Take a close look at this picture. What do you see?

I took this picture while we were in Tofino, BC-- one of the most beautiful places my eyes have ever beheld, by the way-- so it has a particularly special meaning to me.

This is an old-growth forest, one of the rarest environments in the world. Some of these trees are over 800 years old. Tofino is home to rare and endangered wildlife, like bald eagles, grey whales, all sorts of sea lions and otters, and cool birds--many of which I had the chance to see.

When you look at this picture, there are several things that may call your attention: the green leaves of the trees, the sun shining brightly through the branches, the tall stretching trunks, or the huge grandfather of a tree that has fallen at the bottom.

When I saw these "nursery trees," I was really stricken with sadness. These are trees that have grown huge over a long period of time, and then something like a wind storm comes by, and they fall. Beholding that kind of majesty fallen feels somehow deeply saddening. Deeply wrong.

See, the thing is, we don't like to see things that are broken.

I've experienced this the past week with my foot. There have been so many times when I just wanted life-as-usual. To walk on my foot. To wear my cute shoes. To drive my car to a bookstore and get a tea while I write.

This whole thing has made me more conscious of how fake we can be with one another, especially on social networking websites. It's easy to post a picture of your food or your cat on Facebook or Twitter, and lie to the world, when all the while, you are feeling broken. And let's face it. We all feel broken sometimes.

None of us like brokenness, so we hide it. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we grow ashamed of our weaknesses and hurt. We try to pretend everything is just peachy all the time because we've got Jesus. But I believe this propensity to fake it is weakening our witness to the gospel.

See, the thing is, God is big. Redemption is real. And so are sin and pain.

God can handle the truth about where we are, right where we are. Maybe everything is just peachy for you right now, or maybe it isn't. God is the very same loving God, no matter where you stand. He hasn't forgotten you. He hasn't let you go or lost control.

When we pull back from others and refuse to acknowledge our brokenness--in whatever form it may take--we refuse the power of Christ's redemption and the glory of his sacrifice for us.

Going back to the "nursery log," I learned in Tofino that these fallen trees serve a very important function. It can take hundreds of years before some of them decompose, and in the meantime, they actually serve as a sort of nursery to young plants. They shelter these seedlings from the harshness of the world until the plants are strong enough to withstand them. They provide nutrients even in their decay. They provide homes for wildlife--some of which won't nest elsewhere. In essence, the brokenness matters. It sustains the future. It can be redeemed.

Have you ever felt frustrated social media that may feel like a charade? How does getting honest about our pain point toward the depths of Christ's redemption?


  1. So many things to love about this blog post, Ashley. So many things to respect.
    Your honesty.
    The truth you share about brokenness.
    The beauty you reveal about Tofino -- and real life.
    Can social media feel like a charade? Sure. Sometimes I'm honest on social media -- but sometimes I save "ugly honest" for conversations with my closest of friends. And social media is not my BFF.
    But being honest -- in a variety of ways, and in different degrees -- does help me talk about how God has met me in those hard, hard moments of my life, and been sufficient.

    1. Thank you for your beautiful reply, Beth! I know that personally, I sometimes feel almost afraid to vocalize frustrations because I think, "If I say this aloud, what might happen next?" Ha! But it's true! I think we are so afraid of being complainers that in the church we've confused the reality of pain and struggle with some kind of weakness, which is not accurate at all. The Bible says in this world we will have many struggles, but to be of good courage for God has overcome them all. To minimize the struggles is often to minimize the redemption and hope, and that is something I never want to do.

  2. It is a real mix. Social media is a love/hate thing with me. I love connecting with people from way back. I love a lot of things. I even appreciate when someone takes a risk (because they rarely post, that's how I know it's a risk) and puts it out there, BAM! Like they have cancer, or someone they love is dying, or how proud they are of their kids...( people seem to love when I post about my kids). But I have many personal issues and moods. I just can't spill them all over my social media pages. They are too private. People who know me, know my struggles and pain, and some of my weaknesses. They are the face to face people, and that is how I am comfortable. Great post, Ashley! Can't wait to meet you some time, face to face.

    1. Hi agree, Susan! There's definitely a need for that balance! I think for me, the important thing is not so much being totally open but moreso being totally honest. I think there's a way to do that without getting too personal about it. But yeah, definitely is a balance! Thanks for sharing!