Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dear Friend

I have a dear, dear friend (whom I have known for basically half my life) that is going through a very rough patch with her family right now. I never realized you could hurt so much just by watching your friends hurt. I felt impressed to write her this a few weeks ago, and I thought I would share it here as well. For any of you who have friends or family hurting, you are welcome to share this with them. I pray it would minister to you and your loved ones.

Dear Friend:

                I’ve wanted to write this letter for a long time, but I’ve hesitated because I didn’t know if it would be right. I’ve never been in your place, and there’s nothing I can say that will solve your problems. But then I realized that I do know what it’s like to hurt, and how it feels to be frustrated with people you love, and I know what it’s like to ask God “why.” I can’t tell you “why.” I wonder if we’ll ever know “why.” And it’s not fair. It will never be fair. But it’ll be okay. I promise; it will be okay. Because He is with you.

                Right now, your family is like a glass vase. Before now, that vase was sitting on a thin ledge, teetering, until it was pushed onto the tile floor below, where it broke into pieces. Those pieces lay there until the Master Craftsman decided it was time to put the vase back together. But the individual pieces were so used to being separate, that it’s taking some time to adjust to being together again

                Some pieces liked being separate, and refused to be part of a vase. And so, for now, the vase has holes.

When the vase hit the floor, other pieces suffered more than just the obvious damage. They broke as a whole piece, but sustained tiny, hairline fractures. You can’t see them at first glance, but these small cracks hurt them as the vase is being mended.
As some pieces lay on the floor, they decided that it hurt so much to be broken apart that they would become even harder. They let the Master Craftsman rejoin them with the other pieces, but they fight to remain stiff and barely malleable—just in case the vase ever breaks again.

Still other pieces were broken so badly, they don’t think they can fit back together with the other pieces, especially when other pieces have left holes. These pieces have the roughest, most jagged edges. They were so used to being on the floor, they aren’t sure they really want to be in a vase. And because they’re not sure, sometimes, their sharp, pointed edges unintentionally cut the other pieces.

Then there are big pieces. They are grateful to be part of a vase again, but don’t know how. They wonder if broken pieces that have been separate for so long can really come together to become a beautiful vase again. And this is the question that all the pieces are asking. Can broken become beautiful?

I say it can. Because the Creator is also the Recreator. If the Master Craftsman can build the vase in the beginning, He can rebuild it again. Oh, the vase will never be just like it was before. It will have cracks, it will have holes, and it may be slightly misshapen. But it will be useful. It will be a new kind of beautiful. And it will be a testimony of the Master Craftsman’s handwork.

It may take years to make your family really whole again. It is hard, it is painful, and it is bewildering. And I don’t know how God will heal your family, but I have to believe that He will. Those cracks are painful, and messy, but He will smooth them and gradually ease their pain. Those holes are ugly, and they ache, but He will fill them with His presence, and He will slowly shrink them, over time. And we may wonder what use can possibly come from a situation like this, but there is always a purpose. God said there was a purpose in everything. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

A wise woman named Patsy Clairmont once discovered this:

She asked God how He could ever use her, a former psychological basket case who couldn’t even leave her own house. She wasn’t perfect; she was messed up, frankly. But God said, “Look at that vase in the window. Where is the sun shining the brightest?” She looked, and the sunlight was streaming brightly through the cracked spots. And God said, “You see, My Light shines brightest through the broken places.”

God has never needed perfect people or perfect families to spread His witness. Perfect people, if they exist, don’t need God. Hurting people, broken people, flawed people need God. And He wants these imperfect people. So it makes sense that He can best show His love to broken people through broken people. There is our purpose.

                Today is hard. I know. Go ahead. You cry. You get angry. You ask “why.” Pray, too. And until tomorrow comes, I will cry, get angry, ask “why,” and pray right alongside you. As I said, I’ve never been in your shoes, but I have my own shoes. I can’t promise to fix it, but I promise to hurt with you. I have a shoulder, and I have ears. And I pray. I pray hard. I know He hears, and I know He sees. He has started a work, and He always finishes what He starts. And when this work is done, it will be beautiful, because “He hath made everything beautiful in His time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I love you.

Your friend

Linking up today with these lovely bloggers:


  1. Oh, Joanna, that blesses my heart so much! I am so glad I hopped over for a visit! I don't get ot visit much anywhere anymore, but I am thankful we have a Recreator Who directs our steps even though we are so weak! Thank you, friend!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Jacqueline!! I read your blog quite often, so I am honored that you chose to come visit. :-) I am glad that this blessed you.

  2. Dear Joanna,

    It doesn't appear that you post often on your blog but when you do - what a punch you pack!

    What a beautiful and apropos post that will touch many people's hearts.

    Congratulations - you are one of my featured writers at this week's Inspire Me Monday party at Create Wtih Joy!

    1. Ramona, your kind words have me crying. Thank you so much. It's true I don't post very often, and it's because I have a pretty busy life. I want to write purposefully, and I am that this shows. Thank you again for stopping by, and thank you for the feature!

  3. Oh, Joanna, bless her and your heart - I have a great deal of empathy when Is see or know someone is hurt - take it from me - God can get anyone through any difficulty - I've been in some very dark places and held on tight to my faith - praying for you two-I know you'll be a great encouragement for her - that means A LOT! I'll have to check out the others! I do appreciate you sharing with A Return to Loveliness,

    1. Thank you for reading, Kathy! I can say for my friend and myself that your prayers are much appreciated. I pray you were blessed!

  4. Beautiful Joanna! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you for reading, my dear. :)

  5. What a wonderful letter to write to your dear friend. It does hurt when you see your friends suffer. I have a dear friend that has gone through so much. And now has another horrible hurdle to climb. Thanks for sharing your encouraging words. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. Thank you, Jann; I pray God would reach your friend during their time of trouble as well. :)