Broken In

close up shot of baseball and baseball glove
Photo by Valery on

When I was young, my favorite sport was softball. And, as I have written before, I was a bit of a tomboy. Nowadays, this isn’t surprising because girls and women have the freedom to play sports, but not in my time or my culture; it wasn’t ladylike. However, I was not ladylike! I had knock-knees because I didn’t sit with my legs crossed like a little lady; the older women walked by and knocked my knees shut! And my grandmother almost had a heart attack when I walked out of the house with Levi’s and a baseball cap instead of a dress and bow.

Today my daughter gave me a brand-new pair of tennis shoes, and I was so excited because they were nice and comfortable when I first tried them. But I forgot how I hated wearing brand-new shoes until I felt a sharp pain from a blister growing on my pinky toe and pain in my back; that is when I remembered how much I hated wearing brand-new shoes. I often asked my daughters to break them in before I wore them; however, this time, I didn’t, and I suffered all day. So as I drove home from work, I reflected on my day and thought about having an extra pair of my old tennis shoes in the car for backup until I break in these new ones.

I am on the road a lot and have become accustomed to thanking the Lord instead of complaining about the traffic or the weather. I discovered when I am grateful for the goodness of God in every area, such as a job, car, and the ability to do the work, we open the door for Jesus to come in and teach us. Jesus stands at the entrance of hearts knocking, but if we don’t open the door of our hearts and invite His Holy Spirit in, we miss out. He also fellowships with us, showing us His magnificent handiwork when we ask Him to give us eyes to see. By the way, I learned this from my three-year-old granddaughter when she sat in the back seat of my car, thanking the Lord for water, the air we breathe, the sun, the moon, the trees, etc. We can’t hear God or anyone when our minds are clogged with negativity, and our mouths complains about everything.

Anyhow, I thought about when my stepdad bought me a new glove and how unhappy I was when he gave it to me. Yes, I should have been grateful to have my very own glove, but the problem was that it was perfectly brand new; the leather was shiny, smooth, and unbendable. I remembered sitting in the front yard pouting because I had a game the next day; I played outfield, and there was no way I could catch a fly ball with a brand-new glove. Then, as I sat there with my face down, my mom pulled into the driveway when I saw the solution to my dilemma. I caught her before leaving the car and told her to wait a minute. She had no idea what I was up to, so she impatiently sat there while I placed my new glove behind the front tire. After carefully placing the glove, I signaled for her to back up; she did, pulled up again, and tried to get out of the car, but I asked her to back it up again; my glove was still not perfectly roughed up. By this time, she was irritated and asked me what was happening; she thought something was wrong with the car. My stepdad stood at the door laughing; he knew what I was trying to do, so he approached the car door and let my mom out. I ran; her face said, whipping! It took several attempts to soften that stiff glove, and yes, I was happy to say we did win the game!

After a few chuckles and reflecting on this positive childhood experience, the Holy Spirit began ministering to my lonely heart. He reminded me of that childhood event and how happy I was after I broke into that perfectly new glove. The glove was in perfect condition, but it was useless to me. I needed something that fit snugly in my hand and was bendable to catch the ball.
Tears rolled down my eyes when I realized what He was showing me about myself and the man I’d been praying for all my life.
I grew up happy and carefree when I played sports, played in the dirt, rode my bike for miles with my younger brother until sunset, hiked, took pictures, and played flag football with the neighborhood kids on irrigation day. But, after I got married, I lost myself. I tried to be what I was not. I was not the kind of wife society expected; however, the more I wanted to be her, the deeper I buried myself until this strange woman appeared in the mirror, a stiff-hearted woman who wanted to be perfect, and I hated her. However, the tears today were happy tears for a lot of reasons.
First, I realized it was impossible to love God fully with a prideful heart, and I was very prideful, but not so much in how I perceived pride. I pictured an arrogant, prideful person standing on the rooftop saying, “Look at me; look, what I’ve done, and I did it all by myself!” But, no, my pride came from having no choice but to be self-sufficient since childhood. Then, I saw how God allowed me to stay this way to support my children. Still, when it was time to stop striving and trusting God, I became fearful and struck with significant anxiety because I was alone and explained to God and others I had to survive until I got roughed up and broken from the inside by the many trials these past couple of years.

The Holy Spirit said, “Now you can receive My love from the man I desire for you, and he can receive the same intimacy from you because he, too, is broken from the inside. You two will fit perfectly and be willing to be bendable for one another.” Wow, I thought about my old glove!
I finally understood that had God not broken us in, we would still be stiffnecked and useless for His call on our lives. I also realized and thanked the Lord for showing me if I had rushed into a relationship because someone looked perfect from the outside and was a smooth talker, I would have suffered as I did before due to the stresses of life with a partner who was not my fit, or one who would cause pain and suffering again. And more so, I’m so grateful that bitter, stiffed-neck woman no longer looks back at me in the mirror. The old saying, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, is a lie from the devil; I’m older, and old hearts still loves, but if we are unwilling to change ourselves, we will remain chained to those old patterns being useless to God and others like that brand new glove.