Broken china is still china

"In the darkness of despair and the prison of pain, we often say things that we later regret, but God understands all about it and lovingly turns a deaf ear to our words but a tender eye to our wounds." ~ Pause for Power, Warren W. Wiersbe
My mother brought me a china plate for my collection of mismatched china (we eat off beauty every day) and I promptly broke it.  The very next day.  My first reaction, unfortunately, is still to throw a tantrum.  I remember her warning me, as a teenager, that I if I chose that agitated state of heart in the quiet of my room and privacy of my brain, it would settle in and become a habit that was nearly impossible to break.  And, I regret to say, I went on heedlessly...nay, obstinately...and let it settle in.  Now I struggle with those flailings about of the soul that are so tenacious and capture me at my weakest moments, spiritually and emotionally, and derail the train of my servitude and joy and prayer life and duty to husband and children.  And so it was with this china plate, and with the job offer withdrawn, and the comprehensive exam failed.

I don't understand a God who rescinds gifts as quickly as He doles them out.  I believe in an extravagant God, and I've had glimpses of proof that He is that type of God.  Lately, though, my spirit response to His brief shows of glory and extravagance is the impression instead of a miserly God to whom justice is far more important than blessing, joy, or relationship.

I am thankful that He turns a deaf ear to my rantings.  However, I don't want to be someone who rants any longer!  I went through the day yesterday, first with tears, then with anger, and finally with resignation...the let-down as the job offer was withdrawn, the frustrating phone calls to the Board of Nursing and the professor in charge of hiring at the university, and finally the quiet of the day as I realized there was nothing more to be done.  Why would God hang a carrot in front of my nose, have me celebrating with my father over the possibility of teaching together, and then so painfully jerk it away, leaving me staring, once again, down a black hole of debt and poor job prospects?

At the end of the day, I went outdoors to take some photos of the amazing storm clouds boiling up in Michelangelo proportions just past our house, the light of the sun glinting in the middle of the thunderhead, so high off the ground that it caught the light long after the sun had dipped below the horizon.  Under the blanket of this awesome sky, I was humbled.  The tantrums grew weak in the visible presence of the power of God.  Who am I to question today's events and worry about how we will provide for our family?  The very God who formed this storm and swept it past our roof before it let loose is the God who sees my future and has blessings and pain planned out for all my days, to shape me and change me until I am indeed - like it or not - renewed by the regenerating spirit He planted in my soul at age 5.

In the weird yellow light of the gathering storm, the china plate I thrust into my garden caught a glimmer and I noticed.  Noticed that broken china is still beautiful. That plate is still a beloved gift my mother gave me out of love.  I could have thrown it in the trash, never to be seen again.  In a moment of genius, I stuck the two halves in the soil of my favorite rock garden, and there they sit, like the half-moon of a serene smile, catching light and glinting beauty even though they were split and broken and cried over.  So, too, the job offer: a harbinger of future joy, perhaps?  Just because it was taken away, and I don't have the job - does that reduce those two days of happiness to nothing?  Are they negated by the consequent suffering?  As a nurse for dying children, I know the answer, deep, deep within: of course not!  Does the pain at the end destroy the joy of the thousands of days of being that preceded it?  Do you throw the whole bag of memories into your mental trash file, because the pain is too great?  Some do, I know.  But the wise don't.  The wise know that broken china is still china.  The wise know that a gift is a gift, whether permanent or temporary.

I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.
~ I Know Who Holds Tomorrow, sung here by Alison Krauss ~