The problem with “before and after pictures” is the lack of the “right now”.
Our culture celebrates transformation. Posting a picture on social media of your DIY kitchen remodel will garner plenty of compliments and congratulations from people with whom you haven’t spoken in years.
And here’s the interesting thing to me: If you were to post a “before picture” without the “after picture” you won’t get anywhere close to the same response. Why is that?
Why will our dated countertops and cabinet doors that hang off-level bring so very much adoration and honor to us once they are nothing more than a memory but mean absolutely nothing to us while they still exist? Here’s my guess…
Our world doesn’t welcome brokenness.
I have a buddy named Joey who has just the right amount of crazy. He shares my love of restoring old, broken, discarded things.
The thing is, he can see the beauty in something long before it has been restored. We have stood together in front of a a 100 year old car dealership built of brick, a pair of apartment buildings that were very nearly falling down, a rusty and broken-down 1977 Volkswagon Campervan, multiple cars and motorcycles, vintage radios and record players, furniture, technology, and so many more items that you would get bored and stop reading this blog post if I named them all. And, typically, our conversation goes something like…
“Look how incredible this is, and they don’t realize how much value is here.”
“But it will take a whole lot of work.”
“Yeah… but we can do it.”
“But do we want to do it?”
“Can you imagine how satisfying it would be to rebuild this (insert whatever we happen to be looking at).”
“You could just buy a new one.”
“You can’t buy history and character like this.” (At this point we both know he’s already made up his mind and we’re totally going to do it.)
You see, it’s not just about the end result.
This culture of showing off the finished work is in stark contrast to the heart of our Savior.
Our world likes to see the complete and a memory of the broken.
Christ gave everything for the broken.
What is incredible is that while we have been fully embraced by Christ while being broken and hurt, sinful and scarred, we get to pass along that embrace and welcome to the people in this world who are utterly rebuffed.
In this world with its “let me know when it’s fixed” mentality, we can be the ones who offer sanctuary.
There are currently thousands of children in foster care who are broken.
How will you respond to them? They are not an “after picture”.
They are broken, hurt, discarded, anxious, and alone. Will you welcome their brokenness? Will you love and accept them before they get everything figured out without the promise that they ever will? Will you do as Christ has done and go to them, sacrificing your comfort, time, energy, money to meet them where they are? Will you get up close and personal, so close that their problems and worries affect you as well?
In a culture that simply wants to hear the story of how they overcame their past, will you embrace their past, their pain?
He doesn’t demand that we adopt a facade, to cover our brokenness, to be tough and not let those things affect us. He lets us be broken.
It’s only through the brokenness that He can rebuild.
Something we say in our home quite often is, “don’t waste your suffering.” What we mean by this is a fairly simple. While we didn’t enjoy what we have gone through, the pain and the shameful, we are determined to leverage it to show God’s grace and love in our lives. Instead of hiding our scars, our brokenness, we will allow our neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, strangers to see them. And through them they will also see the glorious love of Christ in our lives.
So, for those thousands of children and youth who are foster care and in need of a family for a season or possibly forever, what will you do?
Will you look away until their are “fixed”?
Will you share your brokenness with them and allow them to be honest about their own problems, fears, challenges?
Will we invite them into our home with the message that “your brokenness is welcome here.”?
Joe Snyder // County Coordinator
The CALL in Pulaski County