At Christmas the dearest little girl gave me an angel ornament. When I came home and set it down, the bag fell over and that beautiful ornament fell to the kitchen floor and broke into pieces. I was overcome with disappointment and frustration. With rage, I began to sputter at my family who was slowly backing away from me. As I paced and cried, my family kept offering to fix her but I kept refusing.
A similar thing happened a week later when I sat with my son and his friends. I noticed that a little pink monkey a small boy had given me was missing an eye. As I picked up the monkey, tears filled my eyes. Kids offered to try and mend it. I became so angry that I could not even speak and I threw the monkey in the trash to their confusion. That night my son came to me and said, “Mom. The angel. The monkey. When something of yours gets broken you just get angry. You give up. Isn’t that what you tell people not to do?”
I really would have liked to tell him how untrue that was but instead I told him I would think about why that was.
Both of the children who had given me these special trinkets were struggling with broken families. I had spent time each week talking to them about how God is faithful to restore and heal. We had discussed how God is close to the brokenhearted and heals their wounds (Psalm 38:18 and Psalm 147:3). It was kind of ironic that I had handled my broken things the way I had; tantruming and refusing to mend fractured things that really mattered to me.
I was asking kids to trust God with so much when at times I trusted him with so little it seemed.
I wonder how better would things have been had I stopped and explained the specialness of the children who had given me these things and how might I have been comforted by expressing my disappointment? I also wonder what might God have revealed if I had handled things the way I teach kids to.
God also revealed to me that I needed to look at other “broken” things in my life and think about how I had dealt with them. A lot was learned from some injured trinkets and the wise voice of my son. The little angel is now fixed (by my daughter’s boyfriend who was unaware of the wrath that would have descended on him had he failed at the task) and she stands to remind me of something important; to stop in my anger and recognize the hurt, then talk to others and trust God for healing.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.