Shining a Light

Words. I’m amazed by their power.

I am inspired by others’ words. Whether it be from a book, a song, or a friend’s mouth, I find that words provide something life-giving to my spirit. In the same way, words can have the opposite effect. Their strength is not one-sided. They can cut, bruise, and tear into me with the same impressive force.

They are extremely powerful – redemptive or condemning, healing or poisonous, loving or hateful. It is a wonder that we don’t handle them with more care.

Because of the freedom we have now to use words as often and as anonymously as we like, the increase in verbal vitriol is alarming. Technology has created a double-edged sword. How wonderful it is that the voiceless now have a platform! What a gift. How tragic it is that so many have used this for such terrible, unimaginable purposes. However, it does us no good to get bogged down in the way words can harm. The best way to get rid of shadows is to shine light on them.

I want to shine some light by sharing a nugget of wisdom that has spoken into my heart and I hope will do the same to whoever reads this.

Whenever I am reading, I take pictures of quotes that inspire me so that I can reflect on them or share them with someone.

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp is an incredible book. Please go read it! I can’t tell you how many pages I took a screenshot of so I could keep her wisdom handy.

One thing I really want to share because of its sheer light and goodness is the following:

It’s the broken hearts that find the haunting loveliness of a new beat – it’s the broken hearts that live a song that echoes God’s. 

Beat, beloved heart, beat on in the world.

You will be broken and you will be loved.

You don’t ever have to be afraid.

When I read those words, I can see my heart. I see it so clearly in my mind.

I see cracks…lots of cracks. I see stains of bad choices and a couple of places where it was broken in two. I see where parts of the fissures are completely healed and parts that are still healing. There is a steady light coming through the cracks and the fissures…in fact, my heart glows. I imagine the faces of those who put that light there. Along with the light that has caused my heart to radiate so brilliantly, I see a faint beating. A soft, steady beat. I watch the light stay strong through the beating but I notice that the cracks and stains have changed its cadence. It’s an imperfect beat. It’s so beautiful I could cry.

That’s the magic of brokenness that Ann is talking about in this incredible excerpt. It’s this wonderful, backwards, radical love that our world has such a hard time grasping. God’s hands are on our hearts. It doesn’t matter how many times our hearts are beaten, bruised, or shattered to pieces. He will pick up every. single. piece. and put it back together to create a heart that beats a masterpiece. His love is tender and patient and unique.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Your brokenness is not too big for His love. He will not leave your heart shattered on the floor. He will not leave you. His promises – the words He inspired humanity to write down – are the most powerful words of all.

I can think of a couple of times (those half-healed fissures) where my heart felt broken beyond repair. I didn’t think I would ever feel okay again. Sometimes I still get residual aches from those past times and I wonder if my heart is strong enough to withstand it. Then, I remember what that brokenness has done for me. How it has shaped me to be more like God and less like the person I would be without Him. That’s the beauty of the brokenness. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So I keep healing, keep trusting Him, and keep trying to shine a light.

You see, no matter the hatred, the anger, the sadness that can seep into our life via others’ or our own words, beautiful things can be made from brokenness. Powerful, incredible symphonies (my heart…your heart) can drown it all out.

I encourage you to seek out words that inspire you. I encourage you to fill your heart with light and find beauty in the unique beat of you heart. I encourage you to shine light on the shadows.

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