Nothing Wasted - Girl of Cardigan

I’ve had my heart broken exactly once.

I suppose it’s lucky, life so far with only one real shattering.  I smashed through so many of my early relationships like a wrecking ball, taking no prisoners, wearing thoughtlessly little shame.  I marched diligently after those moments of butterfly flutter, a quickening pulse, that glorious sensation of falling, falling, falling in deep.  I broke hearts and promises without blinking.  I broke quickly and broke easily away.

When I was 19 years old a boy got out of a car, and my entire life pivoted sharply- the first steps in a dance that would leave me somewhere completely other than where I’d been headed.

I’ve heard it said that you waste nothing…

As I write these words, I’m sitting in a midnight labor and delivery ward, watching my beautiful sister wrestle and war with her own breaking, watching her body shift in ways she doesn’t believe in, watching the world’s most painful magic.  There is nothing and everything beautiful about labor, and it is beautiful to witness – this pain with such purpose, the rending that brings completion, these moments of such terrible growth.

She looks at me and asks honestly “Will it get worse?”

Yes.  Yes completely.  But it will also end.

I’ve had my heart broken just the once, but it stayed broken for years, half a decade of patching and long walks and gentle repair and hard lessons.  I used my heartbreak as catalyst to shatter my life, my faith, my direction – each of them ground into powder and painstakingly rebuilt.  It was easy, in those years, to slip into the feeling that so much time had been wasted -that so much time was wasting away.  Placing the bricks, doing the time, mending the wound – it’s such a tedious process, so dark and perilous, so lonely and long and endless.

There are tears in her eyes as she breathes through the  opening, places the bricks, does the time.

You have made so many promises, wild and wonderful you, each of them beautiful and humbling and raw.  But the one that echoes, the one that I carry on days when grace feels wholly given but heaven seems distant – my God wastes nothing.  You are king and keeper of the broken places, collecting shattered heart- pieces and molding them, breathing them into a life that floors me every day for all its beauty and its joy and the fullness of you.

For the moment, there is silence, and there is pain.  But you are in the silence.  You are in the pain, and you are planning magic.  You are planning birthdays.  You are bringing life.

Her tears are the tools you will use to build the gift of love hard-labored, of joy long-journeyed, of tiny wondrous toes and fingers and perfect little him.

We offer you our broken pieces and you know them, you count them.  You use them for your purpose.  You sculpt glory.

I’ve heard it said that you waste nothing.

How beautiful she is.  How very great you are.

Girl of Cardigan


Photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon Photography.

  • Janice Christman November 19, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Karyn, this was the first thing I read this morning and it blew me away! I felt every bit of the pain you felt and then glowed with the healing words you finalized with. You are an amazing writer and I know I say that all of the time, but, I can’t find other words that adequately describe your writing! Thank you and I hope all is well with Katelyn and the new baby!

  • Meredith November 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the honest, raw, and powerful words that you share with us.

  • Bonita November 21, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Wow! Just wow.

  • cindy baldwin November 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I loved this post – I’ve had more experiences than I’d have chosen, these past years, that have left me bringing a broken heart to the altar. I’ve had to remind myself again and again that He wastes nothing. And then, suddenly, in the past year nearly every one of those long-unanswered prayers has come to fruition, and I’m being shown just how true it is that God brings beauty from ashes. Thanks for sharing your words!

    • karyn November 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      Cindy – I’m celebrating with you – love this story. Wishing you tons of time to revel in the beauty and soak it all up – sounds like you’ve been waiting long enough. 🙂 love.