I hate broken things and messes.
It nearly kills me when Summer wants to ‘help’ me bake or cook in the kitchen, mostly because I’m a control freak. If you were a fly on the wall in the kitchen at times like these, you will often hear me say, “Just let Momma…”
I am trying to avoid flour volcanoes that explode on the counter or the floor. I’m trying to avoid egg shells in the cracked eggs. I’m trying to avoid a little too much vanilla extract being poured into – or over – the teaspoon. I want it just so.
She is actually very good in the kitchen…she just doesn’t do it the way I would or as carefully as I would. I leave those times wishing I could lighten up a little! But remember, I really don’t like broken things or mess.
A long time ago in my devotional by Ann Voskamp, I read the quote “You don’t have to be afraid of broken things – because Christ is redeeming everything.”
I will tell you that I have nodded and “Mm-hmm”ed this quote every time I read it…I’ve underlined it, highlighted it and rewritten it in my journal. I think what I first took out of it, until today, was that it is OK to be broken. You don’t have to be perfect or flawless…cracked and damaged is absolutely OK.
Fast forward to last week. I had a rough go in the field of parenting.
To explain one detail, it is hard to balance parenting when you are a step parent – when there is your home and the other home that the kids live in. It usually means there are 2 different parenting styles which is all good. Neither one is wrong.
But I also have a daughter who is my flesh and blood. And I had visions of how she would be raised; I had rules that I liked from growing up that I thought I would implement with her. I had plans.
She is the youngest of the other 3 kids which means the other 3 will hit stages before she does. They will hit stages and set rule precedents before she gets there. With Avery being the oldest, she is paving the way in the rules department. I’m not her flesh and blood so what her mom and Ted agree on is priority – as it should be.
But it is hard because that means that I have to go along with things that I never planned on and these rules will be passed down to Summer, so I feel like I’ve lost my freedom to parent like I want. I feel like I’ve lost control.
As I talked it over and processed my thoughts out loud to Ted this morning, something hit me. Yes, maybe I’ve become accepting of the fact that it is ok to be broken…but do I believe it is ok because Christ is redeeming everything? Do I really believe that?
I said to Ted today that a lot of my parenting rules come from fear.
Why don’t I want them friends with certain people? Well, what if they lead my child down a bad path?
Why don’t I want phones in the bedroom? Because I was in a marriage that was partially destroyed by porn and I don’t want my kids alone in their room being tempted.
Why don’t I want my kids playing Fortnite? Well what if they become violent people?
Why do I want to set a minimum age to begin dating? Well, what if she isolates herself or makes bad decisions in a romantic relationship?
These are all fear. Fear of breaks..of things breaking…of ideals being broken. I’m a terrified parent. And I FEEL like if I get to call the shots, then I am in control of the breakage.
The truth is, whether my kids get parented one way, another way or MY way, there will still be breaks.
No matter what, there WILL be broken things.
I cannot control that or protect that.
Breaking is in my future.
Now the question comes…do I believe Christ can redeem everything? Do I?
If I look back on my life, there have been a lot of broken things. I’ve made a ton of bad decisions, both big and small, and I have caused harm and had harm caused to me. My goodness, there have been shattered pieces everywhere at times. Have they been redeemed? I’ve never stopped to ask myself that question but the answer is yes.
I’m desperately trying to share my stories, my past, my present, my emotions because I know I’m not the only one to experience these things so maybe, by opening up about it, the other ones suffering are finding help and strength.
My brokenness has made me who I am
and I wouldn’t be this way without it.
Maybe I’m learning to like broken things.
My mom has this blue and white striped bowl that my sister and I jokingly fight over – who will get it when she kicks the bucket? It’s not perfect. It has chips and scrapes in it from utensils. Definitely doesn’t look brand new.
Do you know why we like it? It is a staple. We have seen it pulled out at dinner time on countless occasions. Those scrapes came from meal upon meal of good food and good company. Different stories and situations sat around that bowl over the years. When you see it you think of mom.
I guess we are like that blue and white bowl. We have scrapes and chips. We don’t look like new and we don’t necessarily have the naive excitement and openness we did when we were kids. But I’ve been a part of good thing upon good thing…I’ve been in all kinds of different company along the way – good and bad. I’ve been a part of different stories and situations – good and bad.
But just like the blue and white bowl isn’t less valuable or treasured because of the nicks and scrapes, I’m not less valuable or treasured because of my nicks and scrapes. God is using them. In some circumstances I feel I have come full circle. Oh when I think back on the darkness I have experienced and then to be where I am today…WHO I am today.
So does God redeem everything? Yes, wholeheartedly, yes God has redeemed everything.
it is OK to be broken and to break…
and to have kids who break,
families who break,
hearts that break,
a life that breaks.
It’s ok if I can’t parent the way I always planned. Besides, I never had as much control as I thought anyways. Better than that, I’ve seen years of proof that God has redeemed my breaks and broken things this far.
I hope I can go forward and tread a little lighter; hold on to control a little looser, knowing that when something breaks,