaintop, but the descent into the darkest crevices and valleys? To where we see this present hope and joy through mourning what once was through the lens of what was lost and now found? Are we that brave? To remember, instead of trying to forget? If the bitter really makes it sweeter – yes, never forgetting, that which we may have begged God to take away that once caused pain, but now brings joy unspeakable. But we must trust, and place our shattered hearts in His able hands, for only He can piece them back together again and make these sorrows into beauty.
I once heard of a little known protein that holds every one of the body’s cells together. It literally keeps us from falling apart and most often is called lumens. What is interesting, is – when looked at closely – each lumen has the appearance of a cross. Now, I’m no scientist so I can’t look for myself to confirm this, but isn’t it curious to consider that just as God can hold us together when we have completely fallen apart, our own bodies may contain a reminder of how His precious gift does the same for our souls?
It has been said that people don’t believe in God because of proof, but because – by Him – we see everything else. Since that day of surrender in February 2013, when God answered this grieving mother’s cries and I gave Him my whole heart, I can look back over the most painful times of my life, and I see He has been with me the entire time. He was there when I met my babies in silence. He was there when my family was once happy, and when it all unraveled. He was there when those I leaned on let me fall to the ground, and He was there when I felt rejected and outcast. And He loved me from afar – mess that I was, waited oh so patiently for that moment when – in my shame, guilt, and sorrow – I held out my hands to Him holding absolutely nothing but the shattered pieces of my heart. Yet that was exactly what He required of me – to give Him everything. And since that day, He bound me up with Himself, into a mosaic, whole again – only because of Him.
Purposeful Pause: What hurts and sorrows of this life are you holding onto? Journal about at least one that seems to be the deepest. What difference might it make were you to really work hard at giving all your troubles to God? What would that look like in your day-to-day life?
Worshipful Praise: “Find You On My Knees” by Kari Jobe
Digging Deeper: Matthew 11:25-34; Isaiah 40:29; Psalm 30:10-11; Job 6:10; Psalm 34:18; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Revelation 21:4; Deuteronomy 31:8; Romans 8:28-29; Psalm 119:50; Isaiah 48:10; James 1:2-4; Romans 5:1-5; Job 1:20-21, 2:9-10; Deuteronomy 8:3; Habakkuk 3:17-18; John 16:22, 14:27; Romans 12:12; 1 Peter 5:10; Philippians 4:6-7; Isaiah 26:3; Jeremiah 29:11; Zephaniah 3:17; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Romans 15:13; Isaiah 12:2; Psalm 73:26