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Beautifully Broken

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Have you ever been in a church with stained glass windows on a sunny day? They are so beautiful. I love seeing them in churches especially when the glass tells a story. They will often have pictures of the disciples or the heroes of the faith in their time of need. When the light shines through, the room lights up with all the beautiful colors and you see the detail in the art. It’s amazing. I’ve had the privilege of seeing some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in Europe including Notre Dame and Westminster Abbey.

I’ve never made a stained glass window, but I’ve looked up the process. It takes a lot of time and preparation. Once you have the design of whys you want your art to look like, you then have to determine what colors and shapes it will take to make it the most beautiful. That’s when the process really begins. You then take glass, score it and break each piece. Until it is broken, it cannot become as beautiful as it can be. It’s in the brokenness that it can be put together with the other pieces to create the masterpiece that is planned.

Once the broken pieces broken, it’s then arranged on a marble slab. The pieces are then soldered together with foil. The soldering process is time consuming. It requires that the pieces of glass undergo intense heat and pressure. It may also require more breaking so that the pieces fit together better. It can be a while before you really start to see the progress of what’s happening and it’s not until it is held up and the light shines through it that it’s beauty is revealed.

Our lives are a lot like stained glass windows. God has a beautiful design and plan for each one of us. He sees all the individual pieces that make up our lives, and He knows that it’s not until we are broken in the right places that He can make something beautiful of our lives. We look at the broken pieces and see a mess. We feel the pains of being broken. He looks at them and sees His art. He sees how each broken piece of our life will fit together to create the story of our life.

It takes time, pressure and intense heat to put all of our broken pieces together. We try to crawl off the slab because the process is more than we can bear at times, but if we trust Him, He will be faithful to complete the good work He began in us. Once the process is complete, it’s not until we let His light shine through us that our true beauty is shown. It’s when we let others see the story of how God took a broken life and made something beautiful of it that other begin to appreciate what He’s doing in their life. God takes our brokenness and creates masterpieces. What story does your life tell?

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Get Up, Don’t Give Up

For the first time in a long time, I watched the movie “Rudy”. If you’ve never seen it, it’s the story of a young kid who wants to play football for Notre Dame. His family laughs when he tells them he’s going to. His high school won’t let him go visit the campus because his grades weren’t good enough. Notre Dame refused to let him in also. None of that stopped him. He finally got accepted and made the practice squad for the football team. Every time he got hit, he got back up for the next play.

The story is really about what someone who has a lot of heart can endure and accomplish. Rudy wasn’t athletic, but he was strong willed. He wasn’t smart, but he was a hard worker. He wasn’t easily dismayed because he had determination. His coaches all wished they could take his heart and put it in someone with athletic ability. He kept pushing for his dream no matter what others said.

Where most people would have given up, he kept getting up. That’s a lesson for each of us today. It’s easy to give up when life keeps hitting us. It’s natural to want to stay down when others think you should just give up. But God put something in each one of us that makes us want to get back up. I know that after a while, that thing that God put in us can get awful quiet compared the thoughts of quitting and giving up. It can seem non-existent when you’re on your back and you have stars going around your head because you’ve just been hit so hard.

Let’s be honest. It’s easy to stay down. The fear of getting hit again tries to talk you into staying down. The embarrassment of the situation and what others think starts to convince you to just give up. It makes me think of a demotivational poster I once saw that said, “At some point, hanging in there just makes you look like an even bigger loser.” Those are the thoughts that the enemy brings to keep you down and to convince you not to get back up. He does that because he knows that each time you get back up, you’re stronger for it.

At some point, he has to quit throwing stuff at you. He knows this is only temporary, but if he can convince you it’s permanent, you’ll stay down and quit. When that happens, he wins. For me, I can’t stand to lose, especially to the enemy. I learned what it took to motivate myself to get back up each day, take a hit and to keep moving forward. It all starts with the mind. You must learn to block the thoughts that tell you to give up. You must learn to motivate yourself with God’s Word. Understand that while you have it bad, someone else has it worse. If they could still stand, I knew I could.

You may have to take several more hits before this is over. Stand strong though. Know that this period of trials and struggles is only temporary. I know that when it keeps coming month after month it doesn’t feel that way. Get back up today, stand your ground and declare that you won’t lose any more ground. Seek God’s strength to help you when yours fails. Know that you are becoming stronger than you ever would have if these things wouldn’t have happened and God will always be able to use that in your future.

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