A Garden Made From Broken Pieces

She’d had a secret to tell me all afternoon. She was saving it for bed-time, when her sisters sharing her room felt miles away as we whispered, nose-to-nose in her bed.

“Mommy, I’m really sad,” she said, eyes big and brimming with tears.

“Her Mommy and Daddy … they died. She has no one.” She spoke of this tragedy as if it was far from her experience and I was distracted with this thought: were her recent cushioned-years allowing her to speak as if this was other, not familiar?

“We have to pray, Mommy. She has no one,” she said with urgency.

This child across the ocean, a friend of Lily’s, had a story that stuck in Eden’s craw. Her heart was like velcro for pain – she’d fostered a ladybug earlier that day that she was certain was orphaned.

Even more remarkable than this child, whose own story served as a wedge to crack wide open her heart to all things broken (though her story was apparently long gone from her mind), is the fact that she’d landed herself in my home. Because her mama was one who’d patterned all her life around safety.

The woman who lives shackled to fear makes safety her god. And that I did. I spent our childless years believing that if I said and did “just the right things” I wouldn’t get hurt. I was less worried about sticks-and-stones than I was those names. I learned to please — I got people-smart — because if I could please them, then they certainly wouldn’t hurt me.

I would have been that mom, who desperately band-aids all their minor heart boo-boos, but in His kindness He gave me ones already broken in body and in heart. There were no bandages big enough to patch-up this pain of theirs inflicted by others.

I couldn’t pad those porcelain years where she wasn’t under my thumb, and so He used this to speak another word to my safe-seeking self:

His kingdom is upside down. The weak inherit the earth. The ones who walk through and over what we who “value” safety work so hard our whole lives to avoid are the ones that truly find Him.

We secretly fear scars like the ones Eden has — yet we covet the heart that’s been forged out of them them.

Many days I cry “uncle” under my breath at the slightest pressing-in, bemoaning my lot and mislabeling the opportunity. I don’t need a big break to realize that I simply must find Him — even little pressures can assist this work.

So, today, as I carry on the Hagerty tradition and celebrate another year of this little girl’s life with a letter she’ll read when she’s out of our home, I really celebrate the God who shared His broken-body with a little one who had no choice and from those pieces formed her frame, beautiful.

Eden,

Each year your name bubbles up, in and over you more than the last. You, sweet child, are our garden, plush. You live delight.

You speak words too big for your knowing – some, even the rest of us can’t code. You narrate all of your days and we just try and keep up. Just the other night, as I was tucking you in, you wore your mama’s drama and said “my tears will be my water tonight.” Are you sure you weren’t born of my flesh?

Though the quiet has not been your favorite, and “rest time” is often your daily demise, you have found a sweet whisper of words to Him that make angels stand in awe.

You live life loud both in voice and in stature, all of your miniature self — but you always have room for the mouse. You stop for the slug and even an ant can catch your fancy. Your garden has place for them all.

When you walked over there, to that girl standing alone, and befriended her down-trodden self …  when you made her the subject of a week’s worth of prayers, I knew He’d made a friend out of you.

Your heart bleeds like His heart and your prayers are not just His treasure, but ours. You have a pipeline to him. All seven years of you is already wrapped up in a story too big yet for us to grasp. We can’t wait to watch it unfold.

Today we celebrate … Him, spilling up out of you.

Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Love,

Mommy

Photos compliments of Mandie Joy. (Isn’t this one of Eden just electric!? I love MJ’s work!)

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