“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
This tree had a breaking point.
Years ago – many, by the looks of things – something significant happened to it when in its infancy, something that damaged the growth point.
That must have hurt.
It must have set it back several years in its development. While others around it stretched for the sun, it got stunted. It would have taken several months to repair the wound, staunch the bleeding, so to speak, before it could even think about resuming its growth pattern.
It must have been near death, to have sustained damage so close to its base.
Yet here it is – a picture of resilience. Two lateral branches obviously took over for the one main trunk, and now she stands, a testament to sheer grit, so unique among her compatriots that she stopped me in my tracks.
I knew right away what she had been through. What she had fought back from. I was immediately struck by her pain, and her triumph.
Thoughts leaked down my cheeks as I celebrated with her. Because I, too, had a breaking point.
I am her sister.
We are a forest of Damaged Ones.
And I am telling you, your weak places can become places of unique beauty when places in the hands of the Living God.
I know, because I have walked out of my own forest, bearing the scars of unutterable damage. I have twisted trunks, scarred limbs, unexpected branches.
And I am beautiful.
I am redeemed. I am chosen, and worthy, and strong. I am strong because where I was weak, where I hit my breaking point, God was there to pick up all the pieces.
I have a story to tell. A story of damage, and pain, yes. But more than that – my life tells the story of beauty in the middle of the broken, of glory and triumph flying in the face of evil. God’s grace is woven through every branch, every cell, and in all my imperfection and struggles and weakness, He flexes His glory muscles on my behalf.
I love this tree.
I love that what she has gone through has made her stand out in the crowd. I love that her purpose stands, despite her challenges. I love that she looks like a tuning fork, because now it is she who sets the tone for the whole forest. I love that she sings loud, declaring hope to all those who have hit their breaking point.
She preaches a better sermon standing in her glorious silence than many a clergyman on a soapbox.
Do you hear her?
I hope you do.
Embrace your broken places with me?
Father, we all sustain damage in many different ways in this life. How Your heart is burdened with that pain! Open our eyes to the ways in which You are building unique beauty into our stories, being strong where we are broken and hurt. Show us the beauty of resilience. Amen.