One of Heather's dress-ups got ripped a few weeks ago. Ty was standing on it and Heather started moving, and the garment tore at one of the seams. She still wears it and prances around, pretending to be the princess at the ball. It doesn't bother her because the dress is still held together albeit barely.
I hate it when people say things are ripped clean in half, because with the fabric of our days that is never true. There are always frayed edges and tattered pieces of cloth left behind.
The word "cancer" sometimes makes me feel tattered inside all over again, unraveling a barrage of painful memories and hopes dashed to the front of my memory, thread fringes hanging from a torn garment.
My mom was gone from me too quickly while in the prime of her life and faith, the edges of my life ripped at the seams for all to witness.
I felt orphaned, and honestly I have yet to experience a lonelier feeling. Loved ones were near, but dangerously near - so close that I lived in danger of seeing my tattered heart shred completely should I have lost another.
Friends, it wasn't time that healed the wound or hemmed the brokenness into something that could be used. Oh no.
That was the Lord, sewing my pain into a robe of joy. Might I share with you the testimony and timeline of the mending?
In April 2007, just a few short months before my mom died, there was a baby born into a family filled with chaos and confusion. A baby girl I didn't know existed at the time, but one of the babies God would use to sew up my busted soul.
Then, in February of 2008, in the depth of my anguish and grief, just a few days shy of my mother's birthday, another baby girl was born to that same family. Little did I know, this tiny stranger would soon be inextricably tied to my destiny.
In March of 2010, just one day shy of celebrating our 1 month wedding anniversary, a dimpled baby boy entered this world, a brother to those two baby girls. I had no idea this child I'd never met would bring our home such joy and laughter.
It was around this time God began whispering those two foreign words to me: foster care. I ignored it for as long as I could and finally gave in with great reluctance.
We were married just shy of 8 months when those two little girls and that little boy came to live with us, tiny aching hearts from a deeply broken situation.
I recognized the pain in their eyes because I had seen it in my own. Had I never felt orphaned, I don't know that I would have identified with the plight of the orphan the way that I do. The Word of Life jumps off the page even to this day as I think about how God transformed deep pain into purpose.
Can the torn cloth really participate in the work of the Mender?
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
2 Corinthians 1, The Message
The deep truth is this: we were undone, and now we look back with gratitude at the kindness Jesus showed to repair us in such an unlikely and unique way.
The Father of all comfort is using the threads of Tabbitha, Heather, and Ty's little lives to hem up my brokenness.
God is purposing my orphaned heart to bring redemption to their story that included abandonment and disappointment. This family of five has been sewn together with the loving tenderness of our God's healing needle and thread. Sometimes it hurts and it continues to unearth our need for Him and each other.
The Mender is stitching all of us together, tattered ends lost in the love He has for us and the love we have for each other.
We are nearing the adoption, but just because the paper trail will be over and the gavel will bang doesn't mean the Lord is done knitting us. No, it won't be complete until That Day.
We keep looking forward to the moment we've been longing for as the people of God: when we trade in our ripped dress ups for the beautiful gown, stitched with love by our King. No more mending to be done, only celebrating and clothing ourselves in the Righteousness He earned for us.
Until then, as Dave Barnes wrote,
"We are stitched together
and what Love has tethered I pray we never undo."
He is before all things,and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
Want more encouragement on your journey? Pick up Angie Smith's new book Mended: Pieces of A Life Made Whole here and here.
Angie is one of my favorite writers and I think you'll be blessed by the book. You can find me reading it this weekend :)
(I wrote this post at the invitation of B&H Publishing. All opinions are my own.)