Celebrate What God Has Done!

As promised, here is my blog about broken pieces.

This entry really began at Doxology, my church. Easter Sunday my roommate and I walked in the doors at the back of the cafeteria (we meet at Corvallis High School) and were a bit shocked to see all the colorful trees everywhere. Upon closer examination, we realized these "trees" were actually bare branches covered with "leaves" made out of recycled materials. What's better, each tree had a theme. One was old sneakers. Another, a pair of jeans. Still others were made from maps, screens, and plastic shopping bags. It was fabulous to see how creative our church had been in decorating for this wonderful holiday. Then I noticed this sign:

If you can't read it, it says: "Tree of New Life: Take a leaf and fasten it to the tree. Celebrate what God has done!" Ahh, so that's where the eco-friendly trees came in. From trash to treasure. Truly. My church never misses an opportunity to be symbolic.

This tree was made from denim.
The leaves on this little guy are actually old WinCo bags.
We sat right next to this one and it was my favorite. It's made from old maps. If you look closely, the tree right next to it is an old screen.

So I'm already feeling pretty jazzed about God's amazing ability to make all things new after church on Easter. Then, a few days after receiving my "alternate" status from PSU, I opened up the book Q's parents sent me awhile back: Mother Angelica's Private and Pithy Lessons From the Scripture. I read through a couple of entries and fall upon one entitled "Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes." I've read this story from the Bible tons of times before, but I've never seen it quite like this.

Mother Angelica points out that in John 6: 12, the Lord tells his disciples to "Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted." Pick up the pieces. Jesus just performed a tremendous miracle. He just greatly multiplied a small basket of food into a sufficient amount to feed THOUSANDS of people. Surely He could have repeated this trick again for dinner. And yet, He was concerned with the leftover pieces. He wanted them all gathered together for a purpose. He wanted to continue to feed His people, and he was going to use these scraps to do that.

"There is a lesson in those fragments lying there in the grass. In our lives we take something God gives us that is good and we turn it into garbage. We fragment it. We pull it apart. We scatter it all over the place. Sin kind of squashes it, or just destroys it, or makes it ugly. God is saying to us, 'Don't throw it away. I'm going to make it nourishing for you, even in this state'... We won't know until we die and face God how even the failures of our lives have been used by Him, and transformed by His power for our good."

So, my life is currently full of hundreds of broken pieces. Shattered dreams. Confusion. Heartache. There are far more questions than answers. And sometimes I'm tempted to just walk away and forget it all. To leave the mess behind me and move on. Other times I'm cynical. I completely overlook the good in my life, and refuse to see the bigger picture.

When I look at my empty box of cereal, I don't see colorful leaves blooming on a tree. I see another box to add to our already overflowing recycle bin.

And when I look at my current situation, I don't see the beautiful new creation just waiting to burst forth. I just see garbage. But He does. He sees it. He won't leave a single thing behind. He's using it ALL for His purpose: Me.


"M" said…
This is beautiful Miss Natalie! I wish that I had the ability to use words the way you do.

I too have been struggling these last few weeks and have found myself looking for a way out and step forward rather than waiting it out. I truly believe that I am designed by Him to be a teacher. Yet with all the craziness of budget cuts and cutting of jobs I am find myself getting ready to run on to the next big thing that will land me a job for the fall.

I am just trying to remember Jeremiah 29:11 and pray it daily. He knows the plans that he has for us and they ARE good. Even when it seems like he is light years away he is right here waiting for me to ask for His grace and His mercy and His love.
Amanda said…
Beautiful. What pretty 'trees'!

My mom's bible study was on the same story, but with a different take. Our study is on "He Speaks To Me" and how to learn how to be prepared and ready for God to speak to you, or perhaps more appropriate how to listen! This last Tuesday we focused on the importance of being still. If you look over the loaves and fishes story you'll see that God told them to be seated. Those who were seated got fed. God is waiting to meet our needs. He wants to fill us up with good things to make us thrive. But we need to be seated and still first so we can take what he is offering.

How fun that we are both learning new things this week about a story we have heard so many times before.
Kendra said…
Wow...thank you for sharing that!!