My daughter’s room has a blackout shade. That shade has a tear in it, which of course means light seeps in through the crack. One’s eye can’t help but be drawn to that flaw in the blind. Forget the rest of the pristine white canvas, it’s the tear that draws attention. I find this to be a fitting description of life as well. The “broken” parts of your life are the ones that people notice.

Do you feel “broken” or “torn,” my friend? Do you ever feel out of control? Has your life turned out exactly the way you envisioned it? Mine sure hasn’t. My reality is a far cry from the perfect life I hoped for when I was in college dreaming of my future. As I’ve entered the adult world, one thing that constantly hits me is how hard life is. I admit that I had a normal, stable, perhaps even sheltered childhood. I make no apologies for this. My parents gave us the gift of a childhood in all its innocence. I hope and pray my husband and I are doing the same for our own children. But my adult years thus far have shocked me with the harsh realities of life. Look at the problems some of my friends (in their 30’s, mind you) are dealing with: job loss, an unfaithful spouse, cancer, the death of a spouse, a house fire, mental illness, miscarriage, desperately ill children, bankruptcy, and more. We ourselves have had our share of hardships, some from that list and some different ones. Everyone has some burden to bear, some part of their life that’s broken.

Thankfully, we aren’t in this alone. Quite honestly, had someone told me back in college what my life would look like now, I might well have said, “No, thanks. I’ll pass. Let me choose another path.” At that point I wasn’t ready to even comprehend the difficulties I would face. But through our hardships, I’ve discovered something. I’m stronger than I thought I was. No, correct that. My God is stronger than I realized. Much stronger. He has sustained me through the good days and the crummy days alike. He has given me strength for each day. He doesn’t give me a huge chunk of strength all at once, but just what I need each day. And that’s enough. God has a way of using human weakness to proclaim His power. Remember Paul, pleading with God to take away the thorn in his flesh? What does God say? “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Wow. Think about that, dear ones. God’s power is made perfect in… weakness?  Yep. Take Job as an example. We don’t remember him and set aside a book of the Bible for his narrative because he was so rich and powerful. We remember him sitting in dust and ashes, his children dead, his flocks and cattle destroyed, sores festering on his body, enduring pious speeches from his friends, while still proclaiming, “I know that my redeemer livesand at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). That, my friends, is where God’s light shines throughin Job’s darkest hour.

Now recall with me another dark hour, the darkest hour of all. When Jesus hung upon that cross, it looked as if all was lost. Humanly speaking, it was a display of utter weakness and brokenness. But God’s power was shown in this weakness, for Christ emerged victorious from that tomb on a bright Easter morning, changing history forever. His weakness upon the cross was for you, beloved. His victory over death is yours as well. Make Paul’s words your own, as he continues in 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10:Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Don’t be ashamed of the jagged tears and brokenness in your life, dear friends. It just may be that God is using those to let His light shine through.