the broken, the unseen

Yesterday, I posted a photo on Instagram that, when I checked in again later, had received more likes than any of my recent posts.
It was a happy photo taken weeks ago, of me with a perfect fringe and a hot cup of tea in my manicured hands. And my caption was all good news! Because I had good news and I did really just want to share it with the world.

In that moment, I was grateful. So grateful that I’d received word that I was eligible to graduate university (see?! Good news!). Grateful that my kids nailed this year at school, and kind of awestruck that I’d just been given the gift of an amazing woman’s first book – she signed me as her editor!

I’m not downplaying any of that news – but later, after I snapped at one of my kids, with a cold that I’ve not been able to shake for almost two weeks and is e x h a u s t i n g while wearing my dirty active wear and my frizzy fringe pinned back I felt this twinge of guilt.
I’d just shared this incredible highlight on my Instagram – but it in no way encompassed a complete picture of my life. It can’t – I’m so aware that it can’t.

It was a reminder again, that what we see online is like looking through a keyhole. We see only what we can through a tiny window, but there are other rooms in there completely invisible to us. Other struggles. Ugliness. There are uneven edges on the shortbread, messy and imperfect (but completely adorable) salt dough ornaments that are far from Pinterest-worthy.

Most of the time these rooms, these spaces in our lives aren’t kept as secrets, but they’re kept private. Visible only to the ones who come through the door and sit in those spaces with us.

This month after I got some bad news, my friend arrived at my house with wine and chocolate. She told me she was ‘dropping in’ – but she lives almost an hour away! Yet she drove all the way to sit in one of those rooms, invisible to the public, but completely accessible to her.
About a week later, she patiently witnessed a little tantrum I had with tears and all, hugged me big and loves me still. Another space that was too sacred to be presented to the world.

All that to say that not all of my life is my highlight reel.
BUT I am learning not to dwell and focus on what is missing and what is broken.

The other day I read this verse in Micah that says,
The breaker [the Messiah, who opens the way] shall go up before them [liberating them]. They will break out, pass through the gate and go out; so their King goes on before them, the Lord at their head.*

I sat, feeling in my bones that brokenness is the way to breakthrough.
Sometimes what’s difficult in our lives is exactly what’s needed to break through, to bust out, and to liberate us.

There is much, much in my life that is not right.
There is so much that I’m hoping for, so many anxieties that I’m trying to lay down, so much of what’s ahead is unknown.
But I hold on to the hope that I’ll be liberated from the things that feel binding,
break out knowing a King goes before me,
and I trust that it’s all going to be okay.

And while I wait, I’ll celebrate every victory.


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