I went on a spiritual retreat with a group of women who have experienced pain, betrayal and loss. We are the fellowship of the broken.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
In this group I have watched the Father save those who are crushed in spirit. I have seen women who had isolated themselves take the risk of opening up to others. I have seen women trade their ashes for beauty. I have seen miracles. It is amazing and beautiful every single time.
Here is the beginning of one such story:
Holly spills over with life and energy. She is a full-throttle kind of girl.
At this time in her life, Holly is enduring intense emotions over the betrayal that she has experienced in her marriage. She is up, and she is down. She is hopeful, discourage, angry, and tender. Life is a roller coaster of feelings.
At one point during the retreat, we were to decorate a small, plain wooden box. We were given a number of craft items to help us create a box that would represent who we are, body and soul. Holly, whose strong suit is not arts and crafts, was trying her best to make her box beautiful.
Unfortunately, there was an accident. Holly mistook the white paint for the mod-podge. That means that instead of gluing on her designs and making them look shiny like a coat of mod-podge would do, she completely covered her work with white paint.
Her box was ruined.
Discouraged, Holly tossed the ruined box into the garbage and got another plain box. There was no time to start over, so Holly simply slapped some stickers onto the new box and called it done.
Someone, who had watched Holly toss her first box in the trash, went and rescued it. This woman redesigned, repainted, and remade the box into an amazing work of art. And as a finishing touch, this verse across the front: He Makes All Things New.
I didn’t know any of this, I only knew that Holly had said she was awful at this box making stuff. So when I saw the beautifully decorated box she was holding during worship, I said, "I think you are lying about not being very good at this crafty stuff! Your box is beautiful."
That's when I saw she was crying. Tears rolling down her cheeks, Holly told me how someone had redeemed her solid white mess up from the heap, and produced the lovely new creation she now held.
My tears started flowing, as well. I was overwhelmed by God's tender mercies and care for my friend. He had seen her struggle, her pain, and her need. And He had called on one of the members of the body to give a gift of hope.
That anonymous person was obedient to the call. Little did she know that her simple act of repairing the rejected box would become known to every lady there or that this small act would resonate deeply within our souls.
Our own lives had looked like they belonged on the trash heap. Broken, messed up, imperfect. But what we viewed as rubbish was still valued by the Father. He didn't turn His back to us. Rather, He lovingly looked down and rescued what seemed ruined and beyond repair.
And now we are God's treasure. We are learning to cling tightly to Him, come what may. He is making us new.
Karen loves to write and lead women's support group. She is learning to walk in God's grace day to day as well as learning to extend that grace to others. You can follow her blog at karencone.org