[Last year] we received a package in the mail from a Mitchell’s Journey follower who, over the months, has also become a friend of our family. Because Father’s Day was around the corner my wife wanted to wait and open it on that day in honor of our little boy. I am glad we did.

As we opened the package we discovered a beautiful stained glass ball about the size of abasketball. Carefully placed in the same shipping box were other small tokens of love from their family to my wife and kids. Little pieces of crumpled purple packing paper, like decorations, were scattered about as if to say they cared enough to remember one of our son’s favorite colors. Everything about their gift was a symbol of love. We were deeply touched.

That evening I asked Natalie to help me take a photo of the gift with the sun setting in the backdrop. I was so drawn to the stained glass ball. It was beautiful and reminded me of something Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” 

I hope to always have a light from within – to never let discouragement and pain darken my heart and dampen the light of faith. For true faith is a candle in the darkness and illuminates sights unseen. 

Maybe she was on to something … perhaps our lives aren’t all that different from that of stained glass. Being mortal, we are fragile and break; only, we don’t always get to decide how and where we break. Sometimes that is the craft of the Master Artisan. We can, however, have a hand in how we put ourselves back together again. 

Though I would rather be unbroken, with my son still in my arms, I can’t help but sense what is coming together after all my brokenness may be better off than the person I was once becoming. Each day I slowly, carefully, and sometimes painfully put the pieces of my heart back together the best I know how. Though pained and broken, wanting badly for my son, I can see the hand of God and sense the shape of things to come. 

Don’t get me wrong; the death of my son has broken my soul. My heart is tender and bleeds … it isn't the same as it once was and I’m not sure it will ever be. What I thought a medley of shattered glass and broken dreams is in reality altogether different than what I think I see. Each piece, though agonizingly broken is colored by the deepest hues of love. A beautiful mosaic forged of pain … a heavenly arrangement from my Father above.

Sometimes in our sorrows the child in our heart cries out, “Oh Dad, why did you break me?” Then a loving whisper, if we listen, “I’m not breaking you dear child, I’m shaping you.”