With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we all know we’re supposed to be grateful. But if we’re really honest, it’s not always that easy. If giving thanks feels a little extra challenging this year, Cornerstone webmaster, Katie Tuck, encourages us to be thankful in the hard and in the brokenness because it is there that we often sense the presence and love of God.
A broken drinking glass. A meltdown on the bathroom floor. A hug and an encouraging pep talk. Who knew that particular Thanksgiving would be the one I most vividly remember? God knew. Because He knew I needed to see the beauty in brokenness and learn to be thankful for the blessings it can bring.
The fall of 2018 was by far one of the hardest seasons of life I’ve been in physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Earlier that year, we discovered that unlike what previous doctors had told me, I was actually capable of having a child, but it would have to be through IVF. The following months were filled with a whirlwind of doctor’s office visits, tests, consultations, and procedures that left me overwhelmed, anxious, emotionally unstable, and at times, physically ill. The culmination of that gauntlet arrived around the Thanksgiving holiday when I had my first embryo transfer. If you’ve been through IVF, you know that the hormones coursing through you with each daily shot leave you arguably more moody, volatile, and emotionally fragile than you’ve ever been before. For those of you who haven’t been through IVF, it can seem like the person is a trainwreck. Well, that’s exactly how I felt on Thanksgiving afternoon when I accidentally dropped and broke a drinking glass at a friend’s house with about 15-20 people there. What normally wouldn’t have overly phased me and I would have handled with grace, left me in a puddle of unstoppable tears on the bathroom floor while others cleaned up my mess.
What I realized years later was that the shattered glass perfectly symbolized my shattered spirit at that time in my life. I was angry, frustrated, tired, scared, and what normally wouldn’t have broken me, broke me into a thousand pieces. The beauty that came out of that brokenness, however, has stayed with me and left a remarkable and permanent mark on my heart.
Upon emerging from the bathroom with a tear-streaked face, smudged makeup, and a load of embarrassment, the friend who was hosting dinner pulled me aside in a quiet area and gave me the biggest, longest hug that I didn’t realize I so desperately needed. The hug was filled with love, understanding, and a shared bond of brokenness that few other people in my life could understand. Because she had gone through IVF herself over a decade before. Because she knew the physical and emotional effects that the process could have on you. Because she knew how fragile your spirit could become and how much you need the support of others around you, especially those in whose footsteps you are walking. Needless to say, any walls that remained in my heart came crashing down with that hug because of one person’s ability to be vulnerable with me in a time when I was most vulnerable.
While I wish I could say I walked away from that dinner carefree and jolly, I can’t. I was still emotionally drained and shaken. However, I did walk away from that dinner with a huge sense of relief and hope and encouragement in the fact that I had a kindred spirit who could relate to me in my darkest moments and cheer me on when the going got tough. And eventually, she became someone who could truly appreciate the overwhelming joy you feel when you get that phone call saying your embryo transfer was successful.
This Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to be thankful in the brokenness because it is there that we often sense the presence and love of God through our vulnerability and the vulnerability of others. By tearing down our facades and being real with one another, God can use us in powerful ways to be the hug and voice of encouragement that someone else needs. Only through vulnerability will we find beauty in the brokenness.
The Cornerstone family wishes you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving. If you're in a season of brokenness, here is another brief article of encouragement or if you would like to talk to someone, our Campus Pastor Brandon Nolan, would be honored to speak with you.