So recently things haven’t entirely worked out how I imagined they would in this season of my life. I’ve had to over come some pretty big hurdles of late. For example I had to go lightbulb shopping the other day without a more suitably qualified adult than I accompanying me. That was a tough, yet educational day. But I am pleased to tell you I am now proficient in the ways of the bayonet lightbulb. And questions about wattage? I’m your gal!
But the particular hurdle I want to tell you about today is:
‘Frankie Vs the box of crockery.’
Following the sudden end of my engagement my lovely friends had been storing some things for me I wasn’t yet ready to take home. The friends who housed my things in my greatest time of need are incredibly kind and patient; take it from someone with previous of leaving stuff in their dining room; namely a couch that was there for roughly a year. If you need a safe space for your stuff or a warm and loving place to heal your heart- I highly recommend them and their dining room! But eventually the day came I was ready to remove my stuff from their dining room and bring my things home.
Among this stuff was the huge box of crockery I had been gifted by my Dad. Having had help to load it in the car when I reached home I looked at this massive box of crockery for a long time, contemplating just how I would get it into my flat. The box was staring at me from the boot, jeering at me and saying ‘you can’t lift me on your own.’ And I’m looking back at it thinking ‘oh box, if only you knew my strength, I’ve got this.’
So I balance the box on my hips and wrap my arms round this huge box- and oh boy is it heavy! I manage to carry it the few steps to the front door, contort myself enough to open the front door to be greeted by the sizeable flight of stairs to my flat. I can feel the tears starting to sting my eyes, feeling a wave of sadness about the meaning this stuff once held. How I’d imagined the dinner parties I’d host with this crockery and the way I had planned the kitchen to coordinate with the colours of the crockery. But I choke back the tears and I get the box to the bottom of the stairs- result!! ‘Look box, I am so great, so strong, such an independent person. Ain’t no cardboard box defeating me!’
I navigate the first three stairs and by this time I’m huffing and puffing. But It’s going well- I have perfected ignoring the intense pain in my hands; who even needs feeling in their fingers?! I’ve got a great hold of it, still balanced on my hips. I step up to master stair four. And just then, just as I take my next step; the bottom of the box gives way in dramatic, unpredictable, and devastating fashion- just when I thought everything was going so well.
Loudly out bounces plates, cups, bowls, the lid of a casserole dish, serving spoons and glasses. Some of it rolls down the stairs, some of it stays where’s it’s landed. The box is well and truly broken, and every time I shift it; something else falls out. There’s nothing for it but to sit down and take up defiant residence on the fourth stair. As I sit the tears are rolling down my face and they’re those kind of tears that rush down your face and bounce off the floor. I’m trying to be silent but I’m sobbing, those cathartic sobs that when you start you just can’t stop. And goodness are they loud- any neighbours enjoying a quiet Friday afternoon were sure to be disturbed. I look around me- all I can see is my hopes and dreams messily and publicly strewn over the stair well for all to see.
Once I realised sitting on the fourth stair of the stair well crying wasn’t a great life plan, I slowly start picking the crockery up. As I pick it up, I inspect each piece. Turning it over and thankful it’s been lovingly protected in bubble wrap and taped up securely. After careful inspection I discover something I wasn’t expecting. Not one piece of that crockery is broken. Not one lasting chip exists on that crockery, not one mark on its surface to show where’s it’s been dropped. No flaw in its identity remains. The box was well and truly broken but every single thing inside was whole, protected lovingly by bubble wrap and had sustained no lasting damage.
In that moment I can’t help but laugh. Scary happy laughs of realisation- my beautiful crockery is okay!! And that’s when I heard God whisper again what I’d heard Him say to me some weeks earlier- ‘Jennifer, you’ll bend in this time but I promise you won’t break.’ And I realised my life was just like that box of crockery. The bottom of my box- the solid base of where I thought my life was going- was broken, gone beyond all repair. But everything inside was protected - my faith in God, my ability to worship, my joy, my peace, my future! God is protecting me. A mark isn’t left on me - He has made me new! I’m wrapped in the protection of God's love forever and I am fiercely protected. I don’t have to do it alone. The boxes we place our lives within can break or be broken countless times. But God will always be our protection.
God has told me - I will bend (or in the case of the crockery; bounce!) but I will not break. And He promises this to you too:
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. -- 2 Corinthians 4:8-10.
God hears us when we call for his help and he rescues us. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and he rescues those whose spirits are crushed -- Psalm 34:17-18
And He will protect you -- Psalm 121:7
Now, I’m looking forward to many dinner parties with my unscathed crockery. Crockery which has now taken on a new role as an important reminder in my life; never try and tackle the heavy stuff alone.
Love Frankie x
Thoughts, experiences, and encouragement from the ladies of Falkirk Vineyard.