Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Shards. Brokenness. Hurt. Heartache. Pain. Grief. Anger. Self-doubt. Unworthy. Despairing. Physical ailments. Broken-heart. Divorced. Lonely. Unemployed.

What are the shards that you carry?
Jesus collected broken people just like you and me. He wants to make something beautiful of your broken pieces. He longs to make you whole.

Matthew 11:28 says, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me---watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  (the Message)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Searching for Perfection

Last month I stuck my toes in the sand. Florida beach sand. I dug them in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Just me, two friends and Florida sunshine.

The lyrics for Zac Brown's song, "Toes" comes to mind when I'm at the beach. Really...sing it with me- I got my toes in water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today. Life is good today. Well, I may have had my toes in the water, my a*# in the sand and although there wasn't a cold beer in my hand, life was certainly good. It was an epic trip.

My friends and I spent hours combing the beaches for shark's teeth and shells. Girlfriend Yvonne is a virtual shark tooth "whisperer" if you will. She spots them so quickly and differentiates between mere black grains of sand to pick out the gray/black sheen of a tooth. It's a skill I do not possess.

Me, my quest is different. I search and collect perfect seashells...and I quickly discard the broken ones, the ones with perceived deformities, even the ones whose color does not impress me enough. I will pick up a shell, turn it over but toss it if there is a hole on its underside. Over and over I repeat this process. And yet, God has littered beaches with millions of tiny shards of light and beauty for me to witness. His majesty is on display in every minute fragment of sand, silica, glass, stone and shell. With foot or hand I reject more than I keep, ignoring the lesser in order to find perfection.

Again in my life, I find this never ending search for perfection. It seems to overtake me in the strangest of times and places. On a beach, my favorite place in the whole world. Never quite satisfied even in a seashell? How does this happen I wonder?

That I am walking on the beach, talking to God, his beauty surrounds me, overwhelms me in the lapping of the waves, the sunlight on my face, my toes in sand!! I am rejecting part of His beauty. Am I saying, "Just show me the perfect shells so that I can take them home with me to put them on display?" I value these shells to fill my pretty, decorative bowl. Ouch. I didn't want to take home shards of shells, but the lesson was there for me to learn.

What if God sees me or you as the not so quite perfect specimen and rejects us flat out, based on our appearance or performance? What chance would we have to experience his love? I think this day spent on the beach was to remind me that God loves me & his creation in spite of brokenness. I think he specifically chooses us in our broken state and does not reject us no matter how flawed we are.

My friend Robin reminded me that God requires brokenness. He loves you and me as broken, flawed people and uses us for his purposes. He requires a broken and contrite heart. Really, we're all just shards of a shell that will never be perfect this side of eternity. We are shards.

So do we search for perfection because we know we are so flawed? He is the only perfection we will ever find. The broken/flawed shells I brought home are a better representation of us and our humanity. It seems the Lord requires brokenness in exchange for beauty. If we only give Him the shards of our lives, He in turn gives us something beautiful...the only true beauty we will ever know.