The Marble Jar

My counselor recommended that I listen to Brené Brown.  Being myself, I listened to all that I could find (didn’t buy the books, right now audio is my friend).  I realized in listening to her explain the concept of the marble jar (The Anatomy of Trust, Brené Brown) that I had dropped mine, shattered it, scattered the marbles, and I left myself standing in the debris of life lived from a place of dysfunction, lack of boundaries, and fantasy thinking.

The event: the demise of my first marriage.  (Now, I am pretty sure that the guy I was married to had a part in the downward spiral of our relationship, but this isn’t about him!) Everything I’m about to tell you, is told from a rear view mirror with well over a decade of time in the distance, none of this a) did I learn overnight and/or b) will I necessarily agree with in the next decade. (Learning and growing is a continual process, so don’t get too hung up on my words here!)

I want you to listen to my heart!  Because my heart is screaming and weeping and lamenting to my 28-year old self, “No man can make you happy, honey.  That’s your job, and frankly, happiness is overrated, elusive, and probably just too sweet for constant consumption, mark your row on Jesus and pray for contentment.”  (The mark your row part comes from an old family story about a worker plowing a field for the first time; the boss said, son, find a land mark and use that to make a straight row…at the end of the row, the worker turned around to see his first line, and it was wavy as heck.  The boss chased him down yelling, what in the world did you aim for?! And the answer, well, I thought it was a tree, but turned out to be a cow.)  That’s happiness for you, if you aim for it, you’ll rarely, if ever, have a straight row.  But Jesus on the other hand, steady and true every time, even though in the middle it feels like a tangled ball of yarn.

So, I dropped my jar of marbles.  Everything that I had staked my self on, who I was, what I stood for, all gone in the sweaty grasp of my hands on that jar.  My hands were angry and mainly deceived.  Now that old adage, “the devil made me do it,” comes to mind, but that’s not true, the real answer was the one God gave to Cain when He knew what Cain was contemplating, and He said that sin was crouching at Cain’s door, and Cain had to rule over the sin (Genesis 4:7 paraphrase).  But Cain didn’t, and I didn’t either.  I dropped my jar, my marriage, and myself when I decided to pursue “happiness” (aka divorce and someone better suited).  Ladies, the world has sold us a pack of lies. There is no man that will make us happy.  As if happiness is like a cake for goodness sake!

So here I sit well over a decade later, listening to Brené Brown, crying because I finally understand that my choices didn’t just end a marriage and a family, as surely as Cain picked up that stone and slaughtered his brother, my actions and choices decimated me. And when the jar crashed, I ran, and ran, and ran, and…finally stopped January 10, 2017 because I looked back at my row and saw the mess it was, saw that my future would be just like my past if I didn’t STOP, and the Real Boss, Jesus came up to me and said, Gabrielle, follow me.

Dear friend that I have never seen, He wants you too.  Doesn’t matter how many marbles fell out, scattered, hid under bushes, ran down the ravine, doesn’t matter how twirled into a mess your rows behind you are.  I know it hurts, I know you’re ashamed, I know. But STOP, just stop, just stop and breathe, and wait on Him.

Father, please be with her, my friend, that looks back on her life, and weeps over her choices because of the pain it caused everyone that she touched.  You know why she was running, you know what it will take to make her stop.  Please grab hold of her Lord, please, transform her heart that she might pursue You, no matter what.  Please whisper to her that she is loved.  Please be her Hope.  Father, I petition on her behalf, please, with thanksgiving, I praise You that You took it upon Yourself to love me.  May I share that love.  Amen