It is a bright red felt heart floating in a crystal glass. This was the memento that was given me on my surprise Quinceañera (15th birthday party) by Vivian Rodriguez, the speaker of the night and the mother of my classmate. With this glass, she told me that this night marks the moment when I would be moving into the adult world. Many guys would come into my life, offering me many promises, but I would need to guard my heart until Christ told me to give it away.
In the seven years since that night, my heart has been broken many times. Don’t worry; this is not a depressing story or a country song, just wait for the redemption at the end! No, these broken hearts were not over my male heart throbs, though I did shed some of those tears as well, but rather in regards to countries, people.
You see, when Doña Vivian spoke of guarding my heart, she spoke of guarding it from guys or impure thoughts or actions that would not glorify God, she did not speak of the fact that you leave a little part of your heart in every place that you live, with every person that you love. As I write this, my heart lies in four continents. God has blessed me with friends, with the ability to study abroad, with the ability to serve in churches. With the joy of every smile at meeting someone new comes the tears of having to say goodbye.
I was pondering this while sitting on the porch of my sister’s apartment in Honduras. I was asking God why once again my heart had to break, why once again I had to realize what it was like to desire to live in Barcelona, Honduras, Indiana, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, and Uganda all at the same time. Why I could not be there for every event in my best friend’s life.
He gave me an answer! As it started to rain-shine (when God lets drops fall out of a beautifully sunny sky), He reminded me of a piece of artwork that I saw in the Shepherd’s Door when working there last summer. No, it was not a painting; they were two vases filled with broken pieces of plates. I thought that they were beautiful, but I often wondered why they were there. Then one day, I overheard my supervisor speaking to some of the new ladies that were entering the program. She mentioned that they were on the mantel as Ebenezers. Yes, the ladies were broken just like the plates, but God could redeem that and transform it into something beautiful. Those plates had a purpose!
Yes, I am a cracked crystal glass around a broken felt heart, but God can redeem me and transform me into who He wants me to be. God reminds me of the beautiful memories and friendships that I have in each of the places that I have lived. I would not change it for the world, and neither would He. He is going to use my brokenness. He is going to use my tears. He is going to use my experiences. He is going to use those relationships. Praise our Father because He is a God who does not waste; He redeems!