As I strolled along the beach this past weekend I was so mesmerized by all the sand dollars that littered the beach. There were so many whole ones that I couldn’t believe my eyes. But what was more apparent were all of the broken ones. Every step I took I saw another beautiful sand dollar that was broken, with jagged edges, pieces missing, the middle shattered, sometimes the other half was in view and sometimes the pieces were so small you couldn’t find the rest of it if you tried.
One of the things I got to do this weekend was share a little about a dear friend who is leaving staff. She has been pivotal in my life. She was a student at Oregon State when I was there and led the first Bible study I ever joined. At that time in my life I would have said I was a Christian but I clearly was not. My friend Heather got to see me then and she has seen me through so many things since. When I was sharing how great Heather is and how much we’ll miss her on staff she said she wished everyone could have met me then to know how different I am now. Later at the sink while we washed dishes I asked her what her impression of me was when I first joined her Bible study. She said I was just so broken, really hurting, hardened, and far from God. All those things were so true. My life was a huge mess and broken was a great description. I’m so thankful that even in that state she loved me then and she has continued to love me. The incredible thing is that God met me in that brokenness. He put people around me like Heather to show me a better way of living that pointed to Christ. They showed me that God was different than I had thought He was and that through Jesus my life could be made whole again. God picked up all the broken pieces of my life and slowly began to put me back together again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been broken many times since through the heartache of life. But it’s different now because I know the one who is the ultimate healer, the restorer of life, the one who never leaves you.
I was also thinking as I gazed down the beach at thousands of broken sand dollars how we often think that we’re alone in our pain, that no one else struggles with the things we do and we’re afraid of sharing them with others sometimes. But we’re not alone. Others struggle, others are broken, and life is easier when we walk through hard things together and lean into God at the same time.
Today I got news that another person I went to high school with and was connected closely with my family had died. My heart aches for the kids he left behind. I was reminded again of the brokenness of the world. But I have also been reminded over and over again throughout life and especially as I reflected this past weekend on how far God has brought me that He never leaves us. He is an ever present help in trouble. He is the one who binds up our broken places and makes us new and whole again.
Do you feel broken and alone? Take heart, You are not alone. Look around to see who God has placed around you who can help you through; God has more in store for you if you allow Him to be a part of your story. I’m so glad I did.