The Offering of Brokenness

Quick  update: We’re back on the south coast of MA.  It’s been quite a transition, and we appreciate the prayers and encouragement we’ve received from so many of you.  With each passing day we feel a little more settled and affirmed that we are exactly where we are meant to be.  We are spending the first few months here focusing on helping our kids adjust and making connections.  I am also working on a new blog that will be up in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I’ve tried to make some sense of my thoughts lately...

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It’s been a tough few weeks all around.   We are reminded daily of the evil that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.  More bombs. More shootings. Racial tensions. More fears cloaked in cowardly violence. Families fleeing oppression only to be rejected by those from whom they sought shelter. More brothers and sisters fallen victim to the disease of addiction.  Sometimes it’s hard for hope not to waver.

All my favorite people are broken.  It’s true.  It’s also one of my favorite songs by Over the Rhine that I’ve been listening to quite a bit lately.

…We’re not afraid to admit we’re all still beginners
We’re all late bloomers
When it comes to love

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know

Orphaned believers, skeptical dreamers
Step forward
You can stay right here
You don’t have to go…

“All My Favorite People” by Over the Rhine

We’re all in this together, friends, and there’s a sweet comfort in knowing we’re in good company. Here we can lay our vulnerabilities on the altar together and allow the fire of the gospel to consume them as our offerings.  The problem with living sacrifices is that sometimes they crawl off the altar. Can we truly offer hope and healing to others any further than we have received it to mend our own brokenness? And how can we fully receive healing unless we recognize our own desperate need for it?

 

Throughout the past month I have come to appreciate what Henri Nouwen refers to as the often-painful “gift of self-confrontation.”  When we engage compassion and enter into one another’s sufferings,  we come face-to-face with our own brokenness.  We begin to trade specks for logs as we face our own pain and fear of rejection. Our search for affection, safety, affirmation, and trust are mirrored in the faces around us. Though our battles may look different, underneath it we are all fighting the same enemy.  Owning our brokenness and turning it into an offering may seem like weakness.   I am learning, however, that it’s the only way to silence the darkness and bring restoration.  A seed needs to be buried and broken before new life emerges.

In the heartache of the fringe

I recognize the brokenness in myself.

Pushed to the limits of my thin love,

I attempt to stretch it over pride,

Over fear and lies

Like a too-small blanket.

Light pierces through the veil of compassion

Exposing the cracks in my own heart

And I weep over the times I should have said something —

Should have initiated

Should have stood my ground

Should have listened

Should have shut my mouth

And buried the pat answers when true lament was required.

I see it in my impatience,

The harsh tone of my voice towards those whom I love the most.

Comparisons invade my thoughts

Insecurities whisper in my ear

you are not enough

or sometimes

YOU ARE TOO MUCH

Shut up

You don’t have anything worth saying

quiet down before you push everyone away

Where is God amidst these shards?

Emmanuel.

God with us.

With us.

He does not hide His face

Or run away from brokenness;

He steps into it.

I AM.

Making himself broken,

And in so doing,

Making all things new.

 

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”
John 12:24  (The Message)
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4 thoughts on “The Offering of Brokenness

  1. Brooke Lyons says:

    Love you so much, SarahJewel, thanks for sharing your vulnerability. It is a great reminder that life is difficult and we are all going through hardships but, even so, we are never alone. I start each day with a new prayer now. I pray for happiness in Him. And each day He delivers.

    Like

  2. I’ve been sitting with a few thoughts since we got back from our travels. The words He loves me in all my broken places has power. In that power I’m able to move forward on the road He’s paved for this girl…..come on brokenness we’ve got an assignment!

    Like

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