There’s just something about being broken.
After you’re at your bottom, whatever that looks like at your place in life, you begin to slowly crawl your way back up…if you’re lucky. And while you’re crawling up, you’ve already recognized it. You can almost taste it. Know it’s real. And while you’re terrified, you wonder if it just might be there after all.
You feel hope.
And in the knowing, there’s an overwhelming sense of connection…to everything. That every thing, person, music note, relationship, word spoken is all connected. That life is painfully difficult and it is messy and it is absolutely, 100% broken. Somewhere along the way, you realize…there is beauty in that. Beauty in brokenness. In the redemption of yourself, of your work, of your relationships.
When I met John and Ashely, and the people in Opelika, I really didn’t have any idea of the impact knowing them would have on me. At the time, life “looked normal.” My family life looked normal from the outside, I had a pilot airing on HGTV, I had recently published a book, opened a second store, blah blah. Life looked good.
The truth is, though, it wasn’t. During one of the highs of my professional life, the rest was crumbling…and honestly, there are no words for me to use to convey exactly how I felt. What was happening inside me personally was and is still too raw to try to verbally express. I was private about it, maybe even to a fault. I didn’t tell my family, didn’t tell anyone, really.
So when the time came and people knew about my divorce, I realize it came as a shock. It was too sudden (for them) to wrap their heads around, and I was utterly alone. I wasn’t trying to win sides and share every single reason and prove that I was right. Truthfully, I don’t regret that and I won’t apologize for it. I wanted to provide as much normalcy for my children as possible, and that meant I wasn’t going to be standing in the downtown square shouting my side of the story to the rooftops. I chose to keep all that to myself for my kids and because I knew I didn’t have to prove how right I was to anyone…honestly, all that was between me and God and for no one else.
All that to say, I remember that day I sat in the conference room with John and told him I was getting a divorce. I felt like I was telling everyone all over again, and I waited for the disappointment. I waited for the judgement I’d grown quite accustomed to. I waited for the words to form in my head I’d spoken relentlessly to others…”I know. I’m sorry if you don’t understand. This is a choice I’ve had to make, and it’s the right one. I hope one day you’ll understand more, but I can’t make my decisions based on outside people. This is for my kids, and this is for me.” God, I dreaded saying it again.
But you know what?
I didn’t have to say a word. He nodded. That was the day we were meeting about me consulting with them part time. And while that’s certainly not a normal “job interview” conversation, I knew they deserved one. It’s always been about more than work with them. He looked at me and simply said, “I’m so sorry, Shaunna. But I know your story isn’t done. I know there’s redemption for things like this, and a few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to say that to you. Because God saved my marriage…I used to think they were all the same. But they’re not. And you get to start over now. Go slow. You go so fast, and for once in your life, go slow and figure out what you really want and build the life you want to lead.”
If you could have been inside my head…I laugh now just thinking about my internal reaction. I had no idea what to think.
I’d experienced all kinds of reactions. Looking back, I’m grateful for a handful of people that stood by me and knew me well enough to just be there. They trusted my heart and my intentions and they just flat out loved me. In the realest of ways. They didn’t see me as less. I could list their names out, but Lord, they know who they are.
And John and Ashely (and even everyone else at MC)…never made me answer one question. They were just there. They’ve just continued to accept me and my messy life and take care of me in the way friends should. They challenge me, and to be truthful, that handful of people? They are the sole reason I came back to a place where God could work in me again. A place where I could feel hope and some worth and see beauty in all this brokenness. They gave me Grace.
Which is what we touch on today in this last segment of our silly videos…and that’s why I’m there. Because just like some worn down dilapidated building, they saw a second chance in me. Cheesy as that is. You live it and you feel truly alone and you feel unworthy…it’s not cheesy at all. It means everything.
So beyond the construction and branding and business consulting and design and photography and all those things I love professionally…I’m there because of that one liner. “Beauty in brokenness.” I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our crazy team, and who knows, maybe one of you needs to hear that same truth today. Promise it’s real.