Thursday, March 21, 2013

Broken Jars of Clay

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

I've seen it written many times that one of the keys to a great blog post is a vulnerable story. "Dare to be open and truly vulnerable about your life," says writer Mary DeMuth. I saw truth in this when I recently shared about mistakes I made in my marriage. Read post here

I was humbled by the comments received. There was a good deal of fear in pressing "Publish" on that particular post. Would others think I was crazy for sharing these mistakes? There were no comments left to confirm those sentiments, but there were comments expressing gratitude for being vulnerable by sharing my story of love and forgiveness.

It certainly isn't easy being vulnerable. For many of us, being vulnerable is the complete opposite of how we were raised. Stuff your emotions and move on was more of the norm.

I was reminded of words shared by Joyce Meyer in her Amplified Bible from First Corinthians. She wrote on how we are like jars of clay. "Imagine a clay pot with a lamp in it and a lid on it. Even though it may be filled with light, no one can see the light within it. Yet if the pot is cracked, the light will shine through the cracks. In this same way, God works through our imperfections."

Read just a few stories of the Bible and you will notice how God used imperfect people over and over again. If we were perfect we wouldn't need God. Isn't it refreshing to know God isn't asking us to be perfect?

"God works through our imperfections."

For many years I was sure I had failed my children. Their younger years were spent watching their parents go through many battles. Many times I wished it was possible to go back in time and do it over again. Can I please have a second chance to do things right? Hours upon hours were spent worrying about how the choices and mistakes we made as parents would impact the lives of our two boys. How would those choices and mistakes impact them as they became husbands and eventually fathers?

Could it be possible that during those years of pain and sorrow, and the many mistakes, there was something greater taking place in us? Could it be God was using our brokenness to draw us closer to Him?

My husband recently shared with our small group about a time when he asked our oldest son for forgiveness. The two of them had a very difficult relationship for many years. He shared his story with such vulnerability. It's his story to share, but imagine a father approaching his son on the day of his wedding and asking for forgiveness. I imagine a light was shining through the cracks of the doorway as the two of them embraced.

On the day of my son's wedding, I didn't see a young man shattered from witnessing the brokenness of his parents. I saw the greatness of our God.

"God works through our imperfections."

The imperfections of my marriage can seem too great at times. Many times we got it all wrong. The reasons to ask for forgiveness are long. For much of our marriage we relied on our own strength, a strength we simply didn't have. How do we ever apologize for all the pain our children endured as a result of our imperfections?

I can't help but to think of my husband again and the story he shared. Kristen says it better than I ever could, "A genuine apology is a gateway to shocking, glorious redemption and a fresh start." My husband never told me about his apology to our son. I was hearing for the first time as he shared with our small group. But what I did witness is what took place following his apology, a "glorious redemption and a fresh start" for a father and son.

The pain we endured....those imperfections...God used them. He used them to paint a glorious story of forgiveness through a father and son. He uses them over and over as we dare to be vulnerable in exposing those cracks in our marriage. Each crack is another story to tell on how God redeems. Each one leads to sharing the greatness of our God.


"God works through our imperfections."

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:10


15 comments :

  1. Dear Beth
    I went through the same turbulent years of marriage. I am a soft person and my husband abused me verbally for about 20 years and neglected a lot of my physical needs. Then I started praying asking our Pappa God to heal my marriage and heal our hearts. I also have two sons. Today I can tell you that we are so happy and our sons are great young men, both loving their Lord Jesus. Our Pappa God used all our pain and suffering and worked it for our good. All praise to Him.
    I found your blog at Jennifer's.
    Much love XX
    Mia

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    1. Thank you, Mia! I appreciate you stopping by and for sharing. I do so love when others share how He has healed. He is so good! Much love to you.

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  2. I love coming to your site, Beth. It's such a place of effervescent encouragement and wisdom. And thank heavens God works through our imperfections, filling in our cracks and smoothing our bumps. And thank heavens for glorious sisters like you who give testimony to this so beautifully...

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    1. Kristen, I'm always so touched by your comments! Thank you!! There is something about your prompts that inspires my writing. Thank you for your kind heart in allowing us to share through your blog.

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    2. Agreeing here with Kristen! So grateful for your encouragement and wisdom here ... and your vulnerability. Your words matter. Girl. YOU matter!

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  3. Beth, so proud of how you are always "available" to let God work through you to touch the lives of others like me! We need each other, you are right, and I thank the Lord for you and your gift of writing.

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    1. I thank the Lord for you Beth! You have touched me life in so many ways.

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  4. Beth, You give me hope for the severed relationship we have with our oldest son who is 2 years old. I appreciate your willingness to share. You bless me ..

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    1. Angie, I will be praying for you. "Show me your ways, Lord,
      teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me,
      for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5
      We need to keep our hope in Him.
      Blessings to you.

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  5. Beth, From one cracked jar to another...thank you for blessing me today with your post. Others can, and do learn from your willingness to be vulnerable. Thank you for the reminder that God can redeem even our biggest mistakes.
    Love in Christ,
    Bev

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    1. Thank you so much, Bev! Our God is so good!

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  6. 'For My power is made perfect in weakness...' - this verse always makes me think of a boy I went to high school with. He was extremely devoted to his faith, and diagnosed with cancer when he was 17. He spent years (both before, but especially after his diagnosis) spreading God's word and providing inspiration to all those he met. He passed away at 25... This passage always makes me think of him, because it was his favorite and one he would repeat often. He had more peace within him than anyone I've ever met :) Thank you for posting!

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    1. Jessica, I love when you stop by and share. What a beautiful memory. His love for God I'm sure continues to inspire others as it does you.

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  7. It is very hard to be vulnerable. So much easier to put up walls. But you are so right - when we share our weakness, God is glorified! I know when I started my blog, which I hope demonstrates that, it was soooo hard to push publish those first several weeks. But I have seen the fruit of God's work and it is so worth it!

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    1. After almost three years of blogging I still have a hard time with hitting the publish button, and many times I want to call it quits. But I always return wanting to share how great our God is. Blessings to you.

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Much love to you.