I cannot forget brokenness. No matter whose it is. When I see it, I feel eerily silent within myself, but I cannot look away. A part of me is devastated and horrified by it. I feel deeply emotional viewing it. But I cannot un-see it. The memory does not leave my mind, ever. I can recall it, in an instant, frame by frame, even from years gone by. Producing the same adrenalin kick that prickles up my arms, and a hurt in my heart that still feels the pain. Funny thing is, it does not even have to be my own brokenness I’m looking at.
I am not speaking of depression, that human condition; we may accidentally find our selves in at times. For the road of life often brings to us unannounced: hurt, pain, fear or anger. No I am speaking of brokenness. That place where one allows them self to be led. A road less traveled. A place where devastation and loss are so great, that many times if our human mind is left to its own devices, it will see no other alternative than to blame God, or to blame others.
Yet it’s there, in those dark days… where true brokenness surrenders to the pain… to the moment… and then to the circumstance. Deciding not to fight against the starkness of the dark reality. Praying for deliverance yet trusting when it does not come.
It’s then with no understanding of what God could possibly be thinking, one must decide to surrender, to worship, and to accept what has happened as part of the story. Giving up on all the peculiarities that makes no sense to our mind, setting aside all blame, that our brokenness may be complete and that forgiveness… for all who are responsible may begin in us, that beautiful process.
All this is NOT EASY. Some find themselves half way through the process, and then just give up trying, and start blaming and becoming furious all over again. To serve a God in whom we do not understand neither his thoughts nor his ways… now that is the fight of the faithful!! Job taught us this. When we take the time read to God’s responses to Job, as Job questions why disaster had happened… we are given pause. We become reticent to tell God our real ungarnished thoughts, lest we say too much.
Yet in each season of brokenness, there has always come to me, a day of reckoning. A day when I realized I was not moving forward. A day I realize that the reason I have been speaking so vaguely to God about the situation, was because I blamed him somehow.
Not saying to him the things that had been going through my mind seemed wiser in those moments…. than the alternative. I did not intend to EVER vocalize those ungodly thoughts. Yet because of this, there was a quietness between God and I. A space. A distance.
Finally out of desperation, I fold, and end up telling him everything I have been thinking and feeling. And oddly enough I have found out through time, this is the way to go. The sooner, the better. For even as I am confessing the offensive thought processes, he comes into the room, and then I am no longer separated from him.
Believe me, I have said plenty of offensive things in those moments of hurt and pain. It amazes me… his mercies toward me. But one thing he knows will get to me, every time, is that I cannot bear separation from him. I am used to his presence near me daily, that healing, nourishing, covering, flow that heals the nicks and pricks of life that occur on any given day. When I am broken I do not feel beautiful. Yet when I observe another who is broken they are beautiful to my spirit, mind and eye.
When I am broken I do not feel beautiful. Yet when I observe another who is broken they are beautiful to my spirit, mind and eye.
Why? When we see brokenness in another we see genuineness, one without façade, without pretense, we see human vulnerability, one who bears in their body a hurt which cannot be fixed, a pain which they may bear for a lifetime.
Yet it is brokenness that allows them to bear it without anger, resentment, malice, bitterness or blame. When we see a broken person we are not viewing a fearless person, we are viewing one who is no longer controlled by fear. The beauty of brokenness lies in their vulnerability. Their courage in the midst of fear, their stamina in the midst of exhaustion of mind and spirit, their bravery to live on, in the midst of conflict and devastation. All who become brave, get there… at great cost.
All who become brave, get there… at great cost.
There have been times when my brokenness was in the laying down of my own spiritual visionary dreams for our church. Those moments, where I realized, my dreams, were the very thing that was destroying my life. All the “we should be at this place, by now” or “if only we would do this or that” until exhausted and discouraged I painfully and brokenheartedly laid down on the altar, all those dreams, letting them drift like ashes onto the altar, knowing it must be so, to find peace in my heart and soul. And while I lay there crying, heartbroken for the things I had wanted for the kingdom to prosper, and still want, yet realizing that to live in peace, they must be put into God’s hands.
For those very dreams were somehow ruining my life. How odd…my spiritual dreams were making me discontented, unsatisfied, and unthankful. In brokenness I finally found the place inside myself, where true thanksgiving lived and breathed, and with disappointment no longer present, I found myself thankful for all the beautiful things, which were happening.
At other times brokenness has been brought on by hurt, and devastation from people or circumstances. I can tell you this; if you are going to be used by God, then brokenness will never be that far away from you. It is near. Hurt is near. Pain is near. And you are aware of its nearness. That is what makes you useful to God. The pretenses are all gone. Realness is all you have left to offer those who come to you for help. Authenticity. Empathy. No platitudes. Just a person who listens more than you talk. One who has skin in the game.
I remember a time when my daughter was going through brokenness. As a mother I was more broken than if it were happening to me! Good Mothers everywhere know what I’m talking about here! It’s much easier to handle my own pain, than my child’s! I would fight to the death to keep them safe! God knows this….and sometimes uses it for his good too;)!
I could not view her brokenness, without intense pain , anger, and resentment overwhelming me. I did not tell her of the darkness going on in my own mind, through this time. Nor did I spend much time acknowledging it, even to myself.
I did, as usual, spend time trying to self-correct as much as possible. Although once again it turned out to be something that I needed to fix between God and I. I did not feel she deserved this pain. I had watched her pray for hours a day for more than a year while other young people did not. Needless to say I was angry and not a little bitter, once I looked hard and long at my heart.
During this time, one night my husband woke up for his usual bowl of cereal at about 3 a.m. in the morning, (he claims to need the carbs to knock him back out, for the rest of the night;), when from upstairs he heard my daughter’s brokenhearted crying. She did not know anyone was up and was laying on the floor in her room not even trying to hide her hurt and pain.
My husband told me that his very first thought was, Thank God Melody is not up to hear her crying like this, it would be too much for her. He was absolutely right! My heart was way to broken to hear that pain. But what happened next shocked him, for as he was getting upset, listening to her her weep, the Lord spoke to him and said:
“That sound you hear, of her brokenheartedly weeping, that sound is beautiful to me. It sounds like a beautiful music to my ears.”
The next morning when Glenn told Savannah and I what God had told him. We were speechless…We “pondered” it, in our heart. What was so beautiful about the sound of that amount of pain?
Yet I knew… because I had seen the beauty of other broken people. My friend and pastors wife Sara, whose child had drown in their pool. Yes I had recognized the beauty of her brokenness, even as she spoke of her pain, after a year of suffering, and again many years later, as she told of the story to our church, I had noticed it again. The unexplained beauty of brokenness. The beauty of vulnerability. The beauty of authenticity. The beauty of trusting in a God we do not understand. The beauty of acceptance. The beauty of bravely picking yourself up and beginning to live life again.
After my husband told me the word that the Lord had given to him that night, my beautiful daughter and I, in brokenness began again, to lay down anger, distress and pain. And remind ourselves of verses in the word of God.
Those verses which help heal all broken people, everywhere. That high and holy word of God, that through time and test becomes every broken Christians mantra, used to lean on in times of great distress.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice…”
Yes Lord…let it be, according to your word. Let my brokenness be used for your glory…