The following story is a modern day Velveteen Rabbit story saturated by grace. I’ve heard it said, the closer you grow to God, the more aware you are of your sin. This is certainly true in my case. Some days, my past swirls ceaselessly through my head, each harshly spoken word, each selfish act, rising to the surface until all I can do is say, “Help me, my Savior and King. Overcome everything unrighteous in me!” And that is where our hope is found, broken, resting in the Savior’s hands.
On those days when I feel as if I’ll never change, never do better or be better, I cling to God’s promise in Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
It is then that I remember that I will be better, but it won’t come from my determined effort. It will come from my full surrender, allowing God to do what needs to be done in me until I am more like His Son.
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Here’s Raine’s story:
The other day, one of my co-workers told about a weekend shopping trip with his nine-year old daughter. She had been saving up her allowance money for some time now and had decided it was time to buy a new doll. So off they went, hand in hand to the local mall here in Yorktown, Virginia. They visited several stores, and eventually when she did not find what she wanted, they moved on to a few anchor stores down the street. Still, after a few hours of searching, she did not find the doll she was looking for.
On his way home he stopped by the local Goodwill store. He headed off to his section and she wandered (under his watchful eye) over to the toy section. About 5 minutes later he was ready to go so he stopped to get her. She held a badly damaged Barbie doll, gently stroking what little hair remained.
“This one,” she said. “This is the doll I want.”
My friend did not want to hurt her feelings but gently reminded her of the beautiful dolls that they had just left in the mall. Though they cost more, he reasoned, she would probably like one of them better. But she was emphatic, and after standing her ground he took her to the register and let her pay for it.
On the way home he watched as she held up the broken doll and talked to it. “You’ll be better in no time,” she said. An eye was missing, and the left leg did not seem original. The clothes were shabby and a few of the fingers on one hand had been chewed off. What a broken piece of junk, he thought.
As he told me this I could not help but picture my storied relationship with Jesus. Every day I look into the mirror I realize that I am broken. Every day a part of my sinful nature shows itself, and I get a fleeting glimpse of my own shame and sinfulness. And then I remember what Jesus has done for me, and I am suddenly filled with hope. I am wounded by my brokenness, but overjoyed that I have the honor of being called a Christian.
I think this is not true of me only, but all of you as well. We are all broken in one way or another; often unable to rise to our calling. But in the midst of this brokenness, there is a hand that reaches for us. A savior who values us deeply. In the end, we sink or swim, rise or fall to a gracious God who loves us in a way we will never really understand. You and I are the apples of His eye. In the end, we dance to an audience of one.
I am learning to walk in this grace that sees my faults through the lens of the death and resurrection of His son. I am learning that my brokenness, profound at times, will over time be mended by the One who plucked me off the shelf, looked at me and said, “This One!”
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Raine Sommersett is a retired Army Officer, though I still work for the Department of Defense. I have published numerous articles in professional venues, and have often contributed to newspapers in my local community. I have been writing towards publication for 10 years, and have completed 3 full length novels (all Young Adult), numerous short stories and volumes of poetry. My first novel, Willford Creek, won first place in the juvenile category of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference Literary Contest. I love to write prose, and believe strongly that the foundation for good writing is built on prose and reading other great writing. I live with my family in Yorktown, Virginia, and will soon move to the Seattle area.
I love that story, Raine! It was so inspiring and encouraging. A great analogy! Thanks for sharing!