pieces of beauty

When I was a kid, my dad owned a ranch up in the north part of Nebraska. We had a house up there to use when we wanted, so we often spent weekends there. Or in the summer when I wasn’t in school, we’d be up there for longer periods of time.
There was a lot of land on the ranch. Rolling hills, sprawling fields…it was idyllic and beautiful. My dad and I used to ride horses in these fields a lot. I don’t know what his agenda was – if he was checking on the cattle or just wanted to spend time with me. Who knows? But I remember one day we found an ornate looking piece of metal. This intrigued my dad to no end. He loved this kind of stuff. So we starting search around the area and collected these metal pieces that looked as though they belonged together. It became like a treasure for my dad, whereas I just rolled my eyes every time he spotted a piece and asked me to get off the horse and grab it.
I don’t remember how long this went on. But I’m pretty sure it was a few years. My dad, at some point, has figured out that these were piece to an old pot bellied stove. Once he figured that out, he knew what pieces to look for – the pieces still missing.
I think I was in college when he finally had everything but the door. Somehow, through all of his connection, he found one that would sort of fit. He rebuilt that stove and painted it black. The door that wasn’t from the original won’t shut. But no one cares. It’s lovely.

This is a picture of redemption – of what God does to our broken selves. He uses all kinds of things to put us back together. He uses his love, the people he brings into our lives, his Word which tells us about Him, –  who he is and how much he loves us. 

Sometimes he even uses the pieces of a pot bellied stove to give us a picture of his love for us.

He uses challenging experiences, challenging relationships, dark times, to grow us. To rescue us. To redeem us. It’s not putting us back together perfectly (we all have our doors that won’t shut, right?) barbecue that’s won’t happen this side of Heaven. But’s it’s still pretty beautiful. The act of finding all the pieces and putting them together with such care and love is in itself a simple picture of his love and care for us.

God loves using broken things. This is the story of my life. This is the beauty in the mess. This is the light in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it.

What to hear more? This is part of a keynote I will be giving At First Presbyterian Church in Casa Grande, AZ on February 7th. Click here for more information.

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