Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Broken Mailbox

Yep!  A broken mailbox is what we had when we got home from vacation.   Just a few days before heading back home, I received a phone call from my friend Sherel who was staying at our home while we were gone....I couldn't leave my cats alone for 11 days so she and her husband offered to stay at our place with their cat, Ms. Kitty.  My cats sure did appreciate the company.  I think my big boy, Jag, has a crush on Ms. Kitty.  Another tail...oops I mean another tale for another time.

Sherel informed me that my neighbor across the street was backing out of her driveway that morning (while it was still dark out) and had somehow hit our mailbox and flipped her car.  Her car was totaled and our mailbox was broken, foundation and all.  Broken bricks were all over the place.  But God spared her life that day...there are many more scenarios that could have being she could have hit the lamp post which would not have moved and broken which would have caused her serious injury.  She was a bit sore afterwards but nothing serious.  Her being okay was my first concern..  Broken mailboxes can be fixed but sometimes bodies cannot.  Most of the bricks from the mailbox were thrown and all over the place...afterwards (later that day) they were put into a neat pile.  Because they were broken into so many pieces some of the bricks may not be able to be reused.  Those in the pile are really useless just laying there on top of one another with nothing to hold them in place. 

As I write this my spirit is filled with sadness.  Sadness over what God showed me as the meaning behind my broken mailbox.  It reminds me of the church.  Please let me say right here and right now when I refer to the church I am not referring to any particular church but the church itself which consists of the body of believers everywhere. 

Our churches, like my mailbox are broken.  We are broken for  many reasons.  We are broken due to hurts caused to us by others within the church....we are broken because of an unwilling spirit to make changes that God so desires us to make...we are broken because of betrayals that have taken place within our relationships...we are broken because of people's own agenda instead of our agenda being in line with God's will for our churches...we are broken because of comments people have said to us or about us behind our backs....the list goes on but I think you get the picture. 

Yesterday the repair man started rebuilding the mailbox by putting the bricks on top of the foundation.  He laid the new foundation a few days ago.  Once the foundation was laid and dried he was ready to start laying and cementing the bricks in place one by one.  It is only then when the foundation is laid and dried that it's ready for the bricks to be put in just the perfect spot.  We all know that without a strong foundation things will come crashing down.  It's a strong foundation that holds things together.  As he was doing his work my neighbor stopped in and she said to me "Gee I thought your mailbox would have been finished by now."  I answered, "I guess it takes time since it has to be done brick my brick."  She agreed.

It was that conversation that brought this article to life.  We in the church are like those bricks that have been hit and hit hard.  Some have been shattered, others are chipped in a few places and yet others are so broken they can't get up.  I thought about how we need to be rebuilt just like my mailbox.  Before the repair man can place the brick in place he has to make sure that the mortar (something that cements two things together) is is after all what holds the brick in place and close to the others.  I watched him today from my window and saw how he spread the mortar and then very gently and carefully placed the brick on top it.  He moved it just a bit to make sure that it was in the right place and then gave it a little pat to make sure it would grab hold of the mortar.  As some of the mortar must have slipped out I saw him wipe it away.  It's like that too with each of us.   In order for God to fix us when we are broken, just like the repair man did, He has to wipe away all the stuff that oozes out from our broken spirits during the rebuilding process.  And like the repair man he wipes it away and then the brick (us) is in place exactly where God wants it.  God gives us a little pat and it's like He says to us (me)....there Janice grab hold of the mortar (Jesus) and allow Him to rebuild you ....I have you right where I want you.   It may take some time but the outcome will be something beautiful.

But before we can be rebuilt we must realize that "yes we are broken" and "yes I want to be rebuilt."  We have all heard the saying that "no church is perfect" and that is the truth isn't it?  Perfect we are not but broken we are.

We've all had a role in one way or another of allowing the church to break.  So right here and right now with a heart that is truly grieving over the brokenness of God's church, I want to say to each one of you reading this please forgive me as I have had a role in causing God's church to be broken.  I may have hurt you somewhere along the way in life and not made things right with you.  Forgive me.  My heart is never to hurt anyone but yet sometimes my flesh decides to do its own thing.  Anyone else know what I'm talking about?   I may have had a spirit that wasn't willing to change or a spirit that is critical of the way things are done.  Forgive me.  If I have hurt you or wronged you somehow I want you to know that I am truly sorry and want to make things right with you.  It's the only way we can fix what is broken.  Many times people will say, "it's okay don't worry about it."  But it's not okay.  If I broke it I need to take the responsibility to help put it back together again.  Please feel free to let me know if there is something that is broken between us that needs to fixed and cemented back together again.  Let the rebuilding begin.

Some bricks cannot be reused in rebuilding my mailbox.  I am so thankful that God can fix anything that is broken....He can do that ONLY IF we will allow Him to take our brick and  place it right back where it belongs cemented to His church.

Would you be willing to allow God to heal your brokenness, cementing you back to His church?  What must you do to make that happen?  If someone who has hurt you comes and asks your forgiveness would you forgive them?  I mean really forgive them...not just forgiveness in words...but truly forgiving them and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work of reconciliation by restoring your relationship.  What if you have offended someone or there is a strain in a relationship are you willing to take the necessary steps to fix what may be broken or shattered?  None of us want to be the one to say "forgive me I have hurt you or wronged you." but yet we must.  I beg you dear sisters...dear brothers if someone comes to you and asks you to forgive them...don't make it any harder on them...we all know how hard it is to seek forgiveness...remember how much Christ forgave you.  If we forgive then watch God rebuild His church one brick at time on a foundation that is sure to hold whatever comes its way.

In Christ's love,


Janice said...

Dear Janice,
Thanks so much for forwarding your blogs to me. I especially enjoyed your latest.
Many years ago, I was a "broken mailbox" within the church. Painful as it was, it was the greatest thing that could have happened to me{ aside from my salvation}. It forced to me to re-prioritize things in my Christian walk and to count entirely on the Lord. With His help , I was able to forgive the offenders and move on. There is a scar, but that's ok. It reminds me of God's continued faithfulness and love.It also is a reminder , to be quick to check myself,
so I do not become the offender against my sisters and brother in the Lord.
God bless you for all you do; I appreciate your ministry.
Love, Liz Galtieri

Janice said...

Beautiful analogy! thank you! The Lord spoke volumes to me through your blog.
Bless you,

Anonymous said...

Sweet Janice, I am so blessed that God uses broken bricks and in some respects - it's not until we are broken that we can be used!

From one broken and pieced back together vessel to another - keep sharing the word! Let the rebuilding continue!
Love, Barbara

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