The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
What words or phrases come to mind when you hear the word BROKEN?
Here is the list I came up with… many pieces, unusable, can’t be fixed, not as valuable, ugly, painful, damaged, beyond repair…
Not the most glamorous list is it? None of those words would give us the slightest clue that anything good could come from being a broken thing. But my hope and prayer for you, as you read this, is that God will begin to shift your view of what it means to be broken and help you to see it from His perspective instead of your own.
Before I got pregnant with our first daughter, I thought God and I had a very clear understanding that I was to have a NO GIRLS CLUB. I wanted nothing to do with raising daughters so therefore, God was clearly going to give me sons. CLEARLY God, in his infinite wisdom, and hilarious sense of humor, did NOT give me sons, and instead wrestled with me for most of my pregnancy to break me of the belief that I couldn’t or wouldn’t raise a daughter. You see, my view of raising daughters was broken because I knew how I had been being one…and it wasn’t pretty. So I decided that I just wouldn’t have any and that would solve the problem.
God has used each of my daughters to HEAL what was broken inside of me…and now, despite the many challenges we’ve had along the way, which I will get to in a moment, I could not imagine raising boys! I don’t like violence, dirt, smelly clothes, or playing with little boy toys. Having all girls, we’ve crafted together, shopped together, gone on lunch dates together and just done girl stuff! And I can honestly say I LOVE BEING A MOM OF GIRLS! That was just the beginning of what God was going to do through brokenness.
As my oldest was reaching preschool age, I began suspecting something was wrong. I am a teacher by profession and she was not picking up on things as easily or as quickly as she should have been. It wasn’t until Kaity was in second grade that I finally got some answers…unable to read and barely able to write a coherent sentence, we were told she had a significant learning disability that impacted so many different areas of her life and I broke…
I can remember begging God to fix her, to make her better, to change her because in that moment I didn’t really like her…and God said NO. Instead He broke ME wide open. He broke me so that He could EQUIP me to be the mom Kaity needed me to be.
When it became clear that there was a real possibility Kaity may never finish school and if she did, she most definitely wouldn’t go to college I had to wonder what her future would look like and would she be successful in anything? All of my hopes and dreams for her were just blown to pieces and I was left wondering why God CHOSE ME to be her mom. I didn’t have what it took. And God said, “Yep, you’re right…that’s why you need to let go of your need to control this and let me do what only I can do”…
Kaity’s story, though not fully written yet, has a happy ending…Beauty from being broken…Today, she and I are very close as mother and daughter…a relationship born out of lots of tears, thousands of prayers, numerous people stepping in to help us, and pure determination on both our parts. God showed me that when I gave my brokenness to Him, when I simply did what I could, day in and day out, and stopped worrying about what the future would hold, He was able to work in ways I couldn’t see going through it. (You can read more about her story here: http://www.holdinglooselylovingdeeply.com/?p=66 )
Fast forward to when my youngest, Courtney, was in first grade…she started showing signs that something may be wrong also…she was starting to hit some of the same walls Kaity did and FEAR set in. By second grade, she was tested and yep, same learning disability, just not as severe. I can remember going home and raging at God…I was so angry at Him for giving me another child that struggled in school. I hate to admit it, but I honestly wasn’t willing to go through what we had done with Kaity. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice more of myself for another daughter in order to make sure she could be successful…I just didn’t have it in me.
It was in that broken place, in that selfishness and making it all about me, that God simply whispered, “Do you TRUST me?” “What? Yes, of course I do…well, at least I think I do…but Kaity’s story isn’t written yet and now you’re making me do this again!” And the question came again…”Do you TRUST me?” “Yes, But you don’t know what it took OUT of me!”… and then again, “Do you TRUST me?” “Okay…NO, I don’t!! This journey has already been too painful and now you’re making me do it again with another child…No, I DON’T trust you!” And God simply said, “Okay, now I can work”…God broke me in order to POUR INTO me from His abundance because I wasn’t capable of doing it in my own strength.
My faith grew that day…nothing visible at first…but growth was happening and I could feel it. Looking back, He was also PREPARING me for what would most likely be the biggest storm I would walk through with any of my girls and these seasons of brokenness were God’s divine way of building in me the STRENGTH and FAITH I would need to face what was coming.
Our middle daughter, Megan, by the end of seventh grade, she was in the depths of clinical depression and anxiety. Shortly after that she would add self-harming to the list, continued poor choices in many areas, and finally, by her freshman year, suicidal ideations and attempts which landed her in the psychiatric hospital in March of 2015. Driving behind that ambulance that held my broken daughter, as we followed it to the hospital, will be etched in my memory forever. Broken doesn’t even begin to describe me, her or our family. We were barely functioning, barely holding one, barely resembling a family any more…we just all walked around feeling completely and totally crushed with no real end in sight.
BUT, in the midst of it all, GOD showed me, showed us what HOPE looked like…she ended up with a Christian roommate and a Christian nurse…only God could have orchestrated that. It was in the middle of this brokenness that God was showing me just how POWERFUL He was…slowly the healing came. That hospital stay was the last time Megan carved on her arms and hips…that hospital stay was the BEGINNING of her healing and now, almost two years later, though still healing and growing, she is finding her voice and beginning to share her story. God continues to remind me that it is by HIS stripes that my daughter is being healed and set free!
Through each of these stories and so many more that I didn’t share, God has been slowly redefining my idea of the beauty of broken. So often we fear it or we try to avoid it, because it’s uncomfortable, painful, shameful and just plain hard. We will beg God to quickly fix it or make it go away. I’m sure many of you, though our stories may be different, can relate to much of what I am sharing.
But what I continue to learn in these seasons of brokenness is that in the breaking, God uses his people to be world changers, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to others who are also experiencing brokenness. Wounds are healed by wounds—when a person comes from a place of brokenness, they have the capacity and ability to identify someone else struggling and STEP INTO the mess to encourage, support, pray, and bring comfort. This can ONLY COME from really knowing the road they’re walking.
Recently, brokenness reared its ugly head, once again, and it brought me back to all the other times I’ve been broken and forced me to answer the question: Do you really believe there is any benefit or any beauty in being broken?…and when I was able to fight my way up for air, when I was able to lay it all out at the feet of Jesus, it was there that He showed me there is another, very big reason, there is beauty in being broken…it makes me REAL.
Can we be honest for just a moment? We have such a hard time with this! We are quick to share our successes in person and on social media…but we can be so hard on ourselves and each other when we dare to actually be REAL and share our failures, areas we struggle with, or challenges going on within our marriages and our families. We forget that this isn’t a competition. We forget that we are all in the trenches, we are all looking for someone to come along and step INTO our mess, into our broken places, and remind us that we are in this together, that we will walk hand in hand lifting one another up to the only one who has the ability to make any real change and then cheer for one another when there is victory over sin, over heartache…over brokenness…
Remember that list I created for the word broken—many pieces, unusable, can’t be fixed, not as valuable, ugly, painful, damaged, beyond repair…
When we are broken these words no longer describe those who are walking with Him. They get replaced with words like: priceless, purpose, healing, mercy, equipped, strengthened, prepared, goodness, grace, mended and one by one, those REDEFINED pieces are used to create a beautiful picture of a life, our life, and what it looks like to be broken with Jesus as the artist…
The Beauty of Broken…our scars are the stories we will get to tell of God’s amazing and unwavering FAITHFULNESS.