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  • Alane Stanton

Do you see what I see?

In the darkness, I cannot see. But come morning, my eyes open and I begin to focus. Maybe my focus is on the laundry yet to be folded in the living room chair, or possibly on the rain pouring down when I want to be outside doing ALL the things. Or just maybe, I'm focusing on the sound of the rain and how the gently falling drops create a rhythm that makes my heart want to sing ...

Right. Let's be real. I'm not good at focusing on anything before that first drop of coffee! So, I stumble to the Keurig and impatiently wait for my cup to fill. (Which, of course, only takes 30 seconds, but come on already!) To be honest, I have no idea if the coffee really helps, or I just tell myself it does. It's my routine, and when my routine is disturbed, I get out of sync. And my focus wanders.

So, I want you to do something with me RIGHT NOW. Take a long look at this photo.

Go ahead. I'll wait ...

Now ... what did you see first? What drew your focus? Maybe you don't even know what drew your eyes in, but let's break it down.

There's my quote at the top, which just happens to be in the sky.

There's a shell ... with a hole in the middle.

There is a blurred background of a beach scene.

There is a sunset.

There are pretty colors.

There is a picture within a picture.

So, did you see all of that? I took this photo for a couple of reasons. This blog is titled "A Beautiful Broken Shell," and the scope of the content is all about finding beauty in the midst of our brokenness. When I look at this photo, I don't see the broken piece that is missing. I see the gorgeous color and texture of the seashell. I see the peaceful setting surrounding the brokenness. I see encouragement above the brokenness. And I see a beautiful sunset through the brokenness.

I can either choose to focus on my broken pieces and the brokenness that occurred in my life ... my broken heart from divorce ... my shattered heart from losing my son to an overdose ... my confusion, doubt, and loneliness that was created by both of those events ...

OR ... I can choose to focus on the beauty that IS the brokenness ... the many blessings showered upon me when I broke; when I shattered ... the strength of my Jesus that lifted me up in my brokenness, when I could not stand on my own ... the daily reminders of His peace and His presence with which He surrounds me, IF I will only open my eyes and focus on Him ... His faithful promises to see me through the bad days ... everything God provided me in the midst of my brokenness, He has continued to provide daily.

Yes, there are bad days. Yes, I cry on those bad days. Yes, some days I refuse to focus on the beauty and the blessings right in front of me. And yes, some days I won't even get out of bed!

AND ... I've learned ALL of the above are ok! We are allowed to have those bad days.Tears are cleansing. And sometimes we have to cleanse our eyes, heart, and mind, BEFORE we can focus.

BUT ... we are not expected to remain in nor constantly focus on our pain. I am a firm believer God provides us with all the tools we need to claw our way out of the darkness and into the light of His goodness and His grace.

There is ALWAYS beauty to be found in our brokenness, through our faithful Father, we need only to open our eyes.


Having a hard time focusing on the beauty in, around, or through your brokenness today? Let me encourage you to feel everything you need to feel, and trust Jesus to show you the beauty and blessings that are all around you. I promise you He will, if you open your eyes to Him today.

"God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't He do even MORE for you? You have such little faith!" ( Luke 12:28 CEV)

"Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary." (Psalm 96:6 ESV)

"For how great is His goodness, and how great His beauty!" (Zechariah 9:17a ESV)

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