Broken Stories {tales of a hometown missionary}

The Christmas tree was huge. Brett cut it for us on a farm in West Martinsburg and hauled it in his black Dodge. We put it in the living room, in front of the windows. We covered it with photographs and hung stockings on the wall. Twinkle lights glittered from every corner of the house.

It was the season when I found out that my body was broken. That children wouldn’t be mine.

Sometimes we are left to walk through deserts that leave us hungry and hurting and lost. And sometimes, just when we think we’ve escaped the desert, we turn a corner and it extends in every direction.

I was living in denial. Frosting sugar cookies and singing carols when I wanted to be beating the floor until my hands bled.

Nights left me taking deep breaths and trying to quote Scripture verses. You’re broken and unlovable, the voice said. As if love was based on what we, or these dying bodies, can do. So I whispered into the stillness that God knit me together in my mother’s womb, just the way I was. Broken, yes, but not unloved. Please, love me. I prayed as I would drift to sleep.

Twinkle lights and peppermint sticks brought children every day. The neighbor kids from the homes where parents screamed and dealt drugs on the front porch. And soon I couldn’t look hard my own brokenness because I was too busy gasping for breath as I faced the shattered pieces they carried into my home.

I touched the face of the girl standing at my elbow. This delicate four-year-old with pitch black curls that hung to her waist. I braided it, a french braid that wrapped around her shoulder. Small ringlets escaped and framed her face. She was the girl with the father who yelled and beat fists into porch railings. The tiny child who just wanted a safe place to be held and loved.

So often I thought I was there for her. For them. All the little ones with broken stories and empty lives.

Turns out that I, too, was full of brokenness and it was only in Him that I tasted relief. While wading into their stories I found that it was not just me being here for them. God had placed them right in this place to embrace me, to soothe my wounds, to pour the oil of healing into my own broken dreams. Although I would not always see it in the moment, later I would look back and laugh in delight.

For during the moments when I was mourning the children-who-would-never-be, I was embracing the children-who-never-had. Who never had safety. Who never had quietness and gentleness in their homes. Who never had a mother rock them in front of the Christmas tree. Who never had stories of Jesus whispered into their ears. Who never were lifted up on the kitchen counter to learn how to roll out sugar cookies and lick frosting from plastic knives.

Broken stories, I would eventually learn, are only the beginning…

Part One: {In Jars of Clay}
Part Two: {Wind and Waves}
Part Three: {Miracles and Mustard Seeds}
Part Four: {Labels and Trust}
Part Five: {To Flourish}
Part Six: {Seeing True}
Part Seven: {Songs to Believe In}
Part Eight: {Apple Pie and Eye Shadow}
Part Nine: {Baptism of Grace}
Part Ten: {Bitter Sweetness}

2 thoughts on “Broken Stories {tales of a hometown missionary}

  1. Pingback: In Jars of Clay {tales of a hometown missionary} | Natasha Metzler

  2. Hi Natasha,

    You bless me more than I can ever say. Thank you. Truly, endless gratitude for your honesty, vulnerability and pursuit of The Lord.

    Rebecca Gerondale

    Sent with Love & Grace…



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