Stained Glass December

I sat in my living room with an old friend one night in November, catching up and recalling the last several months of my life. It had been a long year. My heart was weary and my hope was tired, but as we talked there was something healing in our conversation.

There was a light shed on the path I’d just been walking, and there behind me were the footprints of my two companions along the way — Goodness and Mercy. Always following close behind. Sometimes it’s easy to be so consumed by the wilderness that we tend to miss the treasures hidden for us along the way.

As I sat in my living room on that rainy night in November, counting the treasure I’d found on my life’s bumpy road this year, there was a sense that I didn’t want to miss those treasures in the road ahead of me. There was a reminder that there is something for me here.

Immediately I thought of a few lines from a spoken word my friend Zach wrote for a conference back in September. These words had been ringing in my ears ever since:

You are a skeleton cathedral of nerve, spirit and muscle.
The shattered pieces of your laid down dreams
rearranged into mosaic stained-glass

catching and casting light in beautifully imperfect harmony for all the world to see.
For the smallest light in the darkest and driest of valleys can be blindingly bright.

A skeleton cathedral — you and me. And all the shattered pieces of our stories, the dead ended dreams and the thwarted expectations, they are still a part of the story. Somehow God, in all of his kindness, takes the broken pieces and he makes something beautiful out of them. Beautifully imperfect harmony — the pieces of your story and mine — catching and casting light for all the world to see. Shedding a blinding light (HIS light) into the darkest and driest of valleys.

So here we stand in December, looking back at a year full of broken pieces. With a valley of yesterdays at our backs and a mountain of tomorrows at our feet, we are faced with a choice: will yesterday’s disappointment be tomorrow’s hindrance or tomorrow’s hope?

What if we took this month to remember the broken pieces, and what if in that remembrance, He began to rearrange them into something beautiful? What if we started looking at the hard places in our stories as the most important ones? Isn’t that where intimacy with our Creator is forged?

So this month, I want to wave a banner of hope over shattered dreams and thwarted expectations. I want to ring in a 2015 that recognizes 2014 as a necessary building block for what’s to come. I want to illuminate the gold found from being willing to dig through the dirt. I want to invite you into a Stained Glass December.

I’ll share some of my stories, but I’ve also invited several of my friends in to share some of theirs. They are some of the bravest and most brilliant souls I know. I hope you’ll follow along this month, and I pray that along the way you begin to see your own stained glass being formed. Catching and casting light for all the world to see. You were made for that kind of brilliance.

Follow along this month on social media, and share your own pieces of your story by using the hashtag #StainedGlassDec

5 thoughts on “Stained Glass December

  1. This so perfectly mirrors something that I’ve been thinking about. Last December I was moving out of my apartment and back home with my parents after ending a 5 year relationship. We had 2 deaths in the family that month too. I remember lying on my mom’s couch on NYE thinking that 2014 was going to be the worst year. (Notice the pessimism there, the worst was behind me and I could have looked at 2014 with the hopeful expectation of something new – but I didn’t). I genuinely thought that nothing good could possibly happen in the new year after all of that. But DANG was I wrong. There has still been a lot of mess and pain along the way, and even some brand new disappointments. But there have been so, so many “treasures.” 2014 has turned out to be the craziest year of drawing closer to God, learning, and deepening my faith, of letting him lead me where my trust is without borders. Looking forward to keeping up with this journey! #StainedGlassDec

  2. Sara,
    The hope that you are finding, that we are all finding, amidst the mess that is this life reminds me so much of the song Broken Hallelujah by The Afters.
    “Even though I don’t know what Your plan is, I know You’ll make beauty from these ashes. I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain, and on my knees I call Your name. Here’s my broken hallelujah. With nothing left to hold onto, I raise these empty hands to you. Here’s my broken hallelujah.”

    When we feel defeated, as if there is nothing left in our weary souls to give back to God, we don’t have a complete Hallelujah to send up to the heavens. We’re weighed down and poor in spirit. But that is when we can lift our empty hands and empty souls to Him, knowing that all he requires is the utterance of His name, not a complete and put-together Hallelujah. The prophet Isaiah tells us of a Christ who is sent by God to comfort us, to proclaim to us the good news, and to bestow on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes. When we raise our empty hands, we release the pain, fear, and sadness into the care of the One who can turn those ashes into something beautiful. Just as you have said with our dreams… when we lay down our broken dreams at His feet, we offer up our greatest praise. We offer up our trust that those shattered pieces will be hand-placed into a beautiful mosaic. Although we don’t know how it will be done, we know that the ashes and the tears will be made into a crown of beauty. He will bestow on us the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. When we offer our emptiness, our souls are singing praise to the only One who can mend the brokenness that we carry within us.

    Thank you for using the image of stained glass, of rearranged beauty, to represent all that we can be. Yes, indeed, we were made for that kind of brilliance.

  3. Pingback: A Broken Road to Parenthood | Wonder & Wandering

  4. Pingback: When Hollow Makes Hope a Home | Wonder & Wandering

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