“I feel broken.”
Vacant eyes focused on the floor. Shoulder slumped in a defeated posture. Even the tone of her voice sounded empty and tired.
It was like looking in a mirror and seeing a younger version of myself. She didn’t need to say anymore. I knew this place. These emotions were painfully familiar. And that word. How many times had I felt like it haunted me, defined me and swallowed up every beautiful thing around me in its dark rampage against my soul?
Broke. Broke. Broke.
Life insists on introducing us to brokenness. If you haven’t met her yet, it is probably just a matter of time. Everything around us is more fragile than we would like. Expectations go unmet. Prayers seem unanswered. Relationships become unfulfilled. Purpose feels unattainable.
It all has a way of breaking something deep inside of you.
Sometimes we run from the brokenness assuming that if we run hard enough and fast enough we can leave it behind. Sometimes we hide it behind good times and laughs like long sleeves covering a nasty scar and pretend it isn’t still buried underneath. Sometimes we put it on display and rally sympathetic voices in hopes of lessening the sting.
When I was a young girl, I remember listening to stories from the Bible and wondering how people could so blindly put their trust in a God they couldn’t see or touch. Secretly, I was aiming for a middle ground. A place that believed in a heavenly Father who wanted to lavish me with love and good gifts but wouldn’t ask me to do anything too radical to follow Him. Obedience sounded risky and trust seemed foolishly vulnerable.
Then I met brokenness.
Until then I didn’t know you could be surrounded by people and still feel all alone. Or that you could feel like you were suffocating in a room rich with oxygen. I didn’t know you could have it all together on the outside and be quietly dying on the inside.
While I wouldn’t wish that place on my worst enemy, I am thankful for having walked through it today. Ultimately, it led me to Jesus. Not in a “I want to make it into Heaven” kind of way but in a “There is no hope left in my heart and I need You to save me from myself” way. It wasn’t points in the afterlife that I was looking for, it was salvation in the current one.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3
These words were penned long before God wrapped Himself in human flesh. Jesus stood up in front of family and friends and announced that He was the fulfillment to the long-awaited promise. He would take brokenness and create something beautiful from its pieces.
What I experienced when I turned the remaining shards of my heart over to Jesus turned my whole perspective of living upside down. Honestly, I only turned to Him when I exhausted every other option. He was my last hope, not my confident expectation. Encountering hope in His Presence, finding peace through the pain, hearing His words soothe away every fear; it was like stepping off a cliff into thin air and discovering solid ground. I was reborn with a new life stretching out in front of me.
Hope had trickled in through the darkness and grabbed hold of my heart with unexpected strength. I knew this was only one chapter in a much bigger story and that He could make something beautiful out of my mess. I didn’t know what it all would look like, how long it would take, or what it would require of me, but I knew that He was willing to lead if I was willing to follow. I knew it in a way I couldn’t describe or defend. But there was also a conviction that I could not be argued out of it. This was more than knowledge, it was an experience of Jesus as Healer, Savior, and Redeemer.
God offered me a new identity that didn’t include the word “broken.” He made something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined from all the pieces I originally brought Him. And now I understand where trust and obedience come from. Fruit of redemption, they are the result of a life that has encountered His healing power.
Brokenness in His expert, gentle hands becomes something beautiful, something purposeful, something strong.
He is willing to meet you and lead you out of the broken place. Follow Him. Your story may have started all wrong but it doesn’t have to end that way.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18