Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week III - Day 7 - The Chipped Cup - Integration and Review

Charles E. Cowman writes: God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts. It was the breaking down of Jacob's natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power. It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses' rod that let out the cool waters to thirsty people.

It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries. It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support.

It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death. It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand. It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house. It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live.

It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by DEATH, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains. And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God must have BROKEN THINGS.

Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God's glory. "The lame take the prey," Isaiah tells us.

Strength in my brokenness
I appreciated how Charles reminded me about all the brokenness in scripture and how, within that brokenness, God worked. When I read, "God must have BROKEN THINGS." I stopped...

"...every old scar shows from every time
I broke...and worth a higher price..."
As a woman, raised in a Christian home, my story of who I am comes from many stories of brokenness.  Without brokenness...I would not be the person I am!  And when I say that, I refer not only to the stories of scripture but to my own stories as well. Stories that come from a car accident when I was 5 y.o. which was followed by years of plastic surgery to another car accident forty years later when I broke my neck and had spinal cord injury....and all that happened between and since. The Japanese Bowl that Peter Mayer sings about...the bowl with its cracks filled in gold? What a wonderful way to look at my brokenness!
What a wonderful insight to hold, "God must have broken things..."

"Loving Creator, I come to you with my strengths and my weaknesses, with my light and dark sides. I ask your blessing to be upon me. May I accept and love myself, while I also stretch and grow into ever greater wholeness." (adapted Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 162)

Joyce began the section of The Chipped Cup with a wonderful poem. I liked the entire poem, yet there were some phrases that stood out for me: " see the flaws of myself and stop being alarmed.." , "slowly evolving growth the kind that comes in God's own good time and pays no heed to my panicky pushing..",  " love my incompleteness..." , and "if I wait to be perfect before I love myself, I will always be unsatisfied and ungrateful..."

The Wednesday Lunch Bunch talked last week about perfectionism.  Most of the group claimed that they were not perfectionist!  I would have said the same thing before reading this chapter.  When I think of a perfectionist I have an image of everything being perfect.   Someone who is uptight.  Someone who is just plain strange!

I do not want to be that kind of person, and I know the Lunch Bunch did not want to be that kind of person, yet, this week I have come to recognize I do have a streak of perfectionism and that it creates an obstacle of sorts between myself and God. 

My perfectionism shows up by my not being happy with "who" I am.  I criticize and compare myself to others rather than celebrating the "me".  "Me" who is a created and cherished child of God.

This past week Joyce challenged me to acknowledge my Shadow.  This week opened my heart to new insights.  I realized there is growth that occurs within my shadow, it is not something I need to keep hidden from myself.  When I consider "shadow" in negative terms, it causes self-doubt and fear to push out my healthy self.  

Mercy, Guidance, Wisdom...all learning, all opening my heart to my true "self".

This work of learning, of transforming, of becoming hard!  Yet, as I remain faithful to the readings and the journaling, I can sense healing.

Remember the butterflies at Callaway Gardens?  They do not fly until they spread their wings, which act as sort of a solar cell of energy.

That is a bit like this work through Joyce's The Cup of Life. Each reading, each time of journaling helps recharge my "solar cell"...this work fills me with God's energy.  Joyce has talked about you and I being "God's Song" in this world.  I want my life to be a song...

I am leaving my sabbath time today with a heart that is full, yet open.  It is full of peace, joy, and hope.  Like I journaled last night, I still have a lot of "STUFF" on my plate, yet these moments of quiet help me step through them with a bit more sanity than I might have had without.

God, I ask that you continue walking alongside me today.  Teach me to see myself as your beloved and to rest in that love. God, help me appreciate and love my brokenness! Teach me to see how all the pieces of my brokenness make something beautiful. God, help me allow you to work through me to become your song! AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. Praise God that there is a place for brokenness, broken people, and broken things in our Father's house.