You may not have known it when I darkened your door for the first time. Maybe you knew and just didn't let on. You were always so gracious. When I came to you first, my brokenness was too profound to call even broken. Shattered might be a better word. Tiny shards blown like chaff in all directions. Too small to even pick up with my fingers. Cuts like that usually don't stop bleeding. Disillusioned. Doubtful. Terrified. I had done this before, showing up with the high hopes of being accepted, of belonging. I had tried before, and just never fit.
Early on, I had to talk myself into going, every week. A small pep talk as I drove, willing the steering wheel towards your house. I knew it would be good for my heart in the long run, even if a bit uncomfortable in the present time. I would do my best to sweep up all the remaining pieces of the heart that could be found, dump them into an inconspicuous baggie, and carry them with me into the small gathering of smiles and warm hearts, hoping that you would be the glue. I know you didn't know about the tears as I left your house, feeling useless and spent. I carried with me a fear of being disqualified for service, no longer useful for anything. Too broken. Too damaged. But you, your warmth oozed and my fragments began to come together.
I tried to hide the times that I would excuse myself from the laughter and joy, slip into the bathroom and cry. I felt lonely, alone, even in the midst of you. I tried to hide it, but my red eyes would usually betray me. But you, you were so gracious. You allowed me to just be, to absorb, to sit silent. You allowed the Holy Spirit to use you, and wounds were washed out by the outpouring, and I began to recognize some of the fragments that were being pieced back together. And you, you just loved.
And when selfish jealously, and self pity tried to creep in and destroy what you were pouring in to, you smiled graciously, and mourned with me. And you didn't know, but your silent presence was life-restoring ministry. And you don't know, but you should know, that the Almighty is using you and you are giving me courage and hope. I watch how he esteems his bride and looks to her where he is weak, and he is not scared or proud, but boasts in what God has done and what God has given him. And I heard how he made decisions based on his adoration of the girl to whom he gave forever after, and how he edified her and she will respect him forever for that. And I see how you talk with my little ones, as if they are yours, and I have hope for them, and me. And I see how he pours out his heart in absolute vulnerability and speaks of a desire to lead his family well, and she, well, the stars in her eyes shine even brighter when she gazes at him. And I am proud, and humbled, and honored to sit in the midst of such a gathering of brethren. And those undecipherable pieces that I was sweeping up before can now be carried to and fro.
And you don't know, but I have prayed for an increase in capacity, an earnest desire to be used again by You, for You, that I may be restored enough that You may be poured out of me. Filled, to be emptied. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. And I have cried, wept bitterly. Will You not use me again? And last night, you blessed me to love on your little ones, and God's grace poured out on all of us. A simple act, and weeks prior I would have dreaded it, knowing that I had nothing left to give. I could barely keep up with my own little people, much less 8 others. But I have asked for strength, and increased capacity, and last night, You. Said. Yes.
And no one cried, and we laughed and danced with princesses and silly squirrels and talked about choices and honoring mother and father, and wiped runny noses, and pranced with ponies, and we played and built. Yes, we built. And I was built by the grace of little ones as we, many, cuddled, all lap space and arm reach spoken for. And they leaned in with trust and precious eyes of innocence and heaven. You graced me to love them and showed me that I could.
The warmth of the Holy Spirit has poured out its healing upon my shattered heart, and you are the glue being used to bring jagged edges back together, warm glue allowing pieces to find their way back to rightful places, and a sense of wholeness restores the soul. You are purifying the air that I breathe, and refining my vision for the graces of God, and I am seeing Him everywhere. I no longer carry a baggie with broken pieces because the grace of my Redeemer has placed a restored heart back in its rightful place, beating in my chest, and your fingerprints are all over that glue that has bound it up.
I am eternally grateful.