Built in the early 1900’s, my church’s building is a throwback to the days of tall arches, pews and stained glass windows. In the 1950s, a tornado shattered every one of those gorgeous windows. Replacing the irreplaceable must not have been in the budget at the time, so the priceless stained glass was replaced with simple white, opaque glass.
But that’s not the end of the story.
From those jagged shards, one inspiring, breathtaking window was created. A masterful mosaic of extreme beauty!
At the right time of day, brilliant sunlight shines through, lifting the eyes and heart, reminding all that from brokenness sometimes comes great beauty.
What about you? Are there some painfully broken shards in your life? Does something from your past cause you hurt and sorrow? Ask God to give you a glimpse of His perspective. Then, try running the situation through the grid of Philippians 4:8. Here’s how this works for me with the thoughts I have regarding the loss of my dad to suicide.
Whatever is true: True, my dad was broken and flawed. But it’s also true that he is no longer! I choose to picture my father, not in the confused, tormented state he was in just before he died, but as the whole, healthy father he is now (Revelation 21:4).
Whatever is noble: I did not fall through the cracks with God. His Word comforts me that “all the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be (Psalm 138:16). “No plan of His can be thwarted” (Job 42:1). His plans for me are good, even when it doesn’t look like it (Jeremiah 29:11). What comfort to live free of the “if onlys”!
Whatever is right: To dwell more on my dad’s final moment than his whole life would be wrong, and a dishonor to him. I have many hilarious, tender and proud memories of my dad.
Whatever is pure: Even in the midst of darkness that overcame my dad, God’s light triumphed in his soul. I am one happy girl to have learned just weeks before his death that his trust was in the Lord Jesus Christ! It may have been the faith of a mustard seed, but God assures me that it is enough (Matthew 17:20).
Whatever is lovely: To realize that I don’t have to have it all figured out is very lovely indeed. What joy to know that He holds life’s mysteries for us. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God… (Deuteronomy 29:29). His thoughts are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9) and one day I’ll understand (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy: Through this, God has birthed in me a desire to bring comfort to others with what He’s done for me. “…[He] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).
Slowly, God took the shattered pieces of my soul and piece by piece created a mosaic in my heart – one of restoration, healing and compassion for others. I am the person I am today in part because of the wounds of the past. I’m not a fan of digging up past hurts for the sake of wallowing in them. But I do believe that if they are held up to the light of God’s truths, those very hurts become a window through which His glory can shine, for our healing and for the good of others. Much like Joseph’s words to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done… (Genesis 50:20)”.
I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the very complex issue of emotional pain. But a good start is to hold up the pieces of your life to God to let His truth shine through and create a fresh perspective on your life.
If you do, I’ll bet my church’s beautiful stained glass will pale in comparison to God’s marvelous mosaic in your life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with grief or loss, get a copy of my new book, Falling Up, Lessons Learned on the Way Down, here.
“A powerful resource for anyone facing grief and loss. Connie’s story will bring encouragement and healing through practical steps and solid Biblical truths. A must-read and must-share!” – Sandra Stanley, North Point Community Church