Across culture, time, and the human experience, we find a continual theme of brokenness. It is the “not enough” echoing in our hearts, a reflection of our inability and insecurity. It is the pain of being different when you just want to be the same. It is the loneliness of a calling you didn’t ask to live out. It’s the pieces of our lives, not fitting the way we wish, not forming the beautiful picture we wish we could present to the world.

Broken.

We see it now in the lives of ourselves and others, but it throbbed in the hearts of women long before we were born. It was the cry of Hagar in the desert, the sob of Sarah in her tent, the silent prayer of Hannah in the tabernacle. They were the broken women; the “not enough”, whose lives were pieces not fitting together.

Broken women long to simply fit. They want to make sense of the pain of their lives. They want to find purpose in the difficulty, but the question “Why?” so often goes unanswered, and we’re left wondering if the pieces we hold in our hands can make something beautiful and useful to the God we serve. The world looks at the shards of infertility, inability, and inadequacy, offering pity or sympathy in return. It offers to balm the pain with distraction and numbness, but it can never take it away. It can never bring us a purpose so all-encompassing we forget the broken pieces and begin to feel whole.

Sarah tried the world’s way. She tried to numb the shame of infertility and fulfill God’s promise on her own. In so doing she wounded and abused Hagar, who was pawn in the ill-fated plan. We read the story and wonder – who was right? Who was fair? Did Hagar deserve to be cast aside? Did Sarah deserve to be barren?

But God doesn’t concern Himself with what we deserve. He doesn’t consider our human qualifications as He makes His plans. Instead, He takes the broken pieces – the things about us that don’t work, don’t fit, and don’t mean anything to the world – and transforms them into a mosaic of purpose. His power makes beauty from the fragments of who we are.

God has great plans for broken women. Despite our failures and our sins God opens His arms to those who cry out in the wilderness and provides them a way. He challenges our doubt and makes us laugh like Sarah. And He hears the silent prayers offered in desperation, giving hope to the neglected, abandoned, and alone.

We may feel as if we don’t fit together, as if our lives are just shards of what they should have been, but God is the restorer and redeemer. What the world breaks, He builds again. And what is “not enough” in our minds is more than able in His.