When I was thirteen, I had an experience that was akin to a double kick in the crotch. I was riding a four-wheeler at my church picnic in Virginia. It was the week before my family and I moved to Colorado. It was embarrassing enough that I fell off the four-wheeler, but then the gas-powered beast proceeded to run over my foot, shattering several bones. The x-ray was ugly—the bones were nothing more than floating fragments. The ER doctor told me that surgery wasn’t an option—it would do further damage to try to set all the bones. He told me we’d just have to hope the bones grew back together on their own.
I didn’t have much faith in those bones.
This year has been chock full of anxiety, pain and uncertainty. However, I’m a high-functioning individual under extreme stress, which isn’t always a good thing. Often, I won’t know how bad things are until one day when I try to drop out of school, quit my job and move to Mexico where I can braid hair on the beach for a living.
Over the last few months, I’ve known the final break was coming, but I still couldn’t prepare for it. This week, I came to the end of myself. I feel so splintered and shattered emotionally, mentally and spiritually that I am not sure how my skin is holding me together.
Sara Groves has a song, “Less Like Scars” that starts with the words, “It’s been a hard year, but I’m climbing out of the rubble. These lessons are hard, healing changes are subtle.”
Unfortunately, I rarely get my head above the rubble before I’m completely buried. My motto is “go big or go home.” So, this week, the shattering happened. My life already felt like a broken table held together by freshly applied wood glue. But this week, I dropped a ton of bricks on that table and those legs never had a chance.
But, there’s a difference in a broken soul and shattered one. There’s a difference between a broken bone and a shattered foot. The one bone can be set. Surgery is possible. There is something a professional can do about it. But with a shattered bone—all you can do is wait.
The shattered soul leaves no room for my feeble attempts to fix. I can’t force my way in, using my weapons of control and will-power to make things better. I can’t keep people from being disappointed in me—I can’t stop rejection and pain. I have to wait on a deeper healing process—one that can’t be fabricated, a process that isn’t made in my image or doesn’t occur at my preferred speed.
Eight weeks after the four-wheeling accident, I went to get my hot pink leg cast off. My follow-up x-ray surprised everyone in the room—every bone had grown back together perfectly and completely. The time I spent hobbling on crutches at my brand new school actually paid off. The entire time my leg was cast, I had no idea how things would turn out with my poor foot. I was right not to have faith in the bones—instead, I trusted in the healing process.
God knows how to heal our deepest and most splintered places. He’s created us to be repairable. It is one of the supernatural processes that occurs when we rest in him as people created for him. We can’t jump in to put the shards back together. We can’t control people so that they won’t make things worse. There is no soul surgery we can sign up for—all we can do is rest as the God who made our souls fixes what is broken.
And, I’m convinced he is fixing me. Somehow, he’s putting the pieces back together. If I were to take matters into my own hands, it’d be like putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle when all the pieces look the same. This not a time to fix—it’s a time to rest. We may have to hobble for a while, but one day, we’ll be amazed to find that an out of control situation may have broken us, but somehow, it didn’t kill us.
“And I feel you here and you’re picking up the pieces—forever faithful. It was out of my hands, a bad situation—but, you are able. And in your hands, the pain and hurt look less like scars and more like character.” - Sara Groves