I stand on my sister's pier, and look at the one next door.
It is broken.
A storm came and took part of it away.
It wasn't even a strong storm. But obviously the pier had weak places, and now parts of it are gone.
I stare at God's glory being painted in the sky. The glory that is about to say goodbye for the day, and I'm filled with hope because I know that same glory will return the next morning on the other side of the bay.
I'm also filled with hope that God will use the broken pier as part of the "glory-picture" He paints at the dusk of every day.
The pier is broken, and the woman who owns it has not had the resources to have it repaired.
The pier is still being used. As a part of that "glory-picture" God paints at every dusk. But it is also being used in so many other ways.
It is a port for brightly colored rafts and little inflatable boats. They are waiting for little adventurers and explorers, and maybe a few pretend "Jacques Costeaus" to jump aboard them.
Daddies stand in the shallow waters of the bay, and plead with their babies standing on the pier to trust them enough to jump into their outstretched arms.
Mommas try to apply sunscreen to unwrinkled and unblemished skin while their babies turn into world class contortionists. Those little babies stomp their feet and roll around on the pier in protest. They don't yet know the pain their mommas are trying to protect them from.
New lovers sit on the pier and hold hands and dream about their perfect future, while old lovers sit and give thanks for their past. A past that wasn't perfect but was very very good.
Fishermen stand on the pier to cast their nets and their poles, and I wonder if they know that the God who said to cast our cares on Him waits for them right there on that broken pier.
I stand on my sister's pier and look at the broken pier next door. And I am filled with hope.
Hope that God can use me in my brokenness.
Unlike the small storm that took part of the pier away, a huge storm rolled over me and took part of me with it.
Like the owner of the pier, I don't have the resources to fix myself.
But I know that My God holds those lost pieces of me in His Hands, and that one day He will give them back to me. And I just can't help but believe, that when He does, I will lay them back at His feet. The part I miss, the part that's gone, will become my offering.
While I wait for that day, I will remember the broken pier.
It reminds me that my brokenness doesn't disqualify me from being used.
But in all honesty there are days when I feel like the damage is too much. That too much has been lost, and that I'm just too tired to be used.
And on those days, even though I know it's not true, everyone else looks whole and healthy. Like their lives have been storm-proofed, and that they have been spared the damage from the winds and the waves. It's like they got the storm warning, and I missed it.
But God's voice is loud yet tender. And gentle while strong. And I know that voice and I listen to it.
I don't have to wait until I am whole to be used in God's "glory-painting."
He has a plan for my life. And He uses my broken places to show His mighty power and His amazing grace, as He fulfills those plans.
The pier stands in beauty and brokenness, unaware of how God has used it to speak to me.
And I turn to my family, and I know that He's busy painting a new picture.
He's painting our family portrait, and His glory is all over it.