Grace for the Broken

On Saturday, I finished a study I’ve been doing with my mom on Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits. One of the study questions asked us to draw what we think playing with God would look like. I wrote in my journal, “Playing with God is wonder and discovery,” and spent an hour sketching pictures of Wisconsin wildflowers: Virginia bluebell, columbine, Solomon’s seal.

As I drew, I considered what I had learned during this study about myself and about God. I thought about how a flower must shed its bud, letting go of its protective outer shell, to open wide to the light and wait for God’s provision to fill the flower with new life. I thought about how flowers bear fruit or seeds, their small gifts of thankfulness for sustenance. And this image was the gift God gave to my heart. I am like the flower. I wrote:
 I am letting go of the notion that I control my future, that I can plan my next move. I am letting go of dreams that I now see were foolish and ill-conceived. As I let go, I am learning to wait open to the future. I know life is suffereing as well as grace, and I would be naive to believe further suffering does not await me. Yet still I must wait open, unafraid. God knows the path he has chosen for me, both cruel and sweet. And in the end I will find my new self fully birthed, being nursed in the loving arms of Jesus. Every single day, there are a thousand, thousand graces bestowed upon me. The path of peace–the path that relinquishes bitterness–sees and names and glories in these graces.

And then yesterday, I woke to a crying baby. My little girl, usually so playful and happy, had big tears on her perfect, chubby cheeks. She refused to be comforted and would not nurse. As the day wore on, she continued to fuss; as I got out my breast pump, the stress wore on me. In the afternoon, when Ramona was crying uncontrollably in my arms and would not come to my breast, which is so often her solace, I held her on my shoulder and cried, too.

To give ourselves a break from the stress of the day, we went out for a walk. I breathed deep and tried my best to stop fretting, to take in the freshness of the cool afternoon. My mind was winding a deep path of worry and I was leaning on myself, trying to climb out by handholds made of wet clay.

Then, on the lakeshore path, I looked to my right and saw Solomon’s seal in thick weave along the path. Thank you, Jesus, for never giving up on me.

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