It was my favorite coffee cup.
Dave and The Littles gave it to me for Christmas and I loved it so much for how it fit in my hand and for how it reminded me to chill out.
One of them broke it while putting it away in the cabinet.
The heartache that followed was disproportionate to the actual event. She was devastated because she knew I really loved it and she had let it crash to the floor. She cried like she had been hurt. I thought she might have cut herself badly on one of the pieces, but she hadn't. It was just her heart.
When she came running out of the apartment with tears streaming down her face, all I could do was scoop her into my arms and hug her - my heart hurting because hers was.
It was then that I realized we had gathered an audience. Four teenage girls stood around us to make sure she was okay, but also to see what I would do. The Holy Spirit whispered to me, "They are watching to see if you are mad at her. They are waiting to see if you will be angry."
I turned her face to mine and said, "A coffee cup is just a thing. Did you step on it?" She shook her head and continued to cry as I went into our apartment to clean up the broken pieces. The girls gathered around her to comfort her, repeating my message, "It's okay... we can get another one,,, at least you weren't hurt..."
I don't believe in coincidence, so I saved that broken cup so I could think about it later. She saw it sitting on the stove at bedtime and started crying all over again, and so I told her what God had whispered to me. I told her she was forgiven before the cup had even hit the floor and I reminded her of her job here: to show others how to be a kid in a family where there is grace and forgiveness, where what you learn is more important than the mistakes you make, where people matter more than things. I told her that she didn't mean to let the cup fall out of the cabinet, but that it was no accident that it had because someone standing in that hallway needed to see that scene play out that night. I reminded her that we work here, and that sometimes that work is work-work, but sometimes it's just showing someone else a different kind of family.
God is constantly showing me that our reaction to the broken speaks volumes.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart - these, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17He wants the broken ones - and thank goodness because, aren't we all?