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Broken places. I keep hearing these two words everywhere I go: church, on-line blogs, social media, friends, books. There are a lot of broken places being exposed. Broken people. Some finding that the broken places are where they meet God and He fills them up, heals those hurts, and grows them. Others feel like they are lying in a dark place where not even the light of the love of God can touch them. I see them there, envision them laying in a dark hole, shattered pieces of their lives scattered around like shards of pots, cracked open and left in the dirt. I see it because I have been there. I have been to the bottom, I have felt the absolute solitude and anger and hurt and despair. I have had my share of broken places, some still broken. And I know how the next words I am about to type can fall on deaf ears- I could not hear at one time too. Your hole is not so deep that God cannot touch you. Your cries do not fall on deaf ears, your hurt is not ignored. Sometimes we have to be laid bare. Like the clay in the potter’s hand, redesigned, crushed and re-worked to something new. It’s not fun, and it is not always pretty. Losing a child just six weeks in the womb, first attempt at life a failure. Her (yes, I believe that baby would have been a girl) due in November. Four years later, that broken place filled with the birth of my first daughter. In November. Her due date was October 31st but she didn’t come until November, the same month that first child would have arrived. 19 years now and I think on the anniversary of when my mother died early in the morning when I was just a child sleeping, unaware. How 15 years and one day later, again in the middle of the night, now fully aware, I give birth to my second son. Life and celebration giving purpose to a month, a week, that I dreaded at the beginning of each year. My most broken places given love, light, hope. Coming full circle in way that cannot be inconsequential, cannot be random. Finding purpose in those broken places- I may have never met my husband had I not have to move when my mother passed, would not be a mother to my own four. The first child lost would have prevented my first son from being born had she survived, my faith would not have been given a wake-up call, I would not have been able to relate to friends and family who have had that same loss. I would have no words for them. But when I look back I can see that it all works out for the good and glory of God. In the midst of it I couldn’t see it. And I still have broken places- fears, anxieties, times I doubt- that I have to trust God will eventually restore. These broken places become places of testimony, a place to seek God out. To build an altar and lay those broken pieces down as a sacrifice. Because honestly what else can we do with them? When we have tried to mend them ourselves or wallowed among them or given them to others to fix and nothing works, and we have nothing left to give, we can give those over. Let them go. As many times as it takes because we want to pick them up again, not trust anyone with them. Not even God. But we can. And when we lay them down at that altar in our hearts- broken as those may be too- and we say, “Here it is” and allow that anger and hurt and despair to bubble up? It comes out and love comes in. God wants to take those broken places, mend them, and fill you up. Let Him in, challenge Him to mend it. It may not be instantaneous, but He is faithful. Trust in His faithfulness. He will pick you up out of that hole, gingerly take each broken shard, and put it back together. And those broken places? They will be stronger than they ever were, like layers of steel forged together. Like clay going through the fire of the kiln. Light pierces all darkness. God mends the broken. Trust in His faithfulness. You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. Psalm 70:20-21