“God wastes nothing and he heals two broken hearts with one story – the reader and the writer.” – Ann Voskamp
The last four months have been so hard. Disappointing in some ways as I watched myself take step by step back from the things that I had clung so tightly to for the first year after Audreys death. My writing, my reading, my time with God..all lifesavers…..all of it began to feel so distant as the anniversary of Audreys death passed and the true brutality of the situation revealed itself.
That small six letter, yet complex word was what I would use to describe me. The numbness was gone. Every ounce of it had weathered and worn away. Ashers advancing milestones left me face to face with the ones my precious Audrey didn’t get to meet….would never get to meet. My now empty womb reminded me that it was all over.That Asher was here…that Audrey was gone. Each month after her death age left me fully exposed to the harshness and rawness of all of my emotions that I had never fully dealt with but had just hid away. I began to pull away.
Maybe because I felt the world was tired of hearing it…..
Maybe because I felt that I should be better…..healed in some way…
A diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxitey left me feeling defeated…embarrassed. I felt like a failure. Like a hypocrite. Like everything I had found…and then tried to share had been a lie. How could I say that I trusted God, yet spend every single day fearing him….fearing life…..fearing death, and everything in between. All of a sudden It became easier….safer… to accept what I had lost, then to hope for anything that may not be.
I battled back and forth with this for months, until last night I was standing at my kitchen island. Tired from a day of unexpected appointments and wrestling children. By this time of the day I had a headache, I was cranky, and my sweet but nagging nine year old was not helping with either of those things.
Supper was in the oven, and I managed to muster up the last bit of oomph I had to make a quick dessert of baked apples for my family. Five apples….five apples was all I had left, and as I began coring them one by one I thought this would be a good “cooking lesson” and special moment I could spend with my persistently bored oldest. She began to stir the ingredients for the center of our apples in our mixing bowl when I did it. When I broke the fifth and final apple completely in half.
On a normal day this would have seemed like nothing….but on this day…..on this yucky, cranky, wishing it was over day I was completely annoyed. Being there were no more apples to replace it with I began to brainstorm all the ways I could somehow fix it. Abi watched silently as I played with the apple like a puzzle, trying to toothpick it back together just as it had been before. Desperate to save this broken useless piece of fruit because it was either the broken apple or none at all.
When nothing worked I simply stood the apple in the pan and pressed it back together. It stood there. Cracks barely visible. The apple appeared to be as the rest….that was until I began to pour the brown sugar into each one of their centers causing the broken one to collapse.
There it was. I sighed as I stared at the damaged messy apple lying there in pieces amongst all the other whole ones. I was out of time. My husband was now home, my children were hungry. There was no fixing it. Even if I managed to stick it back together once again it was never going to be as it was before.
That is when Abigail tapped me on my shoulder and spoke these words; ” Mom, that’s okay. I’ll eat the broken one. You know…that broken one could be the best one to eat because all the good stuff will be on the outside too.”
Tears filled my eyes as I got it.
She was right.
In that moment my Abigail thought she was talking to me about apples, but she was really teaching me about my life….about myself.
Audreys death has left me feeling exactly like a broken apple. Damaged, irreparable, and unusable. I too have wasted so much precious time trying to convince myself and the world around me that I could eventually stick myself back together in to the person I was before. To enable me to become whole again.
But just maybe I have been striving for the wrong thing.
You see, what if I am not broken? What if I don’t need to be restored back to my preexisting self? What if I am damaged, but in a way that allows me to be used differently….or better than I had been before?
My life has been an ooey gooey sticky mess. Life circumstances has oozed its way through all of my cracks….sometimes leaving such a disaster that it has been obvious to the world around me……….but it has also been a beautiful one.
Because of it I am more humble.
I am more grateful.
I am more sweeter.
Our weakness, mistakes, and struggles are what helps us relate to others…to reach others. It strips us of our pride, and our better than you attitudes.
Maybe I have had no choice but to face the heat of the boiling water and the messiness of this crazy beautiful life.
…….but maybe that same stickiness has covered me…changed me into a sweeter better me. A me that emphasizes and feels others pain. A me that appreciates the gift of time and cherished memories.
A me that loves a God who doesn’t make broken….but heals it.
A me that is an grateful, blessed, and unbroken kind of beautiful.
Isn’t that our purpose anyways?