We tried to get rid of it.
One sunny Saturday morning, we hauled the cement garden statue of a woman onto the front lawn with a collection of other unwanted items, in preparation for a neighborhood yard sale.
Moments before the early shoppers began to arrive, a little voice asked, “You’re not getting rid of Sarah, are you?”
I turned to see my four-year-old daughter clinging to the statue, which apparently she’d named Sarah.
“You can’t sell Sarah, Mommy. She’s my friend!”
My husband emerged from the garage to see her nuzzling the statue and whispering comforting words into its cold, sculpted ear.
“That’s Sarah,” I explained. “We can’t get rid of her.”
“Because she’s my friend, Daddy!”
He placed an armload of boxes onto the grass, shrugged, and hauled Sarah back into the garage.
And just like that, Sarah found her new home, pushed up against the garage wall, safely nestled between a step ladder and a bag of insulation.
In the months following her rescue, Sarah transformed from an unwanted piece of junk into an honorary member of the family. All was well. Until the day when, as my daughter watched and waved, the passenger-side mirror of my husband’s car knocked into Sarah while he backed out of the garage on his way to work.
Sarah wobbled and crashed to the floor with a sickening clang, breaking into several pieces.
My sweet girl burst into tears and ran to her shattered friend’s side. She dropped to her knees with a wail. “I loved Sarah, but I can’t love her anymore because she’s too broken!”
It occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to teach her not to love the things of this world. And yet, there was something more pressing I needed to tell her. Something more important.
I sat down on the floor and pulled my devastated daughter onto my lap. Then I began to show her all of my broken spots: a burn mark on my wrist; three scars left by stitches from various incidents; the place where I once chipped my tooth.
“Mommy has lots of broken spots,” I said. “Do you still love me even though I’m broken?”
“What about God?” I asked. “Do you think God still loves me even though I’m broken?”
“Yes. God loves you very much, Mommy.”
“That’s right,” I said. “God loves me very much, and He loves you very much, too. You can never be too broken to be loved.”
I held my daughter awhile and reflected on all my unseen broken spots – the piercing heartbreak of loss; past regrets which sometimes threaten to overwhelm me with feelings of shame. I didn’t show her those, because they can’t be pointed to as easily . . . and because I don’t point them out very often at all.
Most of my broken places remain hidden. I tend to cover them up and instead put on my whole, cleaned-up self for the world to see.
But what if I stopped trying so hard to hide my brokenness? What if we all did?
What if we wore our scars not as marks of decreased value, but as evidence of how wholly and perfectly we’re loved by the Creator of the Universe, who sent His one and only Son to die for us in all our messiness and ugliness and brokenness?
Today, there’s a good chance we’ll come into contact with someone who secretly believes they’re too broken to be loved. Let us not perpetuate this lie by hiding our own scars, because perhaps this is where the healing love of Jesus shows most clearly to those who so desperately long to see it.
Sarah is still in the garage — broken, but still serving a purpose. Every time I look at her I’m reminded of God’s perfect, unbroken love.