Lives Built of Glass

It all feels like glass, really. A little too fragile, and I must watch my steps. It seems that life is full of it–glass walls that keep us in, glass doors that keep us out, glass hearts that break all too easily…We live lives made out of glass because the more life we live, the more we realize everything can shatter in a single moment.

My husband’s fingers scrub the shampoo in my hair as lightly as he can so as not to hurt my head. If I curl or tense my hands in any task for more than a minute right now, they cramp up and I lose strength for at least a couple hours. He then washes the rest of me, because I don’t have strength, get lightheaded, or get bad head pain when bending down. Sometimes bending my head back only a tad to rinse my hair brings whimpers and tears, and it all comes rushing back, how quickly everything falls apart.

Maybe life becomes built from all the pain we’ve had before, and we are suddenly more afraid of living in that fearful space than we are of the pain itself. More like walking on a solid glass platform with no visible threat of danger. The only thing keeping us afraid is the depths of ground we can see through below.

Maybe life is one big glass house, and it is merely our fear that’s keeping our feet treading lightly. The fear that anything can break down is enough to keep us from living fully at all.

The glass houses aren’t a very good way to live.

I tiptoed around for a long time, not wanting to take a step that would break open the ground and swallow me whole. It took a couple years to realize everything was glass if I made it glass. And my tiptoeing turned into a soft footed walk, knowing that I couldn’t stop the bad from happening. I could only accept it, live in it, and know that while God might not take me out of it, He would get me through it. Kind of like it was still glass, but now I could see the ground not far below it.

But maybe our life best takes on the shape of the glass prism, etched and cut precisely from a larger piece of glass. All so that light can be shone through in ways far different than other pieces. All of this after the hard pounding, severing, and chipping away with fine detail.

It’s always the breaking that leads us to the building. 

The thing is, our prism of a soul can be the most beautiful home for us. We can see God’s light shine through in the most clear and beautiful ways, multicolored fractals beaming from the light on the other side.

It often happens like this, when we embrace our brokenness, we see ourselves as the perfect vessel for God to shine through.

And I think of this as Christmas passes and the New Year begins. Amidst the twinkling lights and rich green trees.

He came for the messy and the broken. He came in the messy and the broken; born in a makeshift crib in the middle of an old barn, where unwelcome animals, smells, and discomfort abounded. All this right after a wearisome and stressful time of traveling just to make it to somewhere safe. Jesus came in the middle of a mess, and yet He did it anyway because His love far outreached the circumstances.

So it is for us. His love reaches far beyond our circumstances. There is nothing that could keep us from Him, no matter how ugly our lives or situations have become.

My mess is now His mess, and His peace is now my peace.

His love comes not in spite of the mess but because of it. Our mess attracts His love not because He sees something to feel sorry for, but because He longs to give, give, give. 

He came to show us our brokenness is worth it. Worthy of His love. Worthy of His glory. We are worth it. Our brokenness is welcome because it’s the best surface to display the best story.

It’s only when our glass filled lives are broken down that we transform into our prism-like state.

Then after the Christmas season comes a brand new year, and we see even more so that Christ came for our mess, and has promised us new life in Him; hope in our dark.

So even when the lights grow dim and the douglas firs die away, He still remains. We don’t need a life dressed up in glitter, lights, and bows to receive Him more. His feet walked the same earth that we have, so our humanity can’t scare Him away. In fact, our finite and imperfect humanity draws Him in.

Life has a way of deceiving you–we think we enter into brand new seasons, when really they are disguised as new while we are only feeling much deeper. We may walk the same dirt path we did long ago, only now we’re trudging six inches deep in the mud. It’s not completely new, only the depths are. And these new depths are enough to make us wonder if we’ve ever lived this life before.

I think about this when I listen to worship, sad, or heart-wrenching songs. I sing the same songs I did before. Only now I sing as if I’ve wrote them myself.

Sometimes I push the words out with my eyes when I can’t get them to come out of my mouth; sometimes they flow better down cheeks than within syllables and sentences.

I’ve been singing the same songs for years, the same happy and sad tunes playing in my ears. But now in this season, it seems the words pull at every fiber and nerve of my being, reminding me I know about exactly what I sing. I’m no longer singing about which I don’t fully know.

So often I’ve felt the glass walls around me were keeping me in, preventing me from the world moving on outside. Almost like it was a cruel way for me to watch everyone else do what I couldn’t. But maybe I missed the hint that God is somehow using those walls for protection for the time being–preparing me for something far beyond myself. It’s part of Him chiseling away at my glass exterior to create the transparent inside that clearly shows His light. Just like a prism.

And it all comes cascading down in a masterpiece of emotion, the way God reveals the beauty of life while you’re feeling the depths of it. Or rather, the way He reveals Himself.

Maybe our lives are always reflecting Him, it just depends on how much, based on how we allow Him to work in our lives–to bring good from the bad. Our foggy glass is buffered by Him until He can see His reflection, until we look brand new.

That’s a truth I need to rely on this New Year. That beauty comes from the mess all because Christ came that tender night.

Maybe you do too.

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