Brokenness is a word, a theme, a thought I have been dwelling on for the past month or so. It began when I started to see emails and devotions from Ann Voskamp’s book “The Broken Way.”
I had to get the book. I read through and the words of the book jumped into my heart and truly blessed me. I would like to share with you something I have learnt thus far about brokenness and my life.
Dictionary.com defines brokenness as being reduced to fragments, being fragmented; not functioning properly or out of order; incomplete.
So much of my life has felt broken. Brokenness from my childhood, brokenness in ministry, and now brokenness in illness. It’s difficult being broken. No one wants to feel pain, physical or emotional.
I was broken so much as a child and I found it hard to believe that anyone could love me, including God. I wasn’t really wanted as a child. It wasn’t until I was 12 that a loving family took me in and looked after me. I struggled with identity. I couldn’t see myself as being loved by our Almighty Father. I struggled with trust. I couldn’t trust others as I was afraid of being left behind, not wanted again, and having promises broken. I couldn’t trust men in particular because of things that happened to me when I was but a child. I still struggle with this.
As a minister I have been broken time and again from people’s reactions, attitudes, and words. I felt like I was doing the best I could to show people how much I loved them. Once again, trust is not something I can give easily to others, and even still when I did finally trust people, I was burned, laughed at, and ridiculed. I really doubted who I was and what my calling was.
I was then broken by anxiety and depression. I couldn’t go shopping or eating out (even at McDonald’s). I struggled with driving as panic attacks would come over me and I was so scared I had to pull over to the side. I was in a very dark place. I never thought I would come out of the dark cloud covering me. Caring for two young boys was difficult at times as I was not able to enjoy some things in life due to feeling so rotten. Insecurity, self-loathing, etc. was a great part of me. I still struggle with this today.
For the past seven years I have been broken to the core with illness and being stuck not being able to do the things I used to do. I have tried and find out who I am. I have questioned over again why all of this has happened. I felt like I have been through enough in my lifetime to have to go through this as well.
Whilst reading this book, God spoke to my tender heart. He showed me time and time again how he has been there through all my brokenness.
Ann talks about their wheat farm a lot and kernels of wheat throughout the book. So, I decided to fill a jar up with wheat seeds. (My parrotlet’s mixed seed had loads of wheat seeds). I had never touched a wheat seed before until I started to fill the jar. The seeds are actually quite hard. In fact, it’s so hard, my parrotlet (miniature parrot) cannot break through it, nor can my own teeth.
Holding a kernel of wheat, I realised how my life has been just like the seed. I have put up so many barriers trying to protect myself from being hurt or broken again. I have become harden on the outside trying to show everyone that I am strong, that I have it all together. However, the hardness has made it hard for me to allow God to come in and soothe my aching heart.
Ann talks a lot about communion and how the wheat has to be broken to make the bread. Wheat kernels would have to take a lot of grinding and beating to break them in order to have enough to make the bread. The broken bread represents Christ and his brokenness at the cross. He took a great beating before and after being nailed to the cross.
I have sung words to the chorus, “Spirit of the Living God,” “break me, mould me, fill me, use me…”
God has heard my cries. He has answered my prayers. I am broken. Now it’s my turn to give him my brokenness so he can fill me with his love. He has been there all along. He has watched and cried with me. He has held me in his arms when I couldn’t take it anymore. He has saved me from destroying myself.
I have realised since reading the book I have sometimes used my family and reaching out to others in encouragement and support for my identity instead of finding my identity in Christ. I pray God will continue to allow me to see how who I am in him.
Satan is a liar. He is the one that tells us that we are alone, that we are failures, that we are unwanted, that no one likes or cares about us.
Friends, Jesus will never, ever let us go!
I love one illustration Ann gave, it was from her daughter Shalom. Shalom was making paper hearts and she wanted the heart to be taped to her chest. She said she wanted it on to show that God’s love is everywhere.
God’s love is with me in my brokenness.
The heart accidently tore in half on Shalom’s chest. She said it was okay because in the broken heart, God’s love can come in easier.
Maybe our hearts need to be broken to let God’s love in.
If our hearts are as hard the kernel of wheat, like mine has been for so long, we need God’s love to come in. We need God’s love to exchange our brokenness for his wholeness and love.
Yes, I know it’s hard to receive love. When you have been broken so much, the barriers block us from receiving. All of our brokenness needs love.
God knows we are broken. But, he still calls us Beloved!
Everyone wants to feel loved. God is love. God loves us.
I am slowly but surely giving my brokenness in its entirety to God. I know He is with me. Jesus was broken for me. I am not immune to suffering because I am a Christian. But I can know I am in his hands through it all.
I surrender my brokenness to God. I feel loved despite being broken. I am his, and he is mine. I am his beloved despite being broken. And it’s okay, because God’s love is so great, it can reach all the broken places. How great is our God!