Fragmented Endings

My daughter woke up last night with a stomach ache. As we lay on the couch waiting to see if anything developed I was wide awake. In the silence of the hour, my mind was free to wander and it began  processing the history of the last five years. As I finished reflecting, I realized that I have 3 major areas that feel like fragmented endings. It is as if they were once beautiful glass mirrors and they were thrown full force on the ground and shattered. What I am left standing with is a handful of jagged pieces; the remains of seemingly broken dreams. 

I've learned (and continue to learn) to take those pieces to my Lord and I did once again last night. As I did, I had a greater understanding of Scripture and what it means when it says it is living and active. As I reflected on my history in light of Scripture, they were no longer written words rather they were truths embedded in my life: lived, breathed, cried and strained through. I also realized with a greater appreciation that Scripture is like a road map; as you are walking through life, you can easily get disoriented by the events at hand and you look up crying, "Why God?" Then you look at the map of Scripture and you are settled once again by the fact that others have walked this way before you, have had tragedy and failure and yet God remained faithful in love and comfort even through the darkness. 

Hebrews 11:36-40

36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,destitute, persecuted and mistreated—38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. 

Coming out of this five year period, I relate more with the last half of Hebrews 11, emerging with disappointment and loss. But as I stand holding my jagged pieces, the Lord has placed me in fellowship with others that too are holding jagged pieces. In that place, I find myself once again living, breathing and walking out Scripture:  

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

And I remember calling over the hundreds of miles to comfort and say, "I'm sorry for your loss. I've been there, too. And even if you can't feel it or see it right now - you are loved."

And I sit in my beautiful church body, feeling loved, refreshed and renewed and I am given a glimpse. Last year they were about to close their doors but God breathed new life on them and allowed them to keep their doors open. As I sit listening, tears running down my cheeks, I remembering my own years of prayers - asking for a place where we could feel at home - and I can see with a tiny glimmer of joy how The Lord took our jagged, fragmented endings and He is continuing to weave them with others to create a beautiful story of redemption. 

As I walk away from it all, I realize this is not the end. That I do not stand alone but rather am part of a beautiful body, the body of Christ. I stand with others,
past, present and future who are walking this journey of life filled by the love of God  indwelling them. As much as we are individuals loved and saved by his grace we only live and breathe as One in Him. Right now we stand incomplete, holding our jagged endings but one day we will all see clearly that: Only together with us would they be made perfect. 

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