Last week, my oldest dropped one of our drinking glasses on the floor. It slipped from his fingers like a ghost. He’s at the age when independence and dependence keep showing up for a game of tug-of-war, and it’s keeping all of us on our toes. I watched his eyes pop like a puffer fish as the blue Ball jar transformed into a million shards and flew across every inch of our slate tile kitchen floor.
After immediately quarantining myself in the kitchen, I shooed my kids out and away from it. Then I stood there, looking at all of the fragments and splinters. I wasn’t sad over losing the drinking glass; I was overwhelmed by what it had become.
Sometimes life feels like standing in a room surrounded by sharp splinters and rough-edged remnants of what was.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t force something beautiful from the broken we’re surrounded by. Sometimes it’s impossible to see past the mess, the silence, the loss, or the shock of our unmet expectations.
When you are surrounded by shards of glass, the only way forward is to risk a limp.
The first thing I did after standing and staring like some sort of monument of a mother in the middle of a mess was to whisper the word help. Even a paltry prayer for help can wake my hope that God is ever-present and unsurprised by the wreckage in my everyday. The next thing I did was bend down low to see the tiny pieces up close and start cleaning up, slow and steady.
There are a lot of people I love who are hurting right now. It seems like everywhere I look, I see those same shards of glass. It’s hard to know where to step or how to move forward. None of the situations and circumstances are easy. If I’m honest, I’ve doubted God’s care and closeness. I’ve wondered why He hasn’t moved the way I think He should move. I’ve wished He would just fix things and let me check the mending. I’ve wondered how I can keep offering the world around me the message of living water when all of the glasses I’d naturally carry it in keep breaking.
When I’m overwhelmed, I’m tempted to believe in scarcity and turn towards self-preservation. I want to clutch and hoard the little I think I can still keep intact, but God keeps nudging me to remember that He is the God who will lovingly receive what we offer in faith and surrender and multiply it for good and glory.
He’s been reminding me that I come from a long spiritual line of those who, like me, question Him and struggle. Of those who were told to cast out their nets again the next morning when the night left their hope empty and their hearts weary. Of those who offered the little bread and fish they had and watched Him feed and fill a multitude. Of those who poured extravagant love at His feet, and those who at first refused to let Him clean their feet. Of those who spent their life preparing the way for a King they were devoted to, only to come to an end they didn’t expect and a question they never thought they would ask: Are you the one we’ve been waiting for, or should we be waiting for someone else?
Pick up one jagged piece and then another, He whispered back to me in the kitchen that day.
Despite my orders to stay away from the room, one of my sons offered help by bringing a bag for the glass and asking if he could get the vacuum. Another son brought Band-Aids when he heard me yelp in pain after stepping on glass. And our littlest came closer with a box of tissues in hand just like others have done for her when she’s hurt or sad.
Moments like these give us space to see our needs and care for each other. They train us to give and receive love. Grace always weaves its way in and through the wreckage and the wounds.
Sometimes all we can do is stare at the mess long and hard, ask for help, and wait to see new mercies winnow through and make wonder again. When we bend down low, go slow, and look for one piece to pick up, we’ll find that one tiny piece and one more tiny piece become one small space by one small space made safe again. And together, we can choose to remember: we come from a long-lasting legacy. We come from a people who move forward, one shard after another, bringing whatever we have: doubts, questions, tissue boxes, broken hearts, new limps, Band-Aids, and love. And we move forward like we believe that the broken remnants laid down at Jesus’ feet can become a resurrection.
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Ruth Mills says
Simply beautiful encouragement!
I’m so glad it encouraged you today, Ruth!
Pm piper says
I enjoyed reading this, thank you. A couple of things occurred to me while reading: be thankful you had help while “picking up the pieces” and proud that you are raising good children who are there to help. Second, I always find a chard or two from a broken item weeks to months after the clean up. I think they remind me that some of the pieces are always going to come back days, months or years after you thought that you took care of the dilemma.
karyn j says
i LOVE your response! it blessed me tremendously. i am grateful for the help i have in picking up the broken glass in my life. and it’s so true what you said about finding pieces from the broken glass down the road when you thought you had gotten it all. i am in that moment as i type. i thought i was healed and cleaned up, but i just stepped on pieces that i didn’t know were still there.
Karyn, praying you find help and grace in those painful moments.
Yes, some pieces are always going to come back – this is true. Sometimes it’s so unexpected.
This was really good! A great analogy for our broken hearts and spirits. Thank you for sharing this!
I’m glad it spoke to you, Laura.
Terri J. says
Thank you, Tasha. This is what I need to breathe in this morning. I lost my husband almost four months ago and the loss seems overwhelming at times, but I know God is with me and helping to move me forward. Blessings to you!!!
Oh Terri, I am so sorry to hear that. I’m glad you are here in this community, and I hope you know that you are welcome here no matter how overwhelmed you feel. I’m so glad the words this morning met you and ministered to you. Thankful to God.
SHARON A says
Amazing I too thought of my loss of my husband but that was 9 years ago this past Monday and it also made me think you must be teaching kindness and compassion to your children in these trying times!! What a wonderful
Reminder to us all! Thanks for sharing that story.
Sharon, I’m sorry for your loss and praying that you’d feel God’s nearness this week. Thank you for those words – oftentimes, it’s truly my children who are teaching me!
connie ker says
This was a teachable moment for your son. You could have said to him “it’s just a glass” and I am going to talk you through the clean up safely. We’ll do it together and the other children have to watch from a distance but can be our cheerleaders.
While I think you meant this to be helpful, it came off as telling her what she did in that moment was good but not good enough. Ouch. Not knowing her exact circumstances, it’s likely best to trust she parented in the best possible way for the moment and in*courage one another. It sounds like she’s doing a phenomenal job with compassionate children. I’m sure your heart was in the right place. If I had said something that may have come off in a way unintended, I’d want to know… thus my reply to you today. It is kindly meant.
It was actually such a teachable moment for me. I wasn’t going to let him be involved but his offer helped me.
Donna Tuttle says
What an amazing piece! Thank you so much, as this comforted me this morning.
Donna, I’m so glad this resonated with you and comforted you. Thanks to God for that.
Really appreciate the encouragement to create one small safe place at a time.
Annie, sometimes that’s all we can handle, right? I’m so glad you are here.
Keri Boer says
I loved this post. The lost, the hurting, those who question faith – I hear how they grieve your heart, as they do mine. I have closed my heart at times, turned away from the messes, in order to try to escape the pain of others and keep it from creeping inside my own soul. Your imagery helps remind me that it is God’s job to deal with the messes. I can watch, stoop down to pick up one sliver, trust Jesus to take the broken pieces and be responsible for whatever He chooses to do with them.
Amen, Keri. Thank you for your words and for sharing them. We are so glad you are here!
I loved this! Thank you.
Thank you, Courtney!
Thank you for this beautiful devotional today.
You are welcome, Carrie. I’m glad you are here.
This is so very much where we are right now. Thank you! ❤
Kimmie, I’m sorry you find yourself in this kind of place. I know how it hurts and how hard the days and minutes can be here. I hope you know you aren’t alone, and I pray God nearness would be tangible to you today.
K Ann Guinn says
I love this! I have felt this feeling lately of standing in a room surrounded by broken glass. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement to move forward slowly and not forget to look around us.
K Ann, thank you. I’m sorry you feel this very thing right now. I know it’s hard to live in this space – but I hope you know you aren’t alone and that God sends graceful help in unexpected places.
I too, found this to be a perfect start to the day. Several days and weeks, I focus on the mess of broken glass. Thank you for such a great image. Bless you and your family. Sounds like you are an incredible mama.
Susan, I’m so glad these words met you this morning. Thank you for your kind words to me – in all honesty, my kids teach me so much more than I ever realized they would!
Gay C Johnston says
This was so well written and relatable. All of us have cleaned up broken glass literally and figuratively. And the reminder that God cares about even the little shards in our life is so comforting and encouraging.
And I too love fries, coffee, and maps and watch travel shows since I haven’t traveled but to one other country.
Gay, thank you so much. I’m so happy the words and story met you today. I’m glad we can relate on fries, coffee, maps and travel (I love travel shows too)!
This was beautiful, thank-you Tasha.
blessings to all,
Thank you, Penny. So glad you are here.
Karen Knowles says
Thank you for this encouraging message today, Tasha! It sounded like you have done a good job teaching your children to be thoughtful and compassionate.
I’m glad it encouraged you, Karen. The truth is, my kids have taught me so much and teach me more than I ever realized they would!
So beautifully written and so eloquently expressed! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for the message for today. Thank you for the honesty, for sharing the space you were in which is common to man and “me.” I appreciate the message and the quiet voice of God who can carry us through. Many blessings to you Momma.
Nancy Ruegg says
God often works that way–slow but sure clean-up of the shards in our lives, one small area at a time. Not sure why he prefers the process-over-time approach. Perhaps to teach us patience? Must also say I love the way your little ones pitched in to help as they could. They’re learning to be thoughtful and kind! Kudos, Tasha!
I’m late with my comment 🙁
This is beautiful, touching, and inspiring. As I read this I felt like I was right there on the kitchen floor with you. I feel like you captured this snapshot in time SO very well. I am going to share this those I love and know they will be blessed.
LaDawn A Hicks says
Thank you for sharing. I often feel the shards of glass. Thank you for the reminders to lean upon the Lord.
That was Beautiful & beautifully written
I was afraid to read this devotional after seeing the title. Afraid of what glass I might have broken that would be revealed for me to add to my cleaning list. After days of walking around this email and a Sunday of simply trying to find my way (including the readings from 2/5 -2/7), I finally opened and read. This was just what God needed for me to see. I realized that too often I have been wound so tight that I can’t see because there is so much broken glass in so many shapes, sizes , and situations that as soon as I feel I’ve gotten most of it lined up, more is there. But you have reminded me that I need to stop, go to my prayer closet, and call on the One who can give me peace and perspective to work through the mess. With Him I can handle all things , one piece of glass at a time. Thank you for the reminder. Blessings to you!
Florence Kuek says
This is a very encouraging piece. Thanks Tasha for addressing brokenness in this way.